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    Does Google Penalize AI-Generated Texts?

    You’ll likely remember the moment when ChatGPT went live, hitting the headlines and causing plenty of excitement and controversy. 

    One of the dominating opinions was that content writers would no longer be needed as AI would replace them. However, that belief didn’t last long.

    Marketers soon discovered that despite being very helpful, AI tools could provide misleading information, repetitive language throughout the copy, and weird wording, among other shortcomings. Another concern that alarmed the marketing community was the relationship between AI content and Google — it’s still a hot topic today.

    At some point, publishers started to suspect that AI content could drop their rankings on Google search results pages, and they had severe reasons to make such an assumption. As a leading digital marketing agency focused on creating top-notch SEO-friendly content, we couldn’t leave this question unanswered.

    Does Google penalize AI content? Does AI content rank? How can you improve your AI-generated content to avoid penalties? Read on to find out detailed answers and some actionable tips on how you can use AI content creation safely.

    What Is AI Content Creation?

    AI content is text generated by artificial intelligence tools in response to human prompting. Large language models (LLMs) are trained on massive datasets of textual information, which they use to generate new content. When producing new text, LLMs predict the next word in a sequence of words, relying on the patterns they learned from the training data. 

    How AI Content Marketing Works

    In marketing, AI-powered content generators are now widely used for writing social media posts, scripts, product descriptions, blogs, and more, but is it worth completely entrusting your content marketing to artificial intelligence? Let’s sort it out.

    Does Google Penalize AI-Generated Texts?

    Google’s March Core Update 2024, which announced the company’s plan to reduce unhelpful content by 40%, triggered a lot of discussion. 

    According to Google, they started implementing changes to their policies in order to improve the quality of Search. These changes include using new algorithms to ensure surfacing the most helpful information while minimizing low-quality and unoriginal content in search results.

    Google and AI content

    So, what does Google say about AI-generated content? As specified by the Google Search Quality team in their blog post, Google’s ranking systems reward original, high-quality content that demonstrates expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (the famous E-E-A-T rule), focusing on the quality of content rather than the method in which it has been produced.

    Google E-E-A-T Rule

    As you can see, Google doesn’t say directly whether it can ban AI-generated content from search results. But let’s take a closer look at the content quality requirements Google pays attention to.

    The first and foremost requirement is that the content should be original. Now, let’s get back to how LLMs work — they use billions of publicly available texts from the internet, with a high chance that the generated content will contain strings of words that are exact copies of their sources. This brings into question the uniqueness of AI content.

    Next, Google loves high-quality content. Let’s say the issue with originality doesn’t exist, and we can assume that artificial intelligence tools can create top-notch copies using their databases. However, it’s critical to understand that, in most cases, these databases aren’t being continually updated, and an AI tool’s latest knowledge can be as old as a year or so.

    Does this affect the quality of content? Not necessarily, but it often happens, especially in the technology domain. For example, if you ask AI to write an article describing frameworks of a specific programming language, it surely won’t include ones that were released after the tool’s latest update.

    Moreover, since AI strives to pack each copy with as many facts on the given topic as possible, apparent repetitions are a common feature of AI-generated content. That impacts the quality.

    A study was conducted to check the probability of Google penalizing AI content. The authors identified websites that were presumably penalized after the release of March Core Update 2024—despite having much organic traffic in February, they aren’t indexed on Google now. After examining these websites for AI-generated content, it was discovered that all of them had signs of using AI, with half containing over 90% AI content.

    How can Google detect AI content?

    Again, Google can detect low-quality and unoriginal content, which, in many cases, refers to AI-generated copy. Google’s automated ranking systems examine multiple factors and signals to provide users with the most relevant and helpful results. 

    Among others, there are systems designed to prevent certain content from ranking high on search results.

    google ranking systems: how Google detects AI content

    • Deduplication systems. When some pages are similar to each other, Google shows only the most relevant results.
    • Helpful content system. This system ensures that users see original, valuable content “written by people, for people” rather than content created to generate traffic.
    • Freshness systems. Google’s various freshness systems are designed to show the latest content.
    • Original content systems. These systems enable Google to display original content prominently in search results.
    • Reliable information systems. With these technologies, the search engine can show the most reliable and authoritative pages and demote low-quality content.

    How To Prevent Google Penalties For AI Content 

    Using AI-generated content for SEO is a fast and cost-effective way to boost your website’s online visibility and brand awareness. However, AI content often lacks the originality and quality Google requires, putting your website at risk of getting penalized.

    While Google has nothing against AI-generated content if it’s high-quality, original, and demonstrates the E-E-A-T properties, you can edit AI-generated copy to make it more Google-friendly. Here are some expert tips to help you.

    6 Expert Tips To Prevent Google Penalties For AI Content 

    1. Be as accurate as possible when prompting AI

    To minimize the time you’ll need to improve AI-generated text, make sure you provide accurate and clear editorial guidelines for the artificial intelligence tool. 

    Besides explaining what type of content you want (a social media post, a blog, etc.) and which information it should include, you can also specify your brand’s tone of voice, style, and type of language (formal, informal, technical, etc.). 

    2. Start by removing plagiarism

    As already mentioned, AI-driven content creation tools derive data from publicly available sources, increasing the chances that your copy will be recognized as unoriginal by Google. 

    There are many tools that help detect potentially plagiarized parts of text. You just need to run the AI copy in such an application and edit the flagged parts, replacing plagiarized words with synonyms or changing sentence structures until you achieve a high originality score.

    3. Elaborate on the E-E-A-T principles

    Remember Google’s requirement for content to showcase expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness? Now, your task is to add these qualities to the AI-generated copy. 

    For this, read the text, think about which important information might be missing, and ensure you include it. Also, incorporate facts and the latest statistics, adding links to authoritative sources.

    4. Introduce originality

    There can be thousands of articles on similar topics targeting the same keywords; however, we know a tried-and-true method to introduce the originality and freshness Google loves so much. 

    This can be achieved through sharing real-life stories and unique examples that illustrate the main points.

    5. Focus on the “written for people” requirement

    Google’s ranking systems are designed to provide users with helpful information, demoting low-quality AI-generated pages created for the sake of SEO. 

    To make sure your copy is people-first and relevant, do the following things:

    • Be informative. Remove repetitive language, leaving text that is accurate and helpful. It’s also useful to fact-check parts that could be no longer up to date (remember our example about programming language frameworks).
    • Edit the copy so that it has a clear and concise style. Replace jargon and technical terms with language that is easily comprehensible to your audience. Also, make sure you remove fancy vocabulary and clichéd phrases that flag AI content even to the naked eye.
    • If relevant, rewrite the AI copy so that it has a conversational tone, writing from a “we” perspective and addressing your readers as “you”. This can create a sense of engagement, making the content feel more personal.
    • Vary the structure. When editing AI-generated copy, you can notice that almost all sentences have a similar structure, making the text monotonous and unnatural. Change sentence structures to introduce greater variety and create a more rewarding reading experience.
    • Incorporate subheadings, bullet lists, and images to make your content easier to read.

    6. Don’t overrely on paraphrasing tools

    There are many applications that promise to “humanize” AI-generated content for its users. To some extent, they work — they replace too-fancy language, remove repetitive words and phrases, split overly long sentences, change repetitive sentence structures, and so on. 

    However, these tools are mainly designed to bypass AI content detectors and don’t add any originality, expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness to the copy. A more effective way to improve the quality and uniqueness of AI texts is by hiring professional AI copy editing services

    Conclusion

    So, does Google punish AI content? No, it only punishes low-quality content. Can AI content be low-quality? Sure! 

    If you want your website to win high rankings and stand out in Google search, AI-generated content might not be the best idea. You never know whether Google will recognize your AI-generated copy as high-quality or not.

    Of course, the best way to ensure that your content meets Google’s stringent requirements is to craft well-researched, engaging content from scratch or hire a professional writer. However, this is time- and resource-intensive, so refining AI text to align with Google’s rules may be an optimal decision.

    If you decide to go the second route but don’t have the necessary editing skills, the professional team at ReVerb can help. We offer full-cycle AI text editing services that include revising, fact-checking, and polishing your copy to perfection, ensuring perfect flow, readability, and high uniqueness.

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