Does AI content rank in Google?

Does AI content rank in Google blog header

Who would’ve thought that in 2023 we’d be having a love-hate relationship with AI writing?

It’s partly because of ChatGPT’s explosive popularity growth.

The AI writing tool reached 10 million daily users in just 40 days.

40 freakin’ days, folks.

To put that growth into perspective, Instagram took 355 days to get to that same number of registered users. It’s practically a household name at this point.

Thanks to this insane popularity, business owners and content creators realized Generative Artificial Intelligence (using AI to generate text, images, or audio) could revolutionize content creation.

But there was always this looming concern that AI-generated text wouldn’t rank well in Google. After all, if the content doesn’t show up in Google search results, then what’s the point of investing in an AI tool?

Thankfully, Google gave us a definitive answer.

Does AI content rank in Google?

The short answer is yes, AI content can rank in Google.

As long as it follows the five pillars of sustainable AI-generated content:

  • Has original thoughts
  • Displays expertise and builds trust
  • Consistently provides a great user experience
  • It was written with the user in mind
  • It wasn’t made to manipulate search engines

I should clarify that when I say AI content, I’m not referring to content 100% generated by an AI writing tool. Those one-click AI writers will only tank your site in the long run because it doesn’t meet Google’s E-E-A-T criteria. But you’re perfectly fine using AI copywriting tools as an assistant. You can use them to conduct research, gather ideas, and even write snippets of content that you can then use to craft more substantial content.

In fact, Google updated their guidance about AI-generated content to clarify they’re all for using AI to write blogs. 

Initially, the guidance said they don’t condone the use of automatically generated content and implied that using automation might prevent it from appearing in Google search results.

Google's initial statement condemning auto-generated content
Google’s initial statement condemning auto-generated content

This raised a lot of speculation and people claiming your site is doomed to fail if you use an AI writer anywhere in your blogging workflow. So Google updated their verbiage to make it clear that content generated by an AI algorithm is allowed in Google search results. 

Updated Google documentation on AI-generated content
Updated Google documentation on AI-generated content

Before we break down these 5 pillars, let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Google’s official stance on AI-generated content says: “Appropriate use of AI or automation is not against our guidelines. This means that it is not used to generate content primarily to manipulate search rankings, which is against our spam policies.”

Another section says: “Our focus on the quality of content, rather than how content is produced, is a useful guide that has helped us deliver reliable, high-quality results to users for years.”

Google has recognized that automation has already been used to generate helpful content like sports scores, weather forecasts, and transcripts. They’ve noted AI’s potential for enhancing creativity and expression, as well as serving as a critical tool for assisting creators in creating great content.

So there you have it, Google approves AI-generated content — as long as it’s high-quality content. If you’re still worried, here’s a post that explains how to check for AI-generated content.

That raises the question, what makes high-quality, helpful content?

5 Pillars to create sustainable AI-generated content

Five pillars define sustainable AI-generated content. Checking your AI content against them can help gauge whether it’s sustainable. Turn this into a checklist your team members can use to review their content before publishing.

5 pillars of sustainable AI-generated content

Pillar one: Original thoughts

Sustainable content brings a fresh perspective with original and insightful analysis that goes beyond the obvious. If you’re using other sources to create your content, don’t just copy or rephrase their work. Be original. Give them your take, toss in your personal experiences, and add unique information only you can give.

Create content that’ll make your mama proud. That means no more clickbaity and sensationalized headlines. Leave that shtick for the tacky tabloids. Let’s keep it informative, value-driven, and, above all, truthful.

And finally, make sure your content is polished, without spelling or stylistic issues. Avoid outsourcing to content mills that mass produce templated content.

Pillar two: Build trust and demonstrate expertise

It’s crucial to build trust and show expertise. You can do this by citing reliable sources, sharing your own knowledge, or giving a little background info about the author or site. (No, wearing a lab coat doesn’t make you an expert.)

Do your research and provide accurate information and check your content for any factual errors. Consistently doing this will ensure that your content is authoritative and trustworthy.

Back up your claims by linking to sources that are well-trusted and widely recognized as an authority on the topic. Lastly, use subject matter experts who are knowledgeable and passionate about the topic you’re covering.

Pillar three: Consistently good page experience

The third pillar focuses on user experience. It’s important to prioritize providing a good page experience. That includes fast-loading pages with good Core Web Vitals, serving content securely, and making your site mobile-friendly.

Don’t overwhelm your visitors with annoying ads or pop-ups. Avoid intrusive interstitials that might block visitors from seeing your main content. You want to make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for. One way to do this is to have a clear layout that makes the main content stand out from everything else. It’s not just one or two things; you want their experience to be great across the board.

Pillar four: People-first content

Pillar four is all about writing for humans, not just search engines. An easy way to do this is by figuring out your audience and then tailoring your content to their interests and needs.

Talk about topics you have firsthand knowledge and expertise in so you can give valuable insights. Make it your mission to write content that leaves readers feeling like they’ve learned something new and useful. Next, think about the purpose and focus of your content. Is it engaging and crystal clear?

If your content meets all these criteria, you’re on the right track toward writing people-first content.

Pillar five: Avoid creating search engine-first content

The fifth pillar aligns with pillar four, which involves creating people-centric content. When you avoid creating search engine-first content, you’ll naturally focus on creating people-first content.

SEOs are notorious for paraphrasing others without adding value, writing just to hit word count goals, using extensive automation, and writing about trending topics that are irrelevant to their audience to get some search engine traffic. And not to mention writing about a niche area without the expertise and promising answers to a question that doesn’t have a definitive answer.

This is an absolute no-go if you want to create sustainable AI content. You can still use AI for optimizing content. But firing up a content generator and creating thousands of thin pages won’t work because it forces the readers to search again for better information. This signals to Google that your content is irrelevant and of low quality, resulting in a drop in rankings.

Frequently asked quirkeries

What is AI content?

AI content is content that has been created using artificial intelligence (AI). This type of content can be used to enhance existing content or create entirely new pieces. It allows you to automate the creation process, saving time and resources. AI content can also help optimize existing content for search engine optimization (SEO), making it more visible in search engine results.

Can AI-written content rank on Google?

Yes, AI content can rank in Google as long as it meets Google’s guidelines for helpful content. However, to rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs), AI content needs to meet the same criteria as any other content. 

Does Google ban AI-generated content?

Google doesn’t explicitly ban AI-generated content, but they have guidelines in place to make sure the content is valuable for users. If AI-generated content meets those guidelines, then it can be ranked and displayed in search results like any other content. Content that violates Google’s policies or is low-quality may be removed or penalized.

Can Google detect AI-generated blogs?

Google has advanced algorithms designed to detect and penalize websites that publish low-quality or spammy content. While AI-generated blogs may be difficult to detect, Google is really good at identifying patterns that point to low-quality or automated content.

Can AI-generated content affect SEO?

AI-generated content has the potential to affect SEO, both positively and negatively. On the positive side, AI can generate a high volume of content quickly, which can help with things like keyword targeting and link building. However, if the content is low quality or doesn’t provide real value to users, it may be penalized by search engines and ultimately hurt a website’s SEO. The key is to use AI for content generation ethically and responsibly.

Can I use AI for content writing?

Yes, you can use AI to write articles. There are many AI-powered tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Jasper AI that can generate articles, blog posts, product descriptions, and more. However, AI-generated content should be supplemented with human writers and editors.

Can you rank with AI content?

Yes, it’s possible to rank with AI-generated content as long as it is high-quality and relevant to your readers.  Use AI as a tool to assist in content creation but don’t solely rely on it for ranking.