Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Copywriters?

It’s an important question – could AI be used to generate highly targeted website copy to rank on search engines and save business owners time and money hiring a human copywriter?

The short answer is no. Not now, not ever.

OK, so let’s not rule out ever. Ever is a long time. Dystopian sci-fi fans will be quick to point out that AI could eventually take over the world with time-travelling, sociopathic cyborgs, let alone Google’s rankings.

So, let’s just settle on ‘not any time soon.’ But why not?

Here’s a list of the reasons why we don’t believe artificial intelligence (AI) software writing tools will be replacing highly skilled content creators anytime soon.

It’s Illegal

Well… by Google’s rules anyway. AI content creation has been a hot topic amongst the SEO community, with many wondering whether it’s actually allowed or not.

In response, Google’s official SEO spokesperson, John Mueller settled the debate by confirming that content created by artificial intelligence “falls into the category of automatically generated content which has been against Webmaster Guidelines since the beginning.” 

So, by using AI to write your web copy or blogs, you’re basically committing an SEO crime. Sure, you won’t go to jail for it, but Google may penalise you with poor rankings and possibly even block your website. 

Don’t worry, the irony isn’t lost on us that Google itself uses AI to automatically generate headlines in Google Ads and even rewrite your website’s Title Tags and Meta Descriptions. Nonetheless, you want to make sure you’re not content farming or article spinning with AI. 

It’s Generic

Think of AI like you’re talking to Siri on your phone. Sure, she might be able to answer some basic questions by scanning the internet to provide information, but for the most part, she doesn’t respond like a real human and we all know she’s a robot. AI content is much the same. 

One of the key factors for well-optimised content is understanding the search intent. That means knowing what people are actually trying to find when they type something in the search bar. Are they looking to buy something? Are they wanting to see reviews and compare products or services? Are they wanting to get information? This all constitutes the tone, voice and style of content, which a copywriter is trained to do, but AI isn’t. 

Remember, the key goal of content is to rank and sell by differentiating your product and service. Your content should be purposefully written, optimised for search engines and designed to meet the search intent of your audience. 

Generic content is the epitome of ‘content for the sake of content’ and a big no-no for SEO. There is a common misconception that more content equals more clicks, but that couldn’t be more wrong. Only high quality, fresh, unique content equals more clicks.

It’s Spam

John Mueller warns against the new wave of AI generated-content, emphasising Google’s John Muller speaks about the risks of AI content.that Google “would consider it to be spam.” This can mean your content won’t rank, your website could be reported and your ads might be stopped and worse…your account removed and your business banned.

AI content also can mean you’re often compromising on the quality of your content. Did you know that grammar and spelling play an important role in your rankings? John Mueller even goes as far as to say that spelling and grammar are often a higher priority than broken HTML!

Google's John Mueller discusses spelling and grammar of content and it's impact on rankings.
– John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google

Poorly-conceived content is not worth risking your business over, so avoid taking shortcuts. You might think you’re saving money and time, but you may actually be harming your site’s ability to rank or even accidentally sharing misinformation . You don’t want to be the owner of one of the 25 billion spammy pages detected by Google each year. 

It’s Plagiarised

Remember how we said automatically generated content is against Google’s guidelines? Well, AI content can pose bigger risks when it comes to copyright and intellectual property law. Australian copyright laws “encourage and protect those businesses which invest their time and talent in the creation of new material,” so it’s important to take this into account when producing content for your website. 

AI works by drawing on the millions of sources on the internet to create a new piece of content, but the reality is that it basically cuts pieces out and glues them together making for messy, badly worded ‘copypasta’. Careless approval processes could lead to the wrong information appearing on your website. If you don’t carefully review your content or don’t know where the imagery or written content is coming from, you might land in legal hot water. While that’s not all inherently against the law, copyright infringement, plagiarism and IP theft is. Tread carefully!

It Bloats Your Website

Ever heard the expression “they know enough to be dangerous”?

In the wrong hands, it is entirely conceivable that a well-intentioned but only partially skilled digital marketer or business owner could embark upon an AI content strategy generating hundreds or thousands of pages and cause enormous damage to rankings, lead generation and their brand.

Unfortunately with SEO, there just aren’t any shortcuts. None. If you want to rank and sell, Google will reward you for investing in top quality content. Nobody wins the SEO game with shortcuts. It really is that simple.

Don’t fall victim to the ‘AI can do it for you’ trap. Get a real copywriter; the kind with hands to type and a brain to think. Speak to 80/20 Digital today to see how a living breathing content specialist can make real magic happen for your website.

80/20 Digital's Content & SEO Specialist, Abbey Faulkner is dedicated to staying on top of industry trends and putting her creativity to good use for her clients. She combines her expertise in media and writing to boost rankings, improve brand awareness, increase engagement and generate leads across clients' websites, email marketing and social media.