The debate on AI versus human content has been doing the rounds for months, and people may call it a stale topic now, but man, oh man, it’s only getting interesting! A couple of weeks ago, Google gave another shoutout to AI-generated content, saying it is acceptable as long as it purposefully serves humans. But it can’t get away with producing content that manipulates Google’s search results.
This raises the question of how to tell the difference between AI content that is useful and content that is meant to trick people. That’s where the “Who, How, and Why” comes into the picture. Google updated its “people-first” content section to include a new subsection with these questions (Who, How, and Why), providing additional guidance.
According to this new subsection, the evaluation of content with these questions could be a game- changer and a sure way to get rewarded by Google’s systems.
Who let the content out? Who?!
People understand the E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust) of content only when they know its creator. That’s the “who” question we are talking about. Mentioning who created the content adds to its reliability and relevancy. And that’s why it is recommended to add accurate authorship information, such as bylines to content where readers might expect it.
The How of Content
If the readers get to know how the content was produced, not only does it give them useful insights, but it also helps them build trust. For example, readers are more likely to trust product reviews that show how many items were tested, what the results were, and how the testing was done.
In the same way, for AI-generated content, spilling the beans on the steps taken can aid readers and viewers in grasping the extraordinary and beneficial role automation plays. That’s why it is advisable to disclose the process of automated content creation, so if someone thinks, “How was this created?”, they have an answer.
The Existential Why
Perhaps the most important question among all three is: Why is the content being created in the first place?
That’s where we talk about the purpose. That’s where we say that it’s made to help people. It’s useful to visitors if they visit our website directly. Explaining its existence means aligning with the E-E-A- T, which is what Google’s systems seek to reward.
On the other hand, if the purpose of creating content is to lure search visitors, it’s a direct violation of Google’s spam policies, which can have an adverse effect on the website’s ranking or worse, result in the removal of content altogether.
It doesn’t matter to Google if the content is generated by machines or humans—it wants to see content that genuinely helps people. Manipulative content won’t fly—Google will eventually detect it and take action, from a ranking penalty to total content removal. Although they don’t need an explanation of “who, how, and why” to rank content, we believe it’s often beneficial to include that kind of information.