Google’s Position on AI-Powered Translation and Content Creation Tools

  • June 13, 2024
  • SEO
No Comments

During a recorded session of Google’s June SEO office-hours Q&A, John Mueller, a member of Google’s Search Relations team, shed light on the implications of AI-generated content for SEO.

The conversation primarily revolved around two essential topics: the indexing of AI-translated content and leveraging AI tools for the drafting phase of content creation.

As AI becomes increasingly prevalent in content creation, Mueller’s insights are valuable for determining the best practices for your website and audience.

AI-Generated Translations

One of the participants queried Mueller: “What can be done to use AI translations transparently without facing penalties for AI-heavy content?”

In his response, Mueller clarified that there are no specific markups or labels designated for automatically translated pages.

He suggested that website owners should scrutinize whether the translated content upholds their quality standards and effectively engages their target audience.

“If the pages are well-translated, if they use the right wording for your audience, in short, if you think they’re good for your users, then making them indexable is fine.”

However, in cases where the translated content does not meet expectations, website owners can prevent these pages from being indexed by search engines through the “noindex” robots meta tag.

Mueller emphasized the importance of surpassing mere word-for-word translations, stating:

“Ultimately, a good localization is much more than just a translation of words and sentences, so I would definitely encourage you to go beyond the minimal bar if you want users in other regions to cherish your site.”

AI-Assisted Content Creation

Another inquiry addressed the use of AI tools for generating initial content drafts, followed by human editorial review and refinement.

Mueller’s focus remained on the overall quality of the published content, irrespective of the methodologies or instruments employed in its creation.

“What matters for us is the overall quality that you end up publishing on your website.”

He acknowledged that using tools for spelling, formulation, and initial drafting is not inherently problematic.

However, he cautioned that AI-generated content does not always equate to high-quality material.

Mueller recommended consulting Google’s guidance on AI-generated content and referring to Google’s “helpful content” page, which provides criteria for assessing content quality.

He also suggested seeking feedback from independent third-party reviewers, commenting:

“I realize it’s more work, but I find getting input from independent third-party folks on these kinds of questions extremely insightful.”

Analyzing Google’s Advice

On the surface, Mueller’s guidance appears straightforward: evaluate the quality of AI-generated translations or drafts and ensure they meet quality standards.

However, his emphasis on Google’s well-trodden “focus on quality” principle provided minimal concrete, actionable advice.

While acknowledging that AI tools could assist in drafting, formatting, and other tasks, Mueller’s caution that AI output is not inherently “high-quality” underscores Google’s reserved stance on the technology.

Interpreting Google’s advice might indicate a subtle encouragement to rely less on AI for now.

Until more explicit guidelines emerge, website owners will need to exercise their judgment and take calculated risks when integrating AI into content creation.

How This Can Help You

Whether you are using AI for translations or initial drafting, the overarching lesson is to prioritize overall content quality, relevance to the audience, and adherence to Google’s guidelines.

Additionally, soliciting feedback from third-party reviewers can ensure that AI-assisted content meets high standards for user experience and SEO.

Catch the full discussion from Google’s June SEO office-hours below:


Featured Image: Bakhtiar Zein/Shutterstock

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