Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. From our smartphones and laptops to digital voice assistants (such as Google Home and Alexa), we now encounter AI nearly every day. Because of this trend and the introduction of ChatGPT, businesses have also begun to incorporate AI into their content creation processes, most notably to help with search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is the process through which businesses can make their websites rank higher in Google’s search results. They can do this in many ways, including backlinking, internal linking, and using meta descriptions.
Some controversy has recently arisen about whether businesses should use AI for SEO because of the ethical issues surrounding AI-generated content and the question of its actually helping SEO efforts. Furthermore, businesses face the challenge of how to implement AI in their SEO. This guide aims to provide clarity on all these factors, helping you to focus on your business’s needs.
Businesses often ask whether AI is safe for their content teams to use, and they’re right to do so. AI has been a fantastic addition to the content creation process but is not without its disadvantages. AI generators can compile and summarize only what’s already been published on the internet, leaving them open to bias, misinformation, and inaccuracies. Publishing biased, misinformed, or inaccurate content can ruin a business’s reputation. So use AI by all means, but make sure you thoroughly check and proofread the content before you hit “Publish” (we’ll provide more information below on how to do this).
If you kept up with industry news in 2022, you would have seen Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller release a statement that said Google would punish websites that used AI in their content, which the organization considered spam. Businesses that used AI to help in their content creation process then worried that AI was hindering or even negatively affecting their SEO efforts, though many organizations were using AI without issues.
A year later, Google revised its stance, saying that its issue was with businesses using AI solely to rank higher in search results but that if businesses used AI to help create quality content, Google had no objections. We go into more depth on the Google debate in our article Is AI-Generated Content Bad for SEO?
In 2023, AI generators are an important part of the content creation process, including SEO. In fact, Forbes asserts that AI will revolutionize SEO because it will help businesses rank better in the algorithms, research keywords, optimize content, enhance the user experience, and predict SEO trends. Notice that Forbes does not recommend having AI do all the work for you; rather, it recommends using AI to do the more menial tasks, leaving you free to write engaging content. Using AI to support your writing but not to replace you is the ideal way forward.
Combining AI-generated content and SEO is an effective strategy to enhance your website’s visibility and attract organic traffic, but how do you achieve this?
Learning the basics of SEO is the best thing you can do as a business that creates online content, even if you have an SEO specialist, because it will help you generate content ideas and write with SEO in mind. At Proofed, we recommend using the acronym EAT to help you create top-tier content and boost your SEO.
The next step is defining what you want to achieve with SEO. Do you want to increase traffic to your website, enhance user experience, or convert more leads? These goals should be achievable over a period of time and specific to SEO. Ahrefs suggests using their SEO goal pyramid. You set an outcome goal, then break it down into a performance goal (a smaller goal that will help you with the outcome goal) and then break that goal down further into process goals (tasks that are within your control and contribute to the larger goals). Without goals, you and your team will be directionless.
Keywords are the terms that people enter into a search engine to find the information they need. For instance, if they were looking for information about a new laptop, they might use “best new laptops.” Marketers research which of these terms are the most popular and incorporate them into their content. This process can be time-consuming (though AI is becoming better at generating keywords from prompts), but it’s worth the effort because keywords will help you rank higher in search engine results pages. If you need more help, HubSpot has a fantastic guide to conducting keyword research.
Once you have your keywords, you can use them with AI to help you create content. Although we don’t recommend using AI to write for you, the technology can help you produce well-structured, informative, and engaging articles or blog posts tailored to your audience.
We’ve spoken about implementing keywords in your content, but you also need to implement them in your meta tags, meta descriptions, and URLs. Keywords signal to Google and to potential readers what your content is about, so it’s vital that you include them where you can. AI generators can help you create titles and meta descriptions with the keywords you’ve chosen. Incorporating these keywords into your meta tags, meta descriptions, and URLs makes your content more discoverable in the search engines.
Before you hit “publish,” make sure you edit and proofread your writing. AI has many talents, but it’s far from perfect, and you don’t want to risk publishing mistakes. No AI can accurately pick up every aspect of proofreading and editing. We conducted an experiment in which we examined whether ChatGPT could outperform a human editor. We found that, while it did well with some aspects of grammar and punctuation, it couldn’t pick up on nuances or context in language. Ultimately, humans are still the best judges of what other humans will enjoy.
Remember those goals you set at the start of this process? Now you need to go back and monitor their status. Say you decided to track website traffic. You would be checking to see how your SEO efforts have driven more people to your website. If things are working, keep going; if not, you may need to readjust your strategy. AI is a fantastic resource for constantly monitoring and analyzing your analytics. Unite.AI lists the five best tools for data analysis, which can streamline your content creation process.
AI has become a fantastic resource for content creators, especially in helping with SEO. Following our seven steps will help you combine AI and SEO and streamline your processes. However, it’s important to remember that, while AI can assist in content creation, you should maintain a balance and not rely solely on AI-generated content. Over-optimization is just as bad as under-optimization because search engines prioritize high-quality content that meets users’ needs.
If you are still unsure about AI, we have several blogs, including advice on where content teams should deploy AI for maximum success and a guide to human + AI content creation in 2023. These will help you find your place in the content creation process.
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