How To Outrank AI on the SERP (9 Tips and Tricks)

The best way to outrank AI on the SERP is to stick to original, high-quality content that was exclusively written by humans. Google is more likely to pick good content written by humans than AI, but your article has to be both more relevant and more in-depth.

Chances are, you’re writing content on niche search queries that don’t have many (if any) blog posts. But those are exactly the kind of articles that content generated by ChatGPT and other AI tools can win over.

Have you ever seen a blog post with a dozen questions and short 1-paragraph answers? Congratulations; you just found an article written by AI and some black-hat blogger who compiled it.

Winning that SERP (search engine results page) shouldn’t be difficult if you know what you’re doing. I’ve gone through some important characteristics that make good articles outrank AI-generated posts:

1. Only Post Original Content

I can’t stress this enough: if you want to set up a new blog or already have one doing well, don’t ruin it by posting content that was generated by AI or plagiarized. Although AI does have its place in the world of writing content, it’ll do more harm than good if you don’t know what you’re doing.

According to Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan via Twitter, content written to rank on the SERP instead of helping humans is against their guidance. AI-generated content is only okay if it genuinely helps the reader.

Update: Google updated its guidance on February 8, 2023 about AI-generated content to affirm what was already said in Sullivan’s tweets. Read more about it here.

But what is even the difference between original content and content written by ChatGPT that was closely monitored and edited by the writer? If my recent tests on using ChatGPT are anything to go off of, then ChatGPT will only slow you down. 

Sure, it can generate unique paragraphs in seconds. But if you have to edit all the information and only keep the “bones,” you haven’t really improved your efficiency. So, why don’t you go with well-researched content written exclusively by a human in the first place?

2. Write Quality Content

This is closely related to my previous point. If you want to defeat an article full of AI-generated, keyword-stuffed questions and answers, write good stuff you would want to read.

High-quality articles have:

  • Relevant, well-researched, well-cited information.
  • Perfect grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Variety in formatting.
  • Good flow and structure.
  • Useful information.
  • A dose of personality and voice/tone/whatever you call it.

This piece showcases some (i.e., all) of these points.

3. Avoid Using Keyword Tools

Keyword tools are a thing of the past and reserved for black-hat SEO practitioners. Keyword tools are a lot like AI content but worse. Keyword tools are often inaccurate and irrelevant.

Income School explains why coming up with original keywords matters in the following video:

4. Focus On Quality Over Quantity

To be honest, I can’t think of a single thing in life where quantity was better than quality. Can you?

It’s the same with blog posts. The main benefit of AI-generated content over your stuff is that it can be written in seconds. By the time you’re done writing one article, you could’ve easily pumped out 5 or 6 AI-generated ones.

 But while those websites you’re trying to outrank on the SERP will get penalized sooner or later, you won’t. Depending on the niche, you’ll have good traffic without having to update your articles for years.

5. Add a Sprinkle of Personality

Let’s be honest; nobody likes an article filled with personal anecdotes. But if it’s done right, it can really bring a blog post alive. For instance, if you tell your audience about your experience using a product, fixing an issue, or the way you do things, it makes your content relatable

AI can’t experience stuff, and they’re devoid of personality (at least for now). Focusing on this human-to-human interaction through text should be high on your list. Just don’t overdo it.

6. Avoid Fluff and Repetition

Fluff or filler information doesn’t have a strict definition. Some people hate anything that doesn’t contribute to the topic (even adjectives, adverbs, and transition words), while others prefer a highly conversational tone.

But we can all agree that repeating information is almost always bad.

I think that a balance between a nice flow and essential information hits the right chord. Especially because AI is so good at staying concise — it often overlooks alternatives, reasoning, etc.

Here’s a list of what I consider fluff:

  • Wordiness
  • Redundancy
  • Certain filler words
  • Synonymous adjectives/adverbs
  • Completely off-topic content
  • Overused words (especially idioms)
  • Of-phrases when an adjective can be the replacement
  • Uncontracted verbs (a tactic to increase word count)
  • Lengthy anecdotes

7. Add Backlinks To Relevant Content

A significant downside of AI-generated content is that it can’t give you the sources it used. There’s no way to check where it got the information from, whether it’s legit, etc. 

This also means that such blog posts have no backlinks, which is essential for SEO. In case you don’t know, backlinks are external links to websites other than your blog. Google uses backlinks as a metric to make sure your content is well-researched and authoritative. 

It also shows your readers where you got the information from. This implies that you should only link to reputable websites.

8. Write Short, Snappy Paragraphs

One of the first things I was told when I became a content writer was to break up my paragraphs.

And it’s easy to see why.

Shorter paragraphs are much easier to read and skim through, especially on smartphones. Just don’t go overboard by exclusively using 1-sentence paragraphs. I’ve seen a few examples, and they do not make for a fun read.

9. Stick To Short-form Content

Long-form content has its place in blogging. It really does. Even Google’s SEO fundamentals outright state that they don’t have a preference for word count.

But even though Google doesn’t have a preference, we do. In the world of information technology, most of us prefer short, snappy stuff over long, super in-depth content.

I think there’s a good compromise between the two — writing short-form content and supplementing it with internal links. Although you definitely don’t want to spam it or distract the reader, adding 1 or 2 internal links that are highly relevant will both help the reader and boost your traffic.

It can lead to a ricochet effect if you do your interlinking right, resulting in a happy reader and you getting engagement points from Google. 

So, how exactly does this help vs. AI-generated content, you might ask?

More often than not, such blog posts either completely lack internal links or are just added randomly. By adding internal links, you’re increasing reader engagement, which means SEO bingo!

Final Thoughts

Although just 1 of the tips above can make or break which article wins the answer snippet, combining all of them is a surefire way to get the SERP all for yourself.

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