Ethical Use of AI in SEO and Content Creation – A Practical Approach

A robotic hand reaches out to a human hand, symbolizing the use of AI in SEO business strategies and content creation

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It’s been just over a year since ChatGPT came out, and AI has flipped the world of digital marketing – and more specifically, SEO – upside down. The internet is divided into multiple different schools of thought regarding the ethical use of AI in SEO. Some eschew AI altogether due to legitimate concerns about its accuracy, reliability, and the ethics of using it for content creation, while others have embraced AI technology as it relates to their SEO efforts. Those who have adopted AI have done it in many different ways.

Due to the nature of my work, I’ve had many opportunities to utilize AI for SEO purposes. It’s an excellent catalyst for SEO growth if used correctly. It can also be a cancer to your SEO efforts if employed with abandon, unconcerned with the effects of AI and what it produces. Much like any digital marketing endeavor, there’s a right and wrong way to do it.

For the sake of comparison, let’s say you were doing competitor research for a website. Is it ethically wrong to copy your competitor’s strategy? The answer isn’t entirely black-and-white. If you steal their content word for word and apply it to your site, not only is that considered plagiarism, but Google could penalize both you and your competitor for duplicate content. However, if you review your competitor’s website, take inspiration from the topics they write about, and then create thoughtful works of your own based on that content, it becomes a key strategy you can employ when building your business.

Similarly, with AI, it’s important not to just copy and paste what the technology spits out without following a few key steps. 

Ethical AI Content Creation

So is it possible to use AI ethically to create things like blog posts and website pages? Some would say “no,” but I contend that there is a time and place for it. If you’re using AI to create SEO content, it’s important to follow these steps:

#1: Check Your Content For Plagiarism

Typically, I recommend using AI sparingly when writing SEO content. Human-written content is better, easier to read, and more valuable to humanity as a whole. However, as a digital marketing professional, sometimes you need a helping hand, or in this case, a helping bot.

If you use AI to write your content, running it through a plagiarism detection tool can help you avoid penalties from Google and other sites. Grammarly, Plagiarism Checker Free, and Quetext are all great free tools you can use to check your AI content for plagiarism.

#2: Review Your Content For Factual Accuracy

As we are all well aware at this point, ChatGPT and other AI bots are not so reliable when it comes to cold, hard facts. They can spin some pretty crazy yarns, which is a fun function for fiction writers but not so fun for digital marketing and SEO pros. Any time AI writes your content, a human needs to run through it with a fine-tooth comb to ensure that all the information is factually accurate.

#3: Avoid Writing As Someone Else

“Write as a seasoned professional” can be a useful prompt, but avoid using someone’s name or the name of another website in your writing prompts. This can lead to your content sounding too similar to another person’s writing. 

#4: Avoid Topics That Are Too Generic

The more generic and unoriginal the topic, the more your AI’s writing is going to sound like someone else’s. The best topics to write on are those that are just starting to have a lot of traffic and also have low competition. ChatGPT and other AI bots are not so great at sussing out this kind of thing yet. Using SEMrush, SE Ranking, Google Keyword Planner, and other SEO tools to find the right keywords and questions to answer is still the best approach.

#5: Add Your Own Opinions And Personal Touch

The best way to use AI content is to make it a blend of a robot’s knowledge with human insights. GPTZero and other AI content detection tools can help you assess how much is AI vs. human-written content (although, much to my chagrin, my original writing has been flagged as AI on more than one occasion). A good rule of thumb is that AI-written content should be flagged in 10% or less of your posts.

The Best Ways To Use AI Ethically

While I’m not opposed to AI content creation, I prefer to use AI as a tool in my toolbox to assist with the development of SEO strategies. Some of the ways I use AI are as follows:

#1: Developing Content Strategies

Even though I’m a seasoned professional, ChatGPT and other AI tools have way more knowledge than me on what strategies work for digital marketing across the globe. These bots have access to the entire internet and can synthesize the information in a fraction of the time it would take to even read it. I start by doing my own keyword and competitor research, but if I need some ideas on what strategies work for others, AI is my right-hand man.

#2: Analyzing Your Content’s Voice

If you’ve written your content by hand, running it through an AI tool can let you know how it comes across without having “beta readers” go over it for you. It can also help you figure out how to explain your content to other people.

#3: Rewriting Awkward Passages

Sometimes, no matter how long you stare at the same paragraph, it won’t magically fix itself (shocker). AI does a good job of smoothing out awkward wording, although sometimes it will add generic language to your text. You can mitigate this by asking it to write in the same voice as the post itself.

#4: Using It As A Search Engine

Now that GPT-4 is integrated with Bing, it does a great job of finding answers to your questions. I use it for research purposes when I need to analyze answers from multiple sources in a short amount of time.

Wrapping Up

There are many other ways to use AI in SEO and content creation, some of which we haven’t even discovered yet. Generally, following these practices will keep you out of hot water:

  • Avoid stealing from others, whether intentionally or unintentionally 
  • Make sure you know the facts and your content reflects them
  • Stay away from generic content that is too easy to replicate
  • Use a blend of human- and AI-written content (instead of 100% AI)
  • Use AI primarily to develop content strategies & perform research

Looking for an ethical SEO partner for your agency or business? Contact Evolve SEO Services today!

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