Should I use AI-generated content on my Shopify site?

By Ilana Davis

Earlier this year, Shopify announced Shopify Magic, their AI Sidekick built off of ChatGPT and their own proprietary data.

Shortly after Sidekick was announced, we began to see some of Shopify's "magic buttons" showing up in their admin. We can also see AI incorporated into Shopify's help docs, though I find this AI very underwhelming.

Since then, crickets.

I heard through the grapevine that Sidekick wasn't ready for prime-time and that they were still working out some kinks.

Even though Sidekick isn't widely available, I am noticing the magic button in a few new spaces within Shopify's admin:

  1. Content for products, blogs, and pages.
  2. Title for blogs and pages.
  3. Some sections in your theme customizer with text fields.

Though not available yet, I'm looking forward to seeing how Shopify's Magic AI does with meta descriptions.

Example of Shopify Magic AI blog post

For funzies, I wanted to give the AI blog content and title creation a go.

Shopify's Magic AI content creator asking to create a blost post on how to put on pants, with a playful tone, and specifal instructions to use keywords of trousers, sweatpants, leggings.

For the body content, I used the following prompt:

  • What is this blog about?: How to put on pants
  • Tone: Playful
  • Special instructions: use keyword of trousers, sweatpants, leggings

My prompts are really simple. When using AI to help generate content, you should be more specific and give as much guidance as possible. There are countless articles out right now about writing the perfect prompt for ChatGPT.

Keep in mind that Shopify's tool tries to guide you, so you can't really write a paragraph of instructions. Well you can, you just can't see it all because the special instructions text box doesn't expand.

Shopify's Magic AI content creator asking to create a blost post title on how to put on pants, with a playful tone, and specifal instructions to keep it short and to the point.

For the title, here are the prompts I used:

  • What is this blog about?: How to put on pants
  • Tone: Playful
  • Special instructions: keep it short and to the point

One frustrating piece of Shopify's Magic AI tool was that the title and content of the blog post were completely unconnected. It created the body but didn't use the content of the body to create the title. With other AI tools, I would have said "using this content, generate a blog post title."

Should I use AI-generated content on my website?

Whether you should use AI content on your website is a difficult question.

Google has said that high-quality content will be rewarded, however it's created.

I'd flip the question around.

What is the purpose of the content?

If the goal is to rank on Google, that likely won't work to your benefit. Google does not tolerate the manipulation of ranking systems.

On the other hand, if your content is helpful and provides value, you should be fine.

Create content that's actually helpful

Ranking content should be a side benefit of AI-generated content, not the reason.

I've said it before and I'll say it a million times more. Create content for your customers, not for Google and not for ranking.

Don't take my word for it.

Google has been saying to create people-first content since 2002!

Google SearchLiasion twitter post from July 6, 2023: "Make pages for users, not for search engines." -- Google, 2002 Our good advice then remains the same over two decades later. To succeed in Google Search, focus on people-first content.

If you see a drop in traffic or rankings after using AI (or really creating any content) look to Google's helpful content self-assessment.

Key questions to ask yourself (among the many more in their document) include:

  • If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources, and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
  • Is this the sort of page you'd want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they've learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?

AI-generated content needs human oversight

I've seen many articles that are very clear it was written by an AI tool with no further editing.

Please, whatever you do, don't just copy whatever the AI spits out and call it a day.

AI is great at giving you a starting point or removing writer's block. It's not great at actually providing something of value.

Looking back at the article I created from Shopify's Magic AI tool, I see a few things that could be improved.

First, a single paragraph under each heading is a dead giveaway to me. A heading should signify an important piece of the article. If it's so important, I would expect it to be more than a short paragraph. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule.

Second, though I used the "Playful" tone, there isn't much in the way of personality in the article. It feels direct and to the point. We don't usually think that way. Our brains go a mile a minute, they take side roads and get distracted.

You should feel free (and it's encouraged) to add your own flair to the content that's generated for you. Add your own voice and use words that sound like you or that your customers use.

When considering if AI is good for your store, I think it's ok as long as it's assisted by AI, not written by AI..


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