News and insights • Posted on 02 May 2024

Does AI-generated content rank in Google?

In response to the rise in large-volume AI content abusers, Google is imposing changes and sanctions as part of its March 2024 core algorithm update. With this, a critical question arises: Does AI-generated content rank in Google? The answer presents implications for content creators and digital marketers alike.

Here, we’ll outline these implications, highlight the effect Google’s sanctions can have on the website in question, and set out actions to take to prevent this.

Google's stance on AI-generated content

The March 2024 core algorithm update delivered a resounding message: AI-generated content is facing penalties. This comes as a continuation of the work Google began in 2022, turning its ranking systems to reduce unhelpful, unoriginal content on Search and keep it at very low levels. 

Google's efforts to combat content abuse extend beyond algorithm updates. The refinement of spam policies reflects a proactive approach to maintaining the integrity of search results. By targeting manipulative behaviours and low-quality content, Google aims to elevate helpful and high-quality sites while reducing the prevalence of spam. 

This means that instances of scaled content abuse – websites and content farms that repeatedly churn out AI-generated content (that inevitably lack originality) – will be less likely to show up in Google’s search results, or even removed from the search index completely, reducing their visibility and engagement.

Using AI in content marketing

The 2024 update emphasises the importance of content meeting Google’s E-E-A-T principles (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) – elements that AI-generated content lacks, and often cannot attain without human input. Therefore, if you really must use AI content writing due to lack of time or other resources, ensure the AI-generated piece is then given over to a human content writer so the following things can be included:

  • Originality: This is a big one, and –- as content created by AI is literally the likeliest series of words on any given topic –- it’s essential that a human brings this element in. We’d recommend starting the piece with human-written content (even if just in note form) so the originality is there from the get-go, before using AI to polish the piece up.

  • Authorship and expertise: Readers need to know the content can be trusted, so include background information on the author that publishes (and hopefully, writes the majority of it!), evidence of expertise involved, and clear citing of sources.

  • Product reviews: When considering a purchase, reviews are one of the most helpful and influential elements of content, and which AI cannot provide.

AI content and SEO: what’s the verdict?

So, does AI content rank in google? The simplest answer to this question is that –- from an SEO standpoint –- content written by a skilled human being will always win over AI content generation. The originality that comes from an individual person, coupled with real-life experiences and expertise, cannot be matched by machine. 

While AI alone may struggle to meet Google's quality thresholds, there's a silver lining. The integration of human insight and experience with AI presents a promising solution –- leveraging AI as a tool to amplify human input. If executed skilfully enough, then yes: AI-generated content can rank in Google.

Balancing automation with human expertise

Still, the debate over AI-generated content's efficacy persists. While Google's algorithm updates may pose challenges for AI content creators, they also underscore the importance of human expertise and authenticity. By embracing a collaborative approach that combines AI automation with human insight, content creators can navigate Google's evolving landscape while delivering valuable, high-quality content to their audience.

As Google continues to refine its algorithms and policies, staying informed and adaptable remains paramount for content creators and digital marketers alike. Sign up to our newsletter to ensure you’re always on the front foot.

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