Written by
Daniel Højris Bæk
Calendar Icon - Dark X Webflow Template
October 19, 2023

Google's Recent Algorithm Update Does Not Target AI Content

A review of the recent Google algorithm update, and whether it targets AI content or not. No evidence pointing towards penalization of AI, but just bad content

Google's Recent Algorithm Update Does Not Target AI Content

From time to time I see someone stating that the recent Google algorithm update is targeting AI content, and penalizing either the content or the whole site based on it being created by AI.

This is not true.

Google does not care if the content is made by AI or not. They care whether its helpful for the users or not.

False case studies highlighting specific instances where AI-related websites or blogs are affected

So I saw this post on Linkedin from a SEO, that was sure that his content (made with AI) was being penalised because it was AI.

It included a screenshot with a graph from Google Search Console that showed how the amount of clicks just tanked.

But there is a big misconception here.

Google does not penalise content because its AI.

They have stated this over and over again. And even though we SEOs are often skeptical of trusting Google, there is no reason Google should be doing this. Contrary, Google is not of the leading AI companies in the world and lauching more and more generative AI tools themself.

But Google DO downrank and penalise sites with bad unhelpful content.

And what some AI content often is - if not made with good tools or being edited afterward by an SEO editor - it can easily create unhelpful low-quality content.

And to me it sounds like what happened in this case.

And the posted exampled on Linkedin coincidence with significant volatility in search rankings recently, possibly due to the Google October 2023 core update and the spam update. Many people have expressed concern and frustration about their online businesses being negatively affected by the update.

A guy wrote this in a comment to an article regarding the October 2023 Algorithm Update:

I operate a German car magazine and have approximately 31,000 (!) blog posts online, which have been manually created over the past 10 years. [...] Moreover, these have consistently ranked over 10 years and have gradually fought for their places. [...] Currently, I am experiencing a -70% decrease in traffic, and in the long run, this would mean the end of the site!

A this is just a single among a massive amount of sites that have seen big fluctations due to the Google update. Across both "pure human" content, AI-content and AI-assistec content.

Case example of AI content ranking

Of course I'm biased on the subject as co-founder of a platform using AI to assist SEOs. But I think many have a misconception of AI content and then AI-assisted content.

The difference is, where people often think of AI content as 100% generated by AI, I believe that many times the best case is to use create content assisted by AI if you are targeting more competitive keywords or the subject is more complex and human examples and experience (did anyone say Google E-E-A-T...).

But, even so, pure AI content CAN rank, if it is helpful content.

We see this all the time with our users.

Sometimes they just want to get something out there, without touching anything. And this can create helpful content if they ensure there was a match between the search intent and what they made with the AI.

Here is an example of a section of a site thriving with pure AI content. No internal links, no images, and no human touch, but pure AI.

Screenshot from Ahref showing pure AI content generating traffic and gaining momentum

And yes, it's still relatively new content that has yet to stand the test of time, and not a grand amount of clicks on a larger scale, but that all depends on the eye of the beholder and what success looks like.

Why Google's algorithm updates are not targeting AI

Algorithm updates from Google is daily life for SEOs. So far this year Google have made 3 major updates in 2023 - and most likely countless smaller tweaks and updates they are more silent about.

Google's algorithm updates are designed to improve the quality of search results and provide users with the most relevant and helpful content.

While AI-generated content has become more prevalent in recent years, Google's focus remains on user experience rather than the method of content creation.

In fact, Google has expressed support for the use of AI in content creation and has even developed its own AI-powered writing tools like Google Genesis (AI-based news creation).

Instead of targeting AI content, Google's algorithm updates are more likely to focus on factors such as content quality, relevance, and user engagement.

These factors have always been important for ranking well in search results, and AI-generated content is not exempt from these considerations.

To create high-quality content that performs well in search rankings, SEO professionals should focus on the following:

  1. Understand user intent: Gain a deep understanding of what users are looking for when they search for specific keywords or topics. This will help you create content that meets their needs and provides value.
  2. Create unique and valuable content: AI-generated content can be useful in automating certain tasks, but it's important to remember that uniqueness and value are still crucial factors in creating high-quality content. Make sure your content offers something new and valuable to your audience, whether it's in the form of insights, tips, or solutions to their problems.
  3. Focus on user experience: Google's algorithm updates prioritize user experience, so make sure your content is easy to read, well-structured, and engaging. Use subheadings, bullet points, and images to break up the text and make it more visually appealing. And easier to read and digest and hereby helps SEO readability.
  4. Build trust and authority: Backlinks from reputable and authoritative websites can greatly improve your content's visibility and ranking in search results. And even though Gary Illyes from Google recently stated links are no longer among the top 3 ranking factors for content, focusing on building relationships with other websites in your industry and aim for natural, organic backlinks will improve your rankings.


Is the recent Google algorithm update targeting AI content?

No, the recent Google algorithm update is not specifically targeting AI content.

Does Google penalize content created by AI?

Google does not penalize content solely based on its creation by AI. The focus is on the overall quality, relevance, and user experience of the content.

Can AI-generated content rank well in search results?

Yes, AI-generated content can rank well if it is helpful, unique, and provides value to users. Factors like content quality, relevance, and user engagement still play a significant role in search rankings.

Is there a difference between AI content and AI-assisted content?

Yes, there is a distinction between AI content and AI-assisted content. AI-assisted content, which combines human examples and experiences with AI assistance, is often more effective, especially for competitive keywords or complex subjects.

How can SEO professionals create high-quality content with AI?

To create high-quality content, SEO professionals using AI can focus on ensuring a match between search intent and AI-generated content, while also considering factors like relevance, value, user experience, and building trust and authority through natural backlinks.

Google's Recent Algorithm Update Does Not Target AI Content

This is an article written by:

+20 years of experience from various digital agencies. Passionate about AI (artificial intelligence) and the superpowers it can unlock. I had my first experience with SEO back in 2001, working at a Danish web agency.