Content from generative artificial intelligence (AI) is flooding the internet, but the jury is still out on how AI will impact SEO. There is a lot we don’t know, but it is clear that when marketing agencies embrace these tools, they improve efficiency, automate manual tasks, and increase output. As a marketing agency, you may not be ready to jump on AI’s bandwagon, but if you avoid it entirely, you may be left behind.The question on everyone’s mind is how Google will react to the new AI-generated content. To say that AI is rapidly evolving is an understatement. The capabilities of AI systems are improving exponentially by the day. In a month, let alone a year, these algorithms will be vastly more sophisticated.The transformation of AI is moving so rapidly that even Google is having a difficult time keeping up. Since ChatGPT came out, Google’s story has flip-flopped as to whether or not it would penalize AI-generated content. As of now, marketing agencies should stay on top of search engine policies to avoid potential penalties. For example, keep abreast of algorithmic watermarking of ChatGPT content and steer clear of content guideline violations. Search algorithms are likely to change as competition increases between the AI-powered search engines of both Google and Microsoft.Frank SanchezSocial Links NavigationManaging Partner and Co-Founder Frank Sanchez is the Managing Partner and Co-Founder of elk Marketing.How marketing agencies can avoid SEO penalties and still harness the power of AIMarketing agencies need to identify ways AI technology can be harnessed as a tool within their current processes. This requires us all to think outside the box.As a marketing team, you are unlikely to use AI-generated content for your final drafts. However, many teams use AI content to automate existing tasks, cut production time, and expedite the pre-writing process. Common ways I see marketing agencies implementing the technology in this area include content briefs, outlines, meta descriptions, keyword lists, on-site content, and first drafts.AI systems are not magic. To obtain the best output from these platforms, marketing agencies need training on how to efficiently provide input. The quality of AI-generated output depends highly on the quality of the human input that comes before it.To get the most out of AI-generated content, marketing agencies need to understand its limitations. For example, ChatGPT currently cannot generate content about current events or trending topics because its knowledge base only extends to the year 2021.How to take advantage of AI systems and continue to obtain high SEOAs marketing agencies, we can only achieve the benefits of AI-generated content when we combine technological innovations with our own human expertise. There is fear that AI will replace white-collar work and human roles within marketing and technology teams.In my opinion, marketing agencies should stop viewing AI systems as threats. The tools are just that: tools. They do not do the work themselves. We need to be savvy in using these tools, while not fully relying on them to do the work.AI content is impressive, but we must take it with a grain of salt and add a human touch. An experienced marketing team offers nuances and creativity that AI cannot replicate. Human writers and editors comb through AI drafts to identify biases, check facts, and touch up brand voice.Fact-checking is critical when using AI-generated content. Many things that an AI says with authority are blatantly untrue. This is especially troubling if the content concerns critical topics, such as medical advice. Today, people turn to the internet to research everything from legal strategy to diets to medical procedures, and brands are on the hook for content that causes harm, whether or not it is AI-generated. Branding is another area where AI-generated content needs human finesse. If your client’s brand has a well-defined voice, switching to entirely AI-generated content will dilute that branding you have worked so hard to establish.To use AI or not to use AI?As marketing agencies, we all need to stay current on the evolving impact of AI on our industry. How much we use the new technology depends on several factors. For example, if you are a respected firm, score excellent domain authority, churn out engaging content, and move at a pace that keeps you ahead of the competition, you can afford to sit back and watch how Google regards the AI-generated content your competitors publish. On the flip side, if you happen to be a startup that needs a leg up on your competition, using AI to get content up quickly offers massive benefits. You can boost your productivity and efficiency with almost no risk.Whether you choose to dip your toe into the rushing water of AI or dive in headfirst, continue to implement all the traditional SEO best practices that have worked for you in the past. No matter its origin, your content will always rank higher in searches if it incorporates high-traffic, industry-specific keywords, is well-written and authentic, appears on a user-friendly website, and implements local SEO as much as possible. The end goal is quality, accurate, helpful, unique, customer-focused content, regardless of the tool we use to generate it.