With AI chatbots now answering questions in seconds, should you invest time in optimizing your website or blog for search engines?
While you might think AI makes website content and practicing SEO irrelevant you have to understand AI models employ statistics to answer questions. They don’t provide the best answers but rather the most conventional and mediocre ones.
The most exciting, thought-provoking, and engaging content is created exclusively by humans.
AI also has a tendency to fabricate information, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “hallucinating.” This is an inherent part of how the model operates. Furthermore, these models are not always up-to-date, which means they may not provide relevant answers on emerging trends or topics.
Additionally, they are plagued by “safety filters” rendering them unreliable sources of information for social or political questions. Moreover, even certain scientific queries may provide misleading or incorrect answers.
That’s why SEO is still important today.
Websites grow and gain readers by receiving large amounts of organic search traffic, where ‘organic’ refers to traffic acquired naturally rather than through paid advertisements.
In this article I will discuss in more detail why you need to spend time on SEO and how to do that for your website or blog. I also talk about how to leverage AI to help you with your content and strategies to deal with the AI challenge.
SEO is essential for bloggers and website owners, with 68% of online experiences beginning with a search engine, according to a study by BrightEdge.
Here is a sobering statistic, 90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from Google. (Source: Ahrefs Search Traffic Study 2020).
This highlights the importance of SEO in order to drive traffic to your website.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- The Rise of AI in Search
- The Ongoing Importance of Search Engines
- SEO and User Experience
- SEO and High Quality Content
- SEO Best Practices in 2023
- AI and SEO Synergy
- SEO Challenges in the AI Era
- Final Thoughts
The Rise of AI in Search
AI models such as ChatGPT are becoming more common and accessible, even for ordinary users who are not technically proficient. Anyone who can type a question in natural English (or other languages) can use these new AI tools.
Read more here: How do you chat with GPT 3 online?
Complimentary role of AI
Large Language Models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT are excellent at understanding and generating human-like text, which makes them great for answering questions in a conversational manner and providing context-aware responses. But here’s the thing: they rely on what’s already known, and their replies are built on patterns in the data they have processed.
Now, traditional search engines, on the other hand, crawl the web in real-time and can provide the most up-to-date information.
So, you can consider Google and other search engines and AI chatbots to be complimentary. They work well together but neither can replace the other.
The importance of context
LLMs are great at understanding context, but their responses are not as reliable or accurate as search engines that pull data from trusted sources.
Search engines are better suited for providing factual and up-to-date information.
The type of questions matter
LLMs are better suited to the following types of queries:
- casual questions
- general information
- natural language queries
However, for specialized or technical queries, especially in niche fields that require experience or expertise, search engines provide the most trustworthy and reliable answers.
For niche websites or blogs, search engines provide superior answers than AI.
Ultimately, it will come down to user preferences. Some users may prefer the convenience of asking a question in plain language to an LLM, while others may prefer the more structured and comprehensive results provided by traditional search engines.
The Ongoing Importance of Search Engines
Search engines are not going away. They are frequently queried by most internet users. The statistics are clear, 8.5 billion search every day on Google. In another survey, 84% of respondents use Google three times a day to answer queries.
If your content is not indexed and ranking highly on Google you are missing out on a huge amount of free website traffic.
SEO and User Experience
Google wants to provide the most useful and relevant content to searchers. What’s important to users is ranked highly by Google. Consider what Google uses to rank content:
- Fast loading website
- Mobile friendliness
- Relevant content
- Internal and external links to other content and websites
- Signs of expertise and experience
- Website is an authority in the topic queried
- The website and author are trustworthy
All of these factors are beneficial for users as well as search engines. By focusing on these factors you will boost user engagement which results in:
- Longer average session duration – the user spends longer on your website
- Lower bounce rate – the user is less likely to leave after reading only one page
- Increased conversion rate – the user is more likely to sign up for a newsletter or purchase something
Improving your SEO and user experience go hand-in-hand. Focusing on making your website faster loading, more enjoyable to read and easier to navigate enhances your SEO ranking potential.
SEO and High Quality Content
No matter how sleek your website appears or how lightning-fast it loads, if your content isn’t good enough, you’re not going to rank on the first page of Google.
Take a peek at a famous website that cranks out “viral” stuff. Sure, it’s eye-catching, trendy, and informal, but it’s missing an important factor – quality content. Let’s see how it’s been faring over the past five years:
Their current share price sits at a mere 35 cents, a whopping 96% drop from their all-time high. Here is the lesson: You can’t substitute high-quality content with anything else.
For long term success and growth focus on producing high-quality content that hits the bullseye for your niche and target audience.
It can take Google quite a while before your website gets the nod for producing quality content. For instance, backlinks are a big deal in Google’s eyes. It can be years before those backlinks start piling up on your pages because people need to read and give a thumbs-up to your content first.
Long term success comes from consistently producing fresh, high-quality content.
SEO is cheap compared to paid advertising
You may think the time invested in learning and practising SEO is expensive but you will find paying for traffic via paid ads is much more expensive.
In addition, the downside of paying for traffic is once you stop advertising you lose all your traffic. It’s like turning off a tap.
Now, think about organic search traffic. Once you’ve climbed to the coveted first page on Google, guess what? Traffic flows in daily – and it doesn’t cost you a penny.
SEO is all about playing the long game. It’s a strategy that keeps on giving. When your pages rank well, they have this magical effect of lifting up other related pages on your website. It’s like a virtuous circle that supercharges your entire website over time.
SEO Best Practices in 2023
Let’s quickly sum up some SEO best practices you can apply to your content today.
Before you hit that publish button, take a moment to go through a checklist of SEO items. This ensures that your page is all set and ready to shine in the eyes of those search engines.
Read more: Optimizing Your Content Helps Improve SEO
Now, let’s dive into the technical side of SEO and make sure your website is running like a well-oiled machine:
- Go for a fast, lightweight theme to keep your website zipping along
- Pick a hosting provider that’s reliable and keeps your web server secure
- Compress images so they load quickly – I recommend using Imagify image compression
- Consider using a CDN especially if you have a global audience
AI and SEO Synergy
AI tools can help you with SEO. Here are some tasks you can delegate to an AI tool:
- Generate a blog title based on a keyword phrase
- Create a meta description for your blog article
- Proofread your content for spelling or grammar mistakes
- Outline a blog article based on a keyword phrase
- Research a topic
- Create images for your articles (see: Midjourney)
These are just some of the tasks you can use an AI tool for.
SEO Challenges in the AI Era
Your competitors will probably use AI tools to churn out entire articles. This means they can create a ton of content real fast.
But here’s the catch: This content probably won’t be any good and won’t make it to the top of the search rankings. As we’ve mentioned before, AI output tends to be rather run-of-the-mill, just okay, and often outdated.
What you really want are original thoughts, some spicy hot takes, and insightful articles based on your own experiences. After all, AI output is just computer-generated output.
Sure, go ahead and make the most of AI to boost your content production, but remember, the final article should have your personal touch.
Thanks for reading this article, I hope you found it informative and useful. Here is a quick recap:
- AI tools produce conventional and mediocre answers
- The most exciting and thought provoking content is made exclusively by humans
- AI tools can be used to leverage your content creation
- Optimize your content for search engines to gain free traffic to your website and blog
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