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Should You Use AI Content For Your Website? AI Long-Term Impact on SEO

Written by : 
Georgi Todorov
Reviewed by :  
Jack McLaren
Publish Date:  
June 21, 2024

Quick Answer: It’s not recommended to use AI content for your website because AI-produced content is often too basic, unhelpful to readers, and struggles to sell your products. Read this article to the end to find out what we believe Google, and readers expect from article to be useful and rank on page 1.

Google released its ‘’Helpful Content Update’’ in September 2023 to reward unique and useful content from authoritative websites with better rankings. Websites that blatantly used AI were  punished as a result, and their traffic plummeted.

The goal of search engines was to reward publishers of  ‘’helpful’’ content that genuinely solved the problems of the readers, and most AI content did not meet that standard.

Some AI-driven websites were able to survive the initial wave of penalties because of a commitment to ‘’humanising’’ the content and changing up or tweaking the AI’s wording to fool the engines.

As you might have seen on LinkedIn and Twitter, many SEOs and websites boast amazing results by utilising AI to scale content production. Low cost results at scale can be enticing!

Nearly a year later in March 2024, Google doubled down on efforts to stop and penalise AI content in a 2nd major update. This update delivered severe penalties to swathes of publishers across Google,

Many websites were  de-indexed. Their traffic did not simply decrease. They got wiped out from the engine completely.

De-indexing is when your whole website gets removed from Google’s search engines and none of your pages can be accessed from users searching on Google.

Those that avoided de-indexing didn’t get off lightly. A number of large global publishers saw traffic losses up to 60%.

Why You Shouldn’t Use AI Content In Your Website

The fact that AI content and the probability of your website getting punished in a future Google update is usually enough to stop SEOs from using mass AI content.

But there are other considerations to take into account when it comes to the decision. The fear of punishment isn’t the only consideration on a great SEO’s mind. You should be thinking about how AI content impacts the user.

AI content is typically too basic to either be useful to readers or to sell products

AI content, by itself, does not generate any unique information. It can only repeat what everyone else has said on the topic.

Content that neither delights, or satisfies a users queries is simply filler. Google has enough filler on it’s servers that any chance to remove it, will be taken.

Why should AI content rank on the 1st page when it is repeating what others have said on the topic? As Google's success depends on a balance of delivering great results for users, and great users for advertisers, the use of AI content at scale could have long lasting consequences for the tech giant.

Both the engines and readers value unique information and they’d much rather read unique angles, opinions, and insights.

Then, there’s the problem of AI tools not producing accurate information, as well as its incapability of providing unique data points.

You can ‘’enrich’’ the AI content by including your own originality, but by the time you’re done with the heavy editing and removing the AI footprint, you’d have spent the same amount of time if you were to write it from scratch.

Overall, AI content neither satisfies what readers want out of your content, nor what Google wants out of your content.

State of SEO in June 2024: What does Google want to see?

Google is rather vague about what the engines want to see in an article in order to rank content. There are hundreds of ranking factors and there is not a single silver bullet in the equation.

But, after testing across multiple industries, clients and SEO accounts, the SEO team of PATTRNS was able to come to the following conclusions regarding what Google expects to see from your websites:

#1: Relevant Expert Content 

The content should not be basic, covering common sense. The article content of the website should feature industry-leading advice, insights, and recommendations. 

AI does not possess the capabilities of a senior in any industry. 

If you ask any AI tool about any topic, it will give you junior-level advice, and sometimes straight-up common sense.

Sure, it might give you a good mojito recipe, but asking about TikTok's best practice would result in content saying ‘’craft a strategy and reach your audience with video’’.

Google simply cannot rank this. 

#2: Experience With The Topic

One of the things that Google has made clear is that they expect article content to possess experience with the product or the industry.

AI content does not showcase personal experiences. You can ask the AI tool to pretend it has the experience, but readers will quickly catch on - and later Google.

Unique Information

You cannot rank on Google (or retain your rankings) by repeating what others have said on the topic, which is exactly what AI content does. AI, from an engineering standpoint, is being fed information from various sources on the Internet. 

This is why sometimes the information AI tools produce is incorrect as the technology cannot sense check what is true or false.

AI tools are incapable of creating unique information that can be beneficial to your readers.

On the other hand, human writers leverage their own or their clients’ industry knowledge to provide readers with industry-leading information that will always outperform competitors. From a branding standpoint, unique information is essential for building a strong brand and developing respect from your industry. 

Clients and consumers prefer working with brands that showcase industry know-how, and experience, and can solve their problems.

Unique Media

The web has been cluttered with stock images (we have been guilty of this as well) and images that have been re-used across multiple websites.

But what does that signal to Google? Using stock images shows that you have nothing new to show.

This is why Google has been quietly punishing websites that use stock images and pushing their rankings down while rewarding unique infographics, videos, and imagery.

Unique media is also shareable across social media, and other publications might be willing to share it with their audiences for a backlink.

Even though AI is capable of creating unique images by mixing different styles, AI is incapable of creating both quality and informative imagery.

Here is an example of an AI-generated image of a premium AI writing tool:

You might fool Google with this (it’s unique) but not your readers. 

Google also judges your readers’ behaviour once they land on your website. 

If your readers see that your content is AI-generated or does not solve their problem because it’s too basic or does not offer proper media, they will simply bounce.

Topical Authority

Topical authority is Google’s estimate of your website’s credibility and expertise on the topic. Topical authority is achieved by producing a large number of quality content.

Naturally, a few articles are not enough to build topical authority - no matter how quality they are. 

For example, you can be objectively the best TikTok expert who has written 5 industry-leading articles, but you would not rank for ‘’tiktok marketing best practices’’. 

Why? Because someone else has written 500 industry-leading articles.

This is one of the reasons why people turned to AI initially - so they can churn out hundreds of articles and be considered an ‘’authority’’ on the topic.

But in the long run, topical authority is built and regained by producing plenty of original content and then interlinking it together in clusters.

For our clients, after we do keyword research, we then couple the keywords in topical clusters so we can create the content and build topical authority.

Having a strong backlink profile will massively benefit your rankings and organic traffic, but it is the topical authority that will define your website in the long term.

What kind of SEO should you strive to do

As an SEO agency, consultant, or writer, your strategy should not be to try and fool Google.

Your goal with your websites should not be to focus on short-term gains by scaling content production by churning out content as fast as possible at the expense of its quality.

Your goal should be to write industry-leading content for humans and to genuinely help them solve their problems.

We at PATTRNS are not building short-term funnels, using the latest black hat strategy out there on Twitter. 

We are trying to build a long-term and penalty-proof website for our clients.

Whether it be cleaning a carpet stain or choosing the correct returns management software, PATTRNS approaches every article with the same level of attention to detail, showcasing expertise, experience and strive to write unique content rather than repeat what’s already out there.

The content we produce is not only for ranking on Google, it is also to build industry respect and authority - branding, if you prefer to call it that.

Quality and original content, unique information, graphics and internal data delight both potential customers and existing readers. It also provides the opportunity to be featured in major publications.

In other words, a well-oiled machine that both Google and readers respect.

Are there industries where AI content would work?

It is true that not in every industry and article there should be unique information and expert insights.

One such example of an industry is the recipe and carpet stain removal industries.

The average text is about 600-700 words, and the writers are often not experts. Some of them use AI and manage to rank on page 1.

But even in these relatively easier industries, and where AI content can be used to satisfy search intent, you can stand out with original content.

There can always be new ways to approach recipes and new ways of approaching carpet stains.

You can also design better images outlining better steps for better meeting search intent. There are always things you can do better.

What if a website specifically requests you to use AI content?

There is a conspiracy circulating around the SEO community that when Google penalises a website, it also goes to review the other websites that this webmaster is responsible for in their Google Search Console Account.

In other words, if we risk one of our clients getting penalised for using AI, we would be risking all of our clients combined. 

As an agency, we cannot afford to use AI even at the request of our clients because that could backfire on other accounts.

Many SEOs around the industry who are known for using AI have seen their entire Google Search Consoles (10+ websites) getting penalised, even the ones that did not use AI at all.

Perhaps if you do decide to use AI content, do not boast about it on social media so you do not attract a manual penalty.