Artificial intelligence (AI) is definitely all the buzz these days. It seems like everyone is talking about how AI is going to change the world as we know it. And while AI has been in development for decades, it’s only in the last few years that we’ve seen it translated into business applications that are accessible to companies and entrepreneurs without any technical skills or dedicated AI teams.
Many people equate AI with platforms like Alexa or Siri, but there are now hundreds of AI companies that are harnessing its power to create ways to automate your business processes. In fact, 83% of executives believe that AI is a major priority today. So if you’re thinking about ways to stay ahead of the curve, incorporating AI into your marketing strategy is a great place to start.
And when it comes to taking a deep-dive analysis into your digital marketing strategy, search engine optimization (SEO) is undoubtedly high up on the list and poses a ton of difficulties. Why? Because outside of PPC ads, it’s often slow growing and even slower results. Your ranking and domain authority will not increase overnight. It takes a lot of time and effort to improve your SEO.
However, the organic traffic obtained from the SEO long-term investment is highly valuable. You won’t need to keep paying for ads month after month, and your site will reach a targeted, organic audience with minimal maintenance. But I digress, let’s get back to the question at hand.
Can AI help with your SEO strategy?
The answer is yes, absolutely – if utilized correctly. Like anything else, there is nuance sprinkled all over SEO strategies and some “user-beware” warnings that you should adhere to.
With that being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how AI can help (or not help) with your SEO strategy.
Table of Contents:
- A Quick Overview of Artificial Intelligence
- Why AI May Be the Answer to Ranking Your Articles
- Why AI May Not Be the Answer To Your SEO Strategy
A Quick Overview of Artificial Intelligence
Maybe you’re very well seasoned with all things SEO-related, but you’re not a data scientist who understands artificial intelligence. And you’re not alone, as research has shown only 17% of marketers and professionals claim they have decent comprehension.
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the common terms you’ll see.
- Artificial Intelligence: A field of computer science that aims to create intelligent agents, which are systems that can reason, learn, and act autonomously.
- Machine Learning: A subset of AI that provides systems the ability to automatically improve from experience without being explicitly programmed.
- Deep Learning: A subset of machine learning that uses algorithms inspired by the structure and function of the brain called artificial neural networks.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP): NLP is the process of robots being able to understand human language.
Now, a lot of companies will boast “AI technology”, but remember to keep in mind what you’re looking for when utilizing AI for SEO – Will implementation of this AI platform actually boost my rankings?
If it doesn’t necessarily increase my rankings, does it save time? Or automate a process to spare my employees for other tasks?
The truth is, AI can do all of those things, but there are plenty of examples where AI fails, as it’s still a constantly evolving technology. We’ll get into those things momentarily.
Why AI May Be the Answer to Ranking Your Articles
When it comes to SEO, there are those tasks that are tedious and can be intelligently automated, and there are those that you still need to have a human hand in. Here is a breakdown of the different areas you can implement an AI SEO tool.
Previously, SEO experts would look at a SERP page for a designated keyword and analyze the top ten articles to gather an idea of what Google was rewarding. This included headings, keywords, and word counts. Thankfully, those days are long gone (although you should still look at your competitors to get an idea of what you’re up against).
Here are a few ways that AI tools can streamline your efforts:
- AI SEO Optimizers: These tools will help you determine word count, image counts, headings, and keywords needed to rank for a particular keyword.
- Content Creation: High-quality content is essential for ranking highly on search engines. However, coming up with topics that will resonate with your audience can be difficult. That’s where using AI comes in handy. With tools like an AI writer, you can increase your output. If you’re looking for unique images and tired of the same old stock photos, then generate your own piece of art with an AI art generator.
- Keyword Research: Conducting keyword research is another important part of SEO. After all, if you’re not targeting the right keywords, you’re not going to rank highly on search engines. Thankfully, there are now AI tools available that can help you with this task as well. For example, Google’s Keyword Planner tool uses machine learning algorithms to provide accurate monthly search volume data for different keywords. This data can be extremely helpful when deciding which keywords to target in your content.
Backlinks are the backbone of your domain authority, so you may be wondering how this process could be better automated with the help of AI. Typically, it involves grueling manual labor that includes reaching out to other websites and asking for guest post opportunities or links.
Although these are still valuable methods to improve your authority, there are additional ways in which digital marketers can utilize AI to scale their outreach.
- Backlink Checkers: These tools will help you keep track of your backlinks and ensure that they are high quality. This is important because low-quality backlinks can actually hurt your ranking. Also, they can identify places where your competitors have obtained links, so you can try to get links from those same places.
- Content Management: Creating and managing content can be a time-consuming process, especially if you’re trying to keep up with the latest SEO trends. However, there are AI tools available that can help you determine which topics you should be writing about to gain topic authority in a particular niche. This helps you strategically plan and prioritize what you should write next.
- Link Building Tools: These tools will help you find opportunities for link building. For example, if you’re looking for guest blogging opportunities, you can use a tool like Blog Dash to find relevant blogs in your industry that accept guest posts.
Probably one of the most disliked aspects of SEO is the technical checks. If a site page takes too long to load, people will quickly bounce off. If your page isn’t optimized for a mobile experience, then you can be missing out on a valuable audience as people search on their phones more than ever.
Example of Website Technical SEO audit
Here are some ways that AI can help you with your technical SEO:
- Website Speed Testers: These tools will help you determine if your website is loading quickly enough. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is one of the most popular speed testing tools and uses machine learning algorithms to provide recommendations on how to improve your page speed.
- Mobile Friendliness Checkers: These tools will help you determine if your website is mobile-friendly. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is one of the most popular mobile friendliness checkers and uses machine learning algorithms to provide recommendations on how to improve your website for mobile users.
- Security Checkers: These tools will help you determine if your website is secure. The last thing you want is a data-breach.
I think the above may give you plenty of ideas on where you can implement some AI SEO tools and help boost your rankings. After utilizing some of these tools, you may be wondering if there could be any downside to doing this. After all, with AI writers that can write an entire article in less than a few seconds, is there even a need for human writers anymore?
Why AI May Not Be the Answer To Your SEO Strategy
I think after the following above, it’s safe to say you may be wondering why there would be any reason to not utilize AI.
Well, at the end of the day, remember that SEO strategies are primarily aimed at Google. And they control the narrative, whether marketers like it or not. So let’s take a look at what they have had to say.
Search Engine Journal recently interviewed an executive from Google, in which they have repeatedly said that the use of AI-generated content is “Against Google’s Webmaster’s Guidelines“.
Here are some general guidelines to avoid any penalties from Google.
1) Don’t Write For Search Engines, Write for People
With Google explicitly mentioning that AI-generated content is against their guidelines, you’ll probably see many people recommending their use anyways. This is likely due to the sheer quantity sites must generate to continue to rank, and AI tools help increase many writers’ efficiency.
That being said, it’s important you use the AI tool as an assistant and not the article writer. Oftentimes, AI writers can provide nonfactual information, and everything should always be edited by a real writer.
And of course, always write for people, not search engines. While AI writers are a fabulous tool, and may not be detectable by Google (yet, cough cough). It’s important that you use them as a tool to help with the occasional writer’s block. At this time, it makes sense to exercise an abundance of caution if you utilize AI content, and I would advise against one hundred percent AI-generated content. And there’s really no need for that, as there are tons of ways to achieve great SEO content.
2) Image SEO
When it comes to utilizing unknown areas like AI-generated artwork, all we have are speculations. First, Google themselves have an AI-generated art machine known as Imagen. So it wouldn’t seem fair to penalize its users for using it as well.
However, having unique images has been shown to boost rankings. So what’s going to happen when everyone can create tons of AI images quickly? How will rankings change when images are no longer a ranking factor? This is something we’ll have to just wait and see.
So if you’re wondering if you should jump into utilizing AI-generated art, you may want to put a pause until we find out how search engines respond. In the meantime, photos are meant to provide visual personalization to your article, where AI would not be useful for anyways. Continue to utilize useful images like infographics, snapshots, and personalized photos for your articles.
3) Keyword Stuffing
You know the drill, you stuff as many keywords into your content as possible in an attempt to rank for all of them. But this not only makes your content difficult to read, but it also sets off major alarms for Google who will see this as a huge red flag. In fact, you could get penalized for keyword stuffing.
Therefore, when utilizing an AI on-page optimizer, be sure to understand these are suggestions for keywords and density to utilize, not the law. Getting “higher scores” on these platforms does not equal ranking number one, so be cautious and remember these are purely tools. For instance, many of these tools give you a recommended word count for the article, but time and time again, many have pointed out that the word count is not a ranking factor. So reaching a specific word count is not what will rank you, but having the necessary content to answer the search intent.
SEO is an ever-changing landscape, and keeping up with the latest trends can be daunting. However, by utilizing AI tools, you can save yourself time and improve your SEO strategy. From keyword research to content management to link building, there’s an AI tool that can help you with every aspect of your SEO.
As with anything else, it’s important to keep in mind that all artificial intelligence tools are simply just that – tools to help you automate some of the mundane tasks of search engine optimization. By utilizing these in a strategic, smart fashion to optimize your articles, you can spend more time on research and answering the search intent and less on everything else.