AI is set to change the game in some big ways in the near future, and AI-generated content is one of the more controversial elements. Now, Google is broaching the subject, confirming explicitly that AI-generated content isn’t against Search guidelines.
In a new post to the Google Search Central blog, Google clarifies its stance on AI-generated content and how Search treats that content.
The short version is that Google Search guidelines don’t directly ban AI-generated content. Rather, Google will reward “high-quality content, however it is produced.” The company defines “high-quality content” based on “expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness,” or “E-E-A-T.”
While Google won’t penalize AI-generated content directly, it does say that using AI to create content that carries the “primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results” is still a violation of policy, but that not all use of automation is considered spam.
In direct response to the question of why Google Search doesn’t ban AI-generated content, Google said:
Automation has long been used in publishing to create useful content. AI can assist with and generate useful content in exciting new ways.
The post goes on to explain that explicit disclosures for AI content aren’t required, though they should be “considered,” and that websites should “make clear to readers when AI is part of the content creation process.” Google also notes that an influx of content generated by artificial intelligence should be caught by the same systems used to “tackle poor quality created by humans.”
Google’s stance here seems quite reasonable, but is also walking a dangerous line.
Despite the company’s warnings that using AI as an “inexpensive, easy way to game search engine rankings” won’t benefit, the simple fact is that there are plenty of bad actors who will ignore this, and throw enough content at the wall to find success anyway. When Google first hinted that AI-generated content wouldn’t be penalized, some of those bad actors were effectively frothing at the mouth with excitement.
And, on top of that, there’s also the worry that AI-generated content will have an effect on the “chatbot” experiences coming to Google Search and Bing, as we mentioned yesterday.
More on Google Search:
- Google Search will blur explicit images by default for everyone in the ‘coming months’
- Google Lens screen search coming to Assistant on Android
- Google Search will start showing vehicle inventory for some US car dealerships
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