Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already revolutionised many sectors and the way they do business, although it remains in its relative infancy. One industry that is evolving rapidly through recent conversational AI advancements, is the field of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
AI-powered tools have automated once time-intensive tasks, to free up more thinking time for strategy. On the label, AI seems failsafe and multifaceted, the opportunities exciting and endless. However, the use of AI in SEO also comes with its own set of challenges and limitations.
So, what are the pros and cons of using AI for SEO and how will its application impact the overall search landscape?
There are several advantages to using AI for SEO.
1) Interpreting large volumes of data and completing manual tasks
One of the most significant benefits of using AI for SEO is the ability to analyse vast amounts of data quickly and accurately. This includes completing manual tasks, such as generating meta descriptions based on page title cues. AI-powered tools can handle this work with ease, leaving SEO professionals more time to focus on other strategic initiatives that require the nuances of human perspective.
2) Providing Schema mark-up code
AI can also assist with providing Schema mark-up code. While this may require some manual debugging, the overall time and effort saved are significant and AI can even suggest Schema types based on your brand’s vertical. Schema markup can improve the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs) and enhance user experience by displaying rich snippets.
3) Providing article ideas and potential article structures
AI-powered tools can generate article ideas and structures, which can help SEO experts save time and provide a fresh creative input during the ideation stage. However, it is important to qualify these ideas with keyword research and differentiate them from competitors' content to add unique value.
4) Re-wording or re-phrasing text
AI can also assist with rewording or rephrasing text, again saving time for teams who would otherwise have to do this manually. This is especially handy when you have writers block or a backlog of content to edit.
5) Copywriting for unique input prompts
AI can be used for copywriting when input prompts are unique, such as for a new product launch, media release, or an original thought leadership piece. However, it is crucial to ensure that the generated content is not duplicate with what already exists online since NLP models (Natural Language Processing) are built from scraping the web. Therefore, what the AI knows, and the output it provides, may be flagged as duplicate content by Google.
6) Providing text for non-indexable content
Not strictly for SEO, but AI comes in handy when generating copy for non-indexable content, such as social media ads, EDMs and campaign landing pages. As this content is not intended for Google’s organic index, there is no risk of duplicating content with what already exists on the web.
Unfortunately, there are multiple pitfalls to blindly using AI-powered models for SEO.
1) Lazy prompts that rely too heavily on AI
Bot-generated content should never be the sole basis for an entire article or piece of content. It is important to edit outputs to ensure uniqueness. AI models, like ChatGPT, are based on scraping existing content from the web, and competitors can easily generate similar content using the same input prompts. It's crucial to ensure that AI-generated content is unique and valuable by supplementing it with keyword research and original thought that aims to add fresh perspectives to the conversation.
2) Using AI to create meta titles and H1 tags without pre-qualified keyword research
Another situation where AI can be dangerous for SEO is when it's used to generate on-page elements without pre-qualified keyword research. While AI can assist in creating these in seconds, it's important to ensure that they are fully optimised for the right queries by referencing any keyword mapping completed as part of the strategy. Failure to do so can result in poor search engine rankings and missed opportunities as core phrases are missed.
3) Using AI without providing context on your business or competitors
AI needs context to function effectively. When AI is used without providing context on your business or competitors, it can result in irrelevant or off-topic content that adds little to no value.
4) Failure to apply brand tone of voice guidelines
Finally, using AI without applying brand tone of voice guidelines can jeopardise brand consistency and the authenticity of your message. This can result in AI-generated content that is not audience-appropriate or is easily identifiable as AI-generated. This can lead to a devaluation of the brand's community and reputation.
The development of ChatGPT and Google’s Bard have provided many opportunities for SEO experts to become more efficient and save time on once laborious tasks. But with great power comes great responsibility, and human supervision has never been so important to ensure your brand satisfies both your audiences, and search engines, expectations.
Interested in discovering how AI can help grow your brand’s revenue? Get in touch.