Image: Goran from Pixabay
With all the news around AI-generated content, and the huge possibilities this has opened up, Google Search has updated its guidance on AI-generated content.
In short, Google is not so much interested in how the content is produced. What it wants is quality content created for people and demonstrating E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness), not for manipulating rankings.
“Appropriate use of AI or automation is not against our guidelines."
While Google has many years of fighting automated spam, and this will continue, it says:
“…it's important to recognize that not all use of automation, including AI generation, is spam.
Automation has long been used to generate helpful content, such as sports scores, weather forecasts, and transcripts. AI has the ability to power new levels of expression and creativity, and to serve as a critical tool to help people create great content for the web.”
Google advises creators considering using AI to generate content to focus on meeting E-E-A-T guidelines. That is what Google will reward in Search.
“…however content is produced, those seeking success in Google Search should be looking to produce original, high-quality, people-first content demonstrating qualities E-E-A-T. “
Google’s guidance on creating helpful, people first content has now been updated with a new section on Who, How and Why - questions people should be asking when evaluating their content.
Google says people can better understand the the E-E-A-T of content when it's clear who created it. So, questions to ask about your content include:
- Is it self-evident to your visitors who authored your content?
- Do pages carry a byline, where one might be expected?
- Do bylines lead to further information about the author or authors involved, giving background about them and the areas they write about?
You should consider adding accurate author bylines when readers would reasonably expect it,
It's helpful for people to know how the content was created. Telling people the process and any role automation or AI might have played can give people a better understanding and build trust.
If automation is used to substantially generate content, these are the questions you should ask yourself:
- Is the use of automation, including AI-generation, self-evident to visitors through disclosures or in other ways?
- Are you providing background about how automation or AI-generation was used to create content?
- Are you explaining why automation or AI was seen as useful to produce content?
AI or automation disclosures are useful where someone might wonder how the content was created. You should consider adding these where it would be “reasonably expected”.
Google says this is perhaps the most important question to ask about your content.
Content should be created to be useful and help people. It should align with E-E-A-T and what the ranking systems seek to reward.
If you use AI or automation with the main aim of manipulating search rankings, that’s a violation of Google’s spam policies.
Google also published a list of FAQs on its guidance post.
- Will AI content rank highly on Search? You won't get any special gain from using AI. Google says if it's useful, original and aligns with E-E-A-T it might do well in Search. If not, then it might not.
- Should I use AI to generate content? It might be useful to consider using AI if you see it as an essential way to help you produce quality content. If you're using it with the aim of manipulating rankings, the answer's no.
- Can I list AI as the author of content? While Google recommends you make clear when AI is part of the content creation process, giving AI an author byline is "probably not the best way" to do this.
You can see the full FAQ list in Google’s guidance on AI-generated content.