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How AI changed SEO

Right now the SEO process for most people has not changed much since Google became the #1 search engine, things like keyword research is a process that has not significantly changed in the last few years. I am talking with the cofounder of Adaptify, Dominic who used to do SEO for his own SaaS before founding Adaptify. Which is why he founded this business.

So he mentions, there is a typical process agencies, large brands and your competitors use to rank on Google:

The current method used to rank high on Google by everyone.

Start with reverse engineering what people are looking for on Google, usually by working with “keywords” which are what it says on the tin: the key words in a search query. Usually the most straightforward keywords, say you are a bakery in Brooklyn, so “bakery” or “bread” are not useful to try to rank on.

For every business, including fortune 500 businesses it’s not just about the easy keywords, it’s about trying to find keywords your customers are using when they have the intention to purchase a product from someone like you. In our bakery example, it might be weekday brunch Brooklyn, or gluten free cupcakes near me, etc.

Currently we use tools that in essence reverse engineer and guess what people are Googling. They’re fairly accurate, but your competition is using it too, you even end up with some really funny situations where keyword ranking is not really relevant to the intent of the customer anymore. https://www.izzy.co/blogs/a-glitch-in-the-seo-matrix.html

The magic is to find keywords with high traffic and high intent, relevant to your business. The process here is often made more difficult than it actually is, other humans are searching so it’s often trying to find an angle in your business that also works on Google, like a bakery that has better coffee, or a development agency that has great data insights, or a language school that’s based in an expat area.

You then go and actually try to behave like you are a customer. Very often agencies do this for you, so you pay someone to analyse Google results, and they can help you find if you can get a foot in the door of these sort of keywords. Usually this made more confusing by not calling it “the first page on Google”, but a “high SERP” (search engine results page).

The main thing is, not just about keywords that are too competitive, but the other way round, the majority of people are searching something fairly unique, but because everyone is different, you end up that some keywords get very little traffic, or it is difficult to estimate what traffic they get. Anything that does not have a clear ROI, especially if you hire an agency or someone to do this for you will not be touched. The effort of trying to rank on low volume keywords is not worth it.

The writing stage is complex but in essence someone who is not you, because you probably have better ways to spend your time to write 40+ articles regularly, will write something to get your page competing on this keyword.

Why writing? A well written and researched article that answers what the person is asking on Google has a good shot at ranking high, the cost of writing one good article usually starts at $200, but can go up to about $300-500. Above that you’re usually paying for more services like editing too. If you go below this, you are getting lower quality, often outsourced writing, which often requires editing and more management.

The articles usually don’t magically appear on your website, the editing stage is shorter but really matters: spelling mistakes and grammar has to be fixed. Relevant images have to be purchased. You will need to make sure the tags and author and page is displayed correctly. You can do this yourself, but SEO agencies especially the pricier ones do this for you, for more money of course.

You can imagine getting all these articles on your website is not without risk, are spending thousands of dollars upfront without any ROI. Google is not your customer, there is no real data on how it might perform, you won’t know about ROI unless you start spending thousands on writers or agencies. This is why the market feels “spammy” it attracts low quality talent that lies to you, because no agency or freelancer can provide guaranteed results quickly. Things take time, and a lot of money.

This process does work, if you rank on these keywords you do get traffic. But it is very expensive, it takes a lot of effort, and all the risk is upfront, paid by you.

In summary:

  • You reverse engineer what your customers are looking for.
  • You try to find low competition high traffic articles.
  • This is done by manually checking lots of keywords.
  • And you end up with a small list which is your SEO strategy.
  • Then you hire a writer, have the article written.
  • Then the articles are edited, and put on your website.

This strategy is not fast, labour intensive, and you are following the exact same process that everyone else is using for the last 10 years. therefore most keywords are hard to rank for and it take a long time to see results. You also might need a lot of professional help, learning these skills takes time.

How AI changes ranking on Google completely.

The main reason we care about ranking on Google, is to get more traffic, now how do you get more traffic? By being one of the top pages on the Google search results of course. Now how do we do this today, considering we can leverage AI?

AI changes all of this:

First of all, let’s ask AI to give you keywords, as AI can be trained on your business very well, it can understand your niche at a much deeper level than any junior staff member in an SEO agency can, it can analyse 1000 webpages in a few minutes. It can use the whole internet to understand what you do and what makes you stand out.

Ok now you have a list of keywords, what’s next? Well now you have a list that is unique, no other business has the same list you have. And we can repeat this process multiple times, you now have a much larger list of potential ways people will find you on Google.

Ok so now you say, what about traffic and volume. And before AI that was super important, but with AI it matters much less, because we’re not spending any human hours on this so far and moving forwards. As long as the keywords are relevant to your business you will get some traffic from it. If you have a lot of keywords with relevant content you will get a lot of traffic.

An example why quantity of keywords matters: If you’re number #145 on a popular keyword you will be a few pages down on Google and rarely get any visitors. But if you’re number #1 on a keyword with 8 high intent customers per month, that is 8 customers for you.

If you are ranking on 100 keywords with a few high intent customers per month, your actual traffic will be quite high, and you will also be more resilient, no competitor can kick you off 100 keyword positions easily. Unlike being #1 on a popular keyword which constantly gets attacked.

I believe with AI you can skip the high ranking keywords and find the thousands of opportunities on smaller keywords. For one other reason, which is topical authority. In order for Google to think you are credible you are much better off with a higher number of articles talking in depth about this subject from different angles. This is easily done by trying to rank for many keywords.

Most keywords already have content, you will need to create a high quality article to rank on anything on Google these days. But you can ask the AI to analyse these articles, and tell you why they rank well, what are these articles saying that makes Google and therefore the visitors like them? AI can answer this, in a few seconds, for hundreds of keywords at the same time.

So now you have a great list of keywords, analysed what is needed to rank #1 on them. You have only one step left, ask the AI to write it for you. Unsurprisingly, if you give the AI your public company data, the information for the other article, have it use use it’s internal knowledge, and good instructions about how to write it, you end up with an article like this, written by AI but it passed AI detection software, and it is pleasant to read, because it is relevant, information dense and answers your intent.

Funny enough, AI can also do the last thing, give you an article without spelling mistakes, fully optimised and ready to rank for you to put on your website. Once it’s live, ask the AI if the page is set up properly, it can tell you.

So the AI summary is:

  • Ask AI which keywords are relevant for your business
  • Ask AI why other websites rank on these keywords
  • Ask AI to write the article
  • Ask AI to check if the article you have now posted on your website is right.

You might be sceptical, how can AI do all this? Well the main approach is to break it up into the same steps you had before using AI. Don’t ask it to write an article without the previous steps, it won’t have the context. But if you use AI in every step, you’re able to 100x your speed and efficiency. Allowing completely different strategies than before, and if you don’t someone else will, this works!

What do you think? Will you use AI moving forward even if you already have an agency working for you, or a few few freelancers, Dominic believes including AI into this process can help a lot, the old strategy and the new strategy don’t completely clash, they actually compliment quite well.