AI & SEO: How AI Can Enhance Your SEO Efforts
Since late 2022 we’ve witnessed a meteoric rise of advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Just about every information-centric industry has responded with excitement, and some trepidation, to the potential of these AI advancements, and this has certainly been the case in marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). According to a recent report, over two-thirds of content marketers plan to use AI in 2023.
AI has already impacted, and will continue to impact, how search engines operate, how individuals interact with search engines, and how you, as a multi-location marketer, must think about SEO from now on.
This article will explain how AI is already being used in SEO-related technology and how to use this technology to your advantage. We’ll also discuss how to best prepare for the future of AI and SEO.
What is AI?
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Before going further, we need to establish a basic knowledge of what AI is.
Modern AI involves the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as language translation, speech recognition, decision-making, and visual perception.
AI achieves these tasks by using various related technologies, such as machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), and deep learning (DL), to create models that can learn from and make predictions based on large datasets as well as inputs from users.
Courtesy of Strategic Contact
AI in Search Engines
AI has existed in search engines for several years. For instance, a key component of Google’s search engine since 2015 is a machine learning model known as RankBrain. RankBrain helps the search engine access and manage Google’s Knowledge Graph, which organizes information and helps Google to surface relevant results for user queries.
Furthermore, in October 2018, Google introduced BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers). BERT helps Google better understand the intent behind user queries — especially when those queries have complex syntax.
A third machine learning model, MUM (Multitask Unified Model), helps Google translate information from one language to another and across media such as text and images.
The critical importance of models like RankBrain, BERT, and MUM in modern search engines should signal to SEO professionals, and to businesses marketing themselves online, that search optimization isn’t just about links anymore.
Search engines use machine learning to ensure that the content served up in search results meets Google’s E.E.A.T. criteria (Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness). Your content must meet these criteria to be competitive.
It’s also worth noting that Google is reportedly working on an entirely new search engine that’s centered around AI, as well as integrating AI into its current search platform under the code name Magi.
Six Ways to Use AI in SEO Now and in the Future
You should now have a better understanding of what AI is and of its current usage in search engine algorithms. Below, we’ll discuss a few ways you can use AI in your general and local SEO efforts and how AI will impact the future of search.
1. Better Keyword Research and Opportunity Identification
As a multi-location business, you should create keyword-driven content such as blogs, whitepapers, and reports. You should also include long-tail keywords on your product pages and throughout your website to help improve search engine results page (SERP) rankings.
It’s worth investing in AI-powered SEO tools to maximize your keyword research, to audit your and competitors’ websites, and to automate SEO-related tasks.
Here are a few of the best AI-SEO tools for keyword research and website analysis:
Many of these AI-SEO tools can help you quickly identify trending topics and new keyword opportunities. They can quickly draft a keyword report on the search volume, keyword difficulty, and user intent for dozens of keywords as well.
Additionally, you can leverage these AI-SEO tools to conduct competitor analysis, which includes identifying keyword and search ranking gaps between you and your primary competitors.
On a more technical level, these SEO tools use AI to help you identify indexing issues, slow page speeds, and broken links. They can also suggest improvements to resolve these issues.
Altogether, these AI-powered SEO tools will help you uncover keyword-driven content and areas on your website that need improvement. More on content optimization next!
2. Content Optimization
As mentioned, Google’s search algorithm uses BERT, MUM, RankBrain, and other NLP and AI technology to match web pages to users’ queries. Thus, it’s essential to create high-quality and relevant content.
AI technology can help optimize and automate your content creation process. For instance, you can use Open AI’s ChatGPT or Google’s Bard to initiate content ideas, help team members and writers better understand a topic, or help them draft outlines, meta descriptions, or title tags.
Below is an example of a response from ChatGPT when asked to produce a few content ideas around AI and SEO.
Beyond helping you brainstorm and write content, some AI programs also optimize your content and webpages by suggesting changes to your meta descriptions, headers, and other on-page signals.
Although this AI technology is already highly advanced, we always recommend reviewing and editing any content that conversational AI or AI copywriting software generates.
According to Google, you should always aim to create “people-first content… and not [content] to manipulate search engine rankings.” This often takes a human touch. That said, Google updated its guidance about AI-generated content, and has stated that Google Search will “focus on the quality of content, rather than how content is produced.”
3. Predictive Rankings
Earlier, we mentioned that you could use AI-powered SEO tools to conduct keyword research and optimize your content. Some SEO tools use machine learning algorithms and competitor analysis to predict your website’s keyword ranking potential.
Some of these AI-SEO tools with predictive rankings capabilities include:
- SE Ranking
Your multi-location business can then use the information found in these predictive rankings to help choose SEO-driven content and other keywords to go after.
4. Local SEO Rankings
For multi-location companies, you must have a local SEO or local search strategy. We found that Google Business Profiles (GBPs) in the coveted Google 3-Pack receive 126 percent more traffic and 93 percent more conversion-oriented actions than businesses ranked 4-10.
Publishing locally relevant content can help you gain more local customers. For instance, on your GBPs, you can utilize AI to publish high-quality:
- Google Posts
- Google Q&A FAQs and responses
- Keyword-optimized content for business descriptions
You can also use this AI technology to create and share content from local social media profiles. This localized social content can help increase brand awareness and improve rapport with local consumers. SOCi research found that localized social content receives 12x the engagement rate as “non-localized content.”
Download The Localized Social Content Guide for best practices and robust localized social content examples.
5. Improve Customer Experience Through Review Response
Ratings and reviews impact consumers’ and search engines’ perceptions of your local business. According to local SEO experts, high numerical Google ratings and quantity of ratings and reviews (with text) highly impact your local pack/finder rankings.
Responding to reviews is one way to improve your customer experience (CX) marketing and local search rankings. Responding to reviews shows current and potential clients you care about and are attentive to their opinions.
Our The State of Google Reviews research report found that for every 25 percent of reviews responded to, conversion of GBPs improves by 4.1 percent.
You can utilize AI to help you manage and quickly draft authentic responses to online reviews. If you need help managing your listings’ reviews, consider using SOCi Genius Reviews.
SOCi Genius Reviews integrates our review response management tool with OpenAI’s GPT-4 to help you create customizable and intelligent reviews and automate your review management process.
Together, this product can help you meet the 24-hour response time that 40 percent of consumers expect after publishing a negative review.
6. Optimize for Voice Search
As AI technology advances, so will voice search. Half of the U.S. population uses voice search technology daily. Why? Because it’s convenient and provides an easy way for consumers to learn more about a business’s products and services.
If you’re not familiar, voice search — often called voice-enabled search — lets someone use a voice command to search the internet or an app.
As a multi-location marketer, you should begin to target voice SEO — the optimization of keywords and queries for voice-assisted searches. You can utilize several of the SEO techniques and AI-powered SEO technologies we mentioned to optimize your content and website for voice SEO. Doing so will increase mobile traffic to your website.
With the rapid growth of generative AI, having a dialogue with AI technology versus typing a conversation might not be in the distant future. It’s best to prepare now!
Getting the Right AI Technology
As you can see, AI technology already exists in search engine algorithms and many of the most popular SEO tools.
In summary, you can use AI to:
- Conduct keyword and competitor research
- Produce and optimize your SEO-driven content
- Predict rankings and make adjustments
- Improve your local search rankings and CX
- Optimize your content and website for voice search
It’ll be imperative for your multi-location business to partner with SaaS companies that already have or will invest in AI technology.
At SOCi, we’ve already integrated with GPT-4, one of the world’s most advanced generative AI systems, to help you manage and respond to reviews. We recently raised $120 million to further invest in a revolutionary line of AI marketing products as well.
Request a demo today to learn how SOCi can help improve your AI and SEO efforts!