Search Engine Optimization

Top SEO Experts Takes on How to Leverage AI for SEO

Step right into the ring for the most thrilling SEO bout of the century! Will SEO die AGAIN? Lol. Today, we’ve got titans of the SEO world in one corner, and advanced…

Estimated Read Time:  15 minutes


SEO Experts Take on AI, Experts Predictions SEO, how to use AI, Rand Fishkin, Brian Dean, Wil Reynolds, OpenAI ChatGPT

Step right into the ring for the most thrilling SEO bout of the century!

Will SEO die AGAIN? Lol.

Today, we’ve got titans of the SEO world in one corner, and advanced AI tech like OpenAI’s ChatGPT in the other.

Who will come out on top?

  • Let’s start with Brian Dean: AI is great for busywork, not so much for top-notch content. Unique, high-quality content that shoots to the top of Google’s rankings? AI can’t touch that. Keep your SEO game strong with original, perspective-rich writing.
  • Next up is Rand Fishkin. He’s telling us to get schooled on large language models. AI ain’t the magic solution for marketing strategy; it’s a prediction tool, not a well of wisdom. Careful, he warns, don’t lean too heavy on AI-generated content.
  • Marie Haynes says it’s great for jazzing up content, but watch out for accidental plagiarism. 
  • Wil Reynolds suggests ChatGPT’s Link Reader plugin. Save time on internal linking and optimize your content like a pro. He’s checking for relevance, for alignment with the audience. The tech’s not perfect, but it’s promising.
  • Neil Patel says “AI? Sure, it’s growing. But misinformation’s a problem. ChatGPT’s pulling from the web, and the web’s not always accurate.”
  • Ryan Stewart says go for long-tail searches by analyzing paid data: Flip that funnel upside down and make the search results work for you.
  • Matt Diggity is bullish. He says AI’s here to stay, and it’s not just for nerds anymore. AI’s pumping out engaging content, but it’s not all doom and gloom for us humans. Play your cards right, focus on building topical authority, backlinks, and user experience, and you can still come out on top.

Alright, SEO pros, that’s the fight night breakdown. The big takeaway? AI’s on the rise, but there’s still plenty of room in the ring for the human touch. Keep your gloves up, stay in the game, and let’s see where this bout takes us.

Brian Dean asserts SEO’s should use AI for busywork not content

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In his discussion on AI’s influence on SEO, Brian Dean suggests:

  • While AI and SEO are currently intertwined, AI’s role is not as revolutionary as some might perceive.
  • Dean posits that AI content generation, such as GPT models like Jasper and ChatGPT, though cool and seemingly transformative initially, primarily produce generic, low-quality content that fails to have a significant impact on the SEO space.
  • In Dean’s view, AI-generated content may replace generic human-created content but will fall short when it comes to high-quality, unique pieces that typically rank in Google’s search results.

GPT models struggle to replicate comprehensive analyses of industry trends

Dean elaborates on the value of human expertise in generating high-quality content, particularly for industries such as business, technology, and SaaS. He points out that their best performing posts are those that involve comprehensive analyses of industry trends, something that GPT models would struggle to replicate accurately. Dean maintains that such human-driven, perspective-rich content is, in fact, future-proofing against AI content generation. He does concede, however, that AI has certain beneficial uses in SEO, such as filtering keywords and other niche tasks that would be time-consuming for humans.

Add as much unique perspective to your content as possible

Finally, Dean highlights that the most significant defense against AI content generation is to add as much unique perspective to your content as possible. He believes that AI lacks perspective, only able to generate text from its existing model, thus it cannot replicate human experiences. He encourages content creators to produce unique, value-laden content that showcases their unique voice and experiences. While he acknowledges the increasing prevalence of AI-produced content, he doesn’t see it as a game changer for SEO. Dean’s advice to future-proof content against AI is simply to continue to create content that is personal, unique, and full of perspective.

Rand Fishkin encourages you to understand Large Language Models and understand their limitations

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Rand Fishkin believes that AI and specifically large language models, like GPT, will change how work is done in some areas, but it won’t disrupt commerce in a way that’s similar to the internet or mobile devices. Fishkin views the use of AI in the context of SEO as a sophisticated prediction tool rather than a source of strategic insight. He highlights that while AI can predict the most common next word in a corpus of text, this does not equate to it providing the correct answers for marketing or SEO strategy. According to Fishkin, using AI effectively requires deep education about how large language models operate.

Fishkin notes that the value AI brings in areas like customer service or coding isn’t as easily applicable to marketing…

…particularly when it comes to tasks like identifying which keywords to rank for. This is because AI models aren’t accessing live data from the web or search engines, but simply predicting based on past text data they’ve been trained on. Fishkin warns against the potential over-reliance on AI-generated content, which he sees as “the floor” in content production. He predicts that brands that fail to elevate their content to be more compelling, emotional, human, authentic, and visually appealing might lose out.

Fishkin further believes AI and large language models could potentially lead to an increase in zero-click searches and content, particularly for generic terms.

This can pose a challenge to marketers relying on search traffic. With the growth of zero-click content and native content, Fishkin sees a future where value is created for companies and customers on the platforms and search engines themselves, rather than trying to drive traffic to separate websites. While this may present difficulties for display advertisers, he suggests it could be beneficial for brands with inherent trust in their space.

Marie Haynes says watch for plagiarism risks, and duplicate content

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Marie Haynes, a prominent figure in SEO, shares her unique insights on the potential of using AI in SEO practices, specifically the use of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

  • Marie highlights that she employs ChatGPT as a tool to optimize her content by rewriting and refining it without eroding her unique voice. While she sees value in the system’s ability to help rephrase complex ideas more clearly, she also expresses some concerns.
  • One of the potential risks she identifies is inadvertently plagiarizing other people’s work, especially if ChatGPT takes snippets from other sources during the rewriting process.
  • Nevertheless, she believes that if you mainly use ChatGPT to enhance your own original content, this risk is quite minimal.

ChatGPT content is not unique and could be generated for other users

Marie further elaborates on OpenAI’s updated terms of service, particularly regarding the ownership and responsibility of the content created using their AI systems. She interprets that while the content produced through ChatGPT is not unique and could be generated for other users, the responsibility of ensuring its legality lies with the user. On another note, she urges users to provide feedback on the system’s performance, both positive and negative, to aid in improving the AI model. Additionally, she underlines the importance of not using OpenAI’s names, logos, or trademarks in commercial products or services without permission.

Exercise caution and maintain your own unique voice in your content

In the end, Marie underscores that while using AI tools like ChatGPT for SEO can be beneficial, users need to exercise caution, maintain their unique voice in content, and comply with the terms of service and legalities. Her exploration of the subject provides both actionable tips and interesting angles on the interplay between AI and SEO, acknowledging the potential risks and rewards while offering a balanced view on the matter.

Wil Reynolds shares how he’s using the link reader plug-in on ChatGPT to save time

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It can be utilized for internal linking in a blog post by providing a set of URLs which it then automatically incorporates into the content.

Wil Reynolds, a renowned SEO expert, shares an intriguing angle on the use of AI, specifically the ChatGPT model with the Link Reader plugin, for enhancing SEO.

  • He demonstrates how this plugin can be utilized for internal linking in a blog post by providing a set of URLs which it then automatically incorporates into the content.
  • This innovative use of AI can expedite and improve the internal linking process, allowing users to optimize their content more efficiently.

Assessing whether the linked content aligns with the intended audience of the post.

Reynolds further experiments with the AI tool’s capability, probing its ability to classify the linked content based on its level of complexity (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) and its nature (how-to or opinion piece). He observes that the tool performs reasonably well in these tasks, albeit with some margin of error, thereby providing him with a useful method for assessing whether the linked content aligns with the intended audience of the post.

Using ChatGPT to improve internal linking

He also asks the tool to gauge the relevance of the linked content by scoring each link based on its perceived timeliness and relevancy, indicating his concern about linking to potentially outdated material.

  • While the results were not always accurate, Reynolds notes that pre-task statements made by ChatGPT might provide an insight into the tool’s confidence in the forthcoming answer.
  • Although his initial attempts to have the tool rewrite blog posts to enhance their relevance scores were not entirely successful, he remains optimistic about the tool’s potential for facilitating internal linking.
  • Through his exploration, Reynolds offers a unique perspective on employing AI tools for SEO, highlighting their potential while acknowledging their current limitations.

Neil Patel believes AI is Outputting Misinformation and Won’t Touch Big Keywords

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Neil Patel, in the discussion, articulates a somewhat contrarian stance regarding the role of AI, specifically ChatGPT, in SEO and advertising:

  • He acknowledges the increasing importance of AI and its huge potential in the future.
  • However, he points out certain concerns tied to the technology’s current ability to distinguish reliable information from misinformation. As he points out, ChatGPT sources its answers from crawling the web.
  • The problem arises when the AI encounters misinformation, and this gets inputted into the AI, resulting in the output of inaccurate answers.

Transactional keywords are unlikely to be heavily disrupted

With regards to how AI will disrupt advertising and SEO, Patel argues that the impact will be noticeable but not entirely game-changing. He believes that transactional keywords, which account for the majority of ad dollars, are unlikely to be heavily disrupted. While AI can provide a single output to a query, Patel emphasizes that consumers often value choice, especially in transactional queries. In other words, users may still want to see multiple options and conduct their own research before making a decision. Patel believes that despite potential changes brought about by AI, people’s desire for choice and control over their decisions will remain a constant in the search experience.

Neil Patel believes AI will increase usage of search engines,. and you should double down on user experience

Interestingly, Patel believes that the advent of AI will actually lead to increased use of search engines. Even if a portion of the clicks and ad revenue are lost, he predicts that the overall volume of search engine usage will go up due to an increase in the number of people using Google and other search engines daily. Therefore, Patel’s perspective on AI’s role in SEO and advertising revolves around its potential to enhance the user experience, but he cautions against overestimating its impact on the traditional search model.

Ryan Stewart says to make more content for bottom of funnel searches with A.I.

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In Ryan Stewart’s discourse on SEO and AI, he proposes a fundamental shift in strategy as AI is increasingly used by Google, and potentially other search engines, to deliver search results. Stewart explains that AI is primarily cannibalizing traffic that doesn’t have significant business impact, mainly due to the shift from traditional search to AI-powered search. This shift is said to affect mostly informational traffic, a potential concern for businesses and SEO service providers who rely heavily on top-funnel content.

Pay more attention to bottom-funnel searches, the action-based searches which have direct correlation to a business’s service or product.

Stewart believes that SEO strategies must now be refocused on driving business results, rather than purely generating traffic. He illustrates this using the traditional AIDA marketing funnel, suggesting that businesses should pay more attention to bottom-funnel searches, the action-based searches which have direct correlation to a business’s service or product. He suggests these searches hold more potential for generating revenue, compared to top-funnel, more informational searches. This is because users are now finding top-of-the-funnel content through social media and referrals, and are less likely to discover a business through top-funnel content. He notes that AI, especially in the form of Google’s Knowledge Graph, is likely to reduce top-funnel traffic further.

Using paid ads to find the most profitable keywords and incorporating those into the bottom-funnel content of the client’s website.

Interestingly, he proposes a radical approach of “flipping the funnel upside down”. Instead of focusing on creating top-funnel content, he encourages businesses to create content that directly matches user queries deeper in the funnel, specifically targeting users who are closer to making a decision or a purchase. He provides examples of this approach, using the legal services industry to demonstrate how focusing on searches like “DUI attorney near me” can generate more business results than more informational queries. As AI continues to evolve, he underscores that understanding user intent, the structure of SERPs, and delivering direct, action-oriented content will be crucial for SEO.  To illustrate his point, Stewart describes a strategy used for a client where they ran aggressive paid search campaigns to discover the most profitable keywords and then incorporated those into the bottom-funnel content of the client’s website.

Matt Diggity AI for SEO is growing exponentially and it’s here to stay

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He points out that 68% of respondents in a community poll he conducted are already using AI for SEO, while 19% plan to soon.

  • Based on his observations, he asserts that AI has already shown the ability to generate engaging content, refuting the idea that AI-generated content isn’t as captivating as human-written content.
  • He shares an example where the AI program ChatGPT-4 was able to craft an attention-grabbing introductory paragraph for an article on debunking milk as a superfood, employing psychological hooks and a sense of urgency.
  • He also predicts that AI SEO tools will eventually be capable of generating SEO-optimized content without the need for manual fine-tuning.

Use A.I. content to build topical authority with a topical map

Yet, Diggity also provides actionable tips for SEO professionals to stand out in the face of AI’s growing dominance. One is to build topical authority. While AI may generate SEO-friendly content efficiently and cheaply, knowing what content to produce to fully cover a niche is critical. Diggity introduces the concept of creating a ‘Topical Map’, a comprehensive list of everything that needs to be written about a given niche, which he suggests can be accomplished using tools such as, SEO Minion, Google’s own search features, and competitor analysis. He also emphasizes the importance of backlinks, stating that they remain a key differentiating factor in the ranking of content. Further, he speculates that Google may start analyzing the content itself for signs of expertise, experience, authority, and trust (EEAT), an aspect he believes will remain challenging for AI to replicate. He foresees user experience and website design as another critical determinant in this AI-dominated SEO landscape.

Creating a sense of belonging on websites and connecting people with people in ways that AI cannot

Finally, Diggity highlights the value of a human touch, which he considers the most important differentiator. Despite the rapid advancements in AI, he argues that it cannot replicate the unique and innovative content that human authors can create, showcasing their individuality and imagination. He believes that creating a sense of belonging on websites and connecting people with people in ways that AI cannot, could provide a competitive edge. In this fast-paced, ever-evolving AI SEO landscape, Diggity encourages SEO professionals to stay current, continually pivot, and prepare for new shifts in Google’s algorithm.

SEO Experts Take on AI

Hook Agency’s CEO Tim Brown believes the best SEO’s with A.I. will beat the mediocre SEO’s with A.I.

My personal take is that everyone will be utilizing A.I. in the next year or so.

  • The best SEO’s who aren’t allergic to work will still beat the lazy ones.
  • A.I. is incredible, but it’s still work to make sure the content is filtered and relevant.
  • Great keyword research, onpage SEO and user experience matter when it comes to SEO. 

Don’t expect A.I. to do all the work for you, otherwise great SEO’s will still beat you every time. 


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