Has AI Changed SEO for Better or Worse?
April 12, 2023
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Google first turned to artificial intelligence and machine learning to power its search engine algorithm back in 2016.
With ChatGPT‘s launch in late 2022, however, artificial intelligence truly became mainstream and significantly impacted the SEO industry.
While some believe these changes have been for the better, others have argued that they have made things worse.
As we look into the crystal ball, it’s becoming increasingly clear that AI will continue to be one of the most critical factors in the future of search engine optimization and digital marketing.
Here are some ways AI is changing SEO, along with its positive and negative impacts.
AI content creation is a big advantage for businesses looking to gain efficiency and improve their SEO.
Google Search’s guidance on AI-generated content has changed in recent months to allow for AI content creation, provided it meets the same quality guidelines established for human writers.
However, Google amended this statement a month later by stating AI should not be used for:
- Harmful or illegal activities.
- Abuse or service disruption.
- Automated decisions in “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) areas.
- Sexually explicit content.
Google’s ranking system is designed to reward high-quality content. While using automation to generate content to manipulate search rankings violates terms, it is possible to use AI to help you create great content.
Google wants humans to write content, but there is no reason why AI cannot help improve your business’s content quality.
Recently, the use of AI to develop and create content is more popular and widespread than ever, and this is something you have to make the most of as much as possible.
However, there are also some potential downsides to the increased use of AI in SEO.
One concern is that it could decrease the quality of content, as marketers may focus more on creating content optimized for search engines rather than providing value to readers.
Other concerns center around the limitations associated with ChatGPT itself:
- The natural language processing tool has been trained on data up to 2021 – meaning anything published after that is not included in the output consideration.
- Not being connected to the internet is a second limitation that considerably limits the ability of ChatGPT to create helpful content.
Last but not least, it is vital to remember that AI-written content will have difficulty creating something new – as the output is based on the data it has been fed, and that data ended in 2021.
As a result, a layer of human intelligence is a must to meet Google’s search quality guidelines.
Personalized search results
One of the most significant impacts of AI on SEO is personalized search results.
AI algorithms can analyze a user’s search history, location, and behavior to provide customized results. SEO strategies must focus on creating content tailored to specific audiences rather than generic ones.
The way search engines understand and rank search results are changing, and AI plays a massive part in this.
Personalization is becoming a much more common part of modern SEO, with customers getting access to more personalized results.
AI chatbots are increasingly developing and can answer search queries to provide conversational results.
Businesses can also optimize their website SEO by using AI assistants to analyze content and find areas where companies can improve.
This is where AI generative models have the potential to excel in content creation when trained on your own data. For example, Mike King created an AI chatbot with context-limited content published on the iPullRank agency website.
The growth of technology has meant that customers seek a more personal experience, and there are many excellent ways to achieve this.
Try to come up with some of the best ideas that will allow you to personalize results, and chatbots play a significant role in this.
Voice search optimization
With AI-powered voice assistants like Siri and Alexa becoming more popular, optimizing for voice search has become crucial.
AI algorithms can understand natural language queries and provide accurate results. Therefore, SEO strategies should include conversational keywords and phrases matching people’s speech.
Businesses have to look at the best ways to implement and optimize content for mobile. Using long-tail and short-tail keywords to optimize for voice search is so important.
This is an excellent step in the process. AI can help with voice search optimization by scanning existing content and suggesting SEO-related changes.
AI-powered predictive analytics can help businesses identify trends and predict future outcomes.
For SEO, this means that data-driven insights can inform the creation of content and optimization strategies.
Predictive analytics can also help businesses identify emerging opportunities and stay ahead.
The great thing about AI is that it uses predictive analytics based on algorithmic data to identify opportunities and areas for improvement as a business.
There is a lot to consider when looking to improve and enhance your SEO strategy, which is one of the significant elements that can help you.
Understanding how your website ranks on the SERPs is hugely essential for formulating a solid SEO strategy moving forward, which you need to ensure you get right.
How ChatGPT is impacting SEO
AI-powered chatbots such as ChatGPT can provide instant customer support and engage with users in real time.
Chatbots can also collect user behavior, preferences, and feedback data to inform SEO strategies.
There is no question that ChatGPT has had an impact on SEO and will continue to have a long-lasting effect on the industry.
ChatGPT’s transformer has 175 billion parameters, supporting over 95 languages. This makes it the perfect AI chatbot to help improve and influence SEO moving forward.
There are a lot of factors that play a role in helping to develop positive SEO changes.
With the processing capabilities of ChatGPT, there are numerous ways businesses can use it to boost their SEO, including:
Positive effects of AI on SEO
AI can impact SEO from a business perspective in many positive ways, including better user experience.
Customers value their experience with a business very highly. AI can help with this by making more personalized content and improving the quality of interactions.
Furthermore, the rise of voice-assisted AI, such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Home, has improved opportunities for search marketers and voice search optimization.
AI enables a greater understanding of natural language and provides more accurate responses to user queries.
Accuracy is another core benefit of using AI, and AI algorithms can analyze huge amounts of data, making it easier for search engines to provide accurate search results.
Adverse effects of AI on SEO
But AI is not without its negative elements concerning SEO. Understanding these will give us a good understanding of what to expect for the future.
One of the most significant issues is the potential loss of control over search rankings and referral traffic.
With the launch of Bing’s AI-powered search engine followed quickly by Google’s answer to ChatGPT, called Bard, one of the largest legal questions yet to be answered is how these results will provide attribution (e.g., a navigation path) back to the sourced content.
Where this eventually lands will likely play the most prominent role in the fluctuation in organic search traffic generated by these respective new search experiences.
Another drawback is that as AI-powered tools have become more common across the business landscape, they have made it easier for businesses to use them.
For example, with the surge in quickly generated blog content at scale from the likes of CNET and other large publishers, there is increased competition for rankings.
Furthermore, the misinterpretation of content from AI has caused issues in business with things like inaccuracies and irrelevant information.
Just do a search command intext:”regenerate response” and it is clear there is much publishing without any editorial review.
AI is here to stay
As companies look for more and more ways to enjoy marginal gains and achieve market share, emerging technologies such as AI will continue to flex their muscles.
Nobody can be sure what the future holds for the SEO industry, but it’s clear that whatever it is, AI will continue to play a prominent role.
This means modern companies need to look at what they can do to harness AI’s power for their benefit. Used correctly, it can be a potent tool and positively impact SEO performance.
For now, I think Purna Virji sums it up best, “When everyone is using the same tools to create content, sometimes it takes being human to stand out.”