AI SEO | Transforming Search Engine Optimization

AI SEO: Revolutionizing Search Engine Optimization With Artificial Intelligence

By Annie ZelmMay 23 /2024

As artificial intelligence changes the way people find information, brands need to evolve the way they approach search engine optimization and content creation.

Google is still the driving force with over two decades of experience using some form of AI SEO or another to analyze search queries and identify search intent, and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. It now integrates generative AI into the search experience with tools like Google Bard and Gemini, while Microsoft has invested heavily into AI-powered search by integrating OpenAI into Bing.

The release of OpenAI's latest large language model, GPT-4o Omni, is also multi-modal like Gemini and better at understanding how people actually speak. It offers the possibility of creating more personalized content based on the user's behavior, such as generating new webpages tailored to individuals rather than personas and providing more immediate, relevant answers through a chatbot.

At the same time, Google is working on Project Astra, a multi-modal AI agent capable of interacting with users within the context of their environment. For instance, it can identify the neighborhood the user is in and share information about nearby landmarks just by accessing their smartphone camera. 

“For a long time, we’ve wanted to build a universal AI agent that can be truly helpful in everyday life,” said Sir Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google’s DeepMind Technologies, in Google’s latest keynote in May. “An agent like this has to understand and respond to our complex and dynamic world just like we do. It would need to take in and remember what it sees so it can understand context and take action. And it would have to be proactive, teachable and personal so you can talk to it naturally without delay.” 

AI startups like Perplexity and are also entering the market, promising a more customized, ad-free user experience.

While these startups have a long way to go to compete with the ingrained search habits of billions of people who have grown accustomed to using Google as a verb, many of our clients are asking how they can prepare for this new world.

The short answer is to double down on what has always worked — considering the intent of your customers and prospects, and letting that drive your strategy. 

That means establishing expertise and authority on broad topics and answering questions in the way your customers ask them, instead of only focusing on ranking for hundreds of individual keywords.

In some ways, it's similar to the adjustments many marketers and SEO professionals made for voice search assistants like Alexa.

While we believe ranking well on SERPs and driving organic traffic from those pages will always be important, the way we conduct keyword research and develop content ideas is changing. Ultimately, we're optimistic these changes will result in a better experience for readers while helping brands close deals with higher-quality customers.

What Is the Role of AI in SEO?

AI's role in SEO is multi-faceted, involving machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to streamline and enhance various SEO tools and tasks.

Machine learning algorithms refine search engine behaviors by analyzing user interaction patterns, predicting trends, and making data-driven recommendations for SEO strategies. This ability to adapt to user behavior and predict future trends makes machine learning indispensable for SEO planning.

NLP transforms SEO by improving how content is understood and generated. This helps brands create optimized content that's easier to read because it's based on user intent.

Imagine you're a human resources leader looking for employee engagement software. As you evaluate solutions, you'll probably have a long list of questions about strategies, processes, and metrics you should measure with this new technology. You can probably relate to an article about how to turn "quiet quitters" into superstar employees.

And you'd probably love it if you could find all this information in one place.

That's the idea behind the pillar-cluster strategy: a way to organize website content to make it easier for people to find answers to their questions and help search engines better understand the goal of each page. When these pages are well organized, they are more likely to show up on search engine results pages and potentially influence responses provided by generative AI chat assistants like ChatGPT and Microsoft Bing or Copilot.


For instance, if a fast-growing company with multiple locations is considering using QuickBooks for accounting, they might ask about its limitations. The answer from Copilot is succinct, but they'll likely want more detail from the links provided below.

What AI Tools Are Most Popular for SEO?

Search engine optimization has always been a science and a bit of an art, but it's becoming more precise as new AI tools help brands analyze search engine rankings faster and provide recommendations, supporting standard technical SEO efforts informed by platforms like Google Analytics or Google Search Console.

Semrush’s Copilot analyzes search volumes and trends to recommend keywords, providing insights into user intent and competitive positioning. This automation significantly speeds up the research process, allowing marketers to quickly adapt to market changes.

AI-powered tools like SurferSEO also analyze content to suggest optimizations for better search relevance and user engagement. It conducts a competitor analysis and crawls top ranking pages to see what they have in common.

Our team can see recommendations for relevant keywords and how they impact the SEO score of each page or post as we write it. While SurferSEO is meant to be used as a guideline rather than an exact formula, it increases our chances of appearing in search results and driving organic traffic.

Surfer SEO is an AI SEO tool that significantly improves our content creation process.

Other resources help speed up the writing process.

HubSpot’s new Content Hub includes a Content Remix feature that uses AI to enable faster content repurposing, enhancing productivity without sacrificing content quality.

Other tools like Ahrefs and Yoast use AI to quickly generate meta descriptions — a simple, time-saving task you'll only appreciate if you've had to write new descriptions for over 100 pages just before a new website launches.

How Does AI Impact Content Strategy?

There's no doubt AI makes it possible to scale content creation. It has helped our team write outlines for posts and sail past the first hour of the writing process that is so often spent staring at a blank screen, allowing us to that "ugly first draft" faster. We can write long form content that used to take weeks in a matter of days.

It makes it easier to do keyword research to identify topics with the most attainable keyword difficulty and ensure we're following SEO best practices. It can improve website performance by auditing on-page elements and identifying opportunities to improve.

It can even write schema markup to help Google and other crawlers understand the user intent behind each page. As we use this framework, we're also optimizing for voice search and for the AI search experience, which is becoming even more important with the rise of voice-activated assistants and chatbots. AI plays a crucial role in this area by helping to understand and optimize content for voice search behaviors.

Effective voice search optimization involves creating content that answers questions directly and conversationally, which AI tools facilitate by analyzing query contexts and user intent.

It can help decipher patterns in voice search, allowing for more effective content strategies that address the most common questions and the way people phrase them.

AI algorithms are often better at understanding nuances like whether someone searching with a desire to learn more about a topic or buy a product, which an help our team prioritize the type of content we create for each stage.

But without people who are close to the customer driving it, the result can be a lot of mediocre posts and pages that rank but don't compel anyone to take action.

There are plenty of examples of AI-generated content outranking content written by people. SEO.AI mentions several high-profile examples, including and The Verge, which created a satirical article about a printer that managed to rank for the highly competitive term "best printer 2023."

It's important to note that these are websites that already had high domain authority with established credibility. The articles also ranked before Google's latest update, which many believe will impact whether content primarily generated by AI will continue to rank well.

Preparing for Future SEO Trends With AI: Adapting to Google's Latest Updates

Google's March 2024 update introduced significant enhancements to its core ranking algorithms. The focus on providing helpful information and reducing the visibility of unoriginal content is an extension of what it has always intended to accomplish.

As of April, Google said it has reduced the amount of "low quality, unoriginal content" in search results by 45%. The company defines that as "webpages that are 'unhelpful, have a poor user experience or feel like they were created for search engines instead of people.'"

It's also cracking down on what it considers to be spam, including:

  • Scaled content abuse, or "using automation to generate low-quality or unoriginal content at scale"
  • Site reputation abuse, or publishing third-party content (like reviews of your product) on a trusted website not related to the product
  • Expired domain abuse, or buying expired domains with a higher authority and re-using them to boost your own website

There are several ways you can prepare for these updates. Here's what we recommend:

Focus on high-quality content

If you use an SEO tool like Surfer to help outline or generate blog posts, keep in mind that they're just giving you the average of all the content from the top SERP competitors. It's a good general guide to make sure you're covering a topic thoroughly, but if that's all you're including, it won't be enough to stand out from the competition. This type of content is quickly becoming a commodity that's easy for anyone to replicate with AI. Google may deem it unhelpful, preventing it from ranking. More importantly, it can be frustrating to your potential buyers and even diminish your credibility.

AI can't replicate your brand's original point of view, institutional knowledge and experiences, and it won't share specific examples of how you've helped your customers solve their problems. Focus on incorporating that into everything you write.

Audit existing content

Make time to revisit and frequently update existing content. Focus on what's already performing well and how you can build upon it by adding new research, statistics or recent examples.

Consider combining or removing older content that is too similar or short on substance.

This is a common problem we see even with our own content. After more than a decade of blogging, our services have evolved and our standards for blogging have changed too. Like many brands, we used to approach blogging similar to the way people share insights on LinkedIn. We'd have someone with an idea worth sharing, and they'd write a quick blog post. Over time, these posts become repetitive, stale and difficult to find.

This is another benefit of the pillar-cluster strategy: It's much easier to update one longer page about industry trends or software solutions each year and link back to it when you have new resources and examples to share than it is to refresh a dozen similar posts.

Focus on the user experience

Google’s emphasis on page experience means that SEO isn’t just about content but also how it’s presented. Having a website that's mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate is table stakes these days. To provide an even better experience, consider adding chapters to the side of a longer page or, if it makes sense, frequently asked questions at the bottom.

This resource page for behavioral software ClinicTracker is a good example of optimizing content for search intent and the target audience.

Prioritize multi-modal sales enablement content

In a future where we may one day task an AI assistant to conduct initial research on solutions for us, marketers will play an even more important role in supporting the sales process. 

If your content doesn’t make it easy to understand how your product or service works, how it brings value to your customers, and whether it checks essential boxes like integrations, data privacy and security, it won’t make the short list of recommendations. 

Consider the many questions your customers have as they compare their options, and make every effort to answer them with content in a variety of formats. 

Having quality product and demo videos, case studies, testimonials, comparison charts and a library of other sales resources will help both buyers and their AI agents validate your company as a top choice. 

 For instance, e2Companies provides on-site solutions for power reliability, energy storage, and energy optimization. This video offers a quick overview of the value of how the company's patented system works, making it easier for prospects to understand it. 



Use AI ethically

As artificial intelligence technology advances, it can create ethical concerns that compromise trust. We're already seeing unfortunately examples of this at work, including brands creating fake product reviews, generating deepfake endorsements and manipulating search rankings.

For instance, relying too heavily on AI-powered tools to create content can result in pages that are well-optimized but offer little to no real value.

And it shouldn't have to be said that using AI to scrape content from other sites and republish it as original can lead to legal issues and damage your brand's integrity.

Your company can practice ethical AI use in SEO by being transparent about how and when you use it.

For instance:

  • At Kuno, our content team uses AI tools for research, outlining blog posts, and optimizing them, including recommending new variations of headlines and subject lines until we land on the best one.
  • We may use AI for initial drafts, but not to write to full blog posts and not without a person reviewing and rewriting them and going through a full editorial process.
  • We don't use AI to create images for blog posts or webpages, but we may use an AI tool within another design program like Adobe Photoshop to speed up the process of designing and editing

How Can You Prepare for the Future of AI SEO?

New releases like Google Gemini and GPT-4o Omni, and the progress on technologies like Project Astra have the potential to change the way people search for information, but we believe these will ultimately be positive changes for both consumers and brands.

While a chatbot can provide quick answers about products and features, it can't speak to how real people use them or find value from them. It's essential to structure your website and pages well so they can serve up information just as quickly, but you'll also need case studies, real customer reviews, and ROI calculators to help prospects better understand how they'll benefit from your solutions.

And as users expect a more personalized experience from search, your company can use AI to analyze customer data to send more tailored emails based on their interests.

To do this, you'll need data that's well-organized, a sales and marketing automation platform that allows you to communicate with them quickly, and a team that can put it all together.

At Kuno, we have deep expertise in both content and SEO, but we're more than an SEO agency or a team of content writers. We are marketing strategists, writers, designers, developers, paid media specialists, and experts in using HubSpot for revenue operations.

We do both keyword research and buyer interviews to inform our content creation strategy, ensuring we fully understand your buyers and what information they need to take the next step.

To learn more about how you can use AI and SEO to reach new audiences and improve conversion rates, schedule a consultation with us today.

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The Author

Annie Zelm

Annie is the driving force behind content strategy for clients. She uncovers insights about what motivates buyers and uses that knowledge to shape client websites and editorial calendars. Annie brings several years of PR experience gained from working at the amusement park, Cedar Point.