Is AI Content Duplicate Content?

by | May 31, 2023 | Business, writing

The creation of complex AI programs has led to important conversations about how their use will alter different industries. One area receiving news coverage is how AI is being used to create art, but it is far from the only industry being affected. Programs like ChatGTP3 and other similar tools can be used to output written content based on the input prompt.

Though these methods may seem beneficial for a business with an online platform that wants to add high-quality written content to their website, it is not a practice that should be rushed into. There are significant concerns with these written content creation methods that may harm business owners in the long run. AI does not create original content: it scans existing content pertaining to the entered prompt and outputs a response. While this may not be an issue today or even next year, eventually, these tools won’t have a choice but to duplicate content since it is only using words that have already been written. It doesn’t have the capacity to create on its own.

What Is Duplicate Content?

Search engines crawl and scan the content that can show on their search engine results pages (SERPs). One of the things they are scanning for is duplicate content—content that appears at multiple locations or URLs online. According to Google’s definition of duplicate content, it generally includes substantive blocks of content across or within domains that are either appreciably similar or completely match other content in the same language. Most examples of duplicate content are not deceptive in origin, and examples include:

  • Printer-only versions of web pages
  • Discussion forums with regular and stripped-down pages targeted toward mobile devices
  • Items in an online store that are linked to by many distinct URLs

Ultimately, duplicate content can include a wide range of text that can appear on any part of a webpage. Duplicate content – even when done without malice – can cause your site to drop in rankings.

How Is Duplicate Content Penalized?

Most search engines do not treat low-quality content favorably and will lower visibility for sites that contain it. Duplicate content falls under this low-quality umbrella. It is important to note that duplicate content is not penalized unless its intent is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results. However, what is considered deceptive is in the eyes of Google’s crawlers. Once content has been identified as duplicate, Google will be less inclined to index and show pages with the duplicate information.

This will result in less organic traffic for your website, as the search engine will be unable to identify the original content. Though singular or few instances of duplicate content are unlikely to affect your rankings with the search engine, many instances can negatively impact your ranking on SERPs. It should be your goal to reduce any potential duplicate content on your webpage to eliminate any negative consequences to your ranking and visibility with your target audience. 

Is AI Content Considered Duplicate?

AI is a shiny new tool, and it does have many positive uses that can help marketers shave hours from their day. If you take the content and run it through a plagiarism checker software, it will also pass as plagiarism free because the content has not been crawled, indexed, and added to the plagiarism checker database. This may lead you to have a false sense of security about the quality of the written content produced by the AI software, prompting you to create a notable amount of content to improve your website’s search rankings.

Unfortunately, millions of other people have access to the same AI software you used to create your content. When given prompts that are alike, the information output may eventually be nearly identical because AI has no incentive to build unique content on each individual content generation. This will result in many others posting comparable content on their web pages. Once a search engine crawls this content on all the different websites, it is likely to be marked as low-quality or duplicate.

How AI Content Will Affect Your Webpage

Black hat SEO techniques have been around for years. In the 90s and 2000s, keyword stuffing was extremely popular and helped some businesses boost their online presence. This changed once search engines altered their practices and considered keyword stuffing to be low-quality content. Businesses that had previously thrived completely dropped off SERPs, and many companies suffered severe losses until they were able to replace some of this lower-quality content with high-quality human-written content.

Search engines like Google have already made it clear they consider content wholly generated by AI to be against webmaster guidelines, and it is likely to incur a manual penalty. Current search engine algorithms are not necessarily able to inherently differentiate between AI-generated and human-generated content, meaning high-quality and relevant content that was generated with AI can presently rank on SERPs. However, this does not speak for the technology that will be developed in the future. Google has already made it clear that content entirely generated by AI is under the radar for their web spam team to seek and potentially penalize.

AI Content in the Future

AI content is able to pass plagiarism checkers now, but this is likely to change as the influx of AI content continues. Search engine pioneers have already stated their dislike of content that was created without human input. This is also ignoring the human emotion and subtle cognition found in human-generated writing that is often lacking in AI content. AI has a place in future high-quality content generation, but only as a building block for skilled human-content creators. Though AI content may seem like a good investment now, it is likely to have negative consequences in the future.

Better Content Matters – Written Content Built by Human Skill

Search engines consider many factors when crawling, ranking, and indexing webpages, so an overall positive reputation will help the search engine rank your site above any with duplicate content. Some duplicate content cannot be avoided, so creating high-quality content in all other areas can keep your rankings high. This content should be created by talented human writers who can build excellent content that is tailored to your business and will appeal to your target audience.

Better Content Matters recognizes the importance of human-built content and contracts with adept writers to meet our clients’ needs. AI-generated content can feel stiff and unwelcoming, turning away potential customers and alienating your target audience. For content that appeals to both your consumer base and search engines, contact Better Content Matters today.

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Nicole Enochs