Google’s Algorithm Hates AI Content? How To Make Google Love It

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            Google’s Algorithm Hates AI Content? How To Make Google Love It

Google’s March 2024 core algorithm update is penalizing sites made with AI generated content and it’s a fact that AI-generated content cannot meet the quality standards that Google’s  various documentations outline. But there is still a way to use AI in a way that results in high quality content.

Why AI Cannot Meet Google’s Quality Thresholds

Several ranking systems, including the Reviews and the Helpful Content systems explicitly have quality standards that inherently make it impossible for AI authored content to satisfy.

The addition of an extra E in E-A-T (for experience) should have been a signal to content creators that using AI carried risks.

Examples of SERP Features, Quality Signals and Ranking Signals That Inherently Exclude AI Content

The writing on the wall about AI content has always been in plain sight.

Here are some qualities that Google’s documentations say are important that rule out purely AI-generated content:

  • Experience
  • Published reviews must be hands-on
  • Google News emphasizes human authors in Google News SERPs
  • Google Perspectives, announced in May 2023 emphasizes human authors (hidden gems) found in forums
  • Author page (expertise questions)
  • Author background information (expertise questions)
  • Author About page (expertise questions)

Concepts Of Quality

Google published Self-Assessment Questions to help publishers identify if their content measures up to Google’s standards of quality.

These questions don’t list specific ranking factors. They only list concepts of things that in general reflect what high quality websites tend to show.

If AI-generated content cannot fit into those concepts then it’s likely that the content does not meet quality standards, regardless if the publishers try to fake the outward signs of quality like author pages and so on.

Authorship And Expertise

The Expertise section of the Self-Assessment documentation mentions authors in a way that cannot be replicated by machine-generated content.

This section states:

“Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?”

The above quoted section centers expertise on the following three factors:

  1. Sourcing (citations to sources, fact checking, attribution of quotes)
  2. Evidence of expertise involved
  3. Author background

Those three qualities are the outward signs typically associated with expertise which is not attainable by AI.

Content Quality: Originality

The content and quality section of the self-assessment guide requires originality.

Here’s what that section of Google’s documentation asks:

“Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
…Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond the obvious?”

Unoriginality is the hallmark of generative AI. Content created by generative AI is literally the likeliest series of words on any given topic.

First-Hand Expertise

The people-first section of the self-assessment questions asks about first-hand expertise:

“Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge (for example, expertise that comes from having actually used a product or service, or visiting a place)?”

Clearly a machine doesn’t have first-hand expertise. It can’t handle a product or use a service.

AI Can Still Be Used For Content Creation

Given how many sites with AI-generated content are getting slapped with manual actions during the March 2024 core algorithm update, it may be time to reconsider the place of AI for web content.

There is still a way to use AI that can result in high quality people-first content. What matters most about content is the insight behind the content, not who or what wrote it.

A way forward may be to use a mix of human insight and experience as data that the AI can use for generating content.

How To Create Review Content With AI

For example, it’s possible to scale product reviews by creating a checklist of data points that consumers need in order to make a buying decision. Someone still has to handle the product and review it, but they just have to write scores and comments for each data point on the review checklist.

If the review is of a children’s bicycle then benchmark the things that users want to know about the bicycle like what age and size does the bicycle fit, how much does it weigh, how sturdy are the training wheels and so on. If it’s a television review then the checklist will have benchmarks relating to the richness of the black levels, off-center viewing, ease of setting the colors, and so on.

At the end of the checklist have a section called final impressions that lists pros and cons as well as the overall sentiment where the reviewer writes if they feel positive, neutral, negative about the product and who they feel the product is best for like people on a budget, those who crave performance and so on. Once that’s done upload the document to your AI and ask it to write the review.

How To Write Any Kind Of Content With AI

An acquaintance shared a tip with me about using AI to polish rough content.  His workflow consists of a dictating everything that needs to be said into a recording, without regard for paragraph structure, simply poured out into the recording.  He then uploads it to ChatGPT and asks it to transform it into a professional document. He can even ask it to generate pros and cons and an executive summary.

AI Amplifies Human Input

My suggestion is to think of AI as a ghost writer that takes a rough document and turns it into a polished essay or article. This approach can work for nearly any scenario, including for scaled product descriptions.

The important qualities of content are the ones provided by a human that an AI is incapable of, things like sourcing, evidence of expertise, sourcing and the background that a human brings to a the topic that is being written about. Humans bring the Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.  AI can take those elements provided by the human and turn it into high quality content.

Given how many sites with AI-generated content are getting slapped with manual actions during the March 2024 core algorithm update, it may be time to reconsider how AI is used when it comes to content.

I planned and wrote most of this article back in September 2023 and sat on it because I thought, who is going to believe me?

Now that it’s March 2024 and the SEO industry is facing a reckoning based partly on AI-generated content, people may be more receptive to considering better ways to integrate AI into the content generation workflow.

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