Artificial intelligence has taken over the tech industry in the last several decades. No area is untouched by it, and that includes search engine optimization (SEO). AI has started to be touted as a way of improving SEO strategies, helping businesses with everything from keyword research and search intent research to competitor analysis. Specifically, some people believe that AI in SEO can increase accuracy and efficiency. While AI-driven SEO may offer several benefits, there are also drawbacks that come with implementing AI-based SEO strategies, especially now that Google is cracking down on AI-generated content. Below, the experts at Rush Ventures break down the pros and cons of AI-driven SEO and analyze how Google’s latest content update may impact the future of AI and SEO.
The Pros and Cons of AI-Driven SEO
To help you determine whether AI-driven SEO is right for your business, consider the pros and cons below.
Pro: Increased writing efficiency
One of the greatest benefits of AI-powered SEO tools is the speed at which they can generate content. Unsurprisingly, AI tools produce content much faster than any human writer possibly could. In turn, this efficiency translates to scalability, as it means that you can produce a much larger volume of content over a short time span.
Another pro of AI-driven SEO is its cost-effectiveness. AI tools generally cost much less than hiring a copywriter. Depending on the length of the copy and the technical knowledge required, hiring a copywriter to create your website content can be expensive. In comparison, most AI writing tools can be purchased via a monthly subscription for a fraction of the cost. So if the content you are looking to produce is relatively short or simplistic, an AI tool might be the most cost-effective method.
Pro: Avoid writer’s block
A common hurdle that humans experience is writer’s block. Even professional copywriters struggle with writer’s block from time to time, which can delay projects and reduce the quality of their work. But when you use an AI tool to produce content, you don’t have to worry about human problems like writer’s block. In fact, AI tools can also be used to help human writers overcome this issue, as they can produce detailed outlines for articles that can help spark creativity in your writer’s team.
Con: Concerns about quality and plagiarism
Moving on to the cons of using AI-driven SEO tools. First, there is a major concern over the quality of AI-generated content. Since AI relies on data analysis and algorithms to create content, the content that is created may be of low quality. From misusing information to writing in a tone that isn’t in keeping with your brand, concerns over the quality of AI content are common. In addition, there is a decent likelihood that AI-powered content will be flagged by search engines for plagiarism, which can have a significant impact on your ranking. This is because many AI tools work by taking bits of information from other websites and re-wording them, a practice that is directly against Google’s guidelines.
Con: Focus on quantity over quality
The second drawback of AI in SEO is that the focus of most AI tools is on quantity over quality. The efficiency of these tools (mentioned above) can be a benefit, however, if the outcome is a business publishing tons of low-quality content, it can actually have an adverse impact. Until AI-driven SEO tools can learn to improve quality, publishing lots of content isn’t likely to help your business.
Con: Minimal authority and expertise
Another con of AI-driven SEO is that in many cases, AI content fails to meet Google’s E-A-T guidelines. E-A-T is an acronym that stands for “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.” Google uses this criterion to evaluate content, and a lack of E-A-T usually translates to a lower ranking. The reality is that most AI-written content does not meet Google’s E-A-T criteria.
Con: Lack of creativity or originality
Creativity and originality are key components of quality content – and it’s not just us that think so. Google thinks so as well (more on that below). Unfortunately, these are areas where AI tools are lacking. Since AI does not possess the emotional intelligence or ability to understand nuance, human content is likely to continue outperforming AI content for a long time. Ultimately, if you want to publish content that is engaging, informative, and makes people want to share it, creativity and originality are crucial.
Google’s Helpful Content Update and AI-Driven SEO
Earlier this year, Google announced what they referred to as the “helpful content update.” The company claimed that the purpose of this update was to connect people with helpful information. Part of this mission involves a rejigging of how they rank content and a new focus on people-first content over AI-generated content. In fact, with the new update, Google now treats AI-generated content as spam and will use its advanced machine learning algorithm to detect such content. While there are no manual penalties for websites that produce this type of content, Google has made clear that a website is likely to lose organic visibility if they publish AI-powered content.
Therefore, it’s clear that with Google’s latest update, the company is moving toward original, authority-based content based on internal data and away from AI-driven content. As such, businesses that had started to rely on AI-driven SEO may need to rethink their content strategy. To remain competitive and rank as high as possible on Google, businesses may need to abandon AI-driven SEO (or at least pare it down) in favor of creating people-first content that leaves visitors feeling satisfied and that their expectations have been met. To create this type of content, Google recommends focusing on topics relevant to your website and that you have clear expertise, deep knowledge of, or first-hand experience with.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, AI-driven SEO might be useful as a writing assistant, but it’s best not to rely on these tools too much – especially given Google’s 2022 helpful content update. While using AI tools for keyword research or proofreading can be useful, they are not a replacement for human copywriters.