How generative AI is reshaping SEO strategies for businesses

Eugene Levin

Company leaders face a frenzy of interest about how generative AI will impact their businesses on many levels. The same can be said for online visibility because generative AI adds another dimension to the complex and competitive online landscape where businesses are constantly fighting for the attention of their target audiences. So, if companies adopt generative AI, will it replace search and the processes that they  rely on to be successful?

The short answer is no. Prioritizing SEO is still extremely important for businesses, and generative AI is another tool in the toolbox that professionals can leverage to stay ahead of the curve, even as the technology evolves. Here’s how.

Experiment with generative AI tools to enhance your SEO strategy but lean into your human expertise.

At this point, business leaders cannot afford to not experiment with generative AI tools. Start by using tools that can make an immediate impact on important SEO tactics, including idea generation and content creation. However, do not simply rely on generative AI results. Generative AI is a tool, not a replacement for the critical thinking and creativity that humans are capable of.

Don’t get lazy and default to trusting these budding tools that are known to cite sources unreliably. Since the recent popularization of generative AI, we are seeing an increase in the creation of poor content that is polluting search engines, making it even harder for users to find quality content for what they are searching.

Quickly and accurately identifying high-quality, trustworthy content has long been a concern in the search space. Most of Google’s major algorithm updates are geared toward exactly that. Generative AI will require search engines to adapt to embrace AI-enhanced features while also vetting content trustworthiness, whether the content was developed by AI or humans.

Stay alert to changes with both emerging search engines and the industry leaders.

Even with the genesis of generative AI, no one is truly challenging Google — yet. But that’s going to change.

Data shows that Google searches for “Bing” are up 29% year-over-year, suggesting users may be curious about its new AI functionality. And as more search engines begin to leverage AI, more competitors will claim market share in the years to come. This competition will be great for businesses because they will be able to show up in and compete for more places online.

However, business leaders must continue the SEO strategies working for them on Google because search likely won’t drastically change as quickly as one might expect. The “traditional SERP” (search engine results page) has been gone for a while, and AI has already become part of search as we know it. There are instant answers, Featured Snippets, and other SERP features that are designed to immediately provide helpful information to users. The use of generative AI in search is a continuation of that trend.

To be aware of the constant changes in search engine algorithms and what Google, Bing and others are doing, trust your SEO team to monitor these changes and constantly come up with ways to adjust their strategies accordingly.

Use generative AI beyond basic search. Take it one step further to improve user experience.

Once your business begins leveraging generative AI for its search strategies, take things to the next level by using it to engage your customer base via automation and personalization. It’s easier than ever to do this, and it will add value to your audience and lead to growth in revenue.

Generative AI can enhance interactions between business owners and customers on several levels. The technology can create responses to business or product reviews in seconds, ultimately reducing reply time and unanswered reviews to nearly zero. This drives better customer engagement, better review scores, increased brand loyalty and incremental sales.

It can also analyze thousands of customer reviews and feedback inputs across multiple channels, like surveys and social media posts, to unveil themes, strengths, challenges, and areas to improve. The insights can then be applied to engage your audience with updates you’ll know they’ll appreciate. Business leaders should also use these tools to personalize targeted ads and product recommendations based on a customer’s behaviors and preferences even easier than before.

Though we’re watching generative AI technology evolve in real time, business leaders can stay on top of search to stay relevant and visible in the increasingly competitive online space, while also strategically experimenting as a business and improving customer engagement.

It’s imperative to experiment now to find what works for your business and be ready to pivot in the future as additional changes and advancements are made and search inevitably becomes more competitive.

About the author:

Eugene Levin is the president of Semrush, an online visibility management and content marketing SaaS platform.

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