Is AI-Generated Content Bad for SEO?

Artificial intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm within the last year. From OpenAI’s Chat-GPT to Google’s Bard, countless AI tools are available, giving marketers a newer, faster, and much easier way to create content. 

While AI might seem like a compelling tool to use as part of your content creation process, there are some things you need to know to protect your SEO (search engine optimization) initiatives. 

We’ve broken these down below. 

Is It Safe to Use AI-Generated Content? 

The safety of AI is a question on many digital marketer’s minds.

In Google’s eyes, you’re in the safe zone if you’re creating helpful content and not attempting to manipulate the search rankings. 

Google rewards high-quality content that displays E-E-A-T: expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. How you produce content doesn’t necessarily matter as long as it hits these touchpoints. 

AI-generated content is generally safe, and when used appropriately, it won’t negatively impact your SEO efforts. However, there are a few caveats. 

The Limitations of AI-Generated Content 

Though it has come a long way, AI-created content has certain limitations. 

AI tools like ChatGPT operate using large language models, which are systems designed to understand and generate human language. Put simply, the system utilizes data from millions of sources, recognizes patterns within that data, and uses this information to produce responses. 

In other words, AI pulls from pre-existing information. Content written by AI isn’t going to offer new concepts or ideas. Instead, it will be built off of information already out there, which lacks a ton of value. Not to mention, there is a potential risk of plagiarism. 

AI-written content can also be inaccurate and misleading and may contain poor grammar and syntax. Because these tools generate material using algorithms, AI may create content that is not relevant or useful to your particular audience. 

While AI can undoubtedly speed up the content-writing process, it’s never a good idea to let AI do all the work on its own. Fully generated AI content is easily detectable by humans and search engines. AI generated content requires a human touch.

AI Best Practices for Content Creators 

So, how can you use AI to help you write content and safeguard your site’s rankings?  

First, commit to only using AI to assist in the content writing process. If you plan to rely 100% on generated content, your site’s rankings may suffer, and your site visitors will likely choose to consume content elsewhere. AI is a tool, and it should be treated as such. 

Whether human or AI-produced, all content should start with keyword research. Use an SEO tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to identify high-volume and relevant keywords to center your content around. Also, be sure to research the search intent of potential keywords to determine the type of content you should write. 

Create a content outline once you have settled on a keyword and page or blog title. Highlight the topics and subtopics you plan to cover in your content. Some AI content tools can also help in this step of the process. At SMA, we like to use Frase to generate content briefs. In addition to briefs, Frase offers many helpful content ideas to streamline the planning process. 

Now that you have a solid outline, you can begin filling each section with content. There are two different ways you could approach this step. You could start by generating some initial points with the help of AI and fill in the gaps with your insights. Or you can supplement your human-written content with the help of AI. Either option leaves room to add details to your content using AI. 

Once you’ve completed your first draft, it’s time to do some human editing. Comb through the information and ensure any facts or statistics generated from AI are accurate. Be sure to cite references – AI won’t do this for you. Check for readability. If it sounds like a computer wrote it, make some adjustments. 

Next, run your piece through a plagiarism checker to be sure it’s 100% original content. Plagiarized content can be highly detrimental to your site’s SEO and could even result in a penalty from Google

Last but not least, be sure your content follows on-page SEO best practices

The Secret to Success with AI Content 

In summary, AI can be a huge asset to your content marketing initiatives, but only when used cautiously. Be sure to protect your SEO strategy by following the best practices we’ve outlined for you above. 

Are you looking to improve your content strategy? At SMA, we specialize in content and SEO strategies guaranteed to help your rankings improve. Contact SMA Marketing today to get started!

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Amanda brings a passion for results to her SEO Manager role, leading our forward-thinking strategies to improve organic search visibility.

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