November 21, 2023 | 5 Min
SEO Best Practice Guidelines for AI-Generated Content
So, you’ve started using generative AI for content creation. Your productivity has quadrupled, you’re working more efficiently than ever before, and you’ve slashed your time-to-market by around 70% (a guess on my part, but I bet I’m not far off).
In the excitement of discovering tools and technology that help you to work faster, it’s easy to pay less attention to the SEO value of that content. However, to ensure that AI-generated content supports your SEO strategy and contributes positively to your website’s organic performance, it’s crucial to adhere to SEO best practices. When utilized strategically, AI-generated content has huge potential to act as a force multiplier to your SEO efforts.
In this article, I’ll divulge the SEO best practices to keep top of mind when you’re leveraging AI to generate content.
But first …
What is Google’s stance on AI-generated content for SEO?
Google has said that appropriate use of AI or automation is not against their guidelines. Unless the content is designed primarily to manipulate search rankings (in which case, it will be flagged as spam), Google assesses the value of AI-generated content in the same way that it does human-generated content. If the content is helpful, original and follows the EEAT framework (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness), it still has the potential to rank — providing it’s of high quality and relevant to your audience.
However, content produced by Large Language Models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT carries a risk of plagiarism, as the LLM might repeat some of the material it was trained on to different users. That’s why contextual AI is so important, to avoid your brand getting lost in ‘the sea of sameness’. And why human review and oversight is crucial when using AI for content creation.
So now, let’s review some SEO best practices to maximize the performance of your AI-generated content.
SEO best practices for AI-generated content
1. Integrate human expertise and research when creating content with AI
In other words, AI should be your dependable co-pilot, not your replacement. Using your own expertise should be a priority, as per Google’s EEAT framework. Even the most advanced AI can’t match the quality of human writers and editors, so while the technology will help you to create content faster, it’s the application of human expertise that will make it valuable for your audience and more likely to rank.
2. Set a reasonable, realistic publishing cadence
It’s tempting to push out heaps of content when you’ve suddenly got so much to share. But if you drastically increase your content output, it might be an indicator to Google that you’ve started to publish AI-generated content that hasn’t been reviewed by a human. Your publishing cadence has a huge impact on rankings and performance. And if you push out more content than your audience can consume, you won’t achieve your desired outcome anyway. With blog content, posting weekly is advised for SEO maintenance but to see increased traction and SEO growth from your content, I recommend posting two to four times a week.
3. Ensure the content resonates with your target audience
While this might seem like an obvious one, content teams and content producers are sometimes in such a rush to publish a topical piece of content or to action a request from leadership that this crucial guideline falls to the wayside. Ultimately, Google is looking to ensure that your content answers the search queries of the users they’re directing to your website. So, make sure that AI-generated topical piece of content resonates with your audience, educates them and provides value.
4. Create original, unique content that can’t be easily replicated
Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) will pull more information from websites directly into the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), reducing the need for a user to click links to find the information they’re looking for and therefore, changing how we optimize our content for rankings. AI-generated summaries will answer user queries on the spot, helping them to find the information much faster.
So, how can you address this to ensure your content still ranks? Creating content that’s unique, immersive and engaging increases the likelihood that it can’t be captured by an AI summary but will be valuable enough to appear on relevant SERPs. The below features can be used as a guiding checklist for rich and engaging content:
Detailed steps and information in how-to guides and tutorials
Explanations and practical (first-hand) examples of the concepts you introduce
Charts, videos, GIFs and other media that further explains concepts you introduce
Relevant internal links that aid the understanding of the user
Think of your content not just as information for your users, but as an experience. Google’s SGE is an opportunity for businesses to push the boundaries of what content can be.
5. Prioritize story-driven content and off-page authority signals
I know, it’s an old strategy. But off-page authority signals such as mentions and backlinks will become even more important with AI-driven content in a post-SGE landscape. Creating thought leadership content, story-driven content and content that drives change for your audience will help your reach and shareability and help Google to recognize and reward the quality of your output. The depth of your research, the depth of experience and the depth of narrative is what will drive results with your content performance. So always, always layer your own experience and expertise into AI-generated content.
AI can help you produce your best content
With these SEO best practices in mind, you’re well-equipped to leverage the benefits of AI content generation while creating authentic, engaging, story-rich content that will drive high-quality traffic to your website.