Google’s new algorithm, which advocates for “original, useful content,” was announced almost immediately. Questions began to erupt about whether this update is targeting AI content tools. Is this the end of artificial intelligence in content production?

These are just some of the many questions we received at Jasper, an AI Content Platform. Jasper users rely on Jasper every day to help them create ideas, repackage content into different formats, and overcome writer’s block. Others were from the general public or pundits trying to figure out AI’s place in the creative industry. We agree with each of them that Google’s Helpful Update is a positive thing. It’s a positive thing for the internet in general, and it’s a good idea for the long-term evolution AI in content creation.

Here’s why: No one wins when the internet is full of junk content. AI, like the internet itself is technology that can either make things better or worse. We choose which path to take. Both the internet and AI can be used to create seemingly incomprehensible things. They can also be used to remove obstacles that prevent us from reaching our full creative potential. Technology is an enabler. It is up to us to decide how we use it. We need to think about how we use it.

Incentives such as better distribution and higher quality content will encourage generative AI to be used more effectively. AI’s use in creative fields is still very much in its infancy. These are the moments when we can all come together to create the standards we want. Over time, standards will improve and evolve. With them, we’ll be able to see new examples of AI being used to unlock creative potential.

How to use AI for original, high-quality content

Jasper CEO Dave Rogenmoser put it well in a Jasper user forum the other day. When answering questions about AI and the recent Google update, Rogenmoser said, “If your AI written content is low quality or doesn’t help readers it will get dinged.” It will be dinged if your HUMAN-written content is of low quality and does not help readers. How can you ensure your safety? Get to know your intended reader. Write content that addresses their needs and answers their questions.

Google has asked content creators for years to stop writing content specifically for search engines and instead write content for people. However, the pressure to rank in business writing continues to be strong and, despite Google’s advice, creators continue to struggle to break the Konami Code of SEO in how and where they structure and write content. Since I started writing professionally over a decade ago, I have seen all of it: hyper-frequency in publishing cadence, specific word-length targets. You name it. You can be sure that even the most skilled and well-intentioned writers will make poor choices when you add these fictional hoops to your writing schedule.

There are many great articles on how to make sure your writing is consistent with Google’s latest update. These guidelines from Google are very clear. If you believe they are traffic magnets, don’t write about topics that aren’t within your site’s core competence. Don’t just repeat what’s been said. Don’t create summary content that doesn’t deliver on its promises. Do not try to reach arbitrary word counts. These are essential to good writing. There’s also the issue of AI-generated content. Google states that creators should not use “extensive automated content production on many topics.” This is open to interpretation. Let’s take a deeper look at what we consider good use of AI in content creation.

AI should be your partner, and not your replacement

You could write an entire article with AI commands and not have to think of anything original. Probably. Would the content result in a wasteful and shallow user experience? Most definitely. Jasper’s Content Platform is an AI tool that helps people communicate their ideas. For that partnership to work, you must have original ideas. AI is most effective when it can help you overcome common obstacles writers face, such as suggesting a transition paragraph or rephrasing an incoherent line. Writers and content creators spend a lot of time each week stuck in their work. Think about how many books went unwritten and how many ideas languish in a digital file somewhere because their creators got stuck and moved on. This is where AI shines.

Google’s latest update states that articles with “extensive automated” are unlikely to be helpful. We agree. If AI is writing most of your content, then you haven’t used AI well. Although there is no standard for how many AI-assisted sentences are acceptable in an article, this is where good human judgement comes in. Don’t accept every AI-recommended line as it is. If you feel blocked, find some ideas and then modify them to make them work. Writer’s block should not stop you from communicating your ideas or educating others on a topic you are uniquely qualified to.

Research is not as easy as it seems.

I once taught a writing course at Boston University. I was shocked at how many students would cite Google or Wikipedia as the source for a particular reference instead of the original study. This was one of the most common mistakes I saw in papers. This is a common mistake in business writing today. Content marketers will cite Statistica, another blog, rather than the original source. They will write first and then add evidence later, rather than start with research when pulling stats. This leads to cherry-picked stats which are often outdated or derived from a faulty sample set.

As such, AI content assistants are not designed to do your research for you. They’re meant to help you organize what you’ve learned through your research into a well-written email, article, or post. The good news? You can use the time saved by using AI tools to create your content for more in-depth research that will strengthen the content. Research or first-hand experiences are what transform a summary article into an article of substance.

The editorial table should take over the content farm

Google has struggled with the perception that more content is more reliable to get more traffic. In update after update, their team made it clear that quality, intent and structure are more important than quantity. Yet, companies continue to produce content like they are trying to cover every keyword. AI is a popular choice for those who want more content. AI makes content creation easier and faster. This means that you can exponentially increase your content output.

Content farms are bad for both writers and consumers. They are also very detrimental to search engines’ reliability and the future of AI. It’s obvious. AI will speed up your writing, but it won’t compromise the plot. It is not possible to produce twice as many words if you become more efficient at writing. The benefit of becoming more efficient is not having twice the time in your day to pursue and develop new ideas. If AI is used correctly, it should unlock creativity and move content creators from the content hamster track to a more strategic and editorial one. Google’s Helpful Content rollout was completed on September 9, 2022. While we are still waiting to see how it will affect rankings, we support the intent. We all want a better internet, with more quality content and writers who can be incentivized to create the best.

Search Engine Land’s first article, Here’s how Google’s helpful update to its content will improve AI, appeared first on Search Engine Land.