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AI-generated content seems like an oxymoron; after all, machines can’t create something from nothing, right?
Well, on February 2, 2023 Google clarified their stance on AI-generated content in a Google Search Central blog, and it turns out that AI-generated content isn’t necessarily a no-go for Google.
As long as the content meets their standards for E E A T, “expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness,” it’ll be rewarded just like any other high-quality content.
But that doesn’t mean AI-generated content is a free-for-all. Google still takes a hard stance against any content created with the “primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results.” And websites should make clear to readers when AI is part of the content creation process.
This is a complete U-turn from its earlier stance on AI generated content.
Only in April last year Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller said that content automatically generated with AI writing tools is considered spam, according to the search engine’s webmaster guidelines.
Mueller was quick to point out, Google’s position on auto generated content has always been clear:
For us these would, essentially, still fall into the category of automatically generated content which is something we’ve had in the Webmaster Guidelines since almost the beginning.
And people have been automatically generating content in lots of different ways. And for us, if you’re using machine learning tools to generate your content, it’s essentially the same as if you’re just shuffling words around, or looking up synonyms, or doing the translation tricks that people used to do. Those kind of things.
My suspicion is maybe the quality of content is a little bit better than the really old school tools, but for us it’s still automatically generated content, and that means for us it’s still against the Webmaster Guidelines. So we would consider that to be spam.”
However, last week in Google Search Central blog, in the FAQ it answers these few crucial questions:
Appropriate use of AI or automation is not against our guidelines. This means that it is not used to generate content primarily to manipulate search rankings, which is against our spam policies.
Automation has long been used in publishing to create useful content. AI can assist with and generate useful content in exciting new ways.
Using AI doesn’t give content any special gains. It’s just content. If it is useful, helpful, original, and satisfies aspects of E-E-A-T, it might do well in Search. If it doesn’t, it might not.
If you see AI as an essential way to help you produce content that is helpful and original, it might be useful to consider. If you see AI as an inexpensive, easy way to game search engine rankings, then no.
You should consider having accurate author bylines when readers would reasonably expect it, such as to any content where someone might think, “Who wrote this?”
As a reminder, publishers that appear in Google News should use bylines and author information. Learn more on our Google News policies page.