One of the most disruptive forces shaping the industry right now is the rise of generative AI technologies, particularly conversational AI tools like ChatGPT. These advancements are not just bells and whistles but are fundamentally altering how search engines operate and, by extension, how SEO strategies need to evolve. If you’re a B2B marketer, especially in high-tech sectors like cybersecurity, SaaS, or data analytics, ignoring this shift is not an option.
Why? Because the way people search for information is changing. Gone are the days when a simple keyword search would suffice. Today’s users expect more personalized, conversational interactions with search engines. AI chatbots like ChatGPT are stepping in to meet this demand, offering customized responses based on a handful of highly reliable sources. This is a game-changer for SEO strategies, which have traditionally relied on a broader approach to capturing as many keywords as possible.
But it’s not just about the technology. The timing is equally important. With 2023 drawing to a close, and AI technologies becoming more sophisticated, the strategies that worked yesterday might not guarantee success tomorrow. In the long list of B2B marketing trends in 2024 to watch, understanding the impact of generative AI and conversational tools on SEO is crucial.
So, let’s dive in and explore how these technologies are reshaping B2B content marketing and SEO, and what you, as a B2B marketer, can do to thrive in this new environment.
1. Search Is Becoming More Customized
Traditional search engine results pages, i.e. SERPs are undergoing a seismic shift, thanks to AI chatbots like ChatGPT.
Unlike SERPs that list a multitude of options, these AI chatbots are designed to provide a singular, customized response. They pull this information from a select few, but highly reliable, sources.
This is already a reality in Bing, where ChatGPT is integrated to offer more personalized search results. As you can see, only three highly authoritative sources are quoted.
For B2B marketers, this is a wake-up call. The days of casting a wide net with keywords to capture as much traffic as possible are fading.
Now, the focus is on being the best answer to very specific questions. This requires a shift toward niche marketing, akin to long-tail keyword research, but even more specialized.
Tips to Get Found in Customized Chatbot Responses
Chatbots and SERPs are still evolving, and so are the best practices that marketers need to follow. However, there are some actionables that content and SEO experts are already identifying key action steps that are likely to become essential in the near term.
- Identify a narrow niche within your industry where you can become an authoritative voice. The more specific, the better.
- Diversify your content types: Don’t just stick to blog posts; consider creating Wikipedia pages, contributing to industry books, or even adding subtitles to video content. These varied formats increase the likelihood of being picked up by AI chatbots.
- Continuously update your content to stay current. As AI chatbots become real-time, they will favor up-to-date information from reliable sources.
By adapting to this new search landscape, you’re not just keeping up; you’re positioning yourself to be ahead of the curve.
2. Crawlers Will Prioritize Originality and Quality
Generative AI is getting smarter, and so are search crawlers. They’re now capable of parsing content with a level of sophistication that makes old tactics like keyword stuffing not just ineffective but potentially harmful.
The focus is shifting toward original, well-researched content that offers real value.
For B2B marketers, this means a move away from generic, “what is” style content. The emphasis is now on thought leadership and deep expertise.
For example instead of generic topics like “What is SOAR,” we have to start focusing on nuanced takes such as “Why SOAR Solutions Need to Evolve.”
The shift toward originality and quality is clear. According to Linkedin-Edelman’s study, 61% of decision-makers find thought leadership to be more effective at demonstrating the potential value of its products and services compared to traditional product-oriented marketing.
However, many B2B marketers are still catching up. Surprisingly, only 30% consider market research a key part of their current strategy.
How to Create Original and Quality Content
Originality will be the currency of choice. But publishing original content and conducting research is easier said than done. So, to stay ahead, here are some tips to ensure your content stands out:
- Invest in simple forms of research: Start with straightforward methods like interviews or quantitative surveys. These forms of research are not only cost-effective but can also provide valuable insights quickly.
- Plan for repurposing: Before diving into research, think about its multiple use-cases. Could the data be used in media publications, webinars, or eBooks? Planning for repurposing maximizes the ROI on your research investment.
- Use AI to scale: Tools like ChatGPT come in at the end, to help you disseminate your findings more efficiently. Plug your statistics and insights into AI tools to generate content that can be used across various platforms, or personalized for different personas.
By investing in research and planning for its multiple uses, you become a source of valuable insights. Utilizing AI tools like ChatGPT allows you to scale these insights, making you not just a participant but a leader in your industry.
As we near 2024, the intersection of generative AI and changing search behaviors is rewriting the rules for B2B marketers. The shift from broad keyword targeting to specialized, high-value answers is more than a trend; it’s a fundamental change that demands a new approach to SEO and content strategy.
Despite the clear benefits of thought leadership and original content, many marketers are still playing catch-up. By embracing simple research methods, strategic content repurposing, and AI tools like ChatGPT the ‘right’ way, you position yourself not just as a participant but as a leader. Being the source of valuable insights is your ultimate competitive advantage.