New Google AI Content Guidelines: Google Approves AI Content

Discover how new Google AI content guidelines will influence your SEO organic search results rankings.

Published on Jul 23, 2023

Co-written by Amanda Laine and Chris Tweten, CEO and CMO of Spacebar Collective.

Google AI Content Guidelines Explained

When Google first announced the development of tools to identify AI-generated content that did not follow their guidelines, some in the SEO world responded with fear and anxiety over possible retroactive penalties for using artificial intelligence in their SEO strategies

Shortly after the announcement, Miranda Miller, the senior managing editor of Search Engine Journal, reported that Google's algorithms could not recognize content generated through language models like Jasper. 

So does that mean you can get Jasper to write content without worrying about being punished by Google—no harm, no foul? 

The short answer is YES, for now. The initial panic around AI-generated content was overblown, and today we have a far more rational approach to its use: rewarding high-quality content, no matter how it’s produced.

Jasper has been designed and tested to generate quality content that meets Google's standards. However, it is important to understand that AI-generated content can be penalized if it isn't appropriately managed or used in the right places. 

That said, Google has established guidelines for utilizing machine-generated content. It’s now possible to use Jasper’s AI content so long as you ensure it adheres to their new AI content guidelines.

Google’s Stance on AI-Generated Content

It’s no secret that AI-powered copywriting tools produce content indistinguishable from a human writer. Though AI copywriters are grammatically precise, AI is not always reliable regarding factual accuracy, raising the threat of false information or "unhelpful content." And, as we know, failure to comply with accuracy guidelines may result in Google penalizing the website or its associated domains.

Google makes it clear—AI-generated content is not against guidelines. Additionally, Google claims to stand firm in its belief that AI has the ability to deliver helpful information and enhance the user experience.  

This standpoint has limitations; guidelines aim to ensure search results remain valuable and relevant. Google will likely always object to using AI to create content to manipulate search engine rankings and oppose generating deceptive, malicious, or inappropriate content. 

With years of experience combating automated attempts to manipulate search results, Google remains committed to deploying anti-spam tools like SpamBrain

Here's what Google shared about automation and its potential impact:

"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. 

This is in line with how we've always thought about empowering people with new technologies. We'll continue taking this responsible approach while also maintaining a high bar for information quality and the overall helpfulness of content on Search." 

What does that mean? 

Maintaining quality standards concerning AI-generated content is essential for ensuring that it serves its intended purpose and is, at the very least, accurate.  

Human intervention is still needed to ensure content meets the criteria for quality and accuracy. This safeguards the material by ensuring it adheres to guidelines and will be relevant to search queries. 

For example, if a term or phrase has multiple meanings, a human reviewer could choose the most relevant option for a specific audience. A human's understanding of context can help refine AI-generated content in ways that algorithms can't yet replicate. 

Artificial Intelligence is a tool; similarly to any other, its effectiveness relies on proper usage. When appropriately employed, Jasper can be an extremely valuable resource for marketers of all kinds.

Search Intent and E-E-A-T Explained

To fully comprehend Google’s point of view when announcing its new AI content guidelines, it’s important to understand 2 determining factors.

What is search intent?

Simply put, search intent is the reason someone searches for something online. It’s the goal or purpose behind a search and can come in a few different forms: informational, navigational, transactional, or commercial.

Google’s objective is to analyze content, index it, and display search results that best satisfy search intent. An SEO’s objective is to produce content easily understood by both Google and the reader.

What does E-E-A-T mean?

E-E-A-T, also known as Double E-A-T, is best explained by the words of Google:

“Google's ranking systems aim to reward original, high-quality content that demonstrates qualities of what we call E-E-A-T: expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.”

  • Expertise: How much first-hand knowledge and experience the content creator has related to the topic.
  • Experience: How knowledgeable and skilled the content creator is in regard to the topic.
  • Authoritativeness: How well-known the content creator or website is as a source of information on the topic.
  • Trustworthiness: An overall metric of how much a content creator should be trusted in covering a topic, supported by the preceding factors.

E-E-A-T is just one component Google uses to measure a web page’s overall quality. It was implemented as part of its updated search rater guidelines after the Medic Update in August 2018.

Can AI content satisfy search intent and meet E-E-A-T guidelines?

Google has made it abundantly clear in their new AI content guidelines that they don’t care who or what produces content, so long as it’s people-first content that demonstrates E-E-A-T.

This diagram can be found on page 26 of Google’s search rater guidelines.

While this may seem like a lot to ask for from content publishers, it’s important to note that not every piece of content needs to demonstrate every element of E-E-A-T. 

Can AI write content that demonstrates first-hand or real-world experience?

Because trust is the core of the equation, an overall measure of the other 3 elements, it can be inferred that trust can be built without necessarily having or demonstrating first-hand experience. While it’s possible for content that doesn’t illustrate expertise to rank, it will likely lose out to content that does.

This is where man and machine have to meet halfway. Human insight and experience plus AI-generated content is a powerful blend that absolutely upholds Google's guidelines.

Will Google penalize AI content in the future?

GPT detection tools in their current state are flawed at best. While we can’t speak on unreleased platforms Google has under construction, with intelligent prompt building and human editing, it’s fairly easy to sidestep detection from publicly available tools. 

This won’t always be the case. Google will likely be able to detect AI-generated content much more accurately in the future, leaving them with an important decision to make. 

So, will Google penalize AI content?

With the dawn of the new Google AI content guidelines and the announcement of Bard, it’s unlikely that AI content across the board will be penalized.

The Helpful Content Update already signaled this to the SEO community; poor content is punished, not AI specifically. We think Google will continue to focus on identifying low-quality content deemed unhelpful and targeting untrustworthy sources.

As a result, AI content mass-produced solely to manipulate search results will continually get punished. Alternatively, content seen as helpful, trustworthy, and authoritative will earn rankings, regardless of if it was written by a human or by AI.

While there have been many cases where exclusively AI-generated content at scale has accumulated massive amounts of traffic, on the contrary, many websites have crashed and burnt in less time. If people continue to act opportunistically, Google will be inclined to release future algorithm updates similar to the Helpful Content Update or Panda Update. 

Google’s imperative responsibility is to analyze and index the internet in a way that is useful to the end user. If a large portion of the internet becomes inaccurate, irrelevant  AI content churned out at en-mass, Google will likely make far-reaching changes to provide users with valuable resources from trustworthy sources. The impact of GPT-3 on SEO has already proven considerable, so future iterations of tools will also invoke responses from Google.

Google Greenlights AI-Generated Content

Despite the initial panic that Google was specifically targeting and punishing AI-generated content, rest assured, this isn’t the case with Google’s new AI content guidelines. 

Google's decision to give a greenlight to AI-generated content is an encouraging first step towards an AI-assisted SEO landscape. In the future, we can expect further resources from Google for the ethical use of AI to publish helpful content that follows SEO best practices.

Here’s a quick recap of Google’s stance on AI content: 

  • When used appropriately, AI is NOT against Google Search's guidelines.
  • Google aims to reward high-quality content, even if it’s produced by AI.
  • If you’re using AI to create content, make sure it adheres to E-E-A-T guidelines.

Meet The Author:

Amanda Laine

Amanda Laine

CEO, Spacebar Collective

Change is constant and inevitable, which is why I've always been fascinated by technology and its impact on businesses. My goal is to help companies thrive by providing valuable insights, tips, and strategies that have worked for us at Spacebar Collective.

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