Seo content

Automation is coming for SEO content farmers

Nick Shah, Paul DeMott and Endel Maricq. Image courtesy of Paul DeMott

It’s not just the tender buds and Uber drivers who are at risk of losing their jobs because of automation these days. A small Ohio company called AI Writer has created a neural network that can produce the search engine optimization (SEO) infill currently being created by content factories in places like India and the Philippines. And they managed to do it right out of college on a tight budget.

AI Writer is a neural network (an AI architecture modeled after the human brain) that is not only capable of learning on its own how to write its own unique internet marketing articles, but those articles are sophisticated enough to fool businesses. interested in purchasing this content. it was generated by a human.

AI Writer was co-founded by Paul DeMott, who had started a small internet marketing business as a summer job in college, and Nick Shah, who had studied neurology for about a year and a half in medical school before. to give up in order to learn about the artificial. intelligence.

“We saw a demand for content in the internet marketing arena and that’s how we entered AI,” DeMott told Motherboard. “So we said, let’s take five months and see what can happen. At first we were super excited when [the neural net] would just spell a word correctly. Then he started to tie a few words together and at one point he started to write coherent paragraphs. We were just blown away. “

When the AI ​​Writer neural network was born, it knew absolutely nothing about the world or English grammar – all it was programmed to do was explore the web and devour the content. Yet after about four or five days of consuming hundreds of thousands of web content, the neural network was so proficient in English that it was able to generate its own grammatically correct articles.

Paul DeMott, Endel Maricq software developer and Nick Shah. Image: Paul DeMott

So far, the results have been promising. The uniqueness of each article produced by the AI ​​is checked against a database and, according to DeMott, the net has yet to write the same sentence twice. Additionally, AI Writer Networks create over 2000 internet marketing articles per week for customers, all of whom are unaware that the articles they buy are generated by an AI instead of a human.

It only gets tricky when one of their clients asks the editor who worked on their article.

“We say we have a team of writers, they just don’t know that this team of writers is a ton of computers,” DeMott said. “All computers have names, so we can tell who wrote this particular article. We don’t try to hide the fact that we are using AI because at the end of the day it’s about whether the customer is happy with the content. “

When you read some of the samples produced by AI Writer, the consistency of the individual sentences is impressive, but taken as a whole, the articles read a bit like a salad of words. As an example, here is a selection from an article that AI Writer wrote on the Phentermine diet pill:

“It is recommended that you do a regular amount of exercise before the initial phase of the weight loss process. The main objective of this exercise is to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is also recommended for people People with heart disease consult a doctor before starting any type of exercise program.Exercise is one of the most important things to do in preventing hypertension.

As part of the whole article about Phentermine this paragraph sounds a bit like a non-sequitur, although grammatically and factually correct. Yet, for AI Writer customers, that’s usually all that’s needed.

Many of these clients are what DeMott calls “SEOs” who basically build fictitious websites on expired and once popular domains that link to their “real” website. The goal is to trick Google’s search algorithms into thinking that a bunch of legitimate websites link to the customer’s real website, which would suggest that the real site is important or heavily trafficked and should be higher in the results. of research.

Once upon a time, Google’s search engine for games only required pumping up websites filled with targeted keywords that would be picked up by the algorithm. However, Google is more and more aware of these tricks and uses tricks such as latent semantic indexing which essentially assesses how “real” content on a website looks by mathematically analyzing the relationships between words on the site. If you fill a website with the same keyword over and over again, Google’s algorithm will know that it is a fake.

This means that bogus SEO websites now have to pay for realistic content to fill their pages. Most of this content would seem trivial or boring to a human reader, but that’s okay because these SEOs don’t make these bogus websites for human eyes. As long as the content is realistic enough to fool Google, that’s good enough.

This requires a massive amount of content, the production of which is typically outsourced to content farms in places like India or the Philippines, where labor is cheaper but there are still large English-speaking populations. While AI Writer’s articles are not perfect, they are comparable to what is human-generated in these content factories, meaning that customers who buy the articles would have no reason to suspect that the articles they buy were generated by a machine.

“Our content is less likely to make grammatical and spelling mistakes, but the outsourced work tends to be conceptually stronger,” DeMott said. “In terms of putting together something logical and making it a strong point, AI Writer is at the high school level.”

The idea of ​​a machine filling the internet with items that were never intended for human eyes may seem nefarious, but for DeMott and Shah, it was simply the next step in the general trend towards automation.

“It happens whether or not we build this network,” Shah said. “There are people who hire thousands of Indians and Filipinos to make these items, so if we hadn’t brought our product to market I don’t think the situation would have changed that much.”