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What SEO Marketers Need to Know About Google's AI Content Detection

The first big Google Search algorithm of the year is here, and it's especially important for marketers using AI. With the March 2024 core update, Google has clarified its stance on AI-generated content, and it's mostly positive. 

The search engine’s new rankings are geared towards the helpfulness of content in its search results. After a host of ‘helpful content’ updates released over the course of the last year, Google even updated its E-A-T acronym to include another E, standing for ‘experience’. This means that no matter how the content is created, whether by humans or by AI, Google will rank it based on how helpful it is to the end user. 

This doesn’t mean that all AI content gets a free pass. Even if you are in the business of creating content made to rank and is helpful, there are few things to keep in mind before generating AI content on your website, and knowing how Google detects AI content is key to that. Join us as we explore how Google detects AI content and what you can do to ensure your rankings don’t fall, even if you’re using AI. 

Decoding Google's AI Content Detection

As any SEO marketer knows, Google employs sophisticated techniques to sift through the vast expanse of online content. However, with the latest update, it has introduced certain classifiers to find AI content. Even as Google upgrades its AI chops, it is important to understand that this move is about setting a standard where human insight and creativity lead the charge. 

Google's new NLP algorithms are the digital detectives in this narrative, keenly analyzing text to identify the unique patterns and syntax that are the hallmarks of AI-generated content. These are set up to detect automated AI content that skimps on adding genuine value, negatively affecting search rankings due to Google considering them as plagiarism.

Let's get into what these markers and unusual patterns are and what you can do to avoid them. 

Unnatural Patterns and Red Flags

As content creators, our narratives often carry our unique fingerprints, subtle yet distinct. However, unedited AI content tends to lose this personal touch, succumbing to repetitive, fluff-laden prose that lacks the natural ebb and flow of human conversation.

Google's algorithms are quick to spot these anomalies, where excessive reliance on certain phrases or a generic tone can raise the digital equivalent of a red flag. At the heart of these algorithms lies a commitment to Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EEAT) - a guiding light for content creators trying to use AI-generated content to bolster their marketing efforts.

Danny Sullivan, Google's Search Liaison, reiterates this, affirming that AI-generated content, when woven with the threads of helpfulness and human insight, finds its rightful place within Google's rankings. In a tweet, he said,

"We haven't said AI content is bad. We've said, pretty clearly, content written primarily for seach engines rather than humans is the issue. That's what we're focused on...the nuance is really that it's unlikely some AI content is going to feel written by people without some degree of human review."

The message is clear: AI content, when crafted with care, can stand tall alongside human-authored works, provided it serves the reader's quest for knowledge, understanding, and authenticity. This blend of AI’s efficiency with human expertise carves the path for content that not only passes Google's mark but enriches the user's journey.

Actionable Tips to Harmonize AI and Human Expertise

The key to unlocking AI's potential without falling afoul of Google's discerning algorithms lies in a harmonious blend of technology and human intuition. Before hitting the 'Publish' button, take the time to edit your AI content to satiate Google’s new conditions. Here's what you should follow:

  • Give AI-generated content a human touch: Editing, fact-checking, and ensuring each piece adds genuine value can transform repetitive AI content pieces into something your audience will find helpful.

  • Don't publish AI-generated as is: Make sure to edit the hallmarks of AI-generated content. Also, ensure that the content is fact-checked by an expert or is backed up by statistics and research. 

  • Keep helpfulness as the north star: Any content, no matter how it is created, needs to be helpful for the reader. Considering Google’s current trajectory, adding human insights and relevant information is sure to keep your content helpful enough to rank. 

Testing content with AI detection tools, while not foolproof, offers an additional layer of assurance, guiding creators towards a more authentic, engaging output. Remember, the goal is not just to avoid getting flagged but to elevate your digital narratives.

As we stand at the crossroads of innovation and tradition, the march of AI in content creation presents both challenges and opportunities. Google's March 2024 core update serves as a reminder that in the quest for digital dominance, the human element remains irreplaceable. 

By understanding the nuances of Google's approach to AI content and embracing the principles of EEAT, creators can navigate this new landscape with confidence. The future of content marketing is not about choosing between human or AI but discovering how each can amplify the other, crafting narratives that resonate, engage, and inform.

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