Owner of award-winning digital marketing agency Bold Digital Architects, co-host of the Real Life Superpowers Podcast.
As the owner of a B2B content marketing agency, I’ve had many discussions about the impact of generative artificial intelligence on search engine optimization (SEO). There’s been a lot of buzz lately about how AI is transforming various industries, and SEO is no exception. However, I have a slightly different view on this matter.
Let’s address the concerns first. It seems that fewer and fewer people rely solely on Google for their information needs. This shift in user behavior has undoubtedly impacted search traffic. That’s a wake-up call for brands that put all their eggs in one basket: It’s always a good idea to take a multi-channel approach, diversify strategies, and focus on market education and demand generation.
But here’s the point: I don’t believe AI fundamentally changes the essence of SEO.
The core principles of SEO: add value and gain trust
At its core, SEO has always been about adding value to your ecosystem through different forms of content. It’s about providing the best information and validating it through social proof and other metrics. And that fundamental principle remains intact.
Google has spent years refining its algorithms to filter out noises and reward those who demonstrate EAT: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. They aim to differentiate between content that is made exclusively for search engines and content that actually adds value to users. Despite the advancements in AI, I find that Google’s core goal remains the same: to deliver high-quality and relevant information to its users.
So if you’re consistently adding value to your audience, you’re on the right track. Regardless of the changes in the ecosystem, the principles of SEO remain. It’s about understanding your target market, identifying their pain points and providing solutions that really help them. As long as you stay focused on delivering value, the mindset that drives your actions shouldn’t change.
Still, as with any dynamic landscape, it’s a good idea to take some hands-on action. Here are a few things you can do.
Adapting SEO to the AI Era: Practical Insights and Future Projections
As AI becomes more ingrained in our daily lives, understanding how it will shape the SEO landscape is essential. It is important to note that the fundamental principles of SEO always apply, but methodologies and strategies may change as technology evolves.
Duplication of conversational styles
In practice, it’s a good idea to provide accurate, direct answers in the content, bearing in mind a zero-click result that Google will return as an answer to a query. Those who consider voice searches (powered by AI assistants like Siri and Alexa) have been doing so for quite some time to be the answer to such questions. Generative Search Experiences (GSE) are no different in that respect.
Preventive SEO to the stage
I think we will also see more emphasis on predictive analytics in SEO in the future. By leveraging the capabilities of AI, search engines may not only deliver results based on what users search for, but also anticipate their needs before even performing a search. Preventive SEO strategies can therefore become a vital part of a company’s digital marketing approach. This means anticipating what your audience might search for or be interested in in the future and create content that addresses these topics before demand peaks. This can be achieved by staying ahead of industry trends, understanding seasonal patterns and predicting shifts in consumer behavior.
The goal is to already have relevant, high-quality content when these searches start to grow in popularity.
With the growing capabilities of AI, it could potentially help predict these trends, making it easier for SEO strategists to create preemptive content. For example, an AI system can analyze patterns and trends in large data sets to predict what kind of information users will search for next. As a result, companies can prepare their content in advance and optimize their SEO for these predicted queries.
In other words, it’s about preparing and optimizing your content for the future rather than just capitalizing on current or past trends.
Data analysis (and execution) on steroids
Finally, I think one of the most important aspects of AI’s impact on SEO is probably seen in data analytics. The vast amount of data generated by businesses can be more effectively analyzed and interpreted using AI, providing a better understanding of user behavior, market trends, and the performance of various SEO strategies. Analyzing a website’s SEO already becomes a matter of a few clues, and I imagine the next level of advancement will be the use of generative AI for many SEO-related aspects.
Interestingly, this can lead to a battle of prompts where instead of trying to decipher the complicated code that underpins these advanced AI models (which is currently a common practice – reverse engineering the Google algorithm) , the approach to this Optimization of the “new world” could be … asking the AI. Of course, this can lead to a competitive race between marketers pursuing the same goals (similar to Waze redirecting traffic and inadvertently causing congestion).
While the future is uncertain, one thing remains clear: value always wins. Regardless of the changes in search engines or the introduction of new monetization models, if you’re focused on delivering value to your audience, you’re on the right track. It’s the same as if your startup provides a valid solution that people need – no economic uncertainty will hold you back.
Embracing new technologies and keeping abreast of the latest trends is essential to maintain your competitive advantage. Keep an eye on developments in AI and SEO and be prepared to adjust your strategies accordingly. AI is not a threat; it is a tool that will help you achieve even greater success in the ever-evolving digital landscape.