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How will AI Affect SEO? An Experts Point of View

The realm of SEO has recently been caught in the grip of artificial intelligence. Cutting-edge AI tools such as ChatGPT have burst onto the scene, showcasing a capacity to grapple with a multitude of SEO tasks. This, in turn, has given a fresh lease of life to the evergreen debate, splashed across the headlines again: Is the SEO field gasping its last breath?

Now, here’s a little food for thought. If you’re marveling at ChatGPT and fear it’s a threat to SEO, brace yourself for a revelation. The brainchild itself puts those fears to rest by asserting that the SEO industry is, in fact, here to stay.

While AI may paint a new picture of how SEO tasks are performed, it is far from putting the profession out of business. Sure, AI can streamline certain facets of SEO, such as keyword analysis and technical website audits. Still, it doesn’t eliminate the need for human ingenuity and expertise to devise and roll out successful strategies.

Furthermore, search engines are far from stagnant. They’re in a state of perpetual evolution, becoming increasingly intricate (more on that later), which keeps AI on its toes. In this ever-changing landscape, the knowledge and expertise of SEO professionals in keeping abreast with the shifts in search engine algorithms will continue to be a coveted skill.

Pivoting to a more somber tone: if you’re a seasoned SEO professional, you would have observed that SEO has remained resilient, immune to the shocks of any technological breakthroughs. Far from being a threat, technological innovation often acts as a catalyst, unleashing fresh tools to reimagine conventional tasks and unlock new opportunities.

That brings us to this; AI tools like ChatGPT can actually be the wind beneath the wings of the SEO profession, equipping us with yet another weapon in our arsenal to let our industry soar to greater heights.

Let’s take a peek at how ChatGPT is making waves in the SEO landscape:

Aiding in Content Creation and Enhancement

The quest for automating SEO content creation has been a long-standing pursuit for SEO enthusiasts, and the reasons are clear as day: Conventional search engines require text to decipher the essence of a page, and it’s not always feasible to craft unique content for every potential search query or intent – an issue particularly pressing for large-scale e-commerce platforms that juggle millions of product pages and SKUs.

Is ChatGPT swooping in to save the day? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves – employing AI for content writing may be riddled with a couple of pitfalls:

Firstly, AI-driven content invariably lacks a distinct personality or flair, something which Google may currently, or may eventually recognize. Secondly, for those acquainted with Google’s track record of penalizing any overused content creation or optimization tactics, it’s almost inevitable that Google will discern, downvalue, and possibly penalize AI-produced content once it becomes an issue. While automation can fast-track your content strategy, relying on AI for content generation might not be the smartest move in the long haul, much like using rewriting or translating tools wasn’t a wise decision in the pre-AI era.

So, how can we harness the power of AI to streamline our content creation process? Tools like ChatGPT come to the rescue in handling numerous SEO content creation tasks without jeopardizing your overarching SEO strategy. These include:

  • Generating content topic suggestions
  • Performing keyword research analysis
  • Crafting content summaries (for meta tag optimization or optimizing featured snippets)
  • Compiling content briefs and frameworks
  • Structuring content, among others

Similarly, you can leverage the tool to classify your keyword lists according to sentiment or generate a semantic analysis to group your keywords. While the outcome still calls for a human review, it is a far more efficient method compared to manually undertaking these tasks with nothing but a subjective understanding of the queries.

Bear in mind, no one commissions a professional team merely to perform these tasks; it’s more about refining parts of the process (and utilizing the technology to unearth fresh ideas that conventional keyword & audience research might overlook) rather than supplanting a full-fledged agency.

Time-Saver for Minor Tasks

ChatGPT serves as a capable ally in executing small-scale tasks, thereby freeing up your time. These tasks encompass straightforward coding, rudimentary research, and certain types of data examination.

To illustrate, ChatGPT can swiftly assemble Schema code in line with your directives. Alternatively, based on the content you provide, it can propose suitable Schema types. It can deliver a neat HTML code for any text input. It even has the knack to write uncomplicated PHP tools and retrieve data from APIs.

Nevertheless, it falls upon a savvy developer to arrange many of these elements, rectify mistakes (a common occurrence with the tool), test the output, and tweak the code as required. If you’ve collaborated with developer teams, you might draw parallels, “Isn’t this what they are already doing, albeit depending on public code snippets and freelancers?” And you’d be spot on!

In this context, ChatGPT acts as a mini assistant, simplifying tasks and making life easier. But it isn’t entirely self-sufficient; human intervention is crucial as there’s always a broader context, a sophisticated testing procedure, and an extended period of adjustments based on real human interactions with a page or a tool.

Where do AI tools like ChatGPT hit a wall?

Spotting and Tracking Trends

ChatGPT leans on its pre-existing knowledge base, which it has been trained to comprehend and learn from. Updating this knowledge base seems to be a bit of a challenge since it would necessitate further training and testing – a task that’s not exactly a walk in the park. If it were, the tool’s knowledge base would be much more current.

Anyone with some tenure in SEO knows that the only constant in this field is change. Actions from five years ago could potentially land your site in hot water today. Therefore, depending wholly on stale data from an AI tool for real-time decision-making might not be your best bet.

As ChatGPT itself concedes, it’s not adept at aiming at moving targets – a defining characteristic of the SEO landscape.

Thinking in the way a Human Does

Emotional complexity, committing errors, losing your way, and experiencing confusion – these are all quintessential elements of people’s search and buying journeys that only a fellow human can empathize with.

The capacity to comprehend human emotions and anticipate responses is a cornerstone of critical SEO tasks like link-building outreach and crafting viral content.

Only a human can create content that truly resonates, and it goes without saying that the tool falls short in performing vital tasks like promoting your content, conducting outreach, following up with prospects, and so on.

With AI-produced content, there’s the danger of the web becoming a monotonous landscape where tone, format, and wording all blend into a uniform pattern. That’s a version of the internet none of us would welcome.

Lacking integration with other tools such as Google Analytics and Search Console, AI also fails to diagnose the multitude of reasons why your website might be losing traffic and to offer solutions for these problems. The ironic twist is that over-reliance on AI-generated copy might be the culprit for many in the future!

Conducting Searches

ChatGPT is currently not equipped to perform searches, update its own database, or tap into other search engines. While we can’t say for certain whether this might change in the future (although it seems likely), we do know that Google has invested years in training its algorithm to serve up diverse results in response to human queries. Thus, it’s unlikely that this tool will be stepping into Google’s shoes anytime soon.

What About the Future of Search Engines?

As we gaze into the future of search engines, we stumble upon fascinating integrations and leaps in technology, redefining the ways in which we interact with these tools and their potential impacts on the SEO industry.

Take “Bing Chat” as an example. This platform is a unique blend of Microsoft’s search engine and a bespoke version of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot. The purpose? To deliver answers in a conversational manner that feels more human, as opposed to simply serving up a list of links that may or may not hold the information you’re after. This shift towards interactive, conversational search experiences could radically transform SEO strategies, making it crucial for experts to adapt their content and keywords to cater to this new approach.

Moving over to the Google camp, there’s quite a buzz around their AI advancements. The recap from Google I/O 2023 revealed a significant update to Google Search – the introduction of AI snapshots, a part of the Search Generative Experience (SGE). Once you opt into SGE, your search results will feature AI-powered answers at the pinnacle, providing you with a broader context. This snapshot of information can then be honed through follow-up questions.

Google I:O Search Update
Google I:O Search Update

These AI snapshots are fueled by PaLM 2, an upgraded version of Google’s expansive language model that also powers a whopping 25 other Google services. PaLM 2 boasts improvements in areas like reasoning, coding, and translation. For the SEO world, this development implies a deeper focus on high-quality, context-rich content that can resonate with AI’s understanding and provide well-rounded answers to user queries.

In conclusion, the future of search engines is leaning towards an AI-augmented, conversational model that aims to provide richer, more accurate, and contextual answers to user queries. In this evolving landscape, SEO professionals will need to craft their strategies with a keen eye on these developments, focusing on creating high-quality content that aligns with the capabilities of these advanced AI systems. By staying ahead of the curve and embracing these changes, the SEO industry stands to thrive in this exciting era of search engine evolution.

The Final Thought

In wrapping up, it’s evident that AI, symbolized by tools like ChatGPT, is making waves in the SEO industry. However, while it’s equipped to automate various tasks, streamline SEO efforts, and even participate in coding and data analysis, it’s far from rendering human expertise obsolete. Its inability to perform searches, stay current with trends, or mimic the emotional complexity of human thinking highlights the continued importance of human involvement in SEO strategies.

Exciting developments in search engines, like Bing’s conversational interface and Google’s AI-driven snapshots, point towards a future where AI plays a significant role but doesn’t eliminate the need for human ingenuity. As the SEO landscape evolves, professionals in the field must adapt, embrace change, and leverage AI tools judiciously to ensure they continue to provide high-quality, relevant content and deliver optimal results in this dynamic digital era.


Larry Norris

With over 5 years of experience in agency work as an SEO Manager, I am proud to have assisted many clients in achieving higher search engine rankings and a stronger online presence. My successful track record includes top 3 rankings in SERPS, the attainment of featured snippets, and increased website domain authority.