How is Google Combating AI Content?

In March 2024, Google rolled out an update that was designed to combat low-quality, spammy AI-generated content. 

Since then, Google have claimed that there is 45% less low-quality AI content on their search engine than there was at the start of the year, but what exactly is Google’s new policy, and what can you do to avoid having your content removed from their search engine? 

In this blog, we’ll run through everything you need to know about the relationship between content, AI and Google (after all, we’re all here to please the Google gods!). 


How has AI content affected the content landscape?

With programs such as ChatGPT and Gemini crashing onto the scene in recent years, we’ve seen a sudden influx of low-quality, low-effort content on search engines. 

It’s no surprise that Google addressed AI content so quickly. For over a decade, Google have been battling with SEO-manipulation tactics such as ‘article spinning’ (the process of churning out lots of very similar content to boost rankings). AI content is the same issue but at a higher volume – it was being used to flood Google with low-quality content that provided little-to-no value to the reader. 

Google have always prioritised high-quality content; they don’t want to show their users rubbish stuff. 

AI tools can be useful for the marketer – they help improve efficiency and drive ideation, especially in content. However, relying solely on ChatGPT to write your content with little thought or human intervention is a fast track to getting your content removed from Google and your website’s SEO penalised. This is known as ‘scaled content abuse’. 


What is scaled content abuse?

‘Scaled content abuse’ is the modern version of ‘article spinning’. 

It is the mass creation of content in an attempt to manipulate Google’s search algorithm. It’s not done to produce helpful content for readers, it’s done with the express purpose of ranking on search engines. This is against the guidelines, and it’s what a lot of businesses are doing with AI (often without meaning to). 

If you’ve been using AI tools like ChatGPT to produce content that you’ve been regularly uploading to your website, you could be in breach of these guidelines and you may actually be damaging your SEO, not helping it. 


What are Google doing to combat AI content?

As of March 2024, Google has been cracking down on AI content that provides zero value to the reader. 

They use a ‘sophisticated AI classifier (Google’s own AI system) alongside various ranking factors to assess content helpfulness’. Essentially, if Google identify that your content is A) produced by AI and B) of a low quality, your website will be penalised and you’ll find it increasingly difficult to rank on Google. They’re using AI to combat AI – smart!

Google’s updates are designed to encourage businesses and content creators to produce content with real value. Your content needs to be:

  • Informative
  • Reliable
  • Tailored to human readers

Asking ChatGPT to churn out a blog and uploading it straight to your website is now a really bad idea


What is Google’s stance on AI-generated content?

Now, Google isn’t absolutely against AI – there is no penalty for AI-generated content as long as it’s of high quality. However, in order to ensure your content is of a high quality, you need a human to check it, edit it and ensure all facts included are correct. 

‘Appropriate use of AI or automation is not against our guidelines’. 

You can use AI to help with your content, but the onus is on you to ensure that it is not in breach of Google’s guidelines. Make sure you’re writing for people, not search engines, and you should be absolutely fine. 


What will happen if you use AI-generated content?

If you produce AI content that is not tailored to your readers, Google will identify your website and you’ll stop appearing on search engines. 

We do not yet know how severe the penalties are, nor do we know how hard it is to recover your standing with Google. 

You will not be penalised if you use AI generated content that is checked by a human for quality and accuracy, but you will be penalised if you’re copy and pasting lots of ChatGPT blogs onto your website without much thought. 


How can you avoid being penalised by Google?

In essence: don’t be lazy. 

We highly recommend being original and unique; focusing on delivering fresh insights and perspectives, fact checking anything that AI produces and removing certain words that ChatGPT loves (‘demystifying’, we’re looking at you!). You can also include a disclaimer on any work that has had heavy AI input, just a simple badge or sentence that states that the content is written in part by AI. 

The best way to avoid being penalised by Google is by working with human content writers, specialists who know exactly what is needed to appease Google’s algorithm while delighting your readers. 

Fortunately, you’re in the right place!

At Catalyst, we have a team of content specialists. It’s their job to research, write and optimise content for our clients, boosting rankings on Google, getting your business seen and ensuring that your readers have the best possible experience. 

Don’t rely on AI content alone – it is more likely to damage your search presence than help it. Find the right content package for your business by clicking the link below.

See our content packages


Find out how we help businesses to grow

About the author

Richard Hayes is a veteran of digital marketing over 25 years in the making.

He has worked across a wide variety of industry sectors in his previous role at one of the UK’s largest digital marketing services providers. He’s our go-to strategy sensei, with a particular specialism in SEO, PPC and web build.

Outside of work Richard spends a lot of time driving up and down the motorway transporting his children back and forth to University, but always makes sure he is home to watch the football and meet up with friends.

Richard Hayes