Artificial intelligence and automation is actually nothing new to the SEO world. Innovative SEO tech companies have leveraged machine learning and analytics for years to create tools to help content marketers and businesses optimize pages. Increasing capabilities in this niche have driven additional functionality, though, with AI that’s able to support scalable text ad campaigns and other efforts (especially with a little human help).
In early 2023, the content world was atwitter with talk of AI content and what it might mean for the industry. We’ve got the details below about SEO artificial intelligence, including how you can use it and where you might want to back away from the machine.
What’s ChatGPT and Where’s the Controversy?
While SEO marketers that read industry blogs have seen plenty of content about AI through the years, the discussion has catapulted into the mainstream recently. ChatGPT, an AI content bot from OpenAI, is one reason for that.
OpenAI released the bot in November 2022, and it took around 2.5 months for the impressive piece of machine learning to go viral in the news cycles. While Meta’s chief AI scientist, Yann LeCun, says ChatGPT isn’t as innovative as it seems, the bot is wowing users across all industries—and bringing to light numerous ethical and practical concerns about this type of AI.
Professors at the University of Minnesota and the University of Pennsylvania report that ChatGPT successfully passed both law and business exams, for example. It’s all enough to bring the lawmakers out; one United States congressman is already calling for a committee to consider regulations for this type of AI.
But Can You Use AI Tools to Write Your Content?
The answer really comes down to whether or not you should. ChatGPT and other fairly advanced tools do a decent job of stringing coherent sentences together and even providing some basic facts. And even less robust AI tools can create the type of short phrases common in search ads.
Before you take AI to the bank in an attempt to scale your content fast and cheap, though, you must consider all the ramifications. Here are just a few reasons not to use AI to create all your content:
- Google is against it. In early 2022, John Mueller of Google gave a pretty straightforward answer about the viability of AI-generated content in SERPs. He said that AI is a type of auto-generated content, and that it is banned by Google Search Essentials (formerly Webmaster Guidelines). Publishing AI-generated content, said Mueller, can result in manual penalties that reduce page rank and devalue your SEO.
- AI can’t think like a human. Consumers want real value when they come to your pages or read your emails. While advanced AI content tools can string some pretty sentences together, computers don’t think like humans. The AI doesn’t think “What is most valuable to the reader?” or “How can I tell a story to capture the reader’s attention and persuade them to take action?” AI isn’t going to integrate powerful emotional marketing elements appropriately—that’s still the sole territory of human content creators.
- AI is only as good as the data. Computer-generated content is often riddled with factual errors. That’s because AI content generators draw on all the data available to them on the web to create “new” content. You likely know from experience how hit-and-miss the internet can be with facts, and those issues find their way into the content generated by machines. This makes AI an especially bad option for long-form or complex content or even short-form content about niche topics. Check out our case study to find out how Crowd Content’s human writing force helped one client meet scale, quality and accuracy requirements not possible with AI alone.
- AI might plagiarize. Since these bots are drawing on what was written before to create new content, there’s a chance they might “borrow” a bit too much, creating duplicate content. If you publish that, you could be accused of plagiarism.
Why SEO Artificial Intelligence Is Different
While generating all your content with chatbots and other automated approaches is a bad idea for quality and SEO performance, that doesn’t mean SEO artificial intelligence is without value. In fact, as digital marketing gets increasingly competitive and the search engine landscapes become more and more technical, failing to turn to these tools can make it hard to succeed.
Here are some ways SEO artificial intelligence can be used to improve—and not compromise—content quality and performance in SERPs.
Conducting Competing Content Analyses
To rank higher in the search engines, your page has to bump someone else down. That requires creating a page that more effectively serves the searcher’s intent for the query and meets Google requirements for quality.
Meeting these goals usually requires starting with competitive research. What are your competitors doing with content, who is most successful and how can you do it better?
You can do this manually. Search all your keywords, read dozens or hundreds of Google pages in the top results and take notes about the content—how long is it, what headers are used, what topics are covered, does the competition use conversational or journalistic language? The list goes on…and on.
Or, you can invest in AI to handle this for you. That’s part of what tools like INK and SEMRush do; they scour the web and return suggestions for content based on what’s performing well.
Strengthening Keyword Research
Automation tools to find trending keywords have been around for more than a decade. AdWords was launched in 2000, after all. Today’s automated keyword research tools go further than basic lists and stats about monthly search volumes, though.
AI can help you create entire keyword content plans by categorizing keywords according to intent, overall topics, trends and search volumes. Instead of walking away with a list of keywords you have to shuffle into shape, you can get a well-organized keyword report that takes little effort to tweak into a viable SEO strategy.
Planning and Outlining Content
Once you have the keywords and a basic plan, these same tools can help you plan and outline your content. SEO artificial intelligence tools can generate entire blog outlines or offer decent, actionable advice about:
- What subheadings you might include in content
- What questions are trending that you should answer
- What semantic keywords and phrases can increase the SEO value of your page
Many of these tools also help you increase the SEO-quality of your page by helping you keep reading levels in check, reminding you to create meta tags and offering suggestions for the number of images you might need.
Writing Some Content
SEO artificial intelligence tools can even be used to create limited content to help you scale your approach. You shouldn’t use machines to write entire blog posts, but you can definitely put AI to work creating formulaic meta descriptions or blurbs. Just make sure you have some human quality assurance processes in place, because when a computer misunderstands the assignment, it usually does so spectacularly.
Balance SEO Artificial Intelligence With Human-Forward Content
Crowd Content has always embraced technology when it serves a purpose for our clients and adds value to the content we create. If you want to scale content for SEO and aren’t sure how to balance old-fashioned creativity and human talent with new SEO AI tools, we can help.