AI-generated spam ranks higher on search engines than originals

AI-generated spam ranks higher on search engines than originals

/ 08:25 AM July 04, 2024

ChatGPT can write articles, so you might be wondering if publications have replaced writers with AI.

However, Google and other tech companies discourage it to prevent AI-generated spam. 

The Internet could become less useful if AI content filled it instead of user-generated ones.

Unfortunately, WIRED writer Reece Rogers discovered that AI-made copies of his article ranked lower on search engines.


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The AI-generated content appeared on the first page of search result pages. As a result, it took traffic away from Rogers’ originals.

How AI-generated spam ranked higher on search engines

Rogers was searching for the latest information on Adobe’s artificial intelligence policies. He typed “adobe train ai content” into Google and saw his article in the second position:

“Adobe Says It Won’t Train AI Using Artists’ Work. Creatives Aren’t Convinced.” 


However, he noticed the top search result had a similar title:

“When Adobe promised not to train AI on artists’ content, the creative community reacted with skepticism.”


Clicking it revealed a website filled with AI-generated content, including his WIRED article copied and pasted with only a few changes. 

The bottom showed a hyperlink that led back to the original story. Then, Rogers looked deeper and found the bot wasn’t only copying English language journalism.

He found plagiarized works in 10 other languages like Spanish and Japanese. Moreover, the writer found articles from other outlets like TechCrunch and Reuters. 

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Rogers cited Google’s blog post regarding its response to this problem. Here’s what product management director Elizabeth Tucker said on April 26, 2024:

“As of April 19, we’ve completed the rollout of these changes. You’ll now see 45 percent less low-quality, unoriginal content in search results versus the 40 percent improvement we expected across this work.”

Nevertheless, AI-generated spam continues to be a problem. “This is a really rampant problem on Google right now, and it’s hard to answer specifically why it’s happening,” says Lily Ray, senior director of search engine optimization at the marketing agency Amsive.

Does Google allow AI-generated content?

Google’s developer website Google Search Central explains that the company does allow AI-generated content. However, users must not design them to rank high in search results. 

AI-generated articles should also follow the search engine firm’s spam policies. Specifically, they must not qualify under scaled content abuse:

“Scaled content abuse is when many pages are generated for the primary purpose of manipulating search rankings and not helping users.”

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“This abusive practice is typically focused on creating large amounts of unoriginal content that provides little to no value to users, no matter how it’s created.” 

The impact of AI-generated spam on the Internet

Publications, however, still feel dismayed regarding the rampant rise of AI-generated articles.

“It’s frustrating because we see we’re trying to do the right thing, and then we see so many examples of this low-quality, AI stuff outperforming us,” said Ray. 

Reese Rogers said Google must eliminate spammy sites with AI content. Otherwise, publishers will have less incentive to produce high-quality content.

As a result, people will have fewer reasons to trust websites appearing at the top of Google News. 

Imagine if people filled the Internet with AI-made content. Artificial intelligence tools use existing content as samples so that they can generate new ones.

Training AI on AI-generated content reduces the quality of its results.

Eventually, most online content will have dubious, poorly-written gibberish, making it harder to gain quality information. 

This cascade of events could also affect Google as people will have fewer reasons to trust its results.

More importantly, you’ll struggle to gain quality and trustworthy news. 

Fortunately, the Inquirer provides the best articles on various topics, keeping you well-informed anytime and anywhere.

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TOPICS: AI, technology
TAGS: AI, technology

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