AI Generated Content: Why I’m Not Jumping on Board


I keep seeing articles and social media posts about how AI will be the end of Content Writing and SEO. While these are getting a lot of clicks and comments, I’m still a bit skeptical.  If you have read even on piece of AI-produced content that hasn’t been edited, you will know why. And just today I saw an AI-produced image of a woman walking with two left feet, one hand missing, and an umbrella that was floating above her head with the handle near the handless arm. Now I know that this was an extremely bad result and that many others are better, but none are perfect.

Where Does Google Stand on AI?

It is well documented that Google says it doesn’t matter to them whether the content is AI-generated or not. But just because they don’t care now, does that mean that the content will actually do it’s job? I don’t think so. Just this week, Google has gone on record saying that AI generated content need human assistance to achieve the quality that it favors. As seems to be their stance on most things – what matters most is user experience. In a nut shell, it’s still about content quality – nothing has changed.

In some countries, they are already asking companies to label AI-generated content in an effort to combat the “fake news epidemic.” Google currently recommends but does not require an AI label for generated images (though this will begin to happen automatically in the near future I hear). There is still no mandate on labeling AI text content. However, just this week Google has shared that it DOES NOT recommend using AI-generated content “as-is.” You need a human editor.

What Does Quality Content Look Like to Google?

An interesting fact: at Google’s Search Central Live Tokyo 2023, a Google rep said that Google’s algorithms and signals are based on human content. Because of that, it will rank “natural content” at the top.

Google’s search quality guidelines focus on E-E-A-T: Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. In their search quality raters guidelines, Google recommends that the raters look for evidence that the author is writing from a position of EXPERIENCE in the topic. AI has no experience in any topic or product, so I’m thinking it’s a long way from retiring the need for human content writers.

Google cares about one thing – making money. It’s a business after all. And they make their money by serving up the best answer to your search query every time. So it’s in their best interest to only reward those who are answering the questions being asked with the best, most complete and most helpful answer. If you want your website to rank, you just have to be the one doing that (over a period of time with enough traffic to convince the bots that you should be the winner of the coveted #1 spot, of course).

The AI Frenzy

A whole host of marketing companies jumped on the bandwagon to test AI-generated content very early. I’m in several groups where I saw the frenzy happen literally overnight. One group that had been previously focused on great content and SEO basically turned into a “how I’m using AI to get more money faster” group with the group founder promoting his own products that use AI to generate text content, images, and code and coaching developers on how do set it up to produce and post automatically in order to streamline your revenue funnels despite the fact that AI generators like ChatGPT and Bard were not even created with content creation in mind.

Out of a curiosity to understand AI and how it was functioning, I tested out ChatGPT recently. Like most users, I quickly learned that the better you are at setting parameters and giving details for direction, the better it was at delivering something semi-useful. It was still unable to generate content that felt or read like a human had written it, even when written in first person. At best, the content generated could serve as an outline or a research aid but still needed a lot of input to make it quality content.

Photo by Samule Sun on Unsplash

Will I Be Using AI in My Services as a Content Creator?

As I said before, I’ve tested it out. I used it for research in two pieces I wrote for clients who work in fields I was less familiar with.

Out of a request for a 2000 word article, I was able to use about half of the AI generated content – but only with a lot of editing and enhancing. I added in a lot of color and emotion based on my relationship with my client. AI just couldn’t capture that, even when I used the informaion in the parameters for the piece requested. Things like a client’s personality, style of speech, and understanding from client interviews drive a lot of my content writing. In the end, the final piece of content had little to no resemblance to the original piece. I wasn’t at all shocked though. After all, it’s hard to create something unique when AI is only able to pull from what has already been created.

For me, I’ll stick to writing my own content. Then if the rules change down the road with Google (which happens, you know!) I won’t be scrambling to recreate tha old AI generated content in a crisis when it all gets de-indexed. I think that will better serve my clients in the long run. While I generally like to applaud honest efforts to “work smarter, not harder,” this is a situation where I feel like it will most likely lead to more work later. And I don’t find that quite so smart, no matter how much time I ‘save.’

What about you? Are you using AI? What’s on your pro-con list?

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