AI: Are you on the fence or do you support Google’s banning of AI use in many aspects of online writing?
I’m really pleased to introduce Andrew McDonald who is a copywriter based in Kilkenny, Ireland, who has been exploring the latest changes to the Google algorithm which can penalise you for using artificial intelligence in writing your marketing, and blogging.
It’s proving to be a thorny subject as I recently attended an online copywriting discussion in relation to the negative associations of AI amongst communities talking about video sales letters, blogging communities, and AI developers, so definitely worth exploring!
Artificial Intelligence and Google’s algorithm changes
In recent years a small but growing number of businesses have been using artificial intelligence to generate copy (written marketing material). Why not? It’s much cheaper than employing an actual human being. It doesn’t take sick days or holidays. AI never asked for overtime pay. Nor bonuses.
Great deal, right? Not anymore. Google recently launched a new algorithm which detects artificially created content and penalises you for it. For copywriters like myself, that’s great news. However, it’s also brilliant for small to medium businesses.
Unless you’re a director at one of the biggest multinationals, the amount you can invest in AI is limited. Imagine Google actually started rewarding its use. Suddenly businesses would rush to use it and the biggest ones, being able to pay for better programs, would push everybody else off the most prominent search engine rankings.
Of course, big business can invest more finance in top copywriters. However, crafting quality material takes time. You can’t simply click a few buttons and suddenly take up positions 1, 2, 3… in search results.
This is precisely what Google has worked on avoiding. Done through an altruistic desire to protect small businesses? No. Their business relies on supplying quality site suggestions to users. Which all means that Google’s competitors, Bing, for example, are likely to do the same.
So artificial intelligence to write your copy for you? No. At least, not anymore. Tech to help you improve your writing? Absolutely yes. The best bit? Most of it is free.
Tech to improve your writing
Perhaps the site I use most for my work is Scribens. It’s an online spellchecker. Why don’t I use the one on my DTP, known to most people as Word? Simple. Scribens goes far deeper than I’ve ever seen with any equivalent. When writing is your profession and you need to be absolutely certain you’re getting everything spot on, that’s super important.
I also use a lot of sites which allow conversion between PDF and docx format. Research is an important part of my job. Like most people these days, I do the bulk of mine online. The only problem is this often means dealing with unwieldy web pages.
Not helpful when you just want text format. So I search for useful information, pop the URL into printfriendly.com and this gives me the same information in plain format. I can even get rid of images and bits of the content I don’t need and download this as a PDF.
To use this tidily in my DTP, I convert it to docx so I can literally copy and paste into the file I’m working on. Smallpdf is one such tool which does this efficiently.
OCR converters are also important to me. Sometimes text you need is embedded in an image meaning the tools mentioned above won’t work. By running this through onlineocr.net, I can extract the words straight to docx format. It doesn’t work perfectly, you’ll probably have to slightly edit the output, but it’s a lot quicker than writing it all out yourself.
I could go on about the tech I use, SEO tools for example deserve an article of their own. However, space dictates otherwise so just one more example before finishing. Research and using other people’s work as inspiration is part of a copywriter’s trade.
Plagiarising definitely isn’t. Some try to get away with it, but they always get caught eventually. So when I’m writing anything that has required a lot of fact-finding, I run my draft through a plagiarism checker just to make sure I haven’t inadvertently (honestly!) ripped off someone else’s work. Quetext, which scans the internet for similar texts, is great. It gives me peace of mind knowing I haven’t pulled a fast one on myself, my client or another author.
Tools that will also support your writing
Last month’s blog also explored some of the productivity tools around writing newsletters and social media, which you can revisit here.
How to contact Andrew
If you want to connect to Andrew for copywriting services you can do by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit Andrew’s website at https://www.andrewmcdonald.biz/