What’s Google’s Stance on AI-Generated Content?

AI is the biggest game-changer for content marketing since Google Analytics came onto the scene in ’05. From simplifying tedious tasks to crafting targeted content, AI tools promise to streamline, innovate, and enhance. 

But, amidst the hype and noise, there’s a burning question: Can Google, the digital gatekeeper, tell if content is created by steel and silicon instead of a human mind?  Join us as we reveal the depths of Google’s AI content detection powers and empower you to harness the full potential of your new AI sidekick. 

Can Google Detect AI Content? 

Google’s technology is far too sophisticated to be fooled by AI content — and for readers with a trained eye, AI-generated content can stick out like a sore thumb. But does that mean Google punishes you for utilizing it?

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and helpful. This quest means a relentless battle against low-quality content designed to manipulate search rankings — AI-generated or not. 

The search engine is transparent about spam policies for Google web search. Some of its flagged criteria include keyword stuffing, cloaking, and hidden links. Just as keyword-stuffed articles written by humans are penalized as spam, so is spammy AI-generated content. In other words, AI-generated content has just as much opportunity to be flagged as spam as content typed straight from the hands of creatives.

Google uses algorithms to determine an article’s creator. Let’s explore how Google’s algorithms have flourished in recent years and how these procedures affect whether AI ranks in the SERPs.

The evolution of Google’s algorithms

Google has developed complex algorithms designed to separate the wheat from the chaff to deliver reliable, helpful content to users. In recent years, the advent of AI has bolstered its ability to detect and penalize spam content — and reward high-quality, original content.

These upgrades had the most significant impact on AI detection:

  • Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) in 2019: This model helps Google understand conversational queries and search intent.
  • Multitask Unified Model (MUM) in 2021: 1,000 times more potent than BERT, MUM can generate comprehensive search results across various languages and formats and understand the context behind complex queries. This advancement considerably improved accuracy and depth, delivering more relevant results to intricate searches.  
  • SpamBrain in 2022: This AI-based system targets behaviors that manipulate search rankings, such as keyword stuffing and link buying to give users better results. It identifies and penalizes websites that engage in tactics deemed to be search-first instead of people-first. 
  • MUM’s rollout in 2022: Boosting search accuracy and speed, MUM uses a T5 model that leads to more precise and relevant search experiences and dooms low-effort content to oblivion. 
MUM's T5 model

Other Google algorithms impacting SEO and relating to AI-generated content include:

  • Freshness systems, which show recent content where appropriate
  • The helpful content system, which prioritizes useful, human-written content
  • PageRank, which analyzes links for relevance, authority, and integrity
  • Neural matching, which connects user intent to content context 
  • RankBrain, which helps Google understand the context behind words
  • Reliable information systems, which help elevate quality journalism and demote low-quality writing

If you’re relying too heavily on AI, you may have plummeted into a pit of low-ranking content and irrelevancy. However, not all AI-generated content is created equally. 

What’s Google’s Official Stance on AI-Generated Content?

Google’s official stance on AI-generated content has shifted dramatically in a short space of time. You’re forgiven if you think Search Advocate John Meuller‘s words from April 2022 still stand.

But note that guidance about AI-generated content on Google’s website reveals a different picture. Today, the company’s official stance reflects a dual commitment to search quality and user experience. 

These guidelines highlight the need for content to prioritize originality and user-centricity. If you’re using AI, you can’t slam a few prompts into ChatGPT and copy and paste your way to success. 

If you’re using AI to create original, high-quality content that demonstrates expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, Google rewards you — however the content is produced.

Our VP of Content Operations, Rick Leach, expands on the principles behind E-E-A-T:

“With E-E-A-T, Google has all but ensured that pure AI content and low-effort human content won’t stand much of a chance in the SERPs. Content that succeeds has insights, advice, and opinions that come from what the people in your business have learned by doing a job, performing a service, or creating a product day in and day out. You can’t fake that stuff, and you certainly won’t get it from quick, one-prompt AI outputs.”

How Does Google Detect AI Content?

Google can detect AI-generated content because it understands how generative AI works.

Dr. Vivek Pandley, CEO of Vrata Tech Solutions, explains what sets modern AI tools like ChatGPT apart. “These models are trained on massive datasets, learning patterns, styles, and contextual cues to generate coherent and contextually relevant content,” Pandley says. “Unlike traditional AI models that follow predetermined rules, generative AI has the ability to generate novel outputs, making it a powerful tool for tasks ranging from content creation and natural language processing to image synthesis.”

So, how does Google know AI wrote your content? While the search giant keeps its secrets notoriously close to its chest, we know the following methods:

  • Pattern recognition detects unusual language structure, grammar, syntax, and semantics.
  • Google trains machine learning algorithms on massive data sets of human and AI-written content, helping it learn subtle cues that indicate AI or human writing. 
  • Ensemble deep learning combines multiple detection models, strengthening Google’s ability to detect AI content. 
  • Natural language processing analyzes semantics and context, highlighting differences between human and AI writing patterns. 

Despite Google’s advancements, AI models constantly up their game, getting ever-closer to looking and sounding indistinguishable from human writing. Plus, with AI-driven adversarial attacks on the rise, there’s a battle underway to keep AI as a force for good.

Thanks to advanced neural network architectures, Google appears proficient at recognizing complex patterns suggestive of AI-generated content.  

AI’s Impact on Engagement and UX

AI is here to stay, and Google is on board, provided you “produce original, high-quality, people-first content demonstrating qualities of E-E-A-T.” But what does that mean? Ultimately, it boils down to crafting content focused on user engagement and experience — and having relevant, demonstrated expertise.

Bankrate taught the world a valuable lesson about focusing solely on scaling up and neglecting to optimize AI content for E-E-A-T. Futurism’s Jon Christian exposed the CNET sister site by writing a scathing piece listing all the factual errors in a single AI-generated Bankrate article.

Following public outcry, Bankrate pivoted on its AI policy.

Anyone who’s used generative AI knows there must have been little — if any — human input into Bankrate’s AI-generated articles. Inaccurate information, absence of expert writers, and focus on pumping out reams of content eroded away at E-E-A-T.

AI alone isn’t enough

In April 2023, Google released a statement: “AI and automation can be a useful tool to create helpful content, but if AI is used for the primary purpose of manipulating search rankings, that’s a violation of our long-standing policy against spammy automatically-generated content.”

You need to apply E-E-A-T principles, engage users, and provide them with a memorable experience that compels them to return. You can use AI to create it, but here’s the kicker — AI is a powerful, fantastic tool for making content, but it can’t create it for you. Every sentence of every article needs human involvement to meet Google’s exacting standards. 

Bankrate prioritized search over people and had to unlist 6 months’ worth of content as a result. While embarrassing for them, it could push a smaller company into the red. That’s why human touch is crucial when producing AI-generated content.

If you’ve used AI to generate articles and you’re on the brink of banishing them to the recycle bin, stop! Use them as foundational pieces, adding expert quotes and opinions, valuable graphics, and a consistent brand voice. 

Tips for Using AI to Craft Content That Converts

To make sure your content doesn’t fall short of Google’s quality standards:

  • Know Google’s rules. Keep yourself in the loop with Google’s quality guidelines. Your AI content should tick the boxes for originality, relevance, and user-friendliness, in line with Google’s playbook.
  • Mix in human flavor. AI can churn out bland content, but people add the seasoning. Experiment with an AI-generated draft, then sprinkle in personality, expertise, and authenticity.
  • Serve value. Give your audience something worth reading by never rewriting someone else’s article. Your content should solve problems, answer questions, and offer fresh insights to keep readers coming back for more.
  • Keep it readable. Avoid making your audience work too hard. Use precise language, short sentences, and tidy formatting to make your AI-generated content a breeze to read and understand.
  • Shake things up. Don’t be a one-trick pony. Try different content types, including articles, blogs, infographics, videos, and podcasts. 
  • Test and tweak. Watch your AI content’s performance, and listen to what your audience says. Use the data to find ways to make your content even better.

Creative uses for AI in content creation

With these AI-powered tricks up your sleeve, you can craft content that works for you without breaking a sweat:

  • Tailored recommendations: Use AI tools such as ChatGPT and Gemini to determine what your audience wants, and serve up personalized content recommendations that hit the spot.
  • Visual content enhancement: Spruce up your visuals with AI tools for special effects — it’s a whole lot cheaper than licensing stock photography. 
  • Natural language generation: Effortlessly generate content such as product descriptions and social media posts. But never forget to match it with your brand’s style and tone, or it’ll get lost in a sea of similar posts.
  • Voice search optimization: Stay one step ahead by writing AI-optimized content for voice search queries. Use conversational language and long-tail keywords to make sure your content gets heard loud and clear.

What Does the Future Hold for Google AI-Detection?

As we navigate AI’s impact on the world of SEO content, one thing remains clear: Adaptability is key. AI marches forth, as do Google’s detection methods, ensuring that only high-quality, user-centric content prevails. The future holds endless possibilities for AI-driven content, but it has yet to find a workaround for Google’s standards. 

To stay ahead, content creators need to adhere to Google’s guidelines, blend AI with human creativity, and prioritize their audience over quick fixes to climb the SERPs. 

Ready to transform your AI-generated content into pieces that embody E-E-A-T principles? Try out Crowd Content’s expert editing services.

Carlos Meza

Article by

President and Chief Executive Officer at Crowd Content.

Carlos is a guiding voice in an SEO and content creation industry brimming with turbulent growth. He has leveraged his past experience as a technology executive, engineer, and corporate financier to bring innovative end-to-end content creation solutions to SMBs and enterprise clients around the globe — delivering high-quality, scalable products through the marriage of human talent, technology, automation, and artificial intelligence.

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