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Google warns: Fact-check AI-generated content before publishing

May 30, 2024 0 comments

The increasing capabilities of artificial intelligence have sparked a content creation revolution. AI-powered tools can analyze data, generate online content, and even translate languages – all at lightning speed. This has led many to believe that AI could revolutionize content marketing, churning out high-quality content in a fraction of the time.

However, a recent episode of Google’s “Search Off The Record” podcast served as a reality check, highlighting the potential pitfalls of AI-generated content.

Their key message?

Human oversight remains crucial to avoid spreading misinformation.

Key points from the Google podcast

  • AI-generated content may contain factual errors: Google highlights a significant risk – factual inaccuracies in content created by generative AI tools.
  • Outdated SEO advice a real threat: The podcast showcases a specific example: an AI-suggested social media post promoting an outdated SEO practice (using rel=”prev/next” for pagination) that Google no longer supports.
  • Human fact-checking is essential: Google emphasizes the necessity of human review before publishing AI-generated content.

The experiment: AI & outdated SEO advice

The Google Search Relations team decided to put AI-generated content to the test.

They used Gemini, an in-house large language model (LLM), to create content on technical SEO concepts for social media posts. While exploring Gemini’s capabilities, they discovered a major limitation:

Gary Illyes on AI and factuality

“My bigger problem with pretty much all generative AI is the factuality – you always have to fact-check whatever they are spitting out. That kind of scares me that now we are just going to read it live, and maybe we are going to say stuff that is not even true,” says Gary

Illyes’ quote underlines a critical concern – AI-generated content requires verification to ensure accuracy. Especially in technical fields like SEO, factual errors can have significant consequences. Incorrect information can mislead readers and damage your website’s credibility with search engines.

Outdated advice

The experiment highlighted a potential pitfall: outdated information can be woven into AI-generated content.

Lizzi Sassman on outdated training data

“If there’s enough myth circulating or a certain thought about something or even outdated information that has been blogged about a lot, it might come up in our exercise today, potentially,” according to Lizzi.

Sassman’s point proved true almost immediately. Gemini recommended using rel=”prev/next” for pagination, a practice Google no longer supports, as confirmed by John Mueller:

John Mueller on rel=”prev/next”: “It’s gone. It’s gone. Well, I mean, you can still use it. Don’t get me wrong. But it has no effect.”

This isn’t just a minor technical detail. Following outdated SEO advice can negatively impact your website’s ranking in search results.

The Takeaway: Human Oversight is Still Critical

The Google Search Relations team’s discussion underscores the importance of human oversight, echoing wider concerns about responsible AI adoption. While AI tools can be a valuable asset for content creation, they shouldn’t replace human expertise.

Why we should care

While AI tools can be helpful for content creation and analysis, it’s crucial to approach their output with a critical eye. Content creators and marketers should use AI as a tool to brainstorm ideas, generate drafts, and conduct research, but verification and revision by human experts remain essential.

Blind trust can be costly

Relying solely on AI-generated content can lead to publishing inaccurate or misleading information, potentially damaging your SEO and reputation. Furthermore, plagiarism can be a concern, as AI may unintentionally copy phrases or sentence structures from its training data.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while AI-powered content creation tools hold promise, careful human review remains essential to ensure factual accuracy and avoid spreading misinformation. Additionally, human creativity and editorial judgment are irreplaceable in crafting content that is not only informative but also engaging and persuasive.

The ideal scenario involves a symbiotic relationship between AI and human content creators, where AI augments human capabilities to produce high-quality content at scale.

You can watch the full podcast episode here:

https://youtu.be/AGoN0oeuZ2k

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