AI for SEO and Content Marketing: A Friend, Not a Foe (for Now, at Least)
The author’s views are entirely their own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
Artificial Intelligence is nothing new. It has been running behind the scenes of many marketing tools for several years now.
But the key here is that it was running behind the scenes. We didn’t see it in action, and if it was making some of our tools smarter, we were not really paying much attention.
Later last year everything suddenly changed, with the launch of ChatGPT, which is able to complete all kinds of writing tasks instantly, including full articles and even code.
Now anyone can login and talk to the tool for hours, challenging it with all sorts of prompts and marveling at its ability to understand any task and complete it promptly. There came an endless flurry of articles sharing screenshots of amazing stuff the tool was capable of.
And while it is fun to play with, the rise of ChatGPT was a phenomenon that raised quite a few scary questions:
Is it threatening any human professions? And how fast?
Is it going to kill human content and overwhelm the web with AI-generated articles?
Will people soon stop using search engines to find answers to their questions?
Where is it all going?
While I am very bad at making bold predictions and therefore am reluctant to give definitive answers to any of those questions, I am highly confident that:
AI technology will change the way we are doing just about everything (and this is not limited to the SEO industry or any other marketing-related discipline).
It will change the way people go about looking for (and finding) answers. But it won’t kill human-created content — if COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that no technology will ever be able to replace human interactions. We strive for personal touches, personal styles, personal experiences, etc.
It is not leaving, and we are at the very birth of this new AI-driven world. There’s no going back. And to be honest, I think we are the luckiest generation to have witnessed both the birth of the Internet and the birth of AI.
With that all in mind, we basically have two choices now:
Ignore AI for as long as we can (I am sure there are still people who reject the Internet, and they are probably happy).
Start using AI now, and ride this wave as informed as we can. With every change, there’s an opportunity, and the only way to grasp it is to be in the midst of that change.
Now, there are endless ways to use AI for all kinds of tasks, but I am a marketer and an SEO, so this article will list the ways you can benefit from it for blogging, social media, and SEO tasks.
19+ ways you can use AI for content creation & optimization
Going back to one of the most popular questions people are asking: Will AI-driven content replace human-written content?
I know there are lots of deniers out there saying that AI will never replace humans for writing content. The truth is, it is already happening to some extent. AI can write better essays than college students. It’s better content than the average content that is being published online.
Why wouldn’t Google want that, even if it is detectable? If it’s well-written and provides useful answers, Google will likely rank it, regardless of how it is created.
Google has been trying to become an answer engine for years, and AI technology is likely what will finally help them succeed. AI can already write, summarize and find answers better than most bloggers and faster than any of us.
And yet, good content is much more than good writing and correct answers. Good content does one or more of the following:
It expresses a personal opinion. People seek critique, feedback, and sarcasm when reading anything.
It reflects expertise on the topic that is based on in-depth education and years of experience.
AI technology can only repurpose other people’s content. It cannot do anything of the above. So if your content strategy was mostly about repurposing, it will sadly be impacted by AI, in a negative way.
And yet AI can turn quite useful for content creation tasks, including:
Content summaries and meta descriptions
Article intros and conclusions
Article takeaways and outline
Product descriptions strictly based on existing specifications (avoid any fluff content)
FAQ sections and pages (based on your existing articles or a keyword you are planning to target)
Press releases to distribute
Podcast or video scripts
YouTube video descriptions (or YouTube video summaries to use on your site for accessibility)
Ideas (blind spots) to include in your existing articles (“What is my article missing?”)
Missing steps or angles in your content or research
More sources to cite as further reading, etc.
Your About page and/or bio to use on social media profiles (prompt ChatGPT to be creative/funny/etc.)
Keywords you are missing (and/or ask it to organize your existing keywords by search intent)
Subheadings to break your content into more sections and subsections to improve readability
On-page “jump to” links (Ask the tool to provide HTML code for those or even generate an on-page table of contents)
Title suggestions to make it easier for you to create one
Image anchor text for your whole article/page
Not strictly SEO related, but you can ask it to create unique tweets, Facebook updates, and Instagram captions to promote your content
Definitions for any term you mention (to optimize for featured snippets).
To get the best possible definition from ChatGPT, by the way, it’s a good idea to specify your target audience or its level of familiarity with the topic at hand, in the query. For example, you can prompt it to explain SEO to someone who hears this term for the first time:
And yes, you can give it images to describe. This is useful for both SEO and accessibility:
All of these ideas will improve your content creation productivity and quality. You can also use tools and extensions to find even more ways to use ChatGPT for SEO and content.
ChatGPT is not the only AI-driven tool that can be used for content creation. There are more tools that are worth checking out.
Narrato uses AI technology to help teams collaborate on creating content. With Narrato, you can use AI to generate content topics, create SEO briefs, assign tasks to writers, and have your content optimized and proofread.
Text Optimizer combines AI technology with semantic analysis, allowing you to create intent-optimized summaries for your articles:
AI technology and creativity
Linkbait and viral marketing are integral parts of any SEO strategy because they drive link equity and brand awareness (both are probably the most powerful ranking signals).
There’s one problem with both: You are limited to your imagination. Yes, you can ask for input from your team and customers, and you can copy your competitors. But all of those methods require quite some time and effort.
AI can make linkbait brainstorming a breeze. It can also considerably cut costs on creating linkable assets.
Start by using ChatGPT for linkable asset ideation. A few ideas of prompts:
Come up with viral quiz ideas on …
If a site is selling …, which infographics should it create to generate links from bloggers and journalists
Generate linkable content ideas for a site that sells …
If you were a blogger writing on…, what would you eagerly link to?
What are some viral content ideas for … topic?
Make sure to experiment with your prompts. Not all AI ideas will be useful or usable, but you are bound to find quite a few that will get you inspired:
The golden rule of using AI is: The result is only as good as your prompt. You can get great output if you come up with a great prompt. So don’t stop iterating!
In this sense, AI requires creativity and hard work for it to operate to its best potential. AI-powered SEO is, therefore, still dependent on human effort and input, just like traditional SEO: It is not just about bigger budgets. In fact, in SEO creativity and expertise can easily win over huge budgets, and AI is not going to change that.
Likewise, you can ask it to create email copy for your journalist/blogger outreach.
ChatGPT can be incredibly creative. If you don’t believe me, check out this woman who asked the tool to write a letter to her child explaining that Santa wasn’t real. The result is unbelievably touching, and it is actually hard to believe it was generated by a machine:
Again, ChatGPT is hardly the only AI tool you can use. There are many others that can help you to generate visual assets for your content promotion strategies.
Photoleap offers a great AI image generation tool that will leave you speechless. Challenge the tool with the most ridiculous image description, and watch create an image for you within seconds:
Photoleap has AI integrated into its phone app, allowing you to create professional images without investing much money or effort.
Wave.video is another tool that uses AI to make multimedia content easier. Simply provide your URL and it will generate a video in minutes. The result is pretty basic, but you can use it to generate video summaries and social media videos. If you upgrade, you gain access to a more advanced editor to create even better videos. But those will take more time.
For more ideas on how AI can help with creating unique images and videos, check out how Roger explores the world of generative AI imagery.
Thinking like a machine
Finally, as SEOs and content marketers, we need to get a better understanding of how AI mind works. There’s a lot of reading on that, but as a believer in tools, I suggest playing this game.
It lets you guess a daily word by associations: Start with any word and it will rate it based on how well it is associated with the word. You’ll find that the human brain works differently: Finding synonyms won’t work here… Here’s how I went from “earn” (my initial word) to “calculator”:
It is actually a lot of fun and helps you better understand the technology.
There’s also a great blog tracking AI development, new projects, and opportunities.
AI can do much more for your digital marketing strategy than I was able to list in this article. It can drive your customer support strategy (with technology like chatbots and IVR), it can help with brand identity creation (name, logo, etc.), it can scale your PPC strategy (helping you save time and money), and it can enhance your marketing monitoring tactics. And these are just some options that are easy and fun. I am not even going into advanced analysis, analytics, and targeting opportunities here.
Yes, things will change and they will change quickly, especially as search engines start actively integrating conversation features to quickly answer users’ queries (often without attributing any sources). But it’s not like we are going to be able to prevent those changes from happening by ignoring AI technology or denying its impact on everything we are doing.
From the not-so-long history of SEO, we know that SEO thrives when new technology emerges. We tend to find opportunities every time the industry seems to be doomed, and we will continue doing that.