Google Is Finally Trying to Kill AI Clickbait - AITechTrend

Google Is Finally Trying to Kill AI Clickbait

On Tuesday, Google announced changes to combat AI spam in search. An SEO expert says these new rules could “change everything.” 

Google is taking decisive measures against algorithmically generated spam, unveiling upcoming changes, including a revamped spam policy, to prevent AI clickbait from infiltrating its search results. 

Lily Ray, senior director of SEO at Amsive, describes Google’s announcement as potentially one of the most significant updates in its history, with the potential to bring about transformative effects. According to Google, the change is projected to reduce “low-quality, unoriginal content” in search results by 40%, focusing particularly on mitigating what the company terms as “scaled content abuse.” This involves the flood of the internet with substantial volumes of articles and blog posts orchestrated to manipulate search engines. 

Pandu Nayak, Google’s vice president of search, cites “obituary spam” as an example of scaled content abuse. Obituary spam involves individuals attempting to profit by scraping and republishing death notices, sometimes on platforms like YouTube. Recently, obituary spammers have utilized artificial intelligence tools to escalate their output, prompting Google to introduce a policy designed to counteract such spam in online searches effectively. The changes are intended to reduce low-quality, unoriginal content like “scaled content abuse” where bad actors flood the internet with massive amounts of articles and blog posts designed to game search engines. An example is “obituary spam” where death notices are scraped and republished, sometimes using AI tools to increase output. 

This robust approach to combating search spam takes specific aim at “domain squatting,” a practice where individuals purchase websites with established name recognition to capitalize on their reputations. Often, original journalism is replaced with AI-generated articles crafted to manipulate search engine rankings. Although this behavior predates the AI boom, the rise of text-generation tools like ChatGPT has made it easier to produce endless articles for gaming Google rankings. 

The surge in domain squatting has marred Google Search’s reputation, with Gareth Boyd, an SEO expert, acknowledging the ease with which such sites can be created. Google’s new policy explicitly categorizes this behavior, along with other forms of AI clickbait, as spam. 

Additionally, Google’s updated policy will target “reputation abuse,” where otherwise reliable websites permit third-party sources to publish substandard sponsored content or other digital clutter. While enforcement for most aspects of the spam policy begins immediately, Google is providing a 60-day notice before cracking down on reputational abuse, allowing websites time to conform. Nayak indicates that the company has been working on this update since the end of the previous year, with broader efforts to address low-quality content in search, including AI-generated spam, dating back to 2022. Some SEO experts cautiously believe these changes could restore Google’s search effectiveness, with Lily Ray expressing hope for a return to previous search norms but emphasizing the need to observe the actual outcomes.