How Google Is Combatting Spammy Content In The Age Of AI

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Google has become our primary navigator through the vast ocean of online content, shaping not only our daily decisions but also our perceptions and purchases. In short, we Google everything. Unfortunately, since the inception of AI tools like ChatGPT and Gemini by Google, website and blog owners are just churning out AI content and distributing it on the web with tricky and deceiving SEO tactics that help them rank at the top.

Spammy AI-generated content ranking on top in Google

When you’re on the hunt for the best in any category, with questions such as top book publications, best smartphones, best psychiatrist near me and more, the search engine results you’re greeted with might not always lead you to the treasure you’re seeking. Instead, they often guide you through a forest of SEO-optimised unhelpful listings, where visibility trumps actual quality or relevance.

It is sometimes pure spam. Consumers are unaware of it and they click on it, leading them to purchase or buy a product or service which is not up to the mark. Let’s say someone is looking for a physiotherapist or healthcare services, hoping to find the most qualified professionals nearby. However, the first few listings are those that have mastered the art of SEO, not necessarily those with the best patient feedback or qualifications.

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This pattern doesn’t stop here; it extends across the spectrum of services and products we rely on daily.

The same may apple when you’re eager to discover talented content writers or a reputable content writing service, or the best online courses, legal services, fitness and wellness options, and so on—the list transcends sectors and searches.

The consequence of such a skewed visibility heavily impacts the user’s buyer journey.

Google’s biggest SEO update ever

Considering the manipulation by SEO tactics, Google has made strides to refine its algorithm to prioritise genuine, helpful content over AI-generated and non-helpful material. Google recently released a major update to combat spammy content.

In March 2024, Google introduced a significant update, focusing on elevating the quality of content that truly serves the user’s need for information. This update has been quite clear about its stance on AI-generated content, emphasising the importance of high-quality, people-first content that demonstrates expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).

The update employs a sophisticated AI classifier alongside various ranking factors to assess content helpfulness, striving to strike a balance between text-based information and other content types without solely relying on AI judgments.

By penalising low-quality, AI-generated content, Google’s updates encourage creators to produce content with real value—which is informative, reliable, and tailored to human interests and needs, rather than optimised solely for search engines for the maximum eyeballs.

This ensures a more trustworthy and valuable online environment for users, helping them make informed decisions without being misled by the manipulation of search engine results.

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However, as a user, here are a few tactics to help you discern the reliability of online content:

1) Expand your research: Don’t settle for the first answers Google offers. Broaden your search to include multiple sources.

2) Evaluate creators: Opt for content by known experts or established entities to ensure credibility.

3) Trust recognised platforms: Well-known sites with stringent editorial policies are generally more reliable.

4) Peruse reviews: Independent user reviews can offer invaluable insights into products or services.

5) Be sceptical of sponsored content: Remember, the primary goal of advertisements is to sell.

6) Seek recent updates: Outdated information can be misleading, especially for rapidly evolving subjects.

Bhavik Sarkhedi is an experienced India-based writer with bylines in prestige publications worldwide.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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