How Google is Reshaping the Field of AI-Generated Text: The Case of ChatGPT
Updated: Aug 30
Welcome to the digital world, filled with infinite avenues for learning, communication, and growth. However, these opportunities will always welcome challenges and complexities.
The most current challenge? ChatGPT and specifically ChatGPT and Google.
You probably have heard the terms, ‘shadowing’ or ‘shadow banning’, which is the practice of a user’s content becoming invisible or less visible to others without the user being notified.
Now what does this mean for Google? This means your content won’t appear or may be deprioritized in search results.
Unfortunately, for those of us who love AI and ChatGPT, if not used correctly, we run into this risk. However, there are ways to avoid running this risk, and here’s how:
Understanding ChatGPT and Google’s Algorithm:
A brief refresher, ChatGPT utilizes machine-learning techniques to understand and generate human-like text. This, in turn, makes it a viable tool for tasks like drafting emails, article writing, content generating, etc.
Now, though ChatGPT is a powerful tool, it does have a nuanced relationship with Google’s algorithms. The key is to understand said nuances and avoid a shadowing risk.
There is no clear-cut answer to Google’s stance on AI-generated content. In fact, Google has stated that when it comes to AI content, they won’t discriminate between AI and Human produced, so long as it's original, high-quality, and follows Google’s helpful content system. The search engine giant may detect AI content, but that doesn’t mean your search rankings will be affected as long as you’re writing for people and not the search engines.
However, Google does state that if Ai or automation in content production is used with the intent of manipulating search rankings, it can be perceived as spam and the content may be penalized.
Hence, make sure your content follows Google’s E-A-T requirements- expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness- this way your content will rank well even if it is AI-produced.
Why ChatGPT Users Might Be Shadowed:
The big question is, why?
Well, given the operational nature of Google’s algorithm, it’s no secret that there are a few key reasons:
Duplicate Content: ChatGPT generates content based on a massive dataset of internet text. That being said there is a more likely change of the content it produces, being similar to existing content out there. This brings up plagiarism flags, and Google’s algorithms will penalize the duplicated content, which leads to decreased visibility.
Over-optimization: Overusing or misusing the words ChatGPT incorporates for keywords, can be identified as spammy or ‘0over-optimized’ content by Google, which then leads to the shadow risk.
Irrelevant Content: You control what you want to ask ChatGPT, as a result if the prompt is irrelevant or off-topic, Google won’t see it as valuable and as a result, affect the visibility.
11 Ways to Avoid Shadowing:
1. Produce Unique and High-Quality Content: This should be the TOP priority, your content should always be original and of high quality. As mentioned prior, duplicate content will lead to shadowing. Google wants to prioritize content that’s unique and relevant to its users. Yes, ChatGPT is so quick at giving you what you need, but make sure the content your produce is distinctive and offers value to your audience.
2. Pay Attention to Keyword Usage: Keywords are essential to any produced content, but they should be used both sparingly and wisely. If you overuse them, it’s known as ‘keyword stuffing’, which can lead to penalties, like low visibility on your content. This is why you should be mindful to use keywords naturally within the text.
3. Regularly Update Your Content: Google’s algorithm craves fresh content, so if you are using ChatGPT to produce blog posts or articles, maybe think about updating them regularly with new information. Which benefits, not only your SEO but also provide more value to your readers.
4. Follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines: Google has a set of webmaster guidelines you can find through research, and basically, it is a cohesive outline of the best practices for content visibility. It will show you various aspects including technical, quality, and design specifications.
5. Avoid Black-Hat SEO Techniques: These are unethical practices that aim to trick search engines into ranking content higher. Which obviously, will lead to penalties like shadowing. Therefore, when you use ChatGPT, make sure you’re not engaging- even if you don’t know- in any of those practices, like creating hidden texts or links.
6. Use SEO Tools to Monitor Your Content: Look into tools that can help monitor your content’s performance and visibility on Google. Utilize these tools to provide insight into your content, regarding keyword ranking, backlinks, and traffic data. Regularly checking on such things, help identify and address any potential issues before they lead to risk.
7. Do Not Create Entire Articles with AI Content Generators: ChatGPT is an AI writing ASSISTANT, meaning it is designed to assist, not replace. Using this tool to produce your entire articles, can result in inconsistencies, repetition, and incoherent paragraphs. This means, discerning readers, and flags from the pesky ChatGPT detectors. All you need to do is use these tools for generating small sections for ideas or to overcome writer’s block, it should be an assistant.
8. Take Care of Content Structure: Any wells structured piece of content will have shorter, sufficient paragraphs. If your AI tool gave you a long section of content, break it up and section it into smaller segments, and insert images too where necessary. This way you add diversity and the pattern detection will be harder for ChatGPT detectors.
9. Diversify Your Content: This means, including infographics, videos, podcasts, etc. along with your content. This should be done to both, improve user experience and again, make it harder for AI detectors to find patterns.
10. Personalize and Edit AI-Generated Content: Your writing style and insight are unique and are what add depth and authenticity to your work. Therefore, it is CRUCIAL to review and edit content created by AI, not just for accuracy but especially since no amount of technology can replicate your voice and personality. This way you enhance readability, along with protecting you from shadowing.
11. Keep it Contextually Relevant: AI is new, and as a result, it can sometimes stray off-topic or lack relevancy. So keep a very watchful eye that your content stays on point, is valuable, and aligns with the subject matter.
To tie it all together:
When producing your work, it is essential to go about it with the thought process of ChatGPT being your assistant. It’s meant to find, not do.
AI is meant to give ideas, write content to get your brain working, and escape writer’s block, it is not meant to write it for you.
At the end of the day, it is all about writing for people first and search engines second. Once your work is valuable to your readers and audience, you know that Google values it too.