SEO & AI: What it Can and Can't Do
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing a website or online content to increase its visibility on search engines.
Essentially, it's about enhancing the likelihood of a site being found when users search for terms related to that site's content. While the potential and capabilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in numerous fields have grown exponentially, its application in SEO presents both opportunities and limitations.
Just like how autopilot didn't take the pilots out of the cockpit, AI won't put talented SEO's out of a job. SEO in itself is much more than just creating content, it's about making an entire website speak Google's language - in the sense that all the bases have to be covered. Whether it's alt tags, internal linking structure, backlinks, social media (yes, social media plays a role in SEO even in 2023), or living up to the ever-evolving algorithm updates, SEO is surprisingly human.
What AI Can't Do for SEO
Not an SEO Silver Bullet
Despite the sophistication of AI, it's not a magic wand that can instantly propel a website to the top of search engine results. Successful SEO requires a holistic approach, considering technical optimizations, user experience, content quality, and more. No AI can provide guaranteed rankings or eliminate the need for human expertise in strategizing and implementing SEO.
While AI can analyze vast amounts of data at lightning speeds, understanding the nuances, cultural contexts, and emerging trends behind keyword popularity still largely rests with human intuition. The best keyword strategies often arise from a combination of quantitative data and qualitative insights.
However, on that note AI tools like ChatGPT, Bard or Claude can assist with coming up with keywords. The secret, however, is the ideas have to be cross-checked with an analysis tool like Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner.
Write Large Amounts of Content
While AI can generate text, truly impactful content often requires human touch, emotion, and expertise. Stories, expert insights, and in-depth research articles are typically beyond the scope of current AI capabilities in terms of genuine engagement and authenticity. Unique story-telling and the ability to create genuinely captivating content is currently well beyond the capabilities of the publicly available AI tools.
While AI offers tools that can assist and augment many aspects of the SEO process, it's essential to recognize that human expertise, intuition, and creativity remain invaluable. As with many fields, the future of SEO likely lies in the synergy between human intelligence and artificial intelligence.
Keep Up with the Latest Changes to Search Engine Algorithms
Those who have been around the block in the SEO world can attest to how painful algorithm updates can be. You can quite literally see months and months worth of hard work and growth disappear almost overnight.
Google's major core updates like Penguin and Panda back in 2014 were in SEO terms, earth-shattering. The Panda update is a filter created to penalize websites with low-quality or insufficient content, preventing them from ranking well. On the other hand, Penguin is a filter designed to penalize websites employing unethical link-building techniques and excessive keyword stuffing.
With Big G constantly updating how they rank pages, it's important to note that this is one of the biggest benefits to working in the SEO field. Companies are more willing to retain SEO support because the risk of a prolonged downward trend in search results can mean huge amounts of revenue lost.
What AI Can Do for SEO
Help with Creating Content Ideas
AI shines in its ability to analyze large datasets and identify patterns, enabling it to propose content ideas or spotlight trending topics. For content creators, this can serve as an invaluable springboard for deeper exploration and creation.
Any copywriter can attest to how awful writer's block is and I've found that using AI is an excellent way to eliminate that. With just a few prompts, you can come up with an infinite number of rough ideas to get the ball rolling.
Help Build Article Outlines
One way is by analyzing the blueprints of high-performing content. AI can identify the common structural elements of these pieces of content, such as the use of headings and subheadings, bullet points and numbered lists, and images and videos. AI can then use this information to recommend a similar structure for new content.
Another way that AI can recommend content structures is by using insights on user engagement. AI can track how users interact with different types of content, such as how long they spend reading a certain type of article or how often they watch a certain type of video. AI can then use this information to recommend content structures that are more likely to engage users.
For example, AI might recommend using a shorter introduction for a blog post that is targeted at mobile users, as mobile users are more likely to scan content quickly. Or, AI might recommend using a more visually appealing layout for a recipe that is targeted at beginner cooks, as beginner cooks are more likely to be engaged by content that is easy to follow.
Here are some specific examples:
- For mobile readers, consider using shorter paragraphs and sentences.
- Headings and subheadings can help break down lengthy articles, aiding in quick scanning.
- Enhancing content with images or videos often boosts engagement.
- To improve clarity, bullet points and numbered lists are quite effective.
- When targeting a specific audience, adjusting the tone or writing style can resonate better.
Create Compelling Meta Data
Crafting SEO-aligned meta titles and descriptions that also appeal to users can be challenging. AI steps in here by offering auto-generation capabilities or suggesting modifications to meta data, ensuring alignment with SEO best practices while resonating with the target audience.
Again, this isn't so much as copying and pasting, but rather refining ideas until the right combination is found.
Break Up Keyword Groups by Search Intent
Moreover, a pivotal facet of contemporary SEO is grasping user intent. AI aids by grouping keywords based on analogous user behaviors, allowing marketers to tailor their content more precisely by syncing with distinct search intents.
By understanding the different types of intent, such as informational, navigational, and transactional, we ensure that your content is optimized to meet the needs of your target audience.
Create Copy with Your Brand's Voice
AI plays a pivotal role in ensuring that these structural recommendations seamlessly align with the brand's unique identity, tone, and core message. The result? Content that not only captivates but also genuinely reflects the brand's essence.
By feeding an AI tool examples of your brand's voice, copy can be created that mimicks the tone, flow and mood of your brand.
While AI brings forth remarkable tools to help streamline and augment the SEO process, the nuances, creativity, and strategic mindset required to master the intricacies of SEO are deeply human traits. From understanding cultural contexts behind keywords to crafting authentic, engaging stories - the human touch is irreplaceable.
For personalized insights into how AI can augment your SEO strategy and to ensure you're optimizing every opportunity, sign up for a free consultation. Let's harness the potential of human and artificial intelligence to elevate your online presence.