AI SEO Content Ranking: 12 Trends You Shouldn’t Ignore

by | Aug 28, 2023

With advancements in AI and its influence on search engine optimization, there’s a lot to unpack about the current state of the industry. If you’ve been wondering how to navigate this AI-assisted world and rank your SEO content effectively, this post is for you.  We’ve compiled the 12 most important trends to consider in your approach to SEO content in the age of AI.

1. Google’s Stance on AI SEO Content:

Google Stance on AI SEO Content copy

  • Google’s overarching goal remains unchanged: to make the world’s information universally accessible and useful.  Google’s public stance on AI-driven SEO content is “Rewarding high-quality content, however it is produced“.
  • There’s been a noticeable uptick in content-specific algorithm updates from Google since 2021. This shift indicates a focus on the quality and relevance of the content rather than just technical aspects.  This means Google will rank AI SEO content if it’s high quality and valuable to readers, but their criteria for ‘helpful content’ to evolving and improving.
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2. Decoding the ‘Helpful Content’ Algorithm:

Google has been vocal about its ‘helpful content’ updates. Here’s a breakdown of their guidelines and what they mean for content creators:

  • Audience Relevance: Google values direct and branded search traffic. Brands that are frequently searched for and clicked on (e.g., Clearscope, NerdWallet) often continue to win in search rankings.
  • Firsthand Experience & Expertise: Google places importance on content that reflects firsthand experience or deep expertise. This ties back to the ‘Expertise’ component of Google’s EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) guidelines.
  • Topical Authority: Sites focusing on specific topics or niches often fare better. If your content does well on a specific subject, it’s likely that other related topics you cover will rank higher too.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Your content should provide a complete and thorough understanding of the topic. AI SEO tools like Clearscope and Surfer can help ensure you’re covering all necessary subtopics and related entities.
  • User Satisfaction: Content should be crafted so that users don’t feel the need to return to Google and search again. The goal is to provide a satisfying and conclusive search journey.
  • Heed Google’s Guidance: Google urges creators to pay close attention to their guidelines, especially regarding core updates and product reviews.

3. The Role of AI and Large Language Models:

With the rise of AI models like GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), there’s an increasing emphasis on producing high-quality, comprehensive content. Such models can assist in creating content that’s not only SEO-friendly but also resonates with readers.  AI can assist content creators in brainstorming keyword research and article outlines, writing SEO content briefs, building internal links, creating content sections, and more, as well as editing and improving optimized content.

4. The Significance of Manual Search Evaluators:

While AI plays a significant role, manual search evaluators still heavily influence Google’s algorithm. They ensure content adheres to Google’s EAT principles, emphasizing the importance of genuine expertise and trustworthiness.

The rise of artificial intelligence and large language models has undeniably transformed the landscape of search engine optimization (SEO). But what does this mean for content creators? Let’s delve into the intricacies of AI, SEO, and how to effectively navigate this new territory.

5. Understanding Language Models and SEO:

  • What AI Knows: Language models like GPT have a specific knowledge cutoff. For instance, if a model was last trained with data up to September 2021, it wouldn’t have insights into developments after that point.
  • The AI Challenge: While AI-generated content can be of high quality, it might not offer anything new to Google’s knowledge graph. If the content is purely AI-driven, it might lack the freshness or uniqueness that Google values.

6. The Risk of Commoditized AI Content:

  • Redundancy: Using generic AI content generation can result in content that is too similar to what’s already available. This was a significant factor in many lyric websites getting delisted from Google.
  • Human-AI Collaboration: To make AI content generation effective, it should be human-directed. A two-way interaction between the creator and the AI model ensures the content is relevant, unique, and adds value.

7. The Role of Manual Search Evaluators:

  • Defining Their Work: These evaluators review pages and judge their quality, deciding if the content would meet a searcher’s needs.
  • Their Impact: By analyzing and judging content, these evaluators teach Google’s algorithm about the qualitative aspects of content that automated systems might not grasp on their own.
  • Evolving Standards: Over time, the criteria these evaluators use can change. For instance, the shift from simply having “hero images” to including citations and statistics in content.

8. The Future of Content Creation:

  • Beyond the ‘Skyscraper’ Approach: The strategy of creating long, exhaustive “ultimate guides” is becoming less effective. Instead, there’s a move towards more specific, intent-driven content that directly addresses users’ needs.
  • Importance of Experience: Google focuses increasingly on user engagement and experience. Content should be crafted in a way that matches the user’s intent and provides a conclusive answer to their query.
  • Video Content: Video, which was once considered harder to produce, has become more accessible due to the emergence of AI video generator tools. Given Google’s ownership of YouTube, incorporating video into your content strategy can enhance trust and visibility.

9. The AI Hype in SEO:

  • Buzzwords & Expectations: Many believe that AI can entirely replace content teams and churn out high-quality articles. However, relying purely on AI prompts may lead to generic content.
  • Synopsis: Using generic AI prompts often results in generic outputs, which might not add unique value to the topic, making it harder to rank on Google search.

10. Long-Form Content in the Age of AI:

  • Is It Dead?: While long-form content isn’t entirely dead, its relevance is waning. What matters more is answering the user’s intent or question concisely and effectively. A rough guideline might be around 1000 words, but it’s more about quality than quantity.

11. Keyword Cannibalization:

  • Is It Harmful?: Keyword cannibalization might not be as detrimental as once believed. If executed correctly, it can provide more visibility and real estate in search results. However, if done poorly, it might confuse Google, splitting its testing resources between pages and extending the time it needs to determine the better page.

12. Role of Images in Content:

  • AI-Generated Images: The value of images in content might be declining.  Manual search evaluators might not prioritize image-rich content as much anymore. The core focus should be on enhancing the overall page experience, irrespective of images.

FAQs: AI & SEO Content Ranking

What is AI in SEO?

AI in SEO refers to using artificial intelligence to optimize websites for search engines. This can include everything from content creation and optimization to predictive analytics for search trends.

How does AI impact SEO content ranking?

AI algorithms, like Google’s RankBrain, analyze user behavior and search patterns to deliver more relevant search results. Additionally, AI tools can help content creators optimize their content for better search visibility.

Are traditional SEO techniques still relevant with the rise of AI?

While AI plays a significant role in modern SEO, traditional techniques such as keyword research or optimization, backlinking, and high-quality content creation remain essential.

How can I use AI to improve my content’s SEO?

There are AI-powered tools available that suggest content topics, optimize keyword usage, analyze competitor content, and even automate some content creation processes.

Is long-form content still effective in the AI-driven SEO landscape?

While AI has changed the SEO landscape, the effectiveness of long-form content depends on the user intent and the topic. Comprehensive content that thoroughly answers user queries is still valuable.

What are the risks of relying too heavily on AI for SEO?

Over-reliance on AI can lead to generic or commoditized content. It’s essential to maintain a balance, using AI as a tool but ensuring the content remains unique and provides genuine value.

Does AI favor video content over written content in SEO?

AI doesn’t inherently favor one type of content over another. However, with increasing user preference for video content and the rise of video search, having video content can be beneficial.

How does AI handle keyword cannibalization?

Modern AI-driven search algorithms are better at understanding content context. While keyword cannibalization can still be an issue, AI helps determine the best content piece that matches the user’s intent.

Can AI-generated content rank as effectively as human-written content?

While AI-generated content can be of high quality, it may lack the unique perspective and depth that human writers bring. For optimal SEO results, a combination of human expertise and AI SEO optimization is recommended.

What’s the future of AI in SEO?

The future likely holds even more integration of AI in SEO, with smarter algorithms, more personalized search results, and tools that can predict and adapt to search trend shifts. It’s likely that certain SEO tasks will become more AI-driven, including SEO strategy, automatically generated content, content ideas, SEO and traffic insights, Google Search Console analysis, link building, writing of meta descriptions, and other time-consuming tasks currently done by SEO professionals. Also, expect to see more AI SEO tool solutions coming out in the future.

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Ryder Meehan

Ryder Meehan

Ryder has been on a 16-year journey to master digital marketing from every aspect. His resume includes Razorfish, Slighshot, Fossil, Samsung Mobile and Tatcha before launching Upgrow. Ryder is the acting CEO, heading business development and account services. He has been featured as a digital marketing leader on Forbes, PRNews, Business.com, Workamajig, Databox, Fit Small Biz and other outlets.

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