Google Cracks Down on AI-Generated “SEO Spam”

Google Cracks Down on AI-Generated "SEO Spam"

AI-generated content is really tempting for SEOs and companies because it makes a process that takes a lot of work easy by spitting out a result in seconds that can even help you rank on Google. But there has been a massive debate amongst SEO experts about whether AI-created content is actually going to help bolster website SEO or if it will ultimately just be considered spam and cause Google to blacklist websites in the long run. And it seems as if Google is finally bringing down that hammer with its March update.

In this blog, well discuss why AI-generated content will penalize your website when not created correctly and why you need an expert with experience in content creation to handle your website copy.

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Why AI Content is Sometimes Bad

There are a lot of AI writing tools available now, mostly because of the appeal of ease. Writing is a skillone that takes time to hone. SEO is a massive barrier for businesses whose expertise is in their products or services. And professional sales copywriting? Thats even more advanced. So when companies sell you a solution of written blogs in seconds that have SEO, keywords, and sales copy advertised as a perk, and moreof course, businesses want to jump on it. But unfortunately, AI just isnt there yet. It cant actually research keywords in the way an expert does or understand the psychology of copywriting.

In the end, AI-generated content ends up thin and robotic sounding, repeating concepts over and over to hit keyword goals and leaving readers with little value. This is exactly why Googles update wants to target this writing.

Why Google Cares (and Why You Should Too)

Google’s core mission is to be a search engine that answers queries accurately. It doesnt always get this right since experts are constantly looking for ways to optimize content to take advantage of their algorithm; for example, recipe blogs are filled to the brim with random information in order to keyword stuff instead of just giving the recipe the searcher is looking for. Between this and the ever-changing way that people search for information, Google has to keep updating how they handle queries.

Google considers keyword stuffing and trying to take advantage of the algorithm SEO spam. The practice completely undermines Google, hurts users looking for information, and stops legitimate businesses from finding their audience. Google wants to help its users, and businesses should want to find their paying audience, so SEO spam hurts everyone involved who has good intentions.

Decoding Google’s March 2024 Update

Google gave a statement on what their March update is going to involve, and its all about taking a hammer to spam. Since 2022, Google has had its eye on trying to boost helpful content. One clear way you can see this is in our current search results. In 2022, we would see a lot of the same blog posts re-written over and over again because thats how you could get a blog to rank and find your audience. Now, there are unique blogs when you search for things, each with different tidbits of information. Googles update is intended to be helpful; its intended for users to be able to find blog posts that actually answer their questions in different ways. But it doesnt always get this right, hence the many updates.

What Will Google Consider Spam?

Google did say some of the things that they are going to consider spam. Here are some important examples and what they mean:

Sites Created for Specific Search Queries – Seeing this statement from Google alone can send any business into panic because, of course, every blog or page on a website is created for a specific search query. In fact, if youre doing SEO well, you want to see what is being searched and then create content based on that because that is what will actually help your audience. Thankfully, Google isnt talking about this when making this statement. What Google means is if you create a boring page stuffed to the brim with keywords without actually giving any help to the user (i.e., answering a question or selling a product), it will be considered spam. This is nothing new, but now Google is saying it will now take targeted action to blacklist these websites or stop their traffic.

Scaled Content Abuse – Google has had so much trouble in the past with companies that have created hundreds of pages and blogs a month, all with awful-quality text. Typos, boring speech, unhelpful keyword stuffing, etc. One way sites are doing this now is by using AI. By simply telling ChatGPT to write a blog post about a subject, posting it up, and moving on to the next topic has made the practice of scaled content abuse ten times worse. Google wants to target anyone doing this. But it made sure to clarify its not just targeting AI content. Google doesnt care how the content was written; it cares about the abuse of scaled content.

Site Reputation Abuse – Sometimes, incredible sites with high-quality posts will host content from other sites in order to link back to that site. The site that gained the link will get authority, and the site that hosted the content will be paid for doing so. This practice in and of itself is not the problem. What is the problem? A lot of the time, the sites hosting the content from another site will accept bad quality content because they want the pay cheque. Google is going to bring down the hammer on any site accepting bad-quality blog posts. Meaning sites that host guest blogs for backlinking will need to ensure that guest posts are of the same quality as their other content.

Expired domain abuse – Sometimes, a company will buy an expired domain that has some authority already behind it. Essentially, the domain used to exist and did well in search rankings but now no longer exists. The company will buy it and use its reputation to bolster its own content. This practice, in and of itself, will not be penalized if the company creates fantastic content. But if companies use it to create spam content, just to help it rank, Google will stop traffic going to that site.

Cloaking – SEO experts can show different content to Google and the user. One easy way of doing this is by making text on the page the same color as the background. This way, they can add a bunch of keywords that Google will see whilst hiding it from the user. Cloaking is trying to cheat the system and will be targeted in this update.

What Makes Content “Unhelpful”?

According to Google, unhelpful content includes:

  • Content made just to get clicks, with exciting titles and no substance.
  • Content that lacks any nuance, depth, originality, or analysis of any kind.
  • Content that is just full of keywords, repeating itself over and over again to achieve this, and doesnt care about the user.

What Googles March Update Means for You

Anyone with good intentions who is really passionate about their topic and knows how to write well to answer queries shouldnt have to worry about Googles new update, in theory. Besides that, AI content, in general, isnt even the problem. Its not about who wrote it but how well it’s written. Here are some goals to ensure you will not be affected:

  • Focus on User Intent: When doing keyword research, you have to understand why a user puts that LSI or keyword into the search engine. Then, you can create content that is actually relevant to that search. Just throwing that keyword into your content at random is spammy and bad practice.
  • Become an Authority: Build your reputation the right way. Become an authority in your field and always add something unique to your content that isnt available elsewhere.
  • Prioritize Readability and Engagement: Make sure your writing is clear and easy to read. Make it conversational and engaging. You want people to actually read what you have to say.
  • Maintain Transparency and Credibility: Whether you use AI or not to create content, make sure what is on the page is actually correct. Use credible sources to find information and build trust with your audience.
  • Quality of Quantity: Invest your time in building out well written blog posts that will be shared by others. Rather than writing hundreds of them at a time with little unique information.

So, Does This Mean AI Content is Dead?

AI writing tools are ultimately not the problem. The problem is scaled content on mass that isnt being vetted. This has always been a problem, even before AI. Before AI, companies would just pay writers, usually from countries outside of the US so it was cheaper, to create hundreds of blogs for pennies on the dollar. Whether this tactic or AI, the blogs arent helpful, are full of mistakes, and make users distrust Google. Google wants users to find exactly what they are looking for and enjoy using Google. As long as your content achieves this, youre in the clear. But if you are using AI generated content, here are some ways to ensure it isnt against Googles policies:

  • Humanize Your Content: The content you make through AI might sound great to you, professional sounding and maybe even intelligent. But it doesnt sound human to most users. The way AI talks isnt full of nuance. You need to edit it, refine it, and make sure it sounds like your brand.
  • Prioritize Value Over Volume: Stop creating tens of pages a month full of AI content because you think it will help people find you. It wont. It will just make Google hide your site from users. Instead, create a steady stream of really good posts that actually help people. Sometimes, all you need is a couple of incredible posts to get great traffic that will help users find you.
  • Maintain Editorial Control: Dont just stick up AI content on your site without checking whether it is correct. AI hallucinations are a thing and the AI will make stuff up as it goes along.

SEO is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

SEO can be a slow game compared to paid ads, which are instant gratification. SEO takes time to build and, when done right, will last too. Googles new update is here to remind businesses that actually helping their users, even when it takes time, is what will get them loyal customers. When you focus on giving value, putting the user first, and vetting content no matter who writes it, you will get ahead. This new AI way of creating content is reminding everyone that robots cant engage in human spaces in the way we can. It cant reach people and teach people like we can. But it can serve as an assistant to our goals.

If you need assistance with custom content that ranks and gets clicks, improves your brands exposure online, increases quality traffic to your site, and converts visitors into customers, contact ClickGiant today. We are a leading digital marketing agency serving clients nationwide.

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