SEO is by default a longer-term digital marketing channel, and this can test the patience of SEO professionals – and key stakeholders.
Discipline and a high level of knowledge are often required to lead companies and their customers to success.
I can’t underestimate how important it is to be patient, disciplined and focused right now.
News weekly on how search engines are integrating AI technology and how it will reshape search. SEO professionals therefore have a lot to think about.
And we should think about it and start incorporating AI into our SEO strategies and processes!
But until AI fully takes over the algorithms and search results, we also need to focus on what’s working today — and that’s not a basic or simple checklist of things to do.
It’s still very important to get our strategies right, align with our own goals, know our audiences and competitors, and focus on the top priorities of what’s most important to our SEO plans right now.
Whether you’re worried about keeping up with what the future of SEO might hold, whether it’s still worth investing in, or just want an overview of what to do now: I hope this article gives you some reassurance.
I will now highlight eight things we should focus on and prioritize as we align the AI boom with our current environment and reality.
1. Know your goals and goals
SEO can be a huge waste of time and resources if not targeted towards specific goals.
There are so many tactics and things to “do” but it can all be in vain if you don’t know what you’re aiming for and why you’re doing it.
You can spend less time doing things manually and let AI take care of your processes. However, if they are misguided or inconsistent with your target results, you run the risk of not getting the results you want.
Whether it’s a set of goals tied to conversions, traffic, awareness, or related to thought leadership and a customer journey, you want to set goals so you can work towards them in an organized way.
2. Establish an established process and standard operating procedures
As you integrate AI deeper into your methodology, adopt new technologies and processes now.
Innovation is great and I support it 100%.
However, you can be lax about processes and practices if you don’t have a set process to start from.
My team is working to improve our standard processes and operations, not just in how we do SEO, but across our agency.
We use systemology for this, but there are different possibilities and approaches.
No matter how much customization and customization you do, if you have a team of more than one team, or plan to offload or delegate tasks in the future, you should document and standardize things as much as possible.
You also want to know what works and what doesn’t.
3. Be adaptable and embrace change
If you’ve been doing SEO for a long time, you know that change is a constant.
From major algorithm or ranking factor updates, to ongoing core updates, to the integration of machine learning into the algorithm, changes will occur and you will inevitably have to pivot — even if you know exactly where you want to be in search engine results pages (SERPs ).
Even if you are skeptical or want to wait and see how AI will really impact the SERPs and change SEO broadly and in the longer term, I encourage you to start using AI today to automate processes and leverage those skills to increase traffic efficiency.
4. Use what works today
Testing new things, adapting processes and including AI in them can be tedious.
While my point above encourages such exploration, don’t focus too much on what’s working today and what the current ranking factors are.
Maintain a human, user-centric approach when it comes to leveraging AI to generate content.
Yes, you can use multiple AI tools to get a good score, regardless of whether the content is AI or human generated.
However, even if you’re getting rankings and traffic to your site, and your goal is conversions or something deeper, you may not be getting the right level of resonation with your audience.
Focus on your user, even when using AI, to ensure you stand out from any standard AI-generated content or low-quality content (even if created by humans) in your industry.
Focus on solid technical on-page and off-page ranking factors currently associated with strong SEO strategies and tactics.
5. Implement it today with an eye on the future
Am I contradicting myself here? I do not believe that.
As you focus on what works today, my message and recommendations are all about balance. While implementing your current strategy, you must not fall behind.
Learn how ChatGPT, Bard and other aspects of AI are leveraged by search engines and integrated into search results. Understand how changes in SERP features will affect our SEO efforts.
Be ready and willing to adapt and adapt over time.
We are definitely in a balancing act right now. Those who don’t adapt will be left behind.
Anyone who gets distracted by the new shiny object today and stops doing what works today will lose ground and momentum.
6. Stay active and keep the momentum going
A constant since the early days of SEO has been the need to take a long-term and ongoing approach.
Sure, you might see an improvement if you do a round of optimization tactics.
Yes, you can stop actively working on SEO without an immediate or drastic drop in traffic.
However, my recommendation hasn’t changed: you have to have a plan – phased out, with ongoing optimization – and stay on track.
Even though the SERPs are changing and the things that work today will be completely different in search engine optimization next year, you want to keep going and not slack off. Dynamism is important in SEO strategies and getting your goals where you want them to be.
The search engines aren’t the only things changing.
Your market and competitors are additional variables to contend with.
7. Don’t just write off SEO
SEO has become more difficult in some respects in recent years.
As the ongoing real estate bottleneck continues at the top of organic results, we’re seeing high rankings but lower traffic from those rankings.
Looking at my Google Search Console historical data, I can confirm that.
SEO can hurt if you don’t have the resources — internal or external, soft or hard cost — other than people with SEO titles to succeed. Content is the fuel for SEO; Development, UX and IT teams all play a part.
Your overall marketing strategy and making sure things work together across multiple marketing channels can provide insights and SEO improvements.
There are many reasons why SEO doesn’t work.
Don’t isolate it or have unfair expectations.
Don’t write it off without trying it out fully.
A three-month investment is not enough. It takes time and additional resources, but when calculating return on investment (ROI) works, it’s worth sticking with it so you really know if it can be successful for your brand or not.
8. Integrate SEO with other channels and efforts
Of course, SEO and paid search have a lot in common: they target the same audiences and try to drive traffic to a SERP.
Other digital and traditional marketing channels that include content, website and customer journey mapping can provide insights and work “with” SEO and not separately from it.
Don’t separate SEO from the overall marketing plan and strategy. It can benefit greatly from being plugged in.
And as you work to leverage new technologies, this can be a testing ground to find areas where previously time-consuming and inefficient processes can be improved.
I’m curious how technology will improve SEO.
My team is extensively testing AI and is already using it for internal processes and content output. We will continue to do so.
However, we are still busy optimizing our clients’ websites and implementing strategies that are working today to achieve our goals.
The key to any major shift in search engine optimization has always been balancing the here and now with what is to come.
This could be one of the biggest waves of distraction and disruption we’ve ever seen, but the need for balance remains — and may also be more important than ever as we rapidly advance technology and AI.
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