AI Content Checkers: Waste of Time or Actually Useful for SEO?

By the time this is published, it will have been well over a year since ChatGPT and other generative AI tools disrupted the digital marketing industry and became household names. Already, we’re seeing a dramatic reduction in the resources needed to build websites and populate them with useful, actionable content.

However, there are fears that Google, the de facto arbiter of the internet will, one day, clamp down on AI content, much like it did with spun articles in the past.

To assuage these concerns, in February 2023, Google made a statement that AI content will not impact rankings on its search engine. Since then, Google has not significantly deviated from this stance but we can’t know for certain how long this status quo will hold.

What we do know is that Google and many other tech companies have already developed AI content checkers that can detect generative AI outputs with reasonable accuracy. Already, many search engine optimization (SEO) experts are recommending the use of these tools to help content creators “humanize” their output in the hopes of both improving search engine rankings and evading future Google penalties.

So are these AI content checkers a waste of time? Will they actually help improve your site’s SEO performance? Well, yes and no. It all depends on how you use generative AI and what you expect to get out of it.

It’s All About Quality

When Google said that it would not be clamping down on AI-generated content, it explained that it would not be penalizing any content that demonstrated Double E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness), regardless of how it was created.

Let’s get one thing straight — generative AI did not start the trend of useless content. That issue has been plaguing the online experience since the very beginning. While it’s true that generative AI tools can be used to produce a large quantity of useless content very quickly, they can also be used to help human writers produce qualitatively superior content more efficiently. And as we know, better quality content often results in better search engine visibility.

AI Content Checkers Might Make Online Content Better Than Ever

As impressive as generative AI tools are, the generative model imposes some practical limits. Without getting too technical, they are all ultimately reliant on a user’s knowledge to produce good-quality results.

Moreover, even AI-generated content developed by experienced content creators can be lacking in brand identity and emotional resonance. Manually fixing up content to include those elements can take time. Occasionally, it takes up so much time that you’d rather just write things the old fashioned way.

Using the right AI checker can help you get around this hurdle by helping you edit AI generated content much more efficiently. Many AI checkers can flag specific passages for unambiguously AI-generated content, giving you the option to reword it in a way that better matches your campaign’s goals. Some tools like the Content at Scale AI detector even claim to help you paraphrase problem areas so that they bypass other AI detection tools.

While AI content checkers may not always work as claimed (they seldom do) they do give you a new virtual set of eyes that could be used to eke out that last bit of quality from AI generated content. Consistently using AI checkers alongside AI content generators should help you efficiently produce the E-E-A-T signals that Google’s bots look for when assessing content quality.

Do AI Checkers Work?

In August 2023, ChatGPT’s developer OpenAI controversially released a statement claiming that AI content detectors don’t work, claiming them to be mostly snake oil. OpenAI itself released an AI content detector, only to pull it out shortly after.

Mind you, OpenAI has a strong motive to tell you that AI checkers don’t work, as the very premise of AI content detectors serves to undermine its value and, ultimately, its potential IPO prices. At the same time, the developers of AI checkers have every reason to inflate their products’ effectiveness, given the widespread anxiety caused by generative AI.

In any case, while today’s AI checkers may not be perfect, they can still be incredibly useful as part of a larger workflow. At SearchWorks, experienced writers and editors leverage generative AI and AI checkers to efficiently create content that exceeds our clients’ expectations. If we can find other tools could increase both quality and efficiency in content creation, you can bet that we’ll use those as well.

The Pitfalls of Over-Relying on AI Content Checkers

If you’ve used a few different AI content checkers, you will have realized that they all work somewhat differently from each other. Some are especially prone to tagging content as AI-generated, even if it’s completely human-written. Others are completely useless at detecting AI-generated text, especially if you preloaded the content generator with the right parameters.

There lies the problem. AI checkers cannot and should not be used to make final judgments about the quality of online content. Like other analysis tools, they should only be used to help inform your content development and editing process.

The reason is simple: If you dismiss your human qualities and rely on the feedback provided by AI content checkers, you will ultimately find yourself writing for the AI checker — not a human audience. This is ultimately bad for SEO as it could, over time, degrade a website’s E-E-A-T qualities as human perspectives become more and more devalued on your website.

Unfortunately, writers may encounter clients who insist on using AI content checkers as a basic QA requirement. This is a fear-based overreaction that not only forces writers to work within unhelpful restrictions but also potentially damages a client’s brand over the long term.

AI is Not a Cure-All for Your SEO and Content Problems

AI content generators and detectors will only keep improving with time. Even as they are, they’re fantastic tools for guaranteeing consistent content quality and SEO-friendliness. However, without experienced human users, these tools will only help add to the already massive glut of poor-quality content online.

If you want to develop content that truly has value for your audience, you will still need human writers and editors. Though anyone can use generative AI and AI content detectors to produce human-like text, you still need great writers and editors to provide the cadence, nuance, and personality that will make it truly valuable and engaging.

AI tools are great for creating drafts, effortlessly populating content and code with SEO elements, and even conducting website audits. But it’s clear that they still fall short when it comes to doing the very thing that digital marketers are supposed to excel in: building human connections. Without knowledgeable, empathetic humans at the helm, AI content checkers and other AI-assisted tools are not likely to make a lasting difference for your SEO campaigns.

Arthur Piccio
Arthur Piccio
Arthur Piccio has been a professional content writer and developer since 2007. He has helped develop market-winning, localized web content for hundreds of brands based in the US, the Philippines, the UK, and Australia. He is currently a project manager at SearchWorks, the most respected SEO company in the Philippines.
Arthur Piccio
Arthur Piccio
Arthur Piccio has been a professional content writer and developer since 2007. He has helped develop market-winning, localized web content for hundreds of brands based in the US, the Philippines, the UK, and Australia. He is currently a project manager at SearchWorks, the most respected SEO company in the Philippines.