Artificial Intelligence (AI) is accelerating rapidly and will have a major impact in the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) industry. AI will affect SEO through its use of machine learning algorithms, which can break down big data and help predict how users will engage with a website. Business owners and SEO specialists will then be able to create more targeted strategies by understanding the intent of users.
But that’s not to say that AI should take the wheel. Here’s our definitive guide on how AI can be an SEO specialist’s best partner, but also a tool to be carefully controlled.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
AI will influence the work of SEO through its use of natural language processing (NLP) – which focuses on the AI machine’s ability to understand and interpret human language. In turn, this helps search engines better understand the meaning and intent behind user search, providing a higher quality of organic results.
Workflow with AI
No doubt, AI will also influence the way SEO specialists work. Tools like Chat GPT are already capable of analysing a website’s content & providing recommendations for further SEO optimisation. AI can save us from the perils of writing continuous web content and complex lines of code. But remember to take these with a grain of salt. Specialists should do a manual review of the results and never leave AI work unchecked.
Voice Search & AI
AI is already playing a starring role in voice–based search results as users move away from traditional searches with smart devices like Alexa, Google and Siri. As AI learns to better understand natural language, you can expect to see an increase in the quality of queries that users are asking. So what does this mean for SEO? Data sets will be analysed in greater detail and queries will be adjusted to what businesses want to rank for.
The Downsides of AI
Like all technology, AI has a dark side. Here’s what you need to know when using AI as part of your workflow or for SEO.
No Such Things As Perfect
Eliminating human error doesn’t make a recipe for perfection. While AI systems can process data much quicker than people, it’s not always 100% correct. If you’ve partnered yourself with AI, always undertake a manual review of any work completed by AI software. By letting AI run the show, you’re compromising your SEO strategies by risking errors on your site, providing the wrong information, or having the wrong content.
Google Doesn’t Like AI
While it seems harmless enough to get your AI assistant to whip up a content marketing strategy, be aware that this goes against Google’s guidelines. So what’s Google’s position on generated content? As explained by a search advocate from Google, John Mueller:
‘For us these would, essentially, still fall into the category of automatically generated content which is something we’ve had in the Webmaster Guidelines since almost the beginning.
And people have been automatically generating content in lots of different ways. And for us, if you’re using machine learning tools to generate your content, it’s essentially the same as if you’re just shuffling words around, or looking up synonyms, or doing the translation tricks that people used to do. Those kinds of things.
My suspicion is maybe the quality of content is a little bit better than the really old school tools, but for us it’s still automatically generated content, and that means for us it’s still against the Webmaster Guidelines. So, we would consider that to be spam.’
Now also consider that tools like Chat GPT are placing an invisible watermark on their content. One that search engines can detect and conclude that content has been created by AI.
AI Can Be Expensive
As AI systems become more sophisticated and better at understanding complex problems, they will likely come with higher price tags. This will only add to the challenges small businesses and sole traders face when competing against larger companies online. We may even see a decline in small business if they can’t hope to outrank these corporations.
More Sharks In The Sea
As AI advances, it’s likely that more people and agencies will start using them in their overall digital strategies. When this happens, we’ll see the level of competition in the search engine result pages (SERPs) soar. This could even increase the time length for businesses to try and rank higher in SERPs – making it harder for smaller businesses to grow their online presence. Companies turning to SEO agencies for help might find that the price of their services have risen.
AI has already been around for a number of years, and we will continue to see rapid growth in its capabilities. As the use of machine learning increases, we will see major changes in the way that AI will influence both the SEO industry, as well as the way search is being used.
Richard is the owner and head of digital at Tailored SEO. He has worked in the digital marketing space for over 10 years and has worked with a wide range of clients.