Will AI Content Steal Your Rankings?
It’s no secret that the Google search engine is the most powerful service in the online world today.
From simple cookbook recipes and medical insights to home remedies, Google’s algorithm acts as a gateway to how many people research and obtain information on the web.
As technology has advanced over the years, online entrepreneurs have been looking for new ways to produce, publish, and rank their site’s content in less time, while maintaining (preferably lowering) the effort spent working on their site.
Many business owners will choose to outsource content production to a team of freelance writers and professionals, but this can add expenses that hurt your profit margins.
This is where AI-generated content has started to gain popularity, as this technology continues to improve year over year. It is projected that by 2030, AI will lead to an estimated $15.7 trillion in global GDP with an increase of 26% from 2021, showing just how much this industry is expected to grow.
While there are some benefits of using this technology, it has yet to reach full capacity compared to the quality of content produced by real humans. In this article, we wanted to cover some important details about ranking AI-generated content, along with:
- How Google views AI content
- The limitations of AI
- If AI content can outrank your site
- How you can use AI to your advantage
Before we compare the output results from AI software services available today with content written by a real human, we should first cover some of the basics of what AI-generated content actually is.
What is AI-generated content?
AI-generated content, also known as natural language generation (NLG), has been around since the 1960s. According to Automated Insights, “Natural language generation is a software process that automatically turns data into human-friendly prose.”
This technology has been commercialized now for close to 30 years but has only recently made advancements in becoming a much better resource, thanks to machine learning.
Where older generations of AI processors and word scramblers would give you results that looked over-computerized, new models are producing far better results closer to what a human would produce, making it much easier for the reader to understand.
However, AI-generated content does not just appear out of thin air. The main requirement for the NLG to work is a structured dataset. For any NLG software to produce human-ready prose (text understandable to the human eye), the format of the content must be outlined and then fed as structured data points for the process to begin.
Example of AI content
In this example, we will use a popular software service called Jarvis to produce our AI content to see what type of results we get for a new product description. One thing that is nice about Jarvis and other AI content generators is that you will often be given a template you can use to fine-tune the type of AI content you want it to produce for you.
For this example, we will create a product description for a new portable blender to sell on our site. As you can see above, Jarvis will give you a dashboard with different templates to help shape your content to the correct format depending on the content you wish to produce.
When you select the product description template, you will be given a window asking you to input data points to guide the AI-generated content process.
In this example, we will use the following data points for our product description:
Company/Product Name—Blender Pro 2
Tell us about the product. The Blender Pro 2 offers a broad range of power modes in a sleek and compact design that can be taken on the go. The stainless steel blades are tough enough to break through ice, and our trademarked tumbler design has been featured in several choice awards for the best new blender in 2021.
Tone of voice—business casual
Once we have input our data points as you see in the example above, Jarvis can begin processing content based on the AI algorithm and the data points we have input.
So, what was the result?
Here it is:
“Crave ices or blended drinks? You’ll need a palate-pleasing blend of ground beef with some cumin spice. But first, you must have a blending appliance capable of cutting through frozen ingredients like an electric blade saw through pate—and that means long minutes spent slogging away with the old hand blender by your side, as satisfying as cooking dinner, then washing all those dishes from it afterward.”
As you can tell from the result above, the AI-generated content has some structure to it, but it is also far from the polished content you would want to send your audience (and the world, for that matter).
Even though AI content can lead to new ways of approaching the start of new content, there are still many technological shortcomings you should consider.
AI Is Not as Optimized as You Think
Although the idea of producing hundreds of pages of content for a niche site sounds intriguing to those just discovering AI content, the fact remains that the results will still need a helping (human) hand.
One of the biggest downsides of using AI to write content is that it often struggles to produce more than a few paragraphs before needing additional data input from you (the human). This can lead to a loss of context within the content, itself, requiring additional edits to give your results a story and meaning.
Another drawback to AI content is that short-form results will be hit and miss on whether they make sense, ultimately leading to the manual polishing required for even half-decent results.
Even with semi-passable text, you will still need to finesse the right message for your brand’s voice, audience, or persona to use the full potential of AI-generated content.
For those worried that someone could show up and publish hundreds of AI content pages and start outranking you overnight, we should first discuss what ranking factors Google actually considers.
Limitations of AI Content and Other Google Ranking Factors
Yes, AI content can be fine-tuned and used to make compelling copy, but Google has openly admitted that written content alone is no longer the only factor determining where you will rank for a given search term.
A few of the most important factors that Google considers when ranking your site include the following:
High-ranking content usually refers to in-depth content that covers a broad range of topics and information within a given niche. To gain better ranking, your content must provide real value to the user. Your website should incorporate engaging visual content to complement your written content in a way that keeps the reader on your page longer.
Quality content will always beat quantity, so focus on value, not word count.
Backlinks are one of the strongest ranking signals in Google’s search algorithm. The more backlinks point to your site from high-authority domains, the better your chances to rank for your target keywords.
While AI content can be produced with little effort on the writer’s side, any content published without edits will keep other site owners from wanting to link to the content.
On November 4, 2016, Google announced mobile-first indexing, meaning that a website’s compatibility with mobile devices directly affects its search rankings.
In the past, web designers would build desktop versions of their sites first and then add their mobile counterpart. Today, with mobile usage outpacing desktops, websites prioritize mobile versions to provide a better user experience (UX).
Since Google adopted the mobile-first indexing approach, page speed has become more important than ever. Websites with slow page speed will have a harder time ranking in top results since these hurt the overall UX. Google’s goal with these updates is to provide users with search results that include sites with the best UX.
Brand and Domain Power
People who search for your brand directly give a much stronger signal to Google’s algorithm when you have established yourself as an authority in your niche. The more traffic a website gets from branded searches, the more the algorithm will recognize it.
Additionally, social signals from Facebook, Quora, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social sites intertwine with search rankings. This is not to say that a strong online social media presence alone will increase your organic search traffic. Sites that spread their brand power across multiple SEO channels will have a better chance of increasing their search visibility, and this is something that AI content alone cannot provide.
These are just a few ranking factors that Google considers when determining a page’s ranking. How will these factors come into play when AI content competes with your business?
Will AI Content Outrank Your Professionally Written Content?
The ranking factors that Google uses when analyzing thousands of pages online per second are your guide to ensuring your articles continue to outrank AI content for years to come.
Building more than just a simple blog site is something that every online business owner should strive to accomplish. Focusing on quality content and backlinks, optimizing page load speeds, and building a social following through brand awareness and engaging conversations is how you will stand out from any competitor, AI or not.
While AI content gives the user a writing assistant to produce new content when creatives run stale, NLG alone will not help much with the ranking factors we just covered.
Many online business owners might perceive this technology as a faceless competitor, but this is not the case. AI like chatbots seem like they could compete on a competent level of conversation, but when it comes to generating new, engaging long-form content with true prose, chatbots fall short here.
Business owners wanting to stay ahead of the curve in optimizing their business to its peak performance should look at AI as a resource, not a competitor, and something that they, too, can utilize.
How You Can Use AI Content to Your Advantage
Using AI as a tool, rather than competition, gives you an advantage in finding more creative approaches to producing content. Using AI to help you with a first draft might inspire you with a new, creative approach that you might not have otherwise gone with.
This fresh approach that starts with AI content will often help you get something on paper that you later can fine-tune. The hardest part (at least for me) in writing great content is getting the gears moving and in motion.
AI gives you the nudge you need to start producing new creatives when your mind runs blank. No matter what you want to write about, inputting a few topics or data points for the algorithm will at least give you that first step before you can ultimately take the baton and run with it until the finish line.
Here are a few tips to help you start using AI content within your workflow:
Consider AI content your first draft.
As mentioned above, most (if not all) of your AI content will need fine-tuning and editing before you can consider it half-decent. Consider your AI content your first draft or structure for a blog or piece of content.
Using this structure as a base, you can later change the tone or words choices, but at least you are given a foundation to build on.
Keep your brand’s voice consistent
AI content will constantly test you to see if you are paying attention to the input fields with each new piece of content it spits out at you. Make sure you give proper instructions in the form of data inputs for the AI to properly understand what you are trying to talk about.
If your brand uses certain keywords or lingo, ensure the AI knows this. The algorithm is great at finding relevant filler terms for your results, but it is ultimately up to you to input the correct main keywords that your content will be based on to get the most from your results.
Use all the tools available
AI software such as Jarvis and Rytr are not the final stop on your AI-generated content journey. Rather, they are a tool in your toolbox of resources to produce a well-optimized piece of AI copy. Once you have your first draft, use tools like Grammarly and Prowritingaid to fine-tune your results to get better content with less manual input from you.
No doubt, AI-generated content will soon flood our industry as this technology continues to improve every year.
It is easy to see the potential this technology offers when you consider 279,145 AI patent applications were submitted in the U.S. at the end of March 2019. As this technology improves, more content marketers and business owners alike will use it to their advantage to stay ahead of the technology curve to help improve processes, optimize workflows, and offer returns promptly and as passively as possible.
If you are looking for other ways to implement AI content in your growth strategy, you may want to consider starting with a solid foundation of content that is ready to be scaled further.
Skipping the Startup Pains and Acquiring an Established Business
If you are seeking new ways to expand your content production to reach a broader audience, you might want to consider acquiring an established content business.
When you acquire a business that already has an established brand following, backlinks, and content ranking for your desired keyword market, you skip the startup pains of building something from scratch.
For those wanting to build a portfolio of content businesses using AI to scale, acquiring an established business in your niche opens the doors to new revenue streams and helps improve your overall portfolio.
Schedule a criteria call with one of our business advisors today. They can help you find a content business that matches your skills and business goals to get you on your way to scaling more than just a niche site, but a complete media empire with the help of AI.