There is a very good reason why SEO is a difficult job. If everyone knew how to game the system, the internet would be littered with irrelevant search results, and the search industry as we know it would be dead.
SEO is an ever-evolving industry. What looks like best practice today won’t be best practice tomorrow. It’s also a very human industry because human engagement is the only metric that really counts in SEO. So when we are asked if AI technology like ChatGPT or Google’s Bard will replace your SEO strategy, the answer is a resounding “No!”
How can we be so confident in this answer? To put it simply, we know our history. But we’re also not dismissive about AI’s opportunities for the SEO industry. Read on to learn more.
Internet Search History
Those of us who are old enough to remember the early days of the web will recall a time when surfing the web wasn’t so easy. Early web directories and search engines didn’t employ the sophisticated algorithms and AI-enhanced technology that powers today’s search landscape. Taking advantage of this weakness, unscrupulous marketers would dupe search engines into believing their less-than-authoritative web pages were highly relevant for all manner of searches.
As a result, a simple search for a hotel room in New York could bring up thousands of results you probably would want to avoid appearing in your Internet search history. Those were the days when all anyone involved in online marketing naively cared about was impressions. This included the VC’s funding, what would later be known as the dot-com bubble.
So we’re not exaggerating when we suggest Google, with its highly relevant results, saved the internet from its “Wild West” era. We are also confident that today’s search engines have the power to save us from the likes of ChatGPT destroying the search landscape.
Relevance Always Wins
While services like ChatGPT and Bard will increasingly become part of the search ecosystem, potentially turning a search into something that resembles a conversation or chat, it’s important to remember these services are nothing without good, up-to-date, relevant content.
Imagine searching for a restaurant recommendation in Paris, only to find your AI-produced recommendation closed down two years ago. So naturally, search engines will not want to include outdated content in their search results. Therefore, creating fresh, engaging, and highly relevant content is more important than ever.
Search engines make their money by directing people with the least amount of fuss from a search query to a useful and engaging website. The natural search environment provides the platform to sell equally relevant adverts. The last thing any search engine wants is to destroy the quality of this lucrative marketplace with an overabundance of low-quality AI-produced content.
Seek and Destroy
Search engines already have the technology to identify and potentially de-rank AI-produced content. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that deploying AI-produced content is a risky strategy. If Google deems your content accurate, useful, and engaging, it should perform as well as human-created content.
The problem with a fully automated approach is that AI sometimes thinks it’s a little smarter than it actually is. AI has also been known to make things up.
Power to the SEO People
In its current state, AI alone will not replace human expertise in SEO. However, combining human expertise with AI can make the results awe-inspiring.
Efficiency is the keyword here. To keep one step ahead of the “black hat” SEO industry, the major search engines have always ensured SEO best practices are something of a moving target. To be genuinely relevant as an SEO expert, you’ll still need to dedicate a lot of your time to keeping up with industry best practices. Therefore, employing AI technology is as much more about improving your time and resource management skills than gaming the system.
You may already be using AI-powered tools in your SEO strategy without realizing it. For example, you are probably running any SEO content you write through an AI-enabled editor like Grammarly to check your spelling, grammar, and sentence structure before publishing. This isn’t a reflection of your SEO writing or editing skills. It’s a common sense strategy that makes you a better SEO content creator.
So how could other AI tools make you a more efficient and effective SEO practitioner?
Research and Inspiration
Every marketing decision, including SEO, starts with an objective. Those objectives are still (and probably always will be) best derived by human engagement. This is because no business will ever have all the data they need to make informed decisions stored in a database. So stop staring at those spreadsheets and start speaking with your colleagues. Sometimes, the best marketing intelligence is extracted over coffee. However, once you set that objective, you can really put AI to work.
AI can help you do your competitive research, analyze potential keywords and inspire your content. It may even help you write some of that content — although you should always be prepared to check your facts, edit, and potentially rewrite that content to fit your client’s voice and goals. It’s also great at researching a topic you may not be an expert in.
It is important to remember that AI’s output will only be as good as the prompts you feed it. As a general rule of thumb, the more specific your prompts, the better your results. As anyone who has worked to a poor creative brief before will attest, writing these prompts is a skill in itself — so be prepared to work at this skill and test your results. By the way, AI can also help you with your testing strategy, helping you write alternative headlines and sub-headings and suggesting alternative keywords.
Be Better at SEO
In the right hands, AI can enhance your SEO strategy, helping you move faster and more strategically than your competition. To learn more about how the SEO experts at emfluence can help your business benefit from the ever-changing face of search, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.