Will AI Ever Be Able To Provide SEO Services?

By Larry Alton
Published 09/16/2019
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Recently, marketing experts have raised some serious concerns about the rise of AI-generated content and its ability to interfere with SEO rankings. The Verge, for example, reported on a website full of AI-generated content that, at least at first, all seemed plausible enough, until you realize they site people and products that don’t exist. For now, the good news is that these articles are just an experiment produced by a marketing company, but the bigger problem is that these AI-“written” articles are performing fairly well on Google and other major search engines. What, then, does that mean for SEO service providers?

AI Meets Marketing

AI has been a key part of marketing for years now, primarily because it’s used to process large quantities of data and even to handle certain customer support functions. Most importantly, though, AI is making marketing professionals better at their jobs by giving them the information they need to be creative and develop better customer engagement programs. AI is great at those sorts of data-driven tasks, but it fundamentally isn’t designed to create quality content, even with the rise of natural language processing and more advanced computer learning programs. That doesn’t mean people won’t try to use it that way.

Quality Enters The Algorithm

The biggest issue with using AI to write content for SEO purposes right now is that, while we can program software that can write, we can’t program software to write well. That’s likely to change somewhat as the software improves, but there’s likely to always be a certain “grab bag” quality to the articles.

What can give this AI an advantage when faced with changing SEO algorithms, though, is that they can be reprogrammed time and time again to conform to search rules, placing near-nonsense articles at the top of the search results. These are articles that offer the illusion of quality, rather than quality itself but sometimes the point isn’t generating the best material, but rather to free up actual writers for higher value, more complex activities.

Pairing Programs Together

For companies that want the best possible content paired with optimal SEO performance, the solution may not be to avoid AI as much as it is to appropriately pair AI with other services. For example, a company that provides AI-driven keyword selection or centers machine learning in site design might consider partnering with a white label SEO agency that can generate top quality content developed by real writers. AI can complement analog SEO in a variety of ways, but it should be exactly that – a complement, not an independent operator.

Making Search Human

AI can, in fact, play an important role in improving the overall SEO experience. It can, as Ana Hoffman of Traffic Generation Café explains, help make search engines more human, which means that they will serve human users that much more effectively. When search engines tap into AI to determine what’s driving search engines, and when content companies and SEO specialists use AI to optimize their terms, the answers and products people are searching for are more likely to be right at their fingertips – as long as spam articles don’t get in the way first.