SEO News You Can Use: Google Bans AI-Generated Reviews, Says They Are Spam

SEO News You Can Use: New Updates to Chrome FLEDGE

Google is now clamping down on its stance against artificial intelligence or AI-generated content. In their latest Google Merchant Center announcement, they said they’ll be updating their Product Ratings policies by August 28, 2023. This update includes a new section called “Automated Content.” Here’s what the new section says:

“Automated Content: We don’t allow reviews that are primarily generated by an automated program or artificial intelligence application. If you have identified such content, it should be marked as spam in your feed using the <is_spam> attribute.”

According to this update, business owners are primarily responsible for flagging this AI-generated content. What’s unclear, though, is how businesses should know if the content is AI-generated or not.

This may primarily be targeted at businesses today that use AI applications to inflate their customer reviews since Google wants to ensure the proper representation of brands on their platform.

We’ve previously covered a Tokyo SEO conference where fake experiences generated by AI were a particular concern. This new Merchant Center policy is clearly a step towards addressing that issue.

Unfortunately, this policy only burdens business owners, who are mostly the perpetrators of generating fake reviews. What Google will do to incentivize reporting fake reviews remains to be seen.

Aside from this new policy, Google also clarifies its existing Product Rating policies in the following sections:

  • Spam
  • Dangerous products or acts
  • Phone numbers, email addresses or URLs
  • Personal and confidential information
  • Keep it clean
  • Conflict of interest
  • Malware and Phishing
  • Copyrighted content
  • Trademark infringement
  • Plagiarism
  • Sexually explicit material
  • Hate speech
  • Cross-promotion of other products/websites

As Google trains its algorithms on publicly-available data, we expect it to become smarter and wiser in detecting and flagging AI-generated content. In the meantime, you can ensure being in Google’s good graces by reporting AI-generated reviews yourself.

More SEO News You Can Use

20 Keyword Mentions on a Page? Search Expert Says Don’t Worry: On Twitter, someone asked Google Search Advocate John Mueller if mentioning a product name “10-20x” is considered keyword stuffing. As a response, Mueller said these are “amateur numbers.” He goes on to say that you should be more concerned about if these mentions annoy users when they go to your page. If you’re looking for a number, Mueller explained that the pages he worries about have “3-500+” mentions on a page. While you shouldn’t be alarmed by 10-20 keyword mentions, Mueller still advises that you check if they disrupt the page experience. “I wouldn’t worry about 10-20 mentions on a page just for SEO, but I *would* check if users think it’s ok,” Mueller said. Take a look at this report by Search Engine Roundtable.

SGE Now Displays Links for AI-Generated Summaries: Search enthusiasts, Google heard you. After backlash on the lack of links and citations on the Search Generative Experience (SGE), the search giant finally caved in and displayed links in its AI-generated results. In a tweet, Shalom Goodman shared a screenshot of a link-laden SGE result. In her photo, the whole URL is hyperlinked after each piece of relevant information. In another tweet, Brendan OConnell shares a different look at SGE’s citation-rich results. Instead of the entire link, you have to click a button to see the whole source URL. This is good news for publishers who wants to maintain their organic traffic despite the rise of AI-powered search engines. We’ve already seen the linked citations feature from Bing Chat when it was released publicly, so it’s interesting to see how SGE’s version of in-line citations holds up to its rival. Read more from Search Engine Roundtable.

Outbound Links Won’t Help SEO – Google: You can’t borrow an authoritative website’s authority by linking to them. That’s what Mueller said in a discussion in the SEO subreddit community. According to him, “Nothing happens” to your SEO ranking when you link to external authoritative websites like CNN or Wikipedia. Instead, he advises SEO pros to “treat links like content.” If they contribute additional value, then you’d have no problem linking them naturally. Similarly, you shouldn’t link something if it has nothing to do with the rest of your content. Linking to multiple authoritative websites is likely a spam tactic for most SEO services in the past. Now, Google’s clarification debunks those myths and hopefully stops people from linking too many unnecessary websites into their content. Read more of this story from Search Engine Journal.

You Can Now Add Customer Support Info in Merchant Center: In another Merchant Center update, Google now lets you add information about how your customer support and returns policy work. This move is meant to help Merchants solve customer issues and “build trust with your customers.” All you have to do is (1) Sign into Merchant Center, (2) Find the “Add customer support info” card and click “Add info.” (3) Fill up customer support information, such as telephone number, email address and customer support URL and indicate the live chat or chatbot support. (4) Select your preferred contact method. You can then click save, and all that information will appear in your Merchant Center account. Google is always looking for ways to improve customer experience and protect both buyers and sellers in its platform. And with the rise of generative AI, this is one way to ensure a readily available support team to help your customers. Learn more with this article from Search Engine Land.

OpenAI Files GPT-5 Trademark Application: Barely five months after releasing GPT-4, it looks like OpenAI is gearing up for another LLM upgrade. Filed on July 18, 2023, the Microsoft-backed company’s trademark application for GPT-5 is now well in the works. As reported by Windows Latest, GPT-5’s features involve a wide array of applications, but the most exciting bit is OpenAI’s intention to offer Software as a Service (SaaS) for GPT-5. As for when this could be released, OpenAI Chief Sam Altman said, “I wish I could tell you about the timeline of the next GPT.” For the full story, read this article from Search Engine Journal.

Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

SEO News You Can Use: Keywords Found in 85% of Top 5 Titles in Google SERPs

Sep 04, 2023 by Robynn Farrell

If you’re looking for a reason to continue optimizing your website f...

SEO News You Can Use: Google Launches August Core Update

Aug 28, 2023 by Arrabon Toribio

If you’re seeing any shift in your rankings, that’s because Google...

SEO News You Can Use: Search Generative Experience Adds More Features for Easier Learning

Aug 21, 2023 by Arrabon Toribio

Google’s artificial intelligence or AI-powered search engine is gett...