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SEO Resources Vol. 21

SEO Artificial Intelligence

This particular use of AI made headlines because people are drawn to applications of AI (Artificial Intelligence) that can mimic human interactions, whether in science fiction or in real life. While that response is driven by fascination, it is also host to an element of fear.

Can AI replace people?

As marketers, we typically encounter two perspectives on this. Either AI will take our jobs and render us obsolete or it will complement our skills and make us more effective.

According to a study by the Economist, 75 percent of executives say AI will be “actively implemented” in companies within the next three years, so this is more than a hypothetical discussion.

As hype turns to reality, we are realizing that the second perspective is the likely outcome. This would certainly be the most beneficial outcome, with PricewaterhouseCoopers predicting that AI will add $15.7 trillion to global GDP annually by 2030.

Moreover, AI is already all around us, embedded in products and services we use every day, like Netflix and Pandora.

Perhaps most pertinently to us as marketers, AI is deeply embedded in search, and it opens a raft of new opportunities for SEOs that embrace this technology early.

The role of AI in search

Artificial intelligence is making search more human. Although search does not yet “speak” to users in the same way the Google Duplex demo could, its objective is very similar.

Google’s RankBrain technology uses machine learning to understand the meaning of the content it crawls; it infers intent from ambiguous search queries; and it uses feedback data to improve the accuracy of its results.

In other words, it listens and it learns.

How to supercharge SEO with AI

There are three key areas in which AI can improve SEO performance:

  • Insights

Artificial intelligence can process and interpret patterns in data at a scale people could simply never replicate. This makes it an essential complement to any search strategist, as AI can deliver the information we need to make informed decisions out of noisy, unstructured data.

Some common tasks where AI can aid search engine optimization (SEO) performance include:

  • Market trends analysis.

  • Site performance analysis.

  • Competitor insights.

  • Customer intent reports.

  • SERP performance.

  • SEO and pay-per-click spend management.


SEO is a labor-intensive industry that requires a huge amount of attention over the long term. Where we can automate tasks to receive the same output we could produce ourselves, we should make this a top priority. The time saved through automation can be applied to the areas that require our skills, like strategy and creative content.

Here are some of the tasks that are ripe for automation in SEO:

  • Technical audits.

  • Keyword research.

  • Content optimization.

  • Content distribution.

  • Tag management.

  • Internal linking.

Some tips to get started with AI for SEO automation:

  • Break down tasks into sub-tasks, then score their potential for automation from 0-10.

  • Use rule-based automation to handle simple but time-intensive jobs.

  • Find the right balance between human labor and automation.

  • Feed ML algorithms the right quality and quantity of data.

  • Focus on user experience and speed monitoring and alerts; engagement rates will only increase in importance.

  • Personalization

Personalization allows marketers to create relevant, useful experiences for each individual customer. Achieving this at scale requires technological assistance, with AI an integral part of this process.

How can you use AI for SEO personalization?

  • Create content by persona, customer journey stage and delivery mechanism.

  • Enhance user experience and conversion through personalization.

  • Use semantically specific pages to associate query and intent.

  • Use personalization and audience lists to nurture leads across search and social.

  • Use AI to help publish content at the right times on the right networks.

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You can’t just throw a bunch of words on a page and expect people to come running. Pro SEO article writing services know that if you build it, they will come… but only if you build it the right way.

1. Get your keyword research on

If you’re going to post content on your site anyway, you might as well take the time to make sure Google takes notice of your effort. Find out which keywords and phrases people are searching for (as well as what you can be competitive in), and make yourself a keyword spreadsheet. Keep track of how many times you work the keywords into your content, and use the right tools to track where you rank for the keywords you target.

2. Put the keyword to work

Include your keyword in the title, in the first 300 words, and in the header tags H1 or H2 (though, it should be noted that it isn’t necessary to hit both — just make sure you have it in one of them). After that, you should be trying to use variations of your keyword. As an added note, it should never be a struggle to fit your keyword in your copy. Ideally, your keyword should feel natural in your writing — if you feel like you’re starting to write gibberish, you’ve gone too far. Remember, the people using search engines are searching for that particular phrase because they want to know more about it/buy it, so it makes sense to give them what they’re looking for. You’ll get more clicks if you do — it’s one of the tricks of the trade for professional SEO article writers.

3. Write about something people care about

Before you set out to do any kind of SEO writing, ask yourself this: who cares? We’re not being facetious, here — too often, article writers just pump out content for no real reason, with no real strategy behind it. They forget that actual humans need to want to read this stuff — you’re not really writing for Google’s algorithms, you’re writing for people! When you’re writing, you should always seek to offer some sort of value to your readers. What can you tell them that no one else can? What service can you provide that’s unique? What knowledge can you share that can’t be found anywhere else?

Nobody knows your business like you do — so use that to your advantage. If not, you can at least discuss news relating to your business. When in doubt, look at your list of SEO keywords and see what kind of list, link bait or in-depth posts you can work those keywords into. Don’t be afraid to interview some experts, either (if you quote them and feature their expertise in your post, they’ll be likely to share your content via their social channels — this way, you can leverage larger networks to increase the size of your own)

4. Make it long enough to count

Sure, 100 words of fresh content is better than no new content at all — but how much value can you really deliver in a Tweet?Search engines tend to give preference to longer blogs and articles, and for good reason. Try to shoot for at least 600 words, but if you can get to 1,000 or more, go for it. There has been a lot of research that shows that search engines tend to favor “in-depth” content of at least 2,000 words — we’ve seen this work for ourselves and our clients, and many of TCF’s most popular blog posts are at least 1,500 words.The longer your content, the more value you’re going to give your readers, and the better chance you’ll have at lower your bounce rate.

5. Watch your analytics

SEO writing isn’t fire-and-forget — you shouldn’t just post your content and walk away. In fact, you should be regularly monitoring your content using Google Analytics. You should be warned that there are plenty of non-content related things that can cause your bounce rate to skyrocket. Aggressive pop-ups, slow loading times, obnoxious ads or images, and any other ugly design element can push visitors away. Writing good SEO-based content isn’t just about the words on your screen — it’s also about how your visitor sees them. If they are obscured by bad design, no one is going to stick around to read them. Optimize the optimization of your web content writing. If you use WordPress as your blogging platform, there are lots of free online PR tools (in the form of plugins) you can take advantage of.

6. Edit your work

The only difference between professional SEO article writers and regular people is an eye for self editing. Programs like OpenOffice, Google Docs and Microsoft Word make it easy — the red and green squiggles give most of it away. Having an eye for aesthetically pleasing formatting is also important. Stay away from super long paragraphs and sentences that go on for miles. If you’re able, it’s always a good idea to have someone else take a look at your work before you hit publish. Even if they aren’t an SEO writer (or editor), a second set of eyes can catch a lot of easy to miss mistakes.

7. Become your own online PR agency

Once you’ve written and posted the fresh content, the work is only half complete. The final step of all web content writing is acting as your own online PR agency — link to your content all over the place. Comment on blogs and link back to your site. Submit your content to Reddit and StumbleUpon. Social media management and web content writing go hand-in-hand, and as soon as you hit the “Publish” button on your fresh article or blog, you should tweet your heart out.

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Understanding SEO is the first rule for being able to optimize your site and its content so that would-be customers can actually find your company online. When your SEO is on point, you are more likely appear in search engine results when someone looks for the type of products or services you sell. However, to be able to truly understand SEO, you need to comprehend how modern search engines work -- and that means understanding artificial intelligence, or AI.

What is AI?

AI is a technological advancement that enables a combination of hardware and software to function like a human brain -- minus the inherent flaws in logic and the relatively small memory capacity. It makes it possible to not only analyze large amounts of data but to draw meaningful insights about the information. In some cases, these AI-enabled insights are more insightful, quicker or on a much larger scale than would be possible with human involvement -- usually all three.

Google RankBrain

It is a search engine system that uses artificial intelligence to create more relevant responses to search engine queries. Previously, Google's focus had been on algorithms designed by humans.

Marketing is already shifting directions.

Already, RankBrain has changed SEO, but the result has not been linear. The algorithms that Google used before still exist. What has changed is the way those methods are applied. RankBrain uses deep learning to figure out which combination of those algorithms will produce the best search engine results.

What makes a site good.

RankBrain learns which sites answer search engine queries best and analyzes them for common features. This includes the keywords used and the density of those words, but that's just scratching the surface. RankBrain also looks at the structure of the site. For instance, if a website is overly generalized, it could flag as "bad" and be ranked lower than a more niche site. RankBrain also looks at the backlinks. For example, a shoe website linking to a clothing website is perfectly normal but linking to a computer website? Not so much.

To avoid misclassification, you need to follow the parameters that RankBrain has found to identify "good" sites.

Adapting to the new normal.

Good sites are becoming the new normal, and that fact is changing the way we SEO. Sticking to a niche and using quality backlinks helps, and that's just the beginning. You can adapt to the new normal in SEO marketing by understanding how RankBrain works.

Prioritizing quality.

Start by prioritizing quality. Whether the issue is graphics or content, quality matters.

User experience.

User experience also matters. Ease of navigation, quality graphics and overall usability make a real difference. RankBrain isn't going to rank a "crummy" site very high.

Relevant content experience.

Content relevance counts too. When someone comes to your site to buy a sweater, you shouldn't send them to a blog post about Fall trends. Likewise, links should be anchored in relevant keywords and connect to sites that make sense with those anchors.

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