• February 29, 2024
 Does AI-generated content impact your SEO?

Does AI-generated content impact your SEO?

AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is becoming more and more commonplace in the legal industry. It is being used to do things such as create contracts, analyse data, and of course generate content for marketing purposes.

To our knowledge, it’s not yet widely used for tax calculations and for estate planning but we believe that there will be a point where this technology will be adopted within most firms.

While AI can make mundane tasks easier to complete and give firms access to valuable insights from their data, it also has some potential pitfalls that may impact SEO visibility from a marketing standpoint.

According to the GOV website and speaking about businesses generally, Around 15% of all businesses have adopted at least one AI technology, which translates to 432,000 companies. Around 2% of businesses are currently piloting AI and 10% plan to adopt at least one AI technology in the future, equating to 62,000 and 292,000 businesses respectively.

The most obvious benefit of using AI for content production is the speed with which it can be completed. AI-generated copywriting can reduce turnaround times to a fraction of what would otherwise take experienced copywriters hours or days to complete. However, this quick turn-around time comes at a cost: quality control. Without proper oversight, there’s a risk that copy generated by AI may not be up to the standard that search engine algorithms expect, leading to poor visibility in organic rankings.

A common example that we’re seeing in the estate planning industry is a crossover of content generated which included US law and doesn’t strictly deal with legislation about the laws of England and Wales.

Another issue is a perceived lack of clarity regarding the uniqueness of the content being produced. The AI-generated copy could make it difficult for a firm’s online presence to stand out from the crowd. Search engines such as Google use sophisticated algorithms that can ‘supposedly’ detect when content is copied or repeated too often, resulting in reduced rankings or even removal from their index altogether. This means that firms must ensure that any AI-generated content they’re using is original and of high quality so it reflects well on their brand.

We have started to see exam and essay invigilators within the education setting using tools to identify where students had been using AI for their studies. Since AI has become more widely used, there have been tools introduced to enable people to use AI tools to assess originality (checking for plagiarism) and to check whether it can be identified whether the content is AI-generated or not. These advancements certainly weigh in favour of using AI content to boost your marketing content creation.

At the recent Legal Growth Conference earlier this month, a couple of our speakers suggested that whilst AI is developing at a rapid rate, it may not be wise to use AI for content that you’d hope to rank in search engines for SEO, certainly not without significant human oversight. Having since spoken to other SEO experts, and with the rate at which this content is expanding, human oversight might only be needed for a few months before the machine learning is sophisticated enough to fool detection tools and to boost SEO rankings.

Others have suggested that whilst Google is the only algorythm that matters, and that law firms should focus the majority of their marketing efforts toward this engine because it dominates search with 93.37% (Feb 2023) of all searches worldwide. Some experts have said that Google is worried about Microsoft’s significant investment into AI as it plans to capture back some search market share.

What we do know is that there’s the fact that certain topics are more suited to human interpretation than machine learning algorithms. For example, sales copy isn’t something AI is particularly good at because it requires a deep understanding of what motivates people to buy. When it comes to Wills, people tend to make a buying decision based on a significant life event. Content that involves storytelling or the opinion of the writer on a particular issue also should be done by humans who have an understanding and appreciation of different types of writing styles.

In conclusion, while AI can certainly help with SEO efforts in certain ways, it’s important to think carefully before rushing in with AI technology as there are several potential pitfalls that could lead to reduced visibility if not properly managed. At Legal Growth, our team of experienced marketing professionals understand the nuances between human and machine-generated content and can provide advice on how best to use both for your firm’s website. In fact, we use AI for a number of our marketing channels and are huge advocates. It’s merely a matter of knowing when to use it, how to use it and the impact. Contact us today for more information.

Tom Stansfield

Tom is a legal marketer and founder of the marketing agency – Legal Growth. Tom has worked in the legal sector for 10 years and is a huge advocate for business and personal growth and branding. During his career, he has been on the board at the Society of Will Writers as well as being the Head of Growth for WillSuite (and the Love Legal Group) prior to launching the agency. He is also a regular on the speaking circuit presenting at all manner of conferences and sessions.