SEO Ranking Factors in the Age of AI

Which non-obvious ranking factors are important to rank #1 on Google?  

Everyone is still trying to figure this out – including me.  But based on my 20+ years of SEO experience, I have some insights I want to share.

Check this out if you just want a list of the more obvious SEO ranking factors.

We’re talking about:

It is a decent article, but I want more insight.  More meat on the bone.  I want something NEW.

Side note:  E-EAT is important.  Read what I’m doing to improve my E-EAT score

In preparation for this article, I Googled “SEO ranking factors” and read the first several articles.

2 things jumped out at me:

This is not what Google wants in search results.  

In that blog post, Danny Sullivan says, 

“We know people don’t find content helpful if it seems like it was designed to attract clicks rather than inform readers.”

He also says, 

“Many of us have experienced the frustration of visiting a web page that seems like it has what we’re looking for, but doesn’t live up to our expectations. The content might not have the insights you want, or it may not even seem like it was created for, or even by, a person.

He mentions several times that Google is looking to promote “original content”.

The date of his blog post was August 18, 2022.

That means this was important for Google before ChatGPT came out later that year!

Since ChatGPT came out, there has been an explosion of AI generated content – the exact type of content that Google hates.

And because of this, Google’s search results stink.

Ok, so what are the non-obvious ranking factors for SEO?

Now is the time to be as human as possible.

This is what it boils down to. 

You should be:

Don’t gloss over these words.  Think deeply about what they mean and how they apply to your content.

The sad thing is that most of what is written on the internet looks like it could have been written by an AI.  

This makes sense, because large language models have been trained on the vast collection of articles humans have written.  They learn from those articles and then write their own in a similar style.

What does it mean to be human in terms of SEO?

How about using your own brain and actually thinking for a change.

Do you have any thoughts or opinions?  Share them.

Have you ever written something that looks like it could have been written by an AI?  Embarrassingly, I have.

I’m trying to stop doing that.

Beep boop beep boop.

Interesting observation:  

While I was writing this article, I decided to check how original it was so far by using this free AI detector tool

I got an 8% likelihood of being written by an AI up until this point.  I’m surprised it wasn’t better.

Then I put in “Beep boop beep boop” at the end of the article and uploaded it again.  My score improved to 7%.

I’m going to leave it in.  Hilarious!

Ok, back to reality.  

You need to be unique and offer some insight.  Don’t copy what others are doing.  Don’t write for search engines.

What does that mean?  

Again, use your own brain and write something that makes sense to you.  

If you don’t have any unique thoughts or insights about a topic, maybe you shouldn’t be writing about it.

If an AI could write what you are writing, then maybe you shouldn’t write.


Google’s exact algorithm is a well-guarded secret.  We can only guess at it.

When I read between the lines of what they are saying, I think they are going to start using originality as a ranking factor.

They will scan everything on the internet and give it a score, similar to the score I got before.

Observation number 2:  I just checked my score again, and shockingly (at least for me) the score of my article so far is up to 14%.  It got worse!  That means, according to that AI software, there is a 14% chance that it was written by an AI.  

I’ve never seen an AI write like this before.  Have you?

WTF (I’ve never seen an AI write WTF)

In this website, we’re going to share a lot of thoughts and experiments.  Some things will fail, and some will succeed.  We’ll share both the good and the bad with you.

I’m going to try to be as human as I possibly can.  That’s probably good for my mental health anyway.

What was original about this article?

This is a question I’ll be asking myself in every article from now on.

Well one thing is that I’ve never seen an article share the % chance of being AI vs human at different stages of the article.  I’ve never seen the idea of inserting “wtf” or “beep boop beep boop” to see what effect those types of things have on originality.

Final score of the % likelihood this was written by an AI?  

Drum roll please…


Lol.  I thought it would be better.

Author Andrew Best


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