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AI-generated content will not hurt your website, but it might not help it either

Jason Freeman | 22 Feb, 2023 | Return|

Can AI help with SEO?

Clients often ask us to evaluate their online content to make sure it is effective from a marketing point of view. They want to be sure that the text is convincing and persuasive. Sometimes they ask us to re-examine the copy from an SEO point of view, to check that it is ‘search engine friendly’. 

The truth is of course that these two tasks are in fact one and the same; the words on a web page need to show not only visitors that a company has genuine expertise in its field, they should convince Google of that, too.

Therefore, words on a website are clearly important; a fact that has given marketers, journalists and business owners cause to wonder whether - given the recent rise of AI-generated content - words written by machines will soon dominate search results. 

The Google glass ceiling

AI-written content may become more prolific but one thing is for sure, auto-generated text will never by itself be able to convince Google to raise a website’s profile online. And the reason is simple: AI can only write copy. That is the start, middle and end of its function. Far more important, from the perspectives of journalism, marketing, business, and Google are the experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness of an author, website, or company. 

Of course, Google looks at a range of factors and data-sources to work out if a company really has E-E-A-T (or double-EAT as it is also known). It will not decide how a company stacks up against those criteria based on a single article on a website, or even a few pages dedicated to a topic.

Google will look at how much traffic comes to a website and how much of it is from repeat visitors. It will look at which other websites choose to link to it, and how they in turn rate on the Double-EAT scale. Those are the more obvious signals but Google will judge any given page on the internet against somewhere in excess of 200 criteria, to decide just where that page should rank in search results.

Real history trumps artificial intelligence

It is possible for a bot to digitally-pen 500 words on how to roll emulsion or, at the click of a mouse, to scribe a factually-accurate description of when to use masking tape, but that will not transform a recently-launched decorating firm into one with 10 years’ experience. Having a page on a website that was written by machine will not suddenly mean there are more inbound links to that site, or a higher number of quality reviews for it on trusted websites. 

AI is a tool. Nothing more.

Anyone using the latest version of Word will have noticed more prompts to ensure grammatical accuracy – that is AI in action. AI is here to help with copywriting tasks but it cannot train companies to do a good job, or their customers to give them a good review. AI can make sure a business’ literature does not mix up your and you’re, but it cannot endow that business with E-E-A-T.

Relying on AI-written content to boost the visibility of a website in search results is like spraying weed killer on a garden path to increase the value of a house; you will be able to spend less time weeding but that is all - the house will still need to be well-maintained, presented as clean and tidy, and located in a desirable spot.

Who would you rather trust to market your property: the estate agent who turns up with a laptop full of facts and figures about local schools and amenities, or the one who arrives carrying a can of Weedol?

It is not the tools, it is the team using them

Marketing agencies may adopt AI to help with copywriting. If those agencies or their clients believe that this new tool will be some kind of marketing panacea – that the bot they call up will suddenly ensure a higher rank in search results or more website traffic – they have a shock coming. As Google says: “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.” *

For a holistic approach to marketing – one that goes beyond a superficial look at the latest trends and instead uses a long-standing team, each with a distinct area of expertise and many years of experience, to develop an effective plan – come to BBI Brandboost. We are currently celebrating our 25th Anniversary – a milestone that AI cannot improve upon!

*Google Search Central Blog article – February 2023

About the Author

Jason Freeman

Jason Freeman

As a hands-on company director, Jason inspires our team with his visionary approach to marketing coupled with his impressive technical expertise. A stickler for detail with an eye for design and a talent for writing, Jason is as adept at creating eye-catching marketing material as he is at planning the strategies behind goal-surpassing marketing campaigns.

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