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Generative AI to create content: To use or not to use it?

Did you know that 65.8% of people think AI content is equal to or better than human writing?

This is incredible, at least to me. 

With so much AI-generated content generated in the last year, it has become harder to distinguish whether a human wrote it unless there is a label. 

So the question is: why stop writers from using AI? 

This question is worth asking, given that AI content is equal to or better than human-written content. 

Are there any risks regarding Google penalties

Is this content useful to people who read it?

Are there any ethical concerns? 

These are the questions we are going to answer in this article. 

Ethical concerns in using generative AI 

By now, you’re likely familiar with generative AI and its various use cases, particularly in digital marketing. Many have written about integrating it into SEO and PPC efforts.

While generative AI can streamline and enhance content creation, it raises ethical concerns, particularly regarding the originality and authenticity of the content. 

These concerns are valid and important to consider. 

Authenticity and misinformation

Generative AI can create highly realistic and convincing content, which raises concerns about the potential for spreading misinformation. 

For example, deepfakes (synthetic media where a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness) can be used to create false narratives or impersonate individuals, potentially leading to serious social and political repercussions.

Intellectual property rights

The New York Times sued Microsoft in December last year over AI use of copyrighted work, as millions of articles were taken to train chatbots that now compete with the NYT.

However, people and businesses generally accept “stealing” copyrighted work from search engines. That’s because there is a clear benefit for everyone involved: Google sends billions of visitors to sites globally.

Visitors are then converted into money, and that’s how the SEO industry was born. 

So, how does this fit into the ethical considerations? 

  • Fair use vs. exploitation: Most online experiences involve a search engine. Google-owned sites are the most-visited multi-platform web property in the U.S. 
  • Transparency and attribution: Google and other search engines provide a link to websites, which represents the attribution to their work.

Intellectual property is taken more seriously when only one party will benefit from AI-generated content. The important thing is that content is attributed to the original creator with a win-win approach.

Dig deeper: How to prevent AI from taking your content

Bias and fairness

AI systems can identify and amplify biases present in their training data. This can lead to unfair or discriminatory outcomes, particularly in sensitive applications like recruitment, law enforcement, and credit scoring.

Bias is commonly referred to as an error in the decision-making process that results in unfair outcomes. 

In the context of AI, bias can be found when AI content is the result of discriminatory training. 

For example, when prompted to generate images of CEOs, AI models such as Midjourney, OpenAI’s DALL-E and Stable Diffusion predominantly produced images of men, reflecting gender bias. This bias mirrors the underrepresentation of women in CEO positions in the real world.

That’s why it’s important to fact-check AI-written content. 

Dig deeper: Ethical AI in SEO: Ensuring responsible implementation

Are there any risks regarding SEO penalties? 

One of the most frequently asked questions about AI content is whether sites are penalized for using it. 

The simple answer is yes, they are, but not always. 

It depends on a few factors, for example, whether the content is helpful for search engines and readers. 

Here are some reasons why Google might penalize your website for using AI-generated content: 

Lack of E-E-A-T

Search engines evaluate the experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) of the content for certain topics, particularly in sensitive areas like health, finance, or legal advice. 

We have seen many websites losing traffic because of the lack of proof that the authors were knowledgeable. 

In a recent viral story, a website went from 1 million organic visitors to 0 in 3 months. This massive traffic loss is attributed to – although not confirmed by the website – incorrect content. 

The content, consisting of over 1,000 articles written with AI, displayed erroneous Excel formulas on a large scale, proving unhelpful to readers.

Duplication and plagiarism

Generative AI might inadvertently produce content that is too similar to existing material on the web, leading to issues of duplication or plagiarism. 

Search engines penalize websites for content that is not original or is seen as an attempt to manipulate search rankings by copying existing content.

Here is Google’s stance on plagiarized content: 

“Scraped content, even from high-quality sources, without additional useful services or content provided by your site may not provide added value to users. It may also constitute copyright infringement. A site may also be demoted if a significant number of valid legal removal requests have been received.”

If Google believes you have violated its policies, it can issue penalties through manual actions.

Dig deeper: Google’s shifting approach to AI content: An in-depth look

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AI content can be useful to people reading it

Another burning question most asked about AI-generated content is whether it’s helpful to people. 

It could be, yes.

But I don’t think it matters if AI writes the content. 

If the content is well-written, authoritative and, most of all, factually correct, all that matters is that people find it useful. 

There are many examples of companies using AI for content creation and their SEO results are good.

Google said many times that if you write content with the sole purpose of running on top of search engines, you can be penalized. 

You can use AI to create content

Content written with AI can generate results for your website if the criteria described above are met.

Does this mean that you can now generate 1,000 articles using AI? Probably not.

AI tools are not perfect, they need human revision and review. Human touch is still important to the success of your SEO campaigns. 

This means you must ensure facts are correct and sources are given the right attribution. You need to meet E-E-A-T criteria for building a bullet-proof content strategy that stands the test of Google’s algorithm updates

Using AI to generate content is a safe bet, in my opinion. But only if you are involving the right people in the process. 

Otherwise, if you want to experiment with AI-generated content, do so on a website that can afford to be hit by a penalty.

In other words, don’t use pure AI on your clients’ or employer’s websites. 

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