Does AI Democratize SEO Or Amplify Incompetence?

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            Does AI Democratize SEO Or Amplify Incompetence?

Generative AI has introduced significant shifts in the SEO industry with some experiencing success integrating SEO into the daily workflow while others not so much. How is AI best used in SEO tasks, and what are its capabilities and limitations and can the subjective nature of SEO negatively affect the outcome for SEO?

AI-Automated SEO

There are some tasks that an AI can do reasonably well, like creating meta description tags and title elements at scale.

But the utility of AI becomes questionable when it comes to other aspects of search optimization.

AI has been put into service analyzing search engine results pages (SERPs), keyword research, content scoring based on keyword use, keyword based article creation, competitive research, as well as just creating content based on keywords.

It’s an act of faith to trust that the people behind the software understand SEO. But who do you trust if SEO is so subjective that people can’t even agree on the proper use of title tags and headings?

Even the concept of SERP analysis can go south depending on the experience of the person doing it. For example, there is a school of thought that the way to beat the competition is to understand why their content is ranking and then use those data point as the ingredients for creating an exact copy that is better, which is oxymoronic.

Obviously, you can’t make something better by making an exact copy of it that’s better. Yet, that’s the underlying logic of the Skyscraper Content Tactic that (ironically) is a copycat of the 10X Content Tactic, which are popular with those who are new to SEO. And as absurd as that tactic is, it’s at the heart of how some AI tools execute SERP analysis.

Clearly, some AI tools can amplify the inexperience of those who created the tools as well as those who use AI tools.

Julia McCoy, president of Content at Scale (LinkedIn) agrees.

She explained:

“AI is absolutely the most incredible advancement of technology that we’ve seen in the last 200 years.

We’re seeing a ton of AI tools designed for content optimization or writing generation that offer incredible efficiencies—they can streamline processes, give you powerfully detailed insights for optimization and ranking improvements, and even generate entire articles that are nearly ready to publish.

But, you’ve got to know how to use them. And you need to know who built them.

I think it’s crucial to acknowledge: no tool can transform an amateur into an expert overnight. Just as Malcolm Gladwell’s skills stem from years of honing his craft—not a tool that landed in his lap overnight—the path from budding learner to seasoned, proficient expert requires time, experience and a deep knowledge of the industry.

While AI has democratized access to advanced techniques making higher-level strategies accessible—it cannot instill wisdom nor insight where there is none. It amplifies capabilities, but also shortcomings. We need to remember that human intuition is complemented by technology, not replaced by it.”

AI Amplifies The User’s SEO Skill

Why is it that some people have success with AI and others do not? In my opinion, AI is just a tool like a paint brush. The talent and skill belongs to the person, not the tool.

A less experienced SEO will analyze a webpage by extracting the keywords from the content, the headings and the title tag. A more experienced SEO will analyze the webpage by understanding what questions it answers.

The importance of skill and experience is evident with AI image generators where some users are able to create amazingly lifelike works of are while others make images of people with seven fingers on each hand.

Does AI Democratize SEO?

There is an idea that AI can empower an SEO beginner to perform at the same level as someone with decades of experience but that’s not how AI works right now, as Julia suggested earlier.

I asked Brenda Malone, an SEO Technical Strategist and Web Developer (LinkedIn), for her opinion on AI and the potential for democratizing SEO.

Brenda shared:

“I don’t necessarily think it will totally democratize the SEO discipline as it exists today.

I think the over-abundance of AI SaaS tools will serve to overwhelm the inexperienced SEO professionals, while further empowering experienced SEO professionals who know how to exploit specific AI tools in order to make more qualified human analyses.

What I think AI’s effect on the SEO industry for the short-term will turn out to be is a decrease in the number of professionals needed because a lot of the data-gathering will be automated.

Current SEO professionals cannot afford to be Luddites, and should instead dig deep into AI to identify tasks that are related to SEO activities and develop analysis specializations because the days of getting away with merely implementing meta and title tags for ranking are gone.”

The ability of AI to amplify makes a person more efficient. For example, deep analysis of data is a snap for AI. But it’s also great for tedious tasks like performing an analysis, generating a bullet point of major takeaways from the data then creating a presentation from that data.

Takeaways

Generative AI like ChatGPT and Claude can have a significant impact on SEO, amplifying what can be done and streamlining the workflow. However it also amplifies the shortcomings of its users. Experienced SEOs can leverage generative AI to enhance their work, while those who are new to SEO might not experience the full potential, although they may benefit from SaaS tools depending on the experience of the publishers of those tools.

  • Generative AI amplifies the user’s SEO skill and experience
  • Generative AI may not necessarily democratize SEO
  • But SaaS AI tools can benefit users who are new to SEO
  • Review the founders and creators of SaaS SEO tools to understand their experience and skill levels
  • AI is the future, don’t be a Luddite

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Krakenimages.com

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