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January 9, 2023
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How will AI impact the future of SEO? 7 new strategies to focus on (2023)

As AI writing and artificial intelligence gain momentum, it's essential to consider their impact on the future of SEO and copywriting.

How will AI impact the future of SEO? 7 new strategies to focus on (2023)

AI writing, artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models (LLMs) with platforms like ChatGPT are currently gaining traction among SEOs and copywriters.

And although some might challenge that AI can still not produce high-quality content (note; they are wrong!), the technology is evolving very fast, so there will be an explosion in the amount of content generation in the coming years.

And at the same time, new technologies might challenge the classic SERP results showing a bunch of links when the users are looking for factual short answers - sometimes at least.

How will this impact the future of search engine optimization?

There are some questions to consider when reviewing this topic:

  • Is SEO going to be a relevant marketing discipline in the future?
  • Will answers be served directly in the search engines without users needing to move to the pages behind?
  • Will content generation thereby die out as an effective SEO strategy?

Let's get started with the changes we will see on the search engine side and why the future might not be so dark with the rise of AI (for SEOs, at least).

If you are in a hurry to get to the end result, here are the seven future SEO strategies:

  1. Understand your audience;
  2. Create unique content and new data that is not just content reproduction
  3. Proof of "humans" behind the content
  4. Structured data
  5. Focus on experience and user interaction
  6. Freshness and real-time data
  7. Higher domain authority and links

The future of search engines after AI

Let's start to see how AI will transform how search engines and their algorithms work.

In short, it will accelerate the direction search engines are already moving.

They will embed more AI in understanding queries and presenting the correct content.

But it's important to understand that not all searches are just about getting 1 answer. It might be browsing different options as well.

Some examples;

When I am searching for "the speed of light" I might want to know facts and that "The speed of light is approximately 299,792,458 meters per second." (thanks, SEO.ai, for that fact)

When searching for "carrot cake recipe" I might want a recipe. But I might want a specific type even though I have not expressed it. I might prefer a vegan recipe, or at least I want to be presented with the options I did not know I was searching for.

And when I search for "long winter jacket", or "Ralph Lauren Winter Jacket" I might want to see multiple options as well.

In many cases, answering a query in a perfect way can be just as much about the right UX/design choice.

Google already understands that variety sometimes is the best answer, instead of a single (factual) result. And many queries are about finding multiple results to browse.

That's why the generative AI will not alone out-compete Google (see our post-Google vs ChatGPT for more). (link)

This is also important for SEOs. E.g. when you create content and want to optimize it for search engines, you might look at the existing pages and their titles and content.

This indicates that this is the type of content Google wants to display and matches the query and user intent on the one hand. But on the other, you need to offer something new (or better) to compete.

And Google will reward new takes, angles, or information. They reward the creators more than the copy-cats.

But does this mean that AI will not radically change search engines?

In short, yes. Google, Bing, and the like already use artificial intelligence. (link)

And as Google's main revenue model is based on sending traffic to other pages, Big G also has an interest in an interface where it makes sense for the user to see different results and explore more in its sources.

And even though a new search engine like NeevaAI provides this, Google still sits on approximately 84% of the global search traffic. And moving these billions of daily searches from one platform to another will take a lot of time for contestants to this almost monopoly. People are creatures of habit.

NeevaAI is a search engine by ex-Googlers that combine language models with classic search results

Google is famous for constantly evolving, testing, and all in all, trying to drive innovation. Both incremental and radical innovation. And with 135,301 employees (many of whom are engineers) they have the muscle to do so.

Combined with the endless ownership, acquisitions and collaborations with AI startups, it will take a lot to throw the King of Search off its throne.

And the rise of AI might even play to Google's advantage.

The explosion of content from the creators and companies will require more server capacity, crawlers, content analysis and advanced algorithms to sort out meaningful content and spot the best results.

So, what does AI mean for SEOs?

We discussed this a bit in our post about what the future of SEO won't be. But what will it be then?

For starters, it will mean that SEO gets more complex and competitive.

With AI able to produce large amounts of content quickly and inexpensively, there may be more competition for search rankings.

There are two different angles to this;

A) Create content that is optimized for AI-driven search results

This means you should create content that provides factual answers to questions.

This could be in the form of FAQs, how-to guides, and other content that provides clear and concise answers.

It has already been discussed for some time in relation to voice search, where longer-term responses have mainly been AI-based (although not generative like we see ChatGPT) and fact-oriented.

B) Compete on quality instead of quantity

In the age of AI, SEOs need to focus on creating content that is of high quality.

This is nothing new, as Google guidelines already focus on this.

But what defines high quality will change.

Where it earlier might have been enough that content was factually correct, well-written, and broadly covered a topic, new areas arise. We see them in Google's latest addition of "Experience" to their E-A-T principle.

7 strategies for SEO-enhanced content with the rise of AI

We, therefore, outline these 7 guiding principles for new ever-green content that will ensure rankings and web traffic in the future;

1) Understand your audience;

SEOs should focus on creating content that is relevant to their target audience.

This means that content should be tailored to the interests and needs of the target audience instead of generic content, as AI algorithms can detect content irrelevant to the user's search query and persona.

Search engines will (as they already do) understand who their audience is based on big data analysis and present different search results.

A private person or a professional building contractor does not see the same results when searching for 'house addition'.

With AI and improved machine learning, they will only get better at this. So should you.

2) Create unique content and new data that is not just content reproduction

To stand out in a sea of future AI-generated content, SEOs must focus even more on content that is distinct and original, rather than a mere copy of existing material.

This can be done by developing research-based content, such as surveys, case studies, and original research articles, providing new and unique data and information.

This will help to differentiate the content from competitors and draw the attention of both search engines and users, improving search engine rankings and increasing visibility.

This is also content that an AI would not be able to create on its own.

At least not what we believe it will be capable of in the nearest future.

3) Proof of "humans" behind the content

In the age of AI, it is important to show that real people, rather than algorithms or machines, are behind the content.

This is especially important when the content deals with emotions or personal experiences, as users may want to connect with real people who can relate to their feelings and situations.

Even though the AI might be capable at simulating being a human writer (and even being better), people prefer real human interaction.

As an example, Koko, a non-profit organization, utilized GPT-3 to generate 30,000 peer-support messages, all of which were monitored by a human. Although the messages were rated higher than those without AI, the users did not approve of them.

Providing proof of the human creators behind the content, such as through author bios or personal profiles, can help to build trust and credibility with users.

I even saw someone discussing whether #noAIinvolved or #chatgptfree in the future could become a trend on social media posts or similar just like many used to put #nofilter on an Instagram photo not improved with a filter/software-optimized to look better.

4) Structured data

It is important to use structured data to improve the visibility and ranking of content in search engines.

Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and its content, which makes it easier for search engines to understand and index the content.

By using structured data, SEOs can help to improve the way that their content is displayed in search results, making it more appealing and relevant to users.

Using structured data can also help to improve the performance of content in voice search, as it allows search engines to understand the content and present it in a more natural and user-friendly way.

A counterargument to this viewpoint is that search engine algorithms will be so advanced with ever-improving algorithms that content does not have to be organized in a specific way for them to understand and index the information.

Just like the significance of technical SEO, to some degree, has gone down over the years, the importance of creating high-quality content has increased.

5) Focus on experience and user interaction

With more and more competing content, where the actual content requires less effort, it is important for SEOs to focus on creating content that provides a positive and engaging experience for users.

Not only should it be well-written, easy to understand, and visually appealing, but it should also designing it to encourage user interaction.

For example, a "house addition" search could be enhanced with an interactive calculator that helps users estimate the cost of adding on to their home.

This type of content takes more effort to create and is less likely to be replicated by AI-generated content, giving it a competitive advantage.

Although ChatGPT can generate code, it cannot create something like a price calculator, as it requires the necessary data to calculate prices. However, it does make the process of creating such a calculator much simpler than it was before.

Example of ChatGPT writing code for a price calculator

Other examples of interactive content could include polls, quizzes, user comments and other useful and relevant elements to the user's search query.

And indications to web crawlers that it's not just plain AI-automated content.

SEOs have been aware for a long time that features such as user comments can demonstrate to Google that content is up-to-date and that users are engaging with it. Leading to better rankings.

6) Freshness and real-time data

As one of the limits of the current generative models is the data they are trained, the content that contains newer data or contains other real-time data will stand out.

For example, if you are searching for the latest news about a certain topic, AI-generated content is not likely to be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information.

In this case, SEOs should focus on creating content that is updated regularly with fresh data.

This could be done by creating content that is updated with the latest news, or by creating content that is based on real-time data such as stock prices or weather forecasts.

This is not a new SEO practice (we know part of it as programmatic SEO) but I believe this will get even more traction in the future.

Thomas Cooks pages with weather data are ranking well

By doing this, SEOs can ensure that their content is more likely to be ranked higher than AI-generated content.

7) Higher domain authority and links

In addition to creating high-quality content, it is important for SEOs to focus even more on building their domain authority and earning high-quality links from other reputable websites.

As the amount of content available grows rapidly, Google and other search engines will need to rely more heavily on domain authority and external ranking signals to determine which content should be prioritized.

This means that SEOs will need to focus more on building relationships with other websites and earning links from them.

How will AI impact the future of SEO? 7 new strategies to focus on (2023)

+20 years of experience from various digital agencies. Passionate about AI (artificial intelligence) and SEO

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