Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword in tech for the last few years. With Google and Microsoft both recently unveiling their plans to integrate AI into search, people working in search engine optimization (SEO) need to stay ahead of the game.
The public really started to pay attention to AI at the end of 2022, as you can see from the huge increase in searches for the term.
Image Source: Google Trends
At the same time, Google – the biggest search engine in the world – warned content creators and those working in SEO that publishing AI-generated content could hurt their search rankings.
Is it still possible to use AI tools to improve your site’s SEO? With Google and Microsoft pumping billions of dollars into the technology, is the future of search going to be AI? Here, we’re going to explore how SEO and AI intersect and how you can take advantage of it.
How is AI Being Integrated into Search?
Two of the biggest tech firms, Google and Microsoft, have been into AI for years. Google has used RankBrain to help its search engine understand what you’re looking for since 2015. Microsoft launched its AI and research group in 2016 and licensed OpenAI’s GPT-3 tech in 2020.
There are lots of AI writing tools that use the GPT-3 technology, but Microsoft is the only company with access to the underlying tech from OpenAI.
While you’ll have been able to use the GPT-3 tech through tools like Jasper or Copysmith for some time, ChatGPT became accessible to the public in November 2022. ChatGPT differs from other software on the market because:
- It has been trained with a much larger dataset, which should make its response more nuanced and relevant.
- It’s designed to be conversational – other writing tools are trained to write and produce content, but ChatGPT is there to respond to questions.
- It is constantly learning based on user inputs since the conversation is two-way rather than spitting out data.
Soon after the public began interacting with ChatGPT, Microsoft announced it would be integrating it into Bing search. The search engine had an 8.95% market share of desktop search in December 2022, but with this innovation, it may see more people heading there for answers to queries.
Google’s AI efforts are in-house rather than licensed. As of February 2023, its most recent tool – Bard – is also not available for the general public to work with.
It got off to a faltering start when launched on 6 February 2023. At its big unveiling, Bard was asked for information about the James Webb Space Telescope and gave a factually incorrect answer, which was seen as damaging to its reputation.
Nonetheless, the company plans to launch Bard over the coming months to allow searchers to ask questions in a conversational format. The responses will look very different from how SEOs are used to working and how it will affect content production is yet to be fully understood.
Using AI to Improve Your SEO
AI is the latest trend in content creation and SEO, with creators, writers, and developers looking for ways to apply new tools to improve and automate their work. Using AI and machine learning can reduce manual processes and make research quicker – if you know how to use it right.
Google allows you to use its natural language processing (NLP) tool to assess your content before publishing. With this, you can see how Google understands your:
You can “read” your content how Google does and make sure the text you want to publish is easy to understand and is relevant to the search query you want to target.
When you ask ChatGPT how it can help with SEO, it tells you it can:
- Produce content that is easy to understand by humans and AI;
- Generate related keywords for your topic;
- Analyze SERPs to help you optimize your existing content;
- Write metadata for your pages, that it says can increase click rates.
Most writers and editors will tell you that this tool can’t produce finished content; it lacks product knowledge, storytelling, and reliable data. However, it can help develop areas of research and give you different ways to understand the question your content is aimed at answering.
As we’ve noted, Google isn’t a fan of using auto-generated –read AI – content being used on your website. You can still harness the power of AI tools to help generate your content, which can speed up your production process.
You can use software to develop headlines, write content briefs, and even write an outline of your SEO content that a writer fleshes out. When search optimization requires a steady flow of content, having a writing assistant on hand can keep your output at the level you need to perform in the SERPs.
Using AI for Building Internal Backlinks
A strong internal linking structure is important to give context to the content you produce for search purposes. Some examples of AI link-building tools include:
- Link Whisper
Scouting through historic content, finding the right anchor text, and linking to your new content can be a long and arduous process. Farming it out to an AI automation will get your site structure solid and perform better on search quickly.
Using AI for Your SEO
The future of search is grounded in AI – the adoption by both Microsoft’s Bing and Alphabet’s Google is a clear sign of the direction of travel for the technology. Building AI into your content production, from writing to analyzing content and structuring your site, will get you ahead of the game as AI comes to SEO.