September 29, 2022

The Fall of the Content Writer?

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10min

The Fall of the Content Writer?

Will AI Content Writing Tools Replace the Copywriter’s Job?

Over a decade ago, back when SEO was defined by excessive and indiscriminate link-building, dummy accounts, and article syndication sites, web writers wielded power using AI writing tools. When creativity ran in short supply, and we were on the edge of our seats trying to hit our minimum word count, we used to turn to software called “article spinners,” and helped many of us speed up the content creation process.

This is perhaps the best selling proposition of AI writing tools: its efficiency and scalability. The question is, after so many years, is there still merit in employing a tool that would clearly furrow the brows of many marketers today, and of course, Google? 

THE CASE FOR AI WRITING TOOLS

An AI writing tool can halve the time it takes for a human writer to complete a one-page article, with potentially fewer grammatical and stylistic errors. If the agency or the human writer received a bulk writing project in hand, using AI apps can speed up the delivery time and shorten the overall writing process.

For more advanced writing tools, they can be your friend when there are trending topics to quickly jump the bandwagon on, where speed-to-market is an important metric. They also come in handy when you need multiple yet unique content for similar products and services, or when you need to replicate similar-sounding texts for different localised content.

Many agencies also use AI writing tools because of cost considerations. A human writer can charge hundreds of dollars per writing project based on factors like number of articles, word count, complexity of topics, and expected delivery. In some cases, a writing software uses a monthly subscription pricing model that charges based on those same factors, but are comparatively cheaper than what a freelance writer might bill you for.

Another selling point of AI writing tools is that it can aid writers suffering from episodes of writer’s block, especially when they’re stymied by a particularly difficult topic that requires research and expertise on the subject. The writing software can help the writer jumpstart the writing process by generating outlines and providing key points on the subject.

In business, of course, efficiency is a mega-competency. And an AI writing tool is a decent alternative for writing at a fast pace for bulk writing requirements.

WHAT AI WRITING TOOLS MEAN FOR SEO

AI writing tools as a software product is a result of advancements in computational linguistics or ‘natural language processing’, or (NLP). For many years, we have relied on NLP whenever we use search engines, install voice-activated systems, spell-checkers, auto-correct, and predictive text features on our devices.

As with the above examples, how they work is based on inputted data that algorithms in a software analyse and process to write content. The earlier versions of article spinners use an expansive database to replace words with their synonyms and improve readability by changing the phrasing of the elements in a sentence. By changing most of the words in a text, the processed text becomes ‘unique’ in the eyes of search engines. For a time, it worked, but most of the time, the text sounded inorganic because a word may be substituted by an ill-fitting synonym. Using these article spinners brought to light certain linguistic issues like polysemy (in cases when a word has multiple meanings yet not all its synonyms can be used interchangeably), idiomatic expressions (which come in phrases and could not be taken apart with the intent to replace one or more of its grammatical elements), tone, style, and many more.

Modern AI writing tools evolved to scrape pieces of content all over the web and reword them to give the impression that the rehashed content is unique. Of course, for the discerning eye of readers, as well as Google, this raises questions about quality and potential charges of plagiarism.

Time and again, Google reiterated that it doesn’t like content created and curated by artificial writing tools. If left unchecked, over-reliance on AI writing tools can lead to the search engines penalising your website. It still behooves marketers to publish content that is made for humans, and not for search engines.

Google’s quality rater guidelines evaluate if a content shows “E-A-T” or expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. This set of criteria alienates most of the content made by AI writing tools as the content produced through them lacked depth, creativity, and originality. Again, AI writing tools rely on other content published over the web and synthesise them according to the user’s needs. The E-A-T criteria is a response to the growing and disturbing problem of misinformation, as many people are left doubtful about what they read online. An AI-generated content will find it hard to hold up under the scrutiny of Google’s quality raters.

AI WRITING TOOLS AS MEANS, NOT ENDS

There’s still some merit in running AI writing tools, but only for writing assistance. They are your friend when you need to create quick outlines, spark creativity, and overcome writer’s block. You can also use them for paraphrasing confusing sentence structures, correct grammar errors, and check the overall uniqueness of your content.

AI writing tools can help you, sure. But it will not do the job for you. Before using a writing software, research what topic is interesting for your readers, choose one that will demonstrate your credibility and authority, and write it the way human readers will appreciate it, more than search engines.

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