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Can Google Detect AI Generated Content?



Can Google Detect AI Generated Content?

Just when we thought that we could use everything AI to write all of our content, developers went and dropped AI writing detectors on us, too.

The creators of ChatGPT themselves released one just a few weeks ago, amidst new Google statements and updates on the whole issue of generative AI and content. 

It’s looking hard out there for these writing tools—but can engineers really develop a way to detect whether text has been by AI writers and conversational chatbots? Can Google detect AI-generated content? And, should you be worried about penalization if you’ve been using these tools yourself?

Let’s get into what this all means for your content production, and what you can do to avoid getting hit by Google’s algorithm. 

Is AI Content Bad for SEO?

Yes, AI-written content can be bad for your SEO. 

Google has said multiple times in the past that purely AI-written content goes against its guidelines. We’ll get into why and how it can be a problem for you later on.

Google also has a long, long history of using and developing AI tech. So, it’s safe to say that they do have ways to tell if your articles are written by an AI tool. 

Why AI-Generated Content Goes Against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

Is using AI assistance in writing explicitly prohibited by Google’s Webmaster Guidelines? No. But, there are guidelines that strongly condemn ‘spammy automatically-generated content.’ Specifically, they call out any article written by AI for the “primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results,” which they state is a violation of our spam policies.

Google's guidelines on spammy, automatically-generated content

This is a mistake you can commit if you’re trying to churn out the most content simply to climb the ranks as fast as possible. 

So, it’s not that AI-generated content is, by default, something that Google will punish you for. But, if you’re just mass publishing content using AI, then it may ultimately hurt your rankings, rather than help. 

Danny Sullivan—a renowned SEO expert and representative of Google—made this clear in a past statement:

We haven’t said AI content is bad. We’ve said, pretty clearly, content written primarily for search engines rather than humans is the issue. That’s what we’re focused on. If someone fires up 100 humans to write content just to rank, or fires up a spinner, or a AI, same issue…

How Can Google Detect AI Content?

To understand how Google can detect AI content, it’s important to understand how AI writing tools work.

Jasper, ChatGPT, and other similar AI use a process called Natural Language Generation (NLG) to generate copies and responses. NLG uses algorithms, trained on a large corpus of data, to generate human-like text. 

Google on the other hand can use machine learning algorithms to learn the different signals in content—such as text structure, grammar, and syntax in the text. This will help it detect patterns in the content that are indicative of AI generative writing. 

In short, if it falls within a structure that is noticed by the algorithm, Google can flag it.

This is entirely possible because AI writing is missing the natural variation, nuance, and complexity found in human writing. Plus, AI writing tends to be repetitive, and the facts and data they present may also be outdated or misinformative. 

So, Can Google Detect AI Content?

Yes, even if it’s been run through your AI tools a couple of times. It can possibly even detect it if it sounds very well-written. 

It might not be noticeable while skimming through the text your tools generate, and it might even read naturally—and yet, it can be detected. 

That’s not to say that Google’s algorithm is 100% accurate, though. When asked in an interview if Google was able to automatically detect the difference between human and AI content, Google’s John Mueller responded “I can’t claim that. However, if the web spam team sees anything that is automatically generated, they will take action.” 

So, it’s clear that there is no foolproof way of detecting AI-generated content, at least not yet. As AI technology and machine learning continue to develop, it’s safe to say that they will develop a highly reliable way to detect and penalize it.Other AI Writing Detectors

As I mentioned earlier, there are several AI detection tools out there that can catch AI-generated content. 

The one developed by Open AI, which they’re temporarily calling “AI Text Classifier,” is just the latest in the long line of tools you can use. Originality AI is a premium tool that charges you 0.1 cents per credit and checks your content for both originality and AI. Another option is AI Content Detector from Writer, which you can use for free—though only for 1,500 characters at a time.  

I tried them both myself. I first asked ChatGPT to write me an article:

ChatGPT writing an example article

Then, I put it into the AI detector tools, without any edits:

ChatGPT's example article being evaluated by an AI detection tool

Here’s what AI Content Detector had to say:

AI Content Detector's evaluation of ChatGPT's example article

So, these tools seem pretty reliable in finding purely AI-written content.

Should You Stop Using AI for Your Content?

“I’m using an AI writing tool, should I be worried?”

A lot of people are asking this question now. After all, with the introduction of ChatGPT in late 2022, and the explosion of AI software adoption, we all saw the incredible capabilities of AI. Suddenly, we all had free access to a tool that could replace a lot of the legwork and money that usually goes into content writing. 

How could we not use this technology in our SEO strategies, when it was so good? 

And now, months later, many are wondering if their AI-written content puts them in danger of a Google penalty. 

So, should you be worried if you used an AI writing tool for your site? The answer is—it depends. 

The situation as I see it is this: when you use things like ChatGPT to make content, you either publish it as is, or edit it before doing so. 

The first puts you in a bad position because you’re putting out bad content. It will be downgraded by Google because it’s low-quality content that doesn’t provide a helpful, valuable experience for readers.

Why? Because tools like this only scrape and remake content that was fed to them. They do not provide anything novel, since you’re not adding your expertise, your thoughts, or your interpretations to the content. 

So the name of the game now is knowing how to use these tools efficiently, while still adding quality (and a human touch) to your content. Always offer that expertise to it that makes it valuable to readers.

How Does This Affect AI-Generated Content?

You might still be skeptical, and feel safer if you’re writing content purely without AI.

However, what you should be worried about is choosing the best content writing tools, and making sure to use them properly. After all, given how much time and money you can save with this in your toolbox, it’s worth taking the risk—with a few guidelines set in place.

Google even supports this (in a way), in their updated page on AI-generated content:

Google's updated page on AI-generated content:

On the same page, they also said this: “This said, it’s important to recognize that not all use of automation, including AI generation, is spam. Automation has long been used to generate helpful content […] AI has the ability to power new levels of expression and creativity, and to serve as a critical tool to help people create great content for the web.

This is in line with how we’ve always thought about empowering people with new technologies. We’ll continue taking this responsible approach, while also maintaining a high bar for information quality and the overall helpfulness of content on Search.

So no, you don’t have to stop using your tools. But you might have to revisit how you’ve been using them.

For starters, I suggest working with the right team. If the people using them are complete novices, then it might do your content more harm than good. 

Why? Because if they don’t know how to use these tools properly, then they might end up producing low-quality content that will, at best, be ignored by users (and at worst, get penalized by Google). Either way, the result is something you need to avoid.

Plus, if they keep churning out that kind of content on your site, you’re probably going to see a dip in your traffic and engagement.

On the other hand, if you’re able to train them to use these tools in such a way that creates great content for your audience with less time and effort spent, then it will become an extremely valuable asset for your site. In the right hands, it’s a powerful thing. 

So if you’re going to use an AI writing tool, invest some time in learning how to use them, and figure out what you should avoid doing with your content creation. 

What to Do When Using AI for Content Creation

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Check the writing style, tone, flow, and grammar of the generated content. Nothing turns off a reader more than something that is poorly written—or sounds odd.
  • Use the tool to generate the bulk of the text. You could start with an outline, and ask for a paragraph or two for each point. This will make it easier for you to target as many relevant talking points as possible with less effort on your end.
  • Provide clear guidelines. Without proper instructions, AI tools can struggle to generate quality content. If you don’t do this, you’ll probably waste time trying to re-generate the content you’re looking for. 
  • Understand what prompts you can use. AI tools are programmed to respond a certain way to prompts, which can help you generate content in different formats, or for a dedicated focus. Knowing what prompts to use in a given situation can help cut down the time you spend trying to create the right content with your tools.
  • Your content should be relevant and informative. Don’t just push out articles and blogs for the sake of it. If it isn’t relative and informative, it has little to no value for any reader. 
  • Make sure to add your own take on the content—add in your expertise, your thoughts, and your comments on the matter. This human touch not only displays your knowledge of the topic but also transforms the content into something that will be uniquely yours

What to Avoid When Using AI for Content Creation

And here’s what to avoid doing completely with your tools: 

  • Relying completely on AI for your content. As I said earlier, doing this will do you more harm than good, especially since the tools (and Google’s algorithm) can sniff out purely AI-written content. 
  • Substituting AI-generated content for human creativity. Use these tools to cut down on writing time so you and your team can invest in something more valuable—your human creativity, insight, and expertise. Always insert that into your writing.
  • Using AI for complicated, niche topics. Depending on your industry, you might not always be able to use it for your content. While AI is pretty sophisticated in what it can answer, it often cannot answer questions that require inference, a nuanced understanding of language, or a deeper understanding of multiple topics. 
  • Keyword stuffing. This is an SEO content best practice as old as time. When you stuff your writing full of keywords, it will make your work sound spammy, and may even get you penalized by Google for being spam content.
  • Forgetting to proofread and fact-check. Don’t expect AI to be perfect. Always proofread and fact-check. Any data, statistics, or facts given by your tool should be checked for accuracy. 


Can Google detect AI-generated content? The answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop using it in your SEO. 

Though several AI writing detectors are out there—many of which are free to use—it’s clear to me that AI-generated content won’t be going away anytime soon. In fact, there are several ways for it to be used ethically for SEO

With the proper guidelines, you can add AI writing tools as a valuable addition to your content creation arsenal, without fear of penalization.

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AI-Powered Tools To Boost Productivity



AI-Powered Tools To Boost Productivity

Microsoft has unveiled Microsoft 365 Copilot, a groundbreaking AI-powered tool designed to enhance productivity and creativity in the workplace.

By combining the capabilities of large language models (LLMs) with data from the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 apps, Copilot promises to become an indispensable resource for business professionals worldwide.

Copilot: A Powerful Assistant For Microsoft 365 Users

Microsoft 365 Copilot works with popular apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams. Its goal is to help users boost their creativity, increase efficiency, and sharpen their skills.

This AI-driven tool aids in making documents, examining data, and designing presentations.
Here’s how copilot enhances the following Microsoft apps:

  • Microsoft Word: Copilot can write, edit, summarize, and create content within Word. It can offer suggestions to improve your writing and help you choose an appropriate tone.
  • Microsoft Excel: In Excel, Copilot can help you analyze and explore data using natural language queries. It can reveal correlations, propose scenarios, and suggest new formulas based on your questions.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint: Copilot can transform your ideas into visually appealing presentations by creating decks with speaker notes and sources or starting a new presentation from a prompt or outline.
  • Microsoft Outlook: Copilot helps manage your inbox and messages to save time and improve communication. It can summarize email threads, draft responses, and create calendar invites.

Introducing Business Chat

Business Chat is a new feature that works across your data and apps to streamline your work.

It connects information from documents, presentations, emails, calendars, notes, and contacts to provide a seamless experience in Microsoft Teams.

In Summary

Microsoft 365 Copilot has the potential to revolutionize the way we all work.

By automating mundane tasks, users can focus on the creative aspects of their job and save valuable time.

Microsoft is testing Copilot with select customers and plans to expand the previews in the coming months.

Microsoft notes that Copilot adheres to the company’s AI principles, Responsible AI Standards, and data security commitments.

The tool prioritizes human agency and user control, encouraging users to review, fact-check, and fine-tune generated content.

Source: Microsoft

Featured Image: Screenshot from, March 2023. 

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After Semrush Acquired Traffic Think Tank, What’s Next? Insights From Co-founder Matthew Howells-Barby



After Semrush Acquired Traffic Think Tank, What’s Next? Insights From Co-founder Matthew Howells-Barby

In a significant move, SEMrush has acquired a highly-regarded community for SEO professionals: Traffic Think Tank.

Founded by renowned digital marketing experts Matthew Howells-Barby, Nick Eubanks, and Ian Howells, Traffic Think Tank has gained a global following since its inception in 2017, thanks to its invaluable insights and resources for SEO enthusiasts.

Since 2017, Traffic Think Tank has built a reputation for providing valuable insights and resources, earning a loyal following among digital marketers worldwide.

To delve deeper into the success of Traffic Think Tank and to gather career advice for SEO professionals, we had the privilege of interviewing one of the minds behind it all.

Howells-Barby expresses his excitement about joining SEMrush and the opportunities this acquisition will bring for both Traffic Think Tank and SEMrush customers.

In this article, you’ll learn more about the success of Traffic Think Tank, why it was sold to SEMrush, and Howells-Barby’s career advice for SEO professionals.

Can You Tell Us About The Early Days Of Traffic Think Tank?

As Howells-Barby recalls, Traffic Think Tank was born out of a desire to create a community that mirrored one of his career-defining experiences:

“When I look back to the very start of my career, when I first came into the SEO space, I would say the single most valuable thing that happened to me … is I got invited into a small private Facebook group with about 15 people that were far more intelligent about SEO than I was.

And the kind of rules of the group were to share what’s working with one another, and everybody helps each other. And nothing goes outside of the walls of this private Facebook group.”

When the beta version of Traffic Think Tank launched in November 2017, only 100 people were permitted to join.

Howells-Barby believes that strategy was helpful because it allowed them to build a strong community before the recent hype around remote work and online education companies.

The Value Of Closed-Knit Communities

Closed-knit groups that share what works with one another and everyone helps each other are essential for innovation, Howells-Barby says.

“You can get rid of all of the noise of the millions of articles telling you the generic advice… I think if you’re going to truly be able to go a step further, it requires immense trust between a closed-knit group that is willing to share the things they don’t really want to share publicly.”

Traffic Think Tank was founded on this ethos and built a community of people with a common thread in search or marketing.

Over time, the community grew to include some of the most respected names in the SEO industry, with members from various backgrounds and skill levels.

Howells-Barby notes that community members have formed lifelong friendships, launched successful businesses, and even gotten hired through the group.

While Traffic Think Tank offers educational content, Howells-Barby believes that the community aspect is what people love the most, as nearly 70% of all messages are shared via private DMs.

The closeness of the Traffic Think Tank community has been maintained by charging for the group early on and keeping it to a maximum of a thousand people.

How Would You Describe The Community To Non-Members?

Through our discussion with Howells-Barby, we learned Traffic Think Tank aims to provide a psychologically safe space for members to discuss digital marketing and SEO topics.

Howells-Barby stated that one of the first things that excite new members is the realization that they can openly discuss topics that were previously difficult to access or discuss.

“I think one of the first dopamine hits you get is where you kind of go in and it’s like, oh wait, people are actually talking about this. It’s kind of like the first time you have that open conversation about compensation with … peers in an organization and you’re like, oh wait, people talk about this? Like, okay, this is kind of interesting.”

This has resulted in successful initiatives such as Failure Therapy, a popular channel where members can share their failures and learn from one another.

Howells-Barby emphasized that Traffic Think Tank takes its values and code of conduct seriously and that any violation of the code of conduct results in immediate removal from the community.

Community values include diversity and ensuring that everyone feels comfortable and safe to contribute to the conversation.

Additionally, Howells-Barby mentioned the importance of leaving your ego at the door when joining Traffic Think Tank.

Why Sell Traffic Think Tank To SEMrush?

Speaking about why Traffic Think Tank decided to sell to SEMrush, a big corporation in the SEO industry, Howells-Barby said there were several reasons behind it.

Traffic Think Tank had been running as a side business for nearly six years and had always been stretched thin.

Despite having an operational team to help run day-to-day tasks, there were still big things on their to-do list that they needed help to do.

Howells-Barby, Eubanks, and Howells, the founders of Traffic Think Tank, felt like they were letting down the community and needed to consider options to level up growth.

“We knew that either we needed to consider bringing on additional partners or building out the team more significantly or looking at something like an acquisition to really level up kind of on the growth side. We grew the team pretty significantly, but we realized that that still wasn’t delivering what we needed. And bringing on additional partners got a lot more complicated [and] incentives could get misaligned.”

SEMrush, one of Traffic Think Tank’s earliest supporters, proposed the acquisition, and Howells-Barby and his team were impressed with SEMrush’s commitment to keeping the underlying culture and values of Traffic Think Tank.

SEMrush’s incentives align with Traffic Think Tank’s goals of delivering value to its community.

Additionally, SEMrush has promised to invest in new community initiatives, like delivering value back to the community, helping level up content production and production value, and producing in-person experiences.

The acquisition by SEMrush will enable Traffic Think Tank to deliver on its extensive to-do list in a way that itsr lightweight, agile team couldn’t on its own.

What Trends Do You See Shaping The Future Of SEO?

Discussing how SEO has evolved, Howells-Barby says the fundamentals and principles of ranking content in search have not changed much over the years.

Howells-Barby noted that while AI has become a major discussion point in recent years, its impact on search has been gradual rather than sudden. He pointed to the evolution of smart speakers and the shift towards conversational search as examples of how search has changed.

AI-generated content is likely to become more prevalent, which could make content creation more challenging. However, he emphasized that AI will not likely replace all content and that content creators will still have jobs.

“I think on the content creation side, [quality] is going to suffer a lot. I still think that AI is definitely not going to just replace all content. I think it’s going to take certain segments. I mean, it’s been in financial services and finance for a long time already. It’s just people often didn’t realize it. So I think that’s kind of like a place where it’s going to become a little bit more challenging on the content side.”

In the coming years, Howells-Barby sees search becoming more fragmented, with Bing gaining more market share and offering different opportunities than Google.

“Do I think Bing is going to beat Google? No, I don’t. Do I think it’s starting to really kind of gather up and hoover up more market share? Definitely. And I think for the longest time, I wouldn’t even look at Bing when I was doing anything in organic search. I think you have to now, and the rules are going to be slightly different and there’s going to be opportunities across each of these kind of platforms to do stuff.”

While Howells-Barby doesn’t see AR or VR impacting search in the near future, he believes that search queries will become more specific, and relevance will remain essential for ranking.

He highlighted the importance of links in SEO and noted that they’re still the most critical factor in determining authority and ranking.

Career Advice For Aspiring SEO Professionals

As someone who has succeeded in the SEO industry, Howells-Barby has valuable advice for others looking to grow their careers.

There are two essential steps to building a successful career in SEO, Howells-Barby says.

The first step is to acquire a foundational knowledge of SEO, which can be obtained from various free and paid resources.

However, Howells-Barby believes building a solid network of trusted individuals is the most critical step in building a successful SEO career.

He suggests joining communities, whether paid or free, and reaching out to people in the industry at all levels of your career for casual chats.

That can help you build relationships and share information and knowledge, which can pay off 10 to 100 times throughout your career.

“I would say the thing that delivered the most value for me early on in my career, and I still do this today, is I would reach out to people in the industry at all levels of my career, and just try and line up at least one call per week with someone operating at the same level as I was.

When I was … early in my career, I would hit up people that were working early in their career in organic search, and have a casual 30-minute chat, whether that be at the time over Skype, or a coffee if it was nearby, and just compare notes, and start doing some, I guess, do people favors with no expectation of like getting anything out of it, just starting to build these early networks.”

Having a network of people who are invested in your career and can provide support and guidance is more valuable than any online course or job title, Barby emphasizes.

Lastly, he recommends not obsessing over social media followers or being the most famous person on SEO Twitter, but instead focusing on building a community of people who can help you succeed.

In Summary

The acquisition of Traffic Think Tank by SEMrush marks a significant move in the SEO industry.

Founded in 2017, Traffic Think Tank quickly gained a global following thanks to its close-knit community that shares valuable insights and resources for SEO enthusiasts.

The acquisition by SEMrush will enable Traffic Think Tank to accomplish its long list of tasks and take advantage of new community programs, improve its production quality, and host physical events that it couldn’t do independently.

Overall, this acquisition sounds like a positive development for both SEMrush and Traffic Think Tank customers, and we look forward to seeing how it will shape the future of the SEO industry.

Citations: BusinessWire

Featured Image: Shutterstock

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How To Use ChatSpot AI With HubSpot To Improve Productivity



How To Use ChatSpot AI With HubSpot To Improve Productivity

HubSpot recently announced the launch of new AI tools – content assistant and – to boost productivity and save the marketing and sales teams valuable time researching, reporting, and summarizing important information.

SEJ had a chance to take these new tools for a spin – read on to find out what we learned about how you can use them.

What Is integrates the power of ChatGPT & GPT-4 with the HubSpot CRM, so users can ask questions and provide detailed instructions for a task through natural language in a chat interface.

This new AI chatbot allows users to perform various tasks, such as adding contacts to the CRM, creating custom reports, summarizing HubSpot data, and drafting effective, personalized marketing messages and emails.

Combined, these features can save marketing and sales teams a lot of time.

Instead of going to multiple places to run reports based on your HubSpot data or research a competitor, you can just ask to compile the information in the chat.

Inside, you’ll find suggested marketing, sales, generative AI, and research prompts.

Screenshot from, March 2023 also has a prompt library with 40 more prompts to help you learn how the AI chatbot can help you be more productive in your marketing and sales efforts.

Examples Of Responses

The following are examples of responses you can expect from when utilizing it for marketing and sales.

First, we can ask the chat to list PPC keywords for a popular design tool, Canva. The AI chatbot will respond with a list of the top keywords that drive paid search traffic to its website.

We Took The New For A Spin. What Did We Learn?Screenshot from, March 2023

You can continue researching Canva by clicking on the Organic Keywords to see a list of Canva’s top organic keywords in search. Again, you’ll get a list of the top keywords that drive organic traffic to its website.

We Took The New For A Spin. What Did We Learn?Screenshot from, March 2023

The link next to each PPC and organic keyword will take you to the target landing page for those keywords to inspire your page’s design and copy.

Second, we can ask for research on specific companies, like OpenAI. The tool will pull basic information about the company from social profiles, like Twitter and LinkedIn – helping users become briefed on a potential customer quickly before making a sales call.

We Took The New For A Spin. What Did We Learn?Screenshot from, March 2023

Beneath the company info, you can click on links to see the company’s PPC and organic keywords.

Third, can help you draft blog content about specific topics.

As with any ChatGPT-based response, verifying the information (and sources) presented and rewriting it in your own words is important.

That kind of due diligence can help prevent your blog content from matching other companies that use the same prompts for generating content.

If everyone asked what SEO is for blog inspiration, they would likely get the same answer that looks like this. The only way to ensure it is unique is to rewrite it with your unique tone of voice and insights.

We Took The New For A Spin. What Did We Learn?Screenshot from, March 2023 is currently in Alpha mode. Users may find it struggles to answer questions beyond the prompts provided by HubSpot.

It should be fully functional and ready to assist with your marketing and sales needs with time.

How To Access

Sign up for the waitlist to get access to

Also, sign up for the Content Assistant waitlist for a more powerful content generator for your marketing strategy.


The implementation of AI by Google, Microsoft, HubSpot, and others highlights the potential benefits of AI for everyone, from small businesses to enterprises. As AI tools become more available and easier to use, businesses should leverage them to increase efficiency and productivity, leading to faster achievement of business goals.

Featured Image: 4H4 PH/Shutterstock

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