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SEO needs more than AI

by | Apr 3, 2023

Everyone’s wondering if AI, and Google Bard specifically, will be the end of SEO. If Bard can answer any question, including long, complex ones, and it doesn’t cite its sources, does the rest of Google’s first page even matter? Is it game over?

Like all things dependent on SEO and Google’s thousands of algorithms, the answer isn’t cut-and-dry. It depends. What we do know is that SEO needs more than AI. Let’s dig into why.

Google Bard Threatens Organic Traffic

It’s true. Any change to SEO poses challenges to driving organic traffic, and in that sense Bard is nothing new. Google likes to keep us all on our toes, and Bard isn’t the first time it’s changed the way we – marketers, consumers, and business owners – have to think about and work with SEO.

Search Will Be Challenged

However, Bard could significantly change Search, and since that’s essentially Google’s bread-and-butter, this time the changes might be more than even Google anticipated. We need to know:

  • Will Bard answer questions and provide information well?
  • Will websites see a drop in traffic if Bard answers questions too well?
  • Will Google see a drop in traffic if it continues to not provide citations and websites fight to be listed as sources for Bard’s answers?
  • How much information do most people really want? Is a sentence or paragraph enough, or do they want the long-form explanation of 1000-2000 words?

Right now we don’t know. We have to wait and see. What we do know is that Bard is dependent on human creative content and that’s important to remember.

But, Don’t Let AI Be The Wrench in Your Works

Search results – including Bard – mine the internet for content, piece it together, and use logic to generate “new” content, including answers to questions. Yes, it’s game-changing. Yes, it’s helpful. No, it isn’t the answer to all our problems. 

Here’s three reasons why Bard shouldn’t make you completely change your marketing strategy:

  1. Giving Bard what it wants is the way we’ve been creating content for years. 

Part of any SEO strategy has always been to provide the most relevant answers to search queries and People Also Ask questions. This means researching what people want to know, checking out the competition, and then creating better content so that Google sends people your way. The same thing goes for Bard, if you want to be included as one of Bard’s “read more” results. 

  • Keywords still matter, and now long tail keywords might be more valuable and useful.

Structuring content around keywords is, again, nothing new. One change that Google Bard might introduce here is a new relevance for long tail keywords. This is a good thing, as it gives businesses new creative content to develop and new keywords to target.

  • Unique, well-written content is still king – especially as Google itself starts to scan for formulaic AI repetition.

As I mentioned above, Google Bard generates new content – it doesn’t create it. Yes, Bard types out answers and gives you something you didn’t have before, but it’s restricted to what already exists on the internet. All AI tools are and this is why, as you test out different tools, you’ll start to see repetition and formulaic responses, especially for longer-form content. If we start depending entirely on AI, there’s going to be a lot of similar sounding pieces out there. This is going to make any content written with human expertise, emotion, and creativity stand out. This will attract site visitors, and it will also attract Bard as it searches for more relevant answers to provide. 

Will Google and other sites start to scan for AI-generated content and devalue it in a search for original, better-to-read content? It’s possible that, at least sometimes, they will. Especially if these original content sites are ones that users already spend more time on and visit more often.

Remember, there wasn’t only one piece to SEO before Google Bard, and there isn’t only one piece now. Staying relevant and trusted online takes a lot of intentional work and effort. See how Bard evolves, check out AI tools to see if they can make anything you do more efficient, but continue to prioritize your originality. Otherwise, you’ll be reduced to formulaic code and people still want to work with and hear from other people, not robots.

About the Author

Josh Greene

Josh Greene is the CEO for The Mather Group, a digital marketing agency that helps with online reputation management through SEO, Paid Media, and Wikipedia.


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