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Is the Latest Google Core Update Cracking Down on AI Content?

Last month (March 2024), Google announced a significant algorithm update and new spam policies to cut down on low-quality search results.

Essentially, Google’s latest update is to reduce unhelpful, irrelevant and unoriginal content from search engines - sending more traffic to helpful and high-quality sites instead. The tech giant claims that, based on early evaluations, the update - combined with earlier efforts - will reduce low-quality, unoriginal content in search results by 40 percent. 

So far, the results have been pretty significant. Since the Core update, many websites have been hit with search ranking penalties from Google - and suffered significant loss to their organic traffic as a result.

Just check out this post by a user on Google Support. After the Google Core update in March, the user reported losing 90 percent of organic traffic to their website in one day. Others are anecdotally reporting the same across the internet.

So, What are the Changes from Google?

The tech giant announced these two key updates last month:

1. Improved quality ranking: We’re making algorithmic enhancements to our core ranking systems to ensure we surface the most helpful information on the web and reduce unoriginal content in search results.

In a statement, Google says: “This update involves refining some of our core ranking systems to help us better understand if webpages are unhelpful, have a poor user experience or feel like they were created for search engines instead of people. This could include sites created primarily to match very specific search queries.”

2. New and improved spam policies: We’re updating our spam policies to keep the lowest-quality content out of Search, like expired websites repurposed as spam repositories by new owners and obituary spam.

These updated spam policies will see Google take action in three key areas;

  • Scaled content abuse: Using automation - such as generative AI - to generate low-quality or unoriginal content at scale with the goal of manipulating search rankings.
  • Site reputation abuse: The practice of low-quality content being hosted on a website with its own great content with the goal of capitalizing on the hosting site’s strong reputation.
  • Expired domain abuse: The practice in which expired domains are purchased and repurposed with the primary intention of boosting search ranking of low-quality or unoriginal content.

What Does This Mean for the Use of AI in Content?

There are of course benefits to using generative AI in your content creation, but like any tool, it can be misused. These latest updates from Google do not mean there’s no place for AI-generated content. AI can still help marketers turn around content faster, improve their SEO initiatives (through topic idea generation), as well as avoid writer's block.

However, AI isn’t a one-stop solution to content creation. It never has been and it certainly won’t be following the latest Google updates.

Remember that while Google is purposefully vague about how their systems detect if content is either great or spam, they want you to create “great content” and helpful content”.

It’s critical that organizations and markets avoid publishing unoriginal, high-level AI-generated content that doesn’t offer any value to their buyer persona. AI certainly has its place in the writing process with idea generation, but, ultimately, content creation should come down to content marketing experts with a focus placed on creating valuable content for your brand’s buyer persona.

This has always been the focus of successful Inbound Marketing, and likely always will.

Has your business been experienced by the latest Google update, or are you simply looking to enhance your content marketing efforts? Get in touch with SummitBound today. Our team of Inbound Marketing, HubSpot and content strategy experts would love to help.

Tom Davis
Post by Tom Davis
April 9, 2024
With a background in journalism, Tom combines his love of writing and experience in Inbound Marketing to deliver effective content strategies to SummitBound clients.