I've returned to the office after attending the SiGMA Europe Summit in Malta. We had a brilliant time out there, met some great people, and even took some time to enjoy the amazing sights the country has to offer.
One of the event's takeaways that stuck with me was the discussion surrounding AI and how companies are cautiously considering how it will impact their SEO strategies.
Several companies that loudly promoted the integration of AI into their business services - and some that were completely AI-focused - had stands at the event.
On the surface, many companies are embracing it as the future of content generation.
But speaking to individuals around the event, there was a definite air of caution, with many expressing hesitancies to commit to the technology entirely.
Short-Term Benefits vs. Long-Term Concerns
Most people can see AI's benefits. A quick turnaround of search-optimised content at a cheaper rate is enough to excite anyone concerned with meeting deadlines and reducing costs. If AI can help you generate content that mimics, if not improves upon, human-produced content, then why not embrace it?
However, the issue surrounds whether AI-generated content is too focused on short-term gains and ignores potential long-term issues that could be disastrous for SEOs.
When it comes to long-term thinking, here are some of the key concerns I heard:
Right now, AI-generated content is simply not good enough. Human involvement is still needed to weed out factual errors and improve readability. Sports-focused articles are a great example of this, with many of them reading like they were written by "someone" who doesn't know anything about the topic.
There are a lot of "scam" companies out there offering a tool that detects how much of the article was written by AI.
Let's skip to the end: if everyone uses the perfect AI tool to generate the perfect SEO-focused content, how will Google rank whose content is better than others?
Those companies embracing the technology are doing so with some caution by using humans to at least edit the content, which is still a quicker and cheaper option.
Google has already published guidance and boundaries for AI-generated content. In short, this boils down to not using AI to violate their spam policies and manipulate search rankings.
I've already expressed my thoughts on AI and its threat to authenticity, and many at SiGMA hadn't considered these concerns.
I don't need to lecture anyone in marketing about the importance of connecting with their audience. Just considering E-E-A-T as a ranking factor, how can Google genuinely rank content not written by a human? AI-generated content undermines that ranking factor, so how will Google respond?
Google has, of course, developed Bard as an AI content generator and LLM tool. At the time of writing this, the company also has an AI detector that can only detect English content generated by Bard itself.
What will happen if - or indeed, when - their detector tool opens up to all languages and can identify AI text written by other tools? What can and maybe 'should' happen is that Google may decide to penalise AI-generated content because it undermines E-E-A-T.
Is this possibility a concern for SEOs? Yes! At least, that's the feedback I got from speaking to people at SiGMA.
Introducing an AI Tag
One possible change is that Google could introduce an AI-generated content tag in the source code, much in the same way we include ‘noindex’ and ‘disallow’ signals. This seems like a more viable way of identifying such content.
But the threat remains that AI-generated content could be penalised in the long term. If this happens, all companies that use AI to create their content will likely experience a sudden - and potentially significant - drop in their rankings.
For now, there's certainly a mixture of optimism and pessimism surrounding the use of AI to create content. At least many in the iGaming industry are waiting to see how it all pans out before they commit.
At Atlas SEO, we continue to use only humans to write and edit our content. In fact, we follow a strict four-stage quality process to ensure that our content meets our client's expectations and needs.
Our feedback shows that our content creation process is quick, efficient, and cost-effective. It's a tried and tested process that delivers the results everyone wants. We rarely get asked to revise our content, but when that does happen, we process the changes quickly.
If done correctly, human-generated content does succeed. The question on most people's minds now is: 'Do we want to speed up that process and reduce our costs by using AI?' As we all know, everyone in SEO has their own opinion, and each can be as valid as the next.
The question I ask is: 'Are you concerned about the potential long-term risks of using AI?'