AI is a tool.. like a knife.. and it can be used to better slice stuff or to stab yourself. There is now obviously a great amount of hype and interest in the SEO and optimised content production community, but it is the wider context which I find much more alarming… the creation of a powerful new voice, which draws its intellect and expertise from the general digital murk… the “indexed common sense”. ‘The Truth’. Or, well, a slick version of it.
So, what about AI SEO then?
“AI SEO” refers to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. AI can be used to analyze vast amounts of data and make predictions about user behavior, search trends, and other factors that impact SEO. This information can then be used to optimize website content, keywords, and other aspects of SEO to improve search engine rankings and drive more traffic to a website. AI can also be used for tasks such as content creation, keyword research, and link building, making the SEO process more efficient and effective.
So far, so good. Here is a more detailed version of the above:
“AI SEO” stands for “Artificial Intelligence Search Engine Optimization.” It refers to the use of AI technologies, such as machine learning algorithms, to improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of a website.
AI SEO can help website owners to:
- Optimize their website’s content and structure to improve their search engine ranking.
- Analyze user behavior to identify the keywords and phrases that are most likely to drive traffic to their website.
- Generate personalized content and recommendations for individual users based on their search history and preferences.
- Automate repetitive tasks, such as keyword research and link building, to save time and improve efficiency.
Some examples of AI SEO tools and techniques include:
- Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms that can analyze the content of a website and identify relevant keywords and phrases.
- Machine learning algorithms that can analyze user behavior data and identify patterns and trends.
- Chatbots and virtual assistants that can provide personalized recommendations and support to website visitors.
- Image recognition technology that can analyze the visual content of a website and optimize it for search engines.
Overall, AI SEO is an emerging field that has the potential to transform the way that website owners optimize their content for search engines.
I disagree with these simple statements on how AI can easily help website owners:
– Automate repetitive tasks, such as keyword research and link building, to save time and improve efficiency.
Keyword research, and especially link building, still needs clever human strategy development and actions.
– Chatbots and virtual assistants that can provide personalized recommendations and support to website visitors.
I don’t see these as SEO tasks or benefits.
– Image recognition technology that can analyze the visual content of a website and optimize it for search engines.
This sounds ambiguous. I can see AI analysing all images on a site and then writing unique and relevant image alt tags. But a human SEO specialist would also take into account keyword research for this. Whereas ‘optimising a website for search engines based on an analysis of visuals’? That sounds pretty futuristic.
From queries to answers to universal truthful information
One of the big ongoing changes is that ‘search engines’ are finally becoming proper ‘answer engines’ – which is exactly what Google has always said they are actually about. Not sending you to a URL which might be the best match to your query, but to pull in knowledge from all sorts of places and condense that into a correct and satisfying answer. No need to click through search results and visit webpages.
But the scope of ambition doesn’t stop there. Let’s ask AI what Google has in store for us:
Google’s mission statement, as of 2021, is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” While Google is primarily known as a search engine, it offers a range of products and services that aim to fulfill this mission, including Google Search, Google Maps, Google Translate, Google Drive, and more.
While Google Search does function as an “answer machine” of sorts, providing users with information and answers to their queries, this is just one aspect of the company’s broader mission. Google aims to make information accessible to everyone, which includes not just providing quick answers but also providing access to educational resources, news and information, and tools for communication and collaboration.
In addition to its products and services, Google also supports initiatives that align with its mission, such as its support of open-source software, its investments in renewable energy, and its efforts to improve access to technology and education around the world. Overall, while Google is known for its search capabilities, its mission extends far beyond simply providing answers.
“Not just providing quick answers.”
Meanwhile Microsoft’s new ChatGPT AI started sending ‘unhinged’ messages to people. The elephant in the room is that this AI integration moves all these new ‘answer/information engines’ towards publisher territory. There’s a big difference in showing a prioritised and curated list of URLs which are highly relevant to a user query, compared to pulling in lots of authoritative info snippets from across the web to fabricate a new piece of content.
As search engines are already favouring brands/pages that show clear E-E-A-T (Expertise-Experience-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness) signals, how will all of this work with YMYL (Your Money Your Life) content? Content about your health and finances e.g. topics or pages that might impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability or safety if presented inaccurately. These are search areas which are already under special scrutiny regarding E-E-A-T.
For example, let’s look at an AI query: How can I tell a high quality CBD oil from a cheap one?
There are a few factors to consider when determining the quality of CBD oil:
- Extraction method: High quality CBD oil is typically extracted using CO2 extraction, which is a safe and efficient method that produces a pure and potent extract. Cheaper CBD oils may use solvent-based extraction methods that can leave behind impurities and lower quality oil.
- Source of hemp: The quality of the hemp used to make the CBD oil is also important. Look for CBD oil made from organically grown hemp, as this reduces the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticides. Cheaper CBD oils may use lower quality hemp that was grown with pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
- THC content: High quality CBD oils will have a low THC content (less than 0.3%). Cheaper CBD oils may have a higher THC content, which can cause unwanted psychoactive effects.
- Third-party lab testing: Reputable CBD oil companies will have their products tested by third-party labs to ensure their quality and potency. Look for CBD oil that has been independently tested and has a Certificate of Analysis (COA) available to view. Cheaper CBD oils may not be tested or may not have their testing results available.
- Price: High quality CBD oil is not cheap, as the production process is labor-intensive and requires high-quality ingredients. If a CBD oil is priced significantly lower than other similar products, it may be an indication of lower quality.
Overall, it’s important to do your research and buy CBD oil from a reputable company that prioritizes quality and transparency.
This AI advice looks good at first glance, but the third paragraph is not correct – which is then really bad advice for a user who’d trust this information.
Just recently, incorrect AI content on a health topic made its way into Men’s Journal. Meanwhile Google is warning of ‘AI hallucination’. Our Digital Marketing Executive Beth was thinking over these ramifications recently, noting:
“The main thing that sticks out with ChatGPT and other AI tools for me is where the information is coming from. According to Science Focus, ChatGPT was trained using 570BG of data from articles, books and other pieces of writing on the internet. So, if ChatGPT is scanning and using the existing human made content on the internet to answer questions or create its content, then technically you still need humans creating content. Otherwise, it becomes a cyclical process where all the existing content on the internet is being repurposed or rephrased by people using AI to create their content rather than writing it themselves.
In the same vein, if AI is using the internet to get its answers, then we still need purely human created content in order to report on new technologies, updates or any kind of news, because if it’s not on the internet then according to the AI it won’t exist and therefore it can’t create content that isn’t there. This is one of the main reasons why I think you can’t solely rely on AI and there still needs to be a human element to content creation.”
How will AI affect marketing and other industries?
Most digital industries will be affected and modified by AI in one way or another. Will AI (very likely soon) actually be usable in the role of the questioner, and how far will voice patterns and non-verbal behaviour be integrated into AI alongside a respondent’s answers, e.g. in deep psychological market research?
Perhaps AI will not be imaginative or crazy enough to replace a top moderator in the foreseeable future. But many tasks in everyday life, including that of market research for example, do not require full creative competence. So, perhaps 20% or less of the work will remain with humans, but 80%+ could probably soon be replaced.
Some peers have so far found it quite useful to harvest information at the research stage for script and content writing but it does need constant fact checking. Other areas are entity search / optimising for the semantic web, where AI-based systems can gain points, as semantics is at their base.
With new tools like this, it looks like you’ll never need to create an engaging and accurate title tag and meta description ever again.
The results are impressive at first glance, but they are also as generic as can be and one still has to manually correct and update each result, as the AI doesn’t take into account the actual page/service content and the brand name and language, so this meta optimisation tool would benefit from an additional URL input, so it’s able to scrape and use the actual page content for it’s creations.
But even just simple metadata optimisation is more than that. It’s about looking at all keyword variations, weighing them against organic search volume numbers, and mapping them out so they make sense in the context of categories, product pages, etc. So, the AI needs to work in a much more holistic way, taking into account all important contextual info and qualifiers.
Currently, I can see it being helpful for creating sketches, places to further work on and refine. But when every ideation process starts with the same command prompts being used to create source material, then there’s much less chance for the elusive genius ideas. AI will always just think inside the box, no?
Our SEO and Copywriting Manager, Robyn, notes:
“AI tools such as ChatGPT and others only appear to take you so far at the moment. Like Ingo says it may be useful for some tasks and I agree. For the likes of market research, creating a list of seed keywords and initial content ideation, it could come in useful but only at a base level. At the moment, they still require human insight to build upon that research and add nuance.
For any tasks that require copywriting, I wouldn’t recommend AI right now. Like Ingo says, the content most tools churns out is generic at best and incorrect at worst. I guess it could be worth considering if you run a large ecommerce site that is uploading new product pages everyday, but even then I would still say the content should be heavily edited.
Also thinking about unique content, which Google favours, we have to consider the possibility that if everyone is using AI generated content, the chances of running into duplication issues has to increase.”
There is no spark of genius yet, no crazy ideas, nothing that would really make you go WOW!! Just the same stuff everyone else is getting. AI, the great leveller, our new handy normcore master – for now.
Ps: Here is what AI thinks about its relationship to SEO
AI (Artificial Intelligence) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are two separate concepts, but they can work together to improve website rankings and user experience.
Here are some ways in which AI and SEO are related:
- AI can help improve SEO: AI-powered tools can analyze large amounts of data and provide insights that can help improve SEO. For example, AI can help identify the most popular keywords and topics, analyze user behavior and preferences, and suggest changes to website content and structure.
- AI can help with personalized search results: AI can be used to personalize search results based on user preferences, location, search history, and other factors. This can help improve user experience and increase engagement.
- AI can help with voice search: With the growing popularity of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, AI can help optimize website content for voice search. This includes understanding natural language queries and providing relevant answers.
- AI can help with image search: AI can be used to improve image recognition and search. This includes identifying objects, people, and places in images and providing relevant search results.
Overall, AI can be a valuable tool for SEO professionals and website owners looking to improve their rankings and user experience.