As search engines look to roll out new AI-fueled user experiences, the search world is in a frenzy. But before we dive down the “Search is Dead” rabbit hole, let’s take a step back.
At the highest level, the goal of search (paid and organic) has always been to answer a question. Whether it’s “How to?” or “Where to buy?”, search engines at their core serve to present users with content that best relates to their search query. So while the look and feel may be changing with the proliferation of AI in search, the intent behind the selection of results is the same – to give users the most relevant content in response to their search.
It’s also important to remember that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are not interchangeable – you cannot put all of your SERP (search engine results page) visibility efforts into paid search alone. While a targeted keyword strategy in paid search can help to keep your brand top-of-mind for high priority terms, it’s not likely you’ll appear at the top of the page every time one of your keywords is searched. Why? Competition, bids, quality scores, and many other factors determine search rankings. Therefore, it’s important to invest time and effort to revisit your SEO strategy often to ensure you’re reaping the benefits of free traffic. Both of these efforts, working together, will build your brand awareness and ultimately, your bottom line.
A robust SEM strategy can provide support for SEO efforts in a number of ways. First, SEM builds credibility by strategically aligning search queries with valuable and relevant landing pages. SEM also works to establish trust and industry expertise, which Google takes into account while measuring a website’s SEO score. Additionally, SEM can provide visibility for hard-to-rank keywords, driving incremental traffic and performance. Lastly, SEM acts as a safeguard through search engine UX changes. It’s important to remember that AI is powerful, but it’s not perfect. While things like the generative search experience and other AI powered tools roll out on Google and Bing, there’s going to be a learning curve.
Though the AI landscape can be intimidating, there are ways to take advantage of the tools available right now to help navigate the changes rolling out to the search engine user experience in the coming months:
- Content creation
This doesn’t mean handing 100% of your copywriting over to ChatGPT. You are the expert of your business. – While allowing AI to write your website copy could save time and effort, it may come at the expense of ingenuity, strong and consistent brandvoice, as well as nuanced expertise. To get the most out of the tools, you’ll want to be creative and intentional in your approach.
For example, consider role playing as if you are a consumer that is searching for the products/services that you offer on Google. Get a feel for the kind of language you are getting in response. Are there consistencies in phrasing based on the queries you are inputting? What information is the consumer given first? In understanding the logic of how AI pairs answers with queries, you are better able to understand how the search generative experience will impact the results. If you can successfully translate this into a reworked content strategy, you’ll be able to stay a step ahead of the game.
- Identifying trends through Predictive SEO
You can leverage AI to get ahead of changes in the search marketplace, which can support both your paid and organic search strategies. This will allow you to take a more proactive approach to your SEO strategy versus reactive. Find new high-value keywords to bid on with SEM, while beefing up your SERP ‘long game’ by using the forecasted trends to build on your SEO strategy.
- Identifying UX improvements
There are AI tools that can help to shed light on the usability of your website. Through collecting and analyzing user behavior, you can tailor your content, site structure, navigation, etc. to better align with user preferences.
Google is still figuring out what the ad landscape will look like with their generative and conversational experiences. While search engines still rely heavily on advertiser-generated content (paid or otherwise), if businesses do not make an effort to adapt, their websites may wind up buried in the search results. Interested in learning more about how to adapt your SEM/SEO strategies with AI in-play? We’re here 24/7 to ‘brk’ it down for you. Reach out to start a conversation. email@example.com