There’s no doubt about it — being able to write content for your website with ChatGPT is pretty appealing, especially in today’s digital landscape that demands constant engagement.
Blog posts that once took hours to draft, write, and edit can now appear at the click of a button? Sign me up!
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
While ChatGPT and other AI bots can technically write blog posts for your website, you can’t just copy and paste their content onto your site and expect it to perform well. (I expect Google’s standards for AI content to change in the coming years, but that’s a topic for another blog post).
Google looks at four main factors — Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust — to rank content in search engines. The content AI writes for you likely won’t check all four E-E-A-T boxes, making it necessary to perform some strategic alterations.
While the writing may appear professional and high in quality on the surface, it won’t have the level of authority necessary to rank well without a makeover.
So, what do we do instead?
I attended a conference a few years ago where we discussed this topic at length. And while AI’s capabilities for businesses have changed a lot since then, the solution we came up with still rings true. Allow me to share it with you here:
Use AI writing tools to generate your content, then add in E-E-A-T language to enhance it.
Utilizing E-E-A-T to enhance AI-generated content can save you a ton of time while still delivering high-quality content for your website. But how does it work?
Read on to find out.
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E-E-A-T: The Basics
If you’re trying to curate a high-ranking website for your business, you need an in-depth understanding of E-E-A-T. (The acronym used to be E-A-T, but Google added the extra E at the beginning of this year.)
Experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust are all valuable factors impacting your website’s rankings as a whole. But Google will also evaluate these factors for each page on your site as they relate to users’ search queries.
These factors relate to your credentials as an author to share the information you include in your content. Google wants the most accurate, informative content to rank highest.
If you’re an engineer writing about cake decorating, you probably don’t have the level of authority Google is looking for.
I’ve provided a definition of each factor to help you understand what Google is looking for:
Have you ever heard the phrase “Write what you know”? Google’s ranking algorithm takes this philosophy to heart.
The best-ranking content comes from authors who have first-hand experience with the topic they’re writing about. They’re the primary source, and they have a lived authority that makes their content supremely trustworthy.
Experience is the factor Google recently added to its search quality guidelines, and it’s no surprise this addition came soon after the launch of ChatGPT. AI doesn’t have experience with any topics it writes about, reducing the content’s authority and quality.
Google also wants content writers to demonstrate their expertise on a subject. This quality is most evident in highly detailed, unique content that can only come from a place of in-depth understanding and training.
For example, consider the difference in language between a “how-to” plumbing article written by a plumber with a 30-year career and one written by a general content writer without plumbing training. The expert plumber will use very specific, technical language, while the content writer will write at a more basic level.
Basic, general content certainly has its place in search results, as consumers often want a simple or easily skimmable explanation.
And there’s some evidence that Google doesn’t care too much about the author’s expertise as long as the website as a whole has demonstrated this quality. Many of the highest-ranking articles for a search query have unspecified authors.
Still, demonstrating expertise in your content can’t hurt your search rankings and can instill confidence in your reader.
Authoritativeness is the level at which readers would view you and your website as go-to sources for the information your content provides. Does the blog post align with the other content on your website? What types of credentials do you have to share this information?
Establishing your authoritativeness involves:
- Having a professional website
- Making it easy to verify the content on your site
- Including straightforward contact methods so that readers can connect your content with a real person
- Publishing error-free content in terms of spelling and accuracy
- Updating your website and content regularly
- Including backlinks to authoritative websites
All of the above factors combined will instill a sense of trust in the reader — and the search engine algorithms — that the content on your website is accurate and answers a user’s search query. Your trustworthiness will also increase as you prioritize experience, expertise, and authority.
Does AI Inherently Have E-E-A-T Qualities?
Your content must have experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust to rank well. Does AI exhibit any of these qualities on its own? Simply put, no.
AI gets its information from training materials, but we have no way to check what those training materials are. In other words, AI doesn’t cite its sources.
For all we (and Google) know, the AI program that wrote your blog post pulled the information from a bogus source, creating a minuscule level of expertise.
Neither does AI write from a place of first-hand experience. Its training materials may include that first-hand information, but again, we have no way of knowing.
Artificial intelligence isn’t a very trustworthy source. Have you ever heard of AI “hallucinations”? They’re a phenomenon where AI casually provides completely false information within the context of otherwise correct details.
Uninformed readers wouldn’t be able to identify these hallucinations, but they can seriously hurt your reputation over time.
How Do We Use E-E-A-T To Enhance AI-generated Content?
E-E-A-T doesn’t necessarily prevent you from using AI to write the content on your website. Instead, you may view the AI-generated content as a first draft you can shape and edit to prioritize E-E-A-T factors.
ChatGPT can give you a basic blog post that contains relevant ideas and information. Then, you can spend time adding your own experience, expertise, and authority to the AI-generated content. After that, you can follow additional steps to make sure your content is SEO optimized.
Interspersing your authoritative language — and high-quality sources — into the content will make it more likely to rank in the search results.
I recommend using all of the following elements to enhance your AI content, build authority, and showcase your expertise:
Clear, Honest Disclaimers
Openly admitting that your content is AI generated may seem counterproductive, but doing so is a fast and effective way to show Google that the content is authoritative, despite AI’s metaphorical hand in writing it. It also gives the content a human touch that supersedes the AI-written qualities.
You should begin adding disclaimers to all your AI-generated content, detailing:
- The specific sections of the content that were AI-generated
- That you edited and fact-checked the AI-generated content
- The references you checked the AI-generated content against
Your disclaimer may say something like this:
“The following article contains some AI-generated content, indicated in italics. A human writer has edited and verified the information in the AI-written content by comparing it to authoritative sources, which are listed at the end of this page.”
I predict these disclaimers will become more common in the next few years as more businesses begin using AI-generated content. Adding them may seem strange initially, but your readers will have to appreciate that you’re being upfront about where your content came from. The search engines will appreciate it, too.
Google wants to know that your website is authoritative and trustworthy despite containing some AI-generated content. One way to demonstrate your authority is to include an author bio on each blog post that details the human author’s credentials and background.
For example, an author bio for a digital marketing publication may look something like this:
“John Smith is a digital marketing consultant with 10 years of SEO experience. He has written articles for Digital Marketing Magazine and SEO Digest and was recently named among the Top 50 Marketers of 2022. He resides in Oklahoma with his wife and two dogs, Mimi and Coco.”
This bio does two things well. First, it establishes John Smith’s experience, expertise, and authoritativeness in direct, simple language.
It also humanizes John Smith, which can help readers feel better about reading a piece containing AI-generated content. They can still trust that it is accurate because a real industry expert reviewed it.
Maybe you don’t have the same level of authoritativeness as our hypothetical John Smith, but including any relevant facts and credentials you do have can be helpful.
Sprinkling anecdotes throughout your AI-generated content is an excellent way to build authority.
AI can’t write accurate personal anecdotes. Sure, it can make up anecdote-like content, but the stories it tells won’t have any basis in reality.
Instead, you should think of real-life examples that relate to the topics in your AI-generated content and intersperse them throughout.
The most effective anecdotes will be verifiable — for example, you can tell a story from a conference you recently attended that you also have pictures and videos from. Or perhaps you can share a problem one of your customers faced and how you resolved it, with photo evidence to flesh out the details.
These stories also serve as reminders that a real human was involved in writing the content, even if portions of it came from AI.
Links to References
As AI-generated content begins to infiltrate search engine results, Google will likely value authoritativeness as a ranking factor even more strongly. The best way to show your authority is by linking to authoritative sources that verify the content of your articles directly within them.
High-quality references are academic journals and websites ending in .gov or .edu. You can also look for industry-specific sources, such as national associations, for your business type. But avoid linking to competitor websites, as doing so can hurt your search engine rankings.
Linking to references also allows you to verify the information in the AI-generated content. Every claim within the writing should be verifiable through a high-quality source. If it isn’t, delete it.
About Us Pages
Establishing E-E-A-T factors at the greater website level can also improve the authority and trustworthiness of your individual pieces of content. Google wants to ensure your website as a whole is an authoritative source, and one way you can establish this authority is through a descriptive “About Us“ page.
This page provides clear information about your company’s background, services, and credentials. It may also include any guarantees, warranties, or return policies your company offers.
Without an “About Us” page, Google and your readers won’t be able to verify that your written content comes from a trustworthy source. Your website could just be a front for displaying ads or backlinking to other sites. Your content could also be completely fabricated — Google would have no way of knowing.
Reviews from customers and clients can also go a long way toward showing that your company and website as a whole are authoritative. Without them, readers may see that you have AI-written content, casting doubt on whether your business is a human-run operation.
Regularly reviewing your Google Business Profile is an important step in managing your online reputation and maintaining your local SEO. You can take any positive reviews you receive on the platform and copy and paste them onto your website’s homepage to show you have real, satisfied customers.
If you don’t have many reviews, consider reaching out to past customers and incentivizing them to rate and review your company. It doesn’t look good to fabricate reviews on your website, which could hurt your authoritativeness. (In other words, don’t use ChatGPT to write fake reviews!)
Using E-E-A-T To Enhance AI-Generated Content: Is It Really Worth It?
While you can use AI as a tool to streamline your content writing process, you’ll need to do your due diligence to ensure the content AI spews out is accurate, relevant, trustworthy, and authoritative. You’ll also need to make some edits to enhance the content for search engine ranking factors.
So, is using AI really even worth it? Will you save much time compared to just writing the content from scratch?
The answer depends on your writing skills and the type of information you’re writing about. If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, using ChatGPT or another AI writing tool could save you a lot of time and headaches when crafting well-written content from scratch.
ChatGPT may also be helpful if you’re writing about topics you aren’t totally familiar with. This tool is great at explaining complex topics in an easy-to-understand way.
Of course, you’ll still need to establish your authority on the subject, and this may be hard if you don’t understand the topic well enough to write about it.
I’d recommend doing a little experiment: Use ChatGPT to write an upcoming blog post, then spend time adding the E-E-A-T factors I described above. Once you’re done, write a blog post about a comparable topic from scratch. The benefits of ChatGPT may surprise you.
AI-generated content has the potential to transform the world of digital marketing. Using E-E-A-T to enhance AI-generated content, you can save time and money on content creation while still delivering search engine-optimized content and maintaining authority within your industry.
If you’re still hesitant to use AI writing tools, don’t sweat it. Writing content yourself — or turning to a professional digital marketing team — may still be the better option in terms of establishing E-E-A-T. Many businesses still find professional copywriting worthwhile, as the long-term impact of AI writing tools remains unclear.