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August 2, 2023
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AI-Generated Reviews are Spam, Google says

Unsurprisingly, Google has clarified that AI-generated reviews are considered spam. Learn how this impacts SEO and the importance of genuine reviews.

AI-Generated Reviews are Spam, Google says

In a recent update, Google has declared that AI-generated reviews are considered spam and are against their policies.

While Google has been open to the use of AI in generating content, this new policy specifically targets reviews primarily generated by automated programs or artificial intelligence applications.

This raises questions about the credibility and authenticity of AI-generated reviews, as they lack the human experience and perspective that users expect.

In this article, we will explore the implications of this policy for SEO marketers and discuss the importance of maintaining honest and unbiased reviews to boost organic traffic.

Reviews are Personal Opinions, and AI Doesn't Have One

The clarification by Google is not surprising to us at Reviews play a crucial role in helping consumers make informed decisions about products and services. They rely on the personal experiences and opinions of real users.

An example of a verified review from TrustPilot.

AI-generated reviews, on the other hand, are based on algorithms and data analysis without the ability to truly understand and assess the quality or value of a product. They lack the authenticity and reliability that human-generated reviews provide.

Publishing and referring to AI-generated reviews can lead to misleading or biased information, ultimately deceiving consumers.

By considering AI-generated reviews as spam, Google is taking a stand against misleading practices and emphasizing the importance of trustworthy and genuine reviews for the benefit of both consumers and businesses.

AI-Generated Content in General is Not a Problem

It's important to remember that the clarification only concerns AI-generated reviews and doesn't affect AI-generated content in general. The search engine giant has been generally accepting of AI-generated content as long as it is helpful for users and not solely created for search engine optimization purposes.

Read more about Google's stance on AI content here: Does Google Penalize AI Content? In Short, No. Proof From 4 Cases

This vital difference is important to keep in mind when considering the impact of AI-generated content and reviews on organic traffic and search engine rankings.

While AI-generated reviews can potentially hurt your rankings, high-quality AI content, in general, can have a positive effect on them.

Therefore we recommend you focus on creating valuable and informative content that is genuinely helpful to users. AI can help you achieve that in most cases, but it is a tool, and sometimes it's not the right tool.

What does this mean for SEO? Don't Cut Corners on Reviews

SEO marketers often rely on positive reviews to boost organic traffic and improve search engine rankings. However, with Google's new policy, AI-generated reviews will not only be ineffective in achieving these goals but may also have a negative impact.

Search engines prioritize trustworthy and authentic content, and AI-generated reviews do not meet these criteria.

An example of a personal review from The Verge that illustrates the type of value hands-on experience can add to the table.

SEO marketers will need to focus on generating genuine customer reviews to build credibility and enhance their online presence.

This is where the subject matter expert becomes vital to SEO. You can read more on this here: What Is a Subject Matter Expert and Why Are They Important?

This policy shift highlights the importance of maintaining transparency and honesty in reviews to ensure long-term success in SEO strategies.

You Could Lose Rankings or Get Suspended by Using AI-Generated Reviews

Google evaluates a review to establish whether it is primarily created by AI by analyzing the content and identifying patterns that indicate automated generation. They use algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify suspicious or spam-like behavior, such as repetitive language, generic statements, or unnatural language patterns.

Google also leverages specially trained human experts to consider the source and credibility of the review, looking for signs of automation or artificial intelligence software used in its creation.

By applying these evaluation methods, Google aims to ensure that reviews are genuine and reliable, providing users with accurate information to make informed decisions.

Actions taken against a website for using AI-generated reviews can significantly impact the website's visibility and organic traffic.

If a website is found to be using AI-generated reviews, Google may penalize the site by disapproving violating content or reviews, issuing warnings, or suspending accounts for repeated or severe offenses.

Or to be more specific: Google may lower the the websites' search rankings or even remove it from search results altogether.

Other Policy Clarifications You Should Know

From time to time, google makes policy clarifications, and they are important for SEO marketers to understand and keep in mind to comply with Google's guidelines. This ensures that their reviews and content are not flagged as spam or in violation of the Merchant Center policies.

It also helps root out any misconceptions about how Google Search views different kinds of content and indeed how it works.

We have collected some of the more recent policy clarifications by Google relevant to SEOs below:

No. Topic Policy
1 Plagiarism Reviews should not contain content that appropriates the work of another person or entity.
2 Personal and Confidential Information Reviews containing personal information like full names, credit card information, national insurance number, or driving license information should not be submitted.
3 Sexually Explicit Material Reviews should not contain sexually explicit material or exploit children in a sexual manner. Google removes such content and reports it to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and law enforcement.
4 Keeping it Clean Reviews that use obscene, profane, or offensive language, depict scenes of violence, serious injury or death, contain personal attacks, or are defamatory are not allowed.
5 Copyrighted Content Reviews should not infringe on other's rights, including copyright. If there is a copyright infringement, users can review Google's copyright procedures for more information or file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) request.
6 Off-topic Reviews Reviews primarily discussing topics unrelated to the product itself may be removed. This includes comments about shipping, delivery, experiences with retailers, political or social controversy, and personal attacks.
7 Malware & Phishing Reviews should not contain links to malware, viruses, or other harmful software. Phishing or content that harms or interferes with the operation of Google's networks, servers, or infrastructure is also prohibited.
8 Conflict of Interest Paid or inauthentic reviews are not permitted. Reviews should be honest and unbiased. Google removes reviews with conflicts of interest or those written by employees or individuals with a vested interest in the product. Only solicited reviews from genuine customers should be submitted.
9 Spam Google does not allow spam content and encourages users to mark irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text as spam in their feed.
10 Illegal Content Reviews containing or linking to unlawful content, such as prescription drugs without a prescription, illegal drugs, counterfeit products, or illicit weapons, are not allowed.
11 Hate Speech Reviews that advocate against groups of people based on race, ethnic origin, nationality, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity are not allowed. Violent language, terrorist content, or content that incites and encourages violent acts or extremist behavior is also prohibited.
12 Trademark Infringement Content that uses a trademark in a way that may cause confusion about the origin of the reviewed product is not allowed.
13 Cross Promotion of Other Products/Websites Reviews should not include promotional content for unrelated websites, products, or services.
14 Phone Numbers, Email Addresses, or URLs Reviews should not include phone numbers, email addresses, or links to other websites in their content.
15 Dangerous Products or Acts Reviews of regulated products that can cause harm or injury, such as guns, tobacco products, and regulated drugs, are not allowed. Additionally, content depicting or providing instructions for dangerous or widely illegal activities is prohibited.
AI-Generated Reviews are Spam, Google says

Adam is an experienced content writer with a background in journalism and a passion for technology.

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