As artificial intelligence grows more sophisticated, it becomes harder and harder to tell whether a piece of content has been generated by a human or a robot.
The use of AI for copywriting is nothing new. Back in 2017, we spoke to Phrasee CEO, Parry Malm, about how they were using AI to generate content for email marketing, with great success for their clients. As Parry explains in his interview, AI chatbots have been around since the 1960s.
Since then, neural networks have become far more advanced. But can they truly replace humans as copywriters, and if so, with one of the main factors in ranking websites being the quality of the content, can AI tools be used for SEO?
What are AI copywriting tools?
AI copywriting software can produce content that reads as if it was written by a person.
These programs use artificial neural networks to learn language, process information and then produce or improve written content based on instructions provided by the user.
GPT-3 is a new generation of language model that is able to produce human-like text on demand, and is the technology behind many AI copywriting tools.
A bit of background on SEO and content quality
Back in the olden days, when I first began my career in digital marketing, SEO was pretty easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Then, Google rolled out core updates to its algorithm – Panda, which targeted low-quality sites (especially content farms/article submission sites), and Penguin, which targeted spammy link building tactics.
All of a sudden, SEO was difficult difficult, lemon difficult.
The Panda update changed SEO forever by emphasising the importance of quality content. Keyword stuffing on landing pages no longer worked and creating spun articles for link building purposes started causing more harm than good.
With these changes, many SEOs had to shift focus to creating a better user experience for their visitors – and a huge part of that was content.
Content is King
The phrase “Content is King” has been used so much in digital marketing that it’s become cliché. But it is true. After the updates, SEO agencies sought out copywriters to churn out high-quality content as quickly as humanly possible and costs increased significantly for both them, and their clients.
When done properly, writing copy takes a lot of time and effort, and there are few shortcuts. Until recently, when AI began to get better. A lot better.
Could this present an opportunity to cut corners – and costs – again?
Are there risks to using AI copywriting tools for SEO?
Yes and no.
John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, stated that there may be a time when Google doesn’t care if content is written by a machine or a person, as long as the quality is good. However, he also indicated on both Reddit and Twitter that AI shouldn’t be used to create content. Huh?
So does this mean that Google is able to detect when content has been generated by AI?
Not according to the many AI copywriting tools available. And, it’s worth noting that this is a question that Mueller has not directly answered either.
When are AI copywriting tools good for SEO?
AI copywriting tools are a godsend when it comes to:
- Writing heaps of short-form content, such as meta descriptions and product descriptions
- Generating article outlines to help with structure and flow
- Coming up with ideas and brainstorming content
- Suggesting compelling titles, section headings, and calls-to-action
- Combatting writer’s block by kickstarting creativity with ‘base’ content, which can then be edited and improved upon by a human
- Checking for spelling and grammar errors
Also, for email and biddable media marketers, AI copywriters can quickly generate variations of subject lines and ad copy for A/B testing.
When are AI copywriting tools bad for SEO?
If you want to churn out long-form content using AI copywriting tools, most people agree that it’s not going to produce the same results as an experienced content writer.
Here are some examples from different AI copywriting tools, which demonstrate that even for a popular topic (What is Google Ads?), results are at best, not written in a compelling way, and at worst, wildly inaccurate.
If you’re looking to get more exposure and traffic to your website, one of the most cost-effective ways to do this is with Google Ads. But what exactly are Google Ads? In this article, we’ll go over the pros and cons of Google Ads so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for your business.
PPC is a form of advertising that pays the advertiser when someone clicks on an ad. Advertisers determine who their ads are displayed to based on various criteria, such as the user’s location, age, or web browsing history. You can use demographic and behavioural targeting options to make your ads even more effective.
Google Ads is a service that allows businesses to promote their products or services through online advertising. Google Ads helps businesses to find potential customers who are searching for similar products and can also help them improve their customer base. It allows businesses to show ads on Google’s search results pages, YouTube videos, Gmail, and other places on the web.
The ads can be text, image, or video ads. Advertisers can choose the type of ad they want to run and the budget for that ad. This service is used by many small businesses and big companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, McDonalds etc.
Google advertising is one of the most popular advertising services in the world. It has a lot of benefits for both advertisers and publishers/website owners because it offers great targeting options as well as high-quality ads.
When someone mentions Google ads, does your mind immediately jump to the first thing that pops into your head? One of the most popular search engines on planet Earth. Or, perhaps, one of the most popular products that you can buy from anywhere in the world and have it delivered to you in no time…
Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) is the best-known Pay Per Click (PPC) network offered by Google. Google allows advertisers to show ads to people who are actively searching for specific keywords on Google.com, Gmail, YouTube and its content network. This process is known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
Google Ads is a campaign management platform that allows advertisers to display ads on the Google search engine. The system is really simple: you set up a campaign, select your keywords and bid on them. Then users will click on your ad when searching for these keywords. If you are an advertiser, Google Ads has many advantages for you. It’s designed to make life easy from the first step to attracting potential customers and making sales. Sounds great, right? As with any product, however, there are disadvantages as well – some minor and some major.
As you can see, the quality varies wildly based on the software being used, and the input fields to help guide the AI. If I didn’t know anything about Google Ads, would I read example 3 and identify much wrong with the information presented (with the exception of the opening paragraph being muddled)?
Probably not. But I think Google can.
Ultimately, I think AI has come a long way when it comes to its ability to generate copy. But I don’t think copywriters have anything to worry about for some time yet.
(p.s. I’ve used an AI copywriting tool to write one section of this blog post. Can you tell which one?)
If you’re a nerd like me, I highly recommend checking out AI Weirdness, written by the wonderful Janelle Shane, too.