AI Could Ruin Google Search, But Keep Calm and Continue Listening to NPR

Right at the end of the year, on December 29, NPR released a story predicting how the internet might evolve in 2024. Nestled in amongst predictions about the former Twitter’s downfall, people sharing less online, and Gen Alpha creating more slang is a seemingly dire warning: “Google Search results will get worse due to AI-generated content.”

The central idea is that Google struggles to differentiate between sites created by humans and AI-generated websites. Because of this, some people may deluge the web with sites that use affiliate links in an attempt to spam search results and earn money from clicks.

This prediction, sadly, may not be far off the mark. And it could do some damage to Google results, throwing them out of whack and making a mess out of search. At least in the short term.

But you absolutely should not try to ride this potential wave by creating your own AI-generated content. Why?

When You Attempt to Ride the Wave, the Wave Rides You

Essentially, creating these AI-generated websites is an SEO trick. Here’s how those have played out in the past every single time:

  1. Someone discovers an exciting new way to “beat” Google.
  2. Everyone attempts to exploit it.
  3. A tiny handful of people jump in search rank quickly because it wouldn’t be a good trick if it didn’t work.
  4. Even more people see these successes and take the plunge.
  5. Google, who has been working tirelessly in the background this entire time, releases safeguards that stop the trick from working. Because they don’t like things that muck up search results. It’s bad for everyone’s business.
  6. Those tiny handful of winners? They end up tanking. And those who attempted to ride the wave? They tank, too. And it gets worse.
  7. Google hates things that mess with their search results so much that those involved are hit hard with penalties. Making it practically impossible for them to recover after tanking. They’ve basically sacrificed the longterm health of their business for the hope of a quick score.

So, Should You Just Avoid Using AI Completely?

Not at all. 

Use it to improve your writing. Use it to brainstorm. Use it as a tool to make great content. 

But that’s the key: ensure the content is worthwhile. Ensure it’s something that should be highly ranked. 

Because then both you and Google are on the same page: trying to please the end user. And that’s the kind of SEO that builds steadily and isn’t hit hard when there are penalties on “tricks.”

Basically, don’t be a part of the problem in 2024. AI-generated websites may give you a short-term win. Maybe. 

But they definitely won’t serve you well in the long term.