AI and SEO: What Will the Impact Be? (with Shannon Steffen)

The internet is a highly connective space, and has been the perfect breeding ground for innovative technologies like artificial intelligence. As more businesses invest in AI to increase their website’s traffic, an interesting question arises: how will this new technology effect SEO?

Across many sectors, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and machine learning are having a significant effect. Their potential is to revolutionize ordinary daily jobs, allowing us to be more productive and creative with our time. With self-learning algorithms and deep learning GPT-3, AI and SEO are already occurring.

Pure artificial intelligence, on the other hand, is still a long way off. The majority of AI applications are really automation or machine learning. To really comprehend the potential of AI on SEO, it’s important to understand the subtle distinctions.

Shannon K. Steffen was asked to #SEMrushchat to start a conversation on SEO and AI. The main topic of discussion was whether or not conventional, manual, and human-centered SEO may be challenged or enhanced by AI.

Understanding human search trends while utilizing technologies like search engines and social media networks is known as human SEO. Machines, for example, can never grasp how a woman with a crying infant at 3 a.m. searches differently from a CEO mom’s nanny looking for the same thing at the park in the middle of the day. Humans look for things that make them feel good. This is the point at where AI and SEO collide.

Shannon K. Steffen, Ph.D.

Q1. Do you believe AI will obviate the need for SEO?

Shannon believes the answer is no! Search engine optimization (SEO) is a live, breathing technology with eternal and ever-changing “best practices,” such as keyword research, site construction, content, and link building, all of which are required for search engines to work successfully.

No, says A1. SEO is a constantly evolving technology. Solid SEO best practices don’t expire; rather, they evolve. Keywords, strong site development, natural content, and link building are all required for search engines to properly scan information in the first place. #SEMRushChat

August 15, 2018 — Shannon K. Steffen (@ShannonKSteffen)

AI makes it easier for people to accomplish “human” things and improves SEO implementation. Because SEO is the backbone of digital marketing, there is little prospect of it “dying.” Instead, AI has the potential to make it more engaging and expand its scope to include optimization techniques that aren’t immediately linked to search engines.

Carolyn Lyden is a writer who lives in New York City “No, I believe it will make it simpler for people to perform human things and for automatable activities to be automated.”

Alice Davies is a British actress. “Not in the least. If anything, it only means that SEOs will have to adapt to yet another new shift. The word ‘SEO’ refers to a wide range of optimization techniques, not only those used by search engines!” 

SEO will not become obsolete under any circumstances, according to experts such as Craig Campbell and Bill Slawski, since aspects unique to human nature, such as curiosity and empathy, are still beyond AI’s grasp. Furthermore, people are in charge of the AI technologies. Planning a marketing plan is a job that only humans can do. However, if tools with more sophisticated capabilities are created, there will undoubtedly be a decrease in employment as a result of automation.

Doughty, Kim “I believe that, for the most part, marketing specialties that entail planning will need human monitoring. Because of AI, tools will get more powerful, but they will not be able to completely replace people.”

Because of AI, SEO will be a lot better. Due to the acquisition of new, real-time data streams, significant progress has already been accomplished. Humans will be able to better optimize visual material, enhance voice search, target conversational keyword clusters, improve UX, reduce black hat methods, develop efficient reports, and make better judgments in general with AI’s assistance.

Lima, Danny Ray “It’ll help us become better marketers in a variety of ways, including reducing black hat SEO, enhancing visual and voice search, optimizing content for conversational keywords, and boosting UX and value in the end.”

Alexis Huddart is a model and actress. “No, it will only alter components of SEO activity such as data collection and presentation, keyword clustering, content creation, and the provision of new data streams.”

With machine learning and quantum computing bringing new insights that will help us design better, long-term, user-focused strategies, AI’s integration with SEO will only become stronger. Marketers must understand how to properly utilize AI to improve different aspects of SEO.

Sweeney, Marianne “Obviously not. It will, however, make it a lengthy game rather than a quick one, strategic rather than tactical, and user-based rather than systematic. For learning, ML employs SEO techniques. To influence from the opposite side, learn those components and collaborate with UX, IA, and content.”

By automating activities that humans must do and providing instant feedback on the outcomes, AI enhances the human experience in SEO. It may assist us in identifying new patterns in our behavior and even mimic choice consequences. It can’t, however, replace or enhance decision-making talents that have evolved through years of human experience. If numerous firms employ the same AI, human talents will be the key distinction for each of them, as Andrew said.

Optimal Search Media “The significance of SEO is reinforced by artificial intelligence. It’s a tool to be utilized in conjunction with the industry, not to simply or realistically replace it.”

Sherman, JP “Another benefit of AI is that it will offer feedback on our efforts, presumably uncovering new and unexpected patterns of human behavior, which we can then adopt via SEO.”

Recap on AI and SEO: Do you believe AI will render SEO obsolete?

  • The value of SEO is reinforced by AI. It’s a tool to be utilized in conjunction with the industry, not to simply or realistically replace it.
  • Some of the present SEO approaches and strategies will be refocused by AI. As we incorporate databases, markup, schema, and other technology into our SEO efforts, we are being forced to learn more about them as an industry.
  • A lot of what we do will be automated. However, a significant portion of our decision-making is based on our cumulative experience. That is something AI can only mimic, not create.
  • Because to AI, tools will get more powerful, but we will not be able to completely replace people. Curiosity and empathy, for example, may be beyond AI’s understanding.

Q2. What influence does AI have on SEO?

AI has incorporated human characteristics into SEO, transforming it from a manipulable machine to a knowledge-centered platform that stimulates human engagement and trust.

A2: Artificial intelligence compels SEO to become more human. AI connects the advances in technology with the know, like, and trust society we’ve become, taking what was formerly a system that could be readily manipulated for better rankings and bridging them with the know, like, and trust society we’ve become. #SEMRushChat

August 15, 2018 — Shannon K. Steffen (@ShannonKSteffen)

The influence of AI on search algorithms and results will be minimal in the near run. Algorithms, after all, are only as good as the data they’re given. As a result, unless AI improves, SEOs and developers will be left scratching their brains when contradictions arise.

Mead, Peter “In the beginning, the impact of AI on SEO will be hit or miss. As we’ve seen with the Algos thus far. It aids in the speeding up of processes, yet it often necessitates our intervention.”

Capper, Tim “Don’t overestimate AI’s effect just yet; it took AI 5 years to figure out what a picture of a cat looks like.”

Slawski, Bill “Until AI advances, SEOs and search programmers will be perplexed as to why it does some of the things it does.”

Google is now using artificial intelligence to better understand people and create a better user experience. 

Lima, Danny Ray “With the rapid changes in the ranking algorithm as Google employs AI to understand consumers, I believe we are seeing it today. From search results to the way we build/design websites, I think AI places a strong focus on user experience. AI causes us to consider the user.”

Natasha Woodford is a British actress. “I believe AI will level the playing field in the business, not via black hat methods, but by true best practice doing what it does best,” says the author.

Shah Dhaval “Grafana instead of spreadsheets! Better data collecting yields more scalable, reliable, and reproducible insights/patterns.”

The Weekly SEO Report “At the query level, sophisticated AI will make it simpler to read vast data and grasp ranking variables. It will also improve the effect of our data, allowing us to make more informed judgments regarding our SEO tactics.”

As marketers, we must adjust to the changes brought on by AI. We need to shift our understanding of the internet from a collection of web pages to a database of information, as JP Sherman put it. We’d be able to correlate and examine massive volumes of data this way, making our research process more efficient.

Sherman, JP “The effect will be minor in the near/ medium term, but it will be portrayed as a panacea – but I believe AI or ML will only be as good as the data it is given – therefore brush up on schema & structured markup.”

Before we completely embrace AI, we should also try to comprehend its possibly negative consequences. Immoral or morally vacuous inputs may cause AI to acquire wrong ethical concepts. As a result, content marketing and user behavior will suffer negative consequences.

Slawski, Bill “Even worse, AI may acquire morals from humans (hello, Taye! ), and that moral input may be inhuman.”

Dean Brady is a well-known figure in the “If left to its own devices, AI may have a profoundly negative influence on SEO and content marketing. It will observe user behavior and offer suggestions/changes that are morally neutral.”

Recap on AI and SEO: What Impact Does AI Have on SEO?

  • It drives SEO to become more human, bridging the gap between technological advancements and the know, like, and trust culture we’ve evolved into. 
  • It will speed up operations, give more accurate data, and aid in the development of more strong SEO tactics.
  • It will be able to swiftly correlate a large quantity of data, enabling us to concentrate on the important aspects rather than attempting to identify them.
  • It will bring the industry’s playing field closer to parity. Instead of using black hat methods, real best practices are used to perform what they do best.

Q3. What are the benefits and drawbacks of employing AI in SEO?

Shannon thinks that the essential elements of both AI and SEO are human relationships and engagement. While AI may not be able to offer up correct material, it will undoubtedly aid in the weeding out of black hat ranking strategies.

Finally, the traffic that SEO delivers you will result in more conversions. The only people who will continue to experience setbacks as AI evolves are those who attempt to cheat the algorithms.

The single most essential benefit of AI is automation: increased speed, efficiency, and cost reductions enable us to concentrate more on crucial areas that affect the user experience. Faulty inputs, on the other hand, will swiftly lead to poor judgments.

iPagesCMS “Automation!” “Automation!” “Automation!” “Automation!” “Automation!” “Automation!” “Automation!” “Automation!” “

Heather Harvey is a writer who lives in New York “As others have said, AI will assist in the automation of many aspects of SEO, allowing people to concentrate on the most important aspects that will enhance the user experience. Disadvantage: It must learn from current data and human input, both of which are prone to mistakes. Errors come in and errors go out.”

Simon Cox is a British actor. “Speed, efficiency, lower resource costs, and a better ability to recognize outliers. However, if AI is incorrect, harmful judgments may be made fast. It’s crucial to comprehend the outcomes.”

Marketers may use AI to help them choose, filter, manage, and display complicated collections of large data. However, this may also lead to a devaluing of human contribution. To monitor and manage findings, human analysis is always required.

Kat Hammoud (Kat Hammoud) “AI can assist in the automation of various operations, hence saving time. Disadvantages – AI isn’t always correct, and it can’t completely replace SEO since human behavior and analysis will be required to manage the AI and check the outcomes.”

Mead, Peter “One of the benefits of adopting AI for SEO is that it frees us from thinking about difficulties, allowing us to focus on other issues rather than worrying about SEO. The disadvantage is that we will have more than one brain, so who will keep track of it?”

When it comes to SEO, AI provides marketers with access to massive data, a better awareness of industry trends, and the ability to emphasize UX via the standardization of procedures and processes. Furthermore, using a tailored, humanized content approach, you may exactly match user intent based on previous activity while also assisting them in discovering new options.

Natasha Woodford is a British actress. “Better standardisation… i.e. there is now more human influence/uncertainty in the real process, but when AI is used, the process will be programmed, resulting in greater consistency? (I believe.) Team dynamics/disruption of SEO procedures, for example.”

Sweeny, Marianne “Precision relevance for user inquiries based on what the user has shown to be interested in in the past as shown by their actions. If you want to dine at the same place every time, this is ideal. The joy of discovery is lost as a result of AI. This emphasizes the importance of content strategy.”

Over-reliance on AI might be your most serious flaw. You must realize that AI is a supplement to SEO rather than a substitute, and you must determine how it will assist you in creating effective campaigns.

Lima, Danny Ray “The drawback is depending too much on AI. The goal of AI is to help marketers make better choices, but the greatest drawback is not understanding precisely how AI can help you.”

Debi Norton is a writer who lives in the United States “The use of AI in SEO has the benefit of automating areas of SEO that do not need human participation. One of the downsides of A1 SEO is that some people believe “SEO is DEAD.” A1 is it – but at the moment, it is more of an addition to SEO than an alternative.”

Recap on AI and SEO: What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of adopting AI for SEO?


  • Automation. It may allow you to devote more time to more vital tasks.
  • Faster processing, more accuracy, multitasking, and less reliance on human resources are all advantages.
  • Access to hyper-targeted data, an awareness of industry trends, and a focus on UX in the SERP are all important considerations.


  • Not everyone can afford it.
  • If AI makes a mistake, you might make rash conclusions. To verify for correctness, you’ll require human interaction.
  • Job losses and a lack of faith in the Human SEO Consultant.

Q4. How can SEOs strike a balance between what AI can accomplish and what is left to be done by human experts?

Google continues to claim that its search algorithm is driven by user intent, implying that marketers have no business following the algorithm. Shannon reiterates what has been mentioned many times: develop content for people first. Your SEO efforts should be centered on the needs of the client, not the needs of the company. While SEO may help you connect with search engines, AI can help you produce content that is targeted specifically at people.

Humans are in charge of AI. Humans are the ones who determine what AI will and will not do. However, depending on the goals of your campaign and the talents of your team, you may tilt the balance. You may take it easy anywhere AI becomes a hindrance rather than a benefit.

Carolyn Lyden is a writer who lives in New York City “I’m not convinced there *needs* to be a balance in which humans are in charge. If you determine what AI can and cannot do for you, you’ve made your decision, right? Everything else has no bearing on how things are going for you.”

Optimal Search Media “In this partnership, human experts are the ones who wear the trousers. If AI becomes a barrier rather than an advantage, we can easily dial it back. The ideal mix between AI and human labour will be different for each team.”

Humans will always have influence over two aspects of marketing: inventiveness and responsibility. You’ll need imagination to communicate your marketing message to other people, and you’ll have to accept responsibility for the AI outcomes. Humans are better at coming up with and conveying ideas than AI is at processing data. 

Heather Harvey is a writer who lives in New York “A lot of it, I believe, will boil down to common sense. You should always double-check all of your work, including the AI findings. There will always be a creative aspect to SEO that people must work on for the sake of humans.”

Elias Benyamin “Artificial intelligence excels at processing vast volumes of well-defined data. Humans excel in processing and communicating complex information. Allow machines to do what they’re best at. Allow people to do what they do best.”

Don’t forget that the AI systems that automate SEO are created by people. Finally, if you want to take advantage of all of AI’s advantages, you’ll need to be familiar with SEO and digital channels. You must keep on top of the implementation process and not place too much reliance on AI for results. The outcomes will speak for themselves when it comes to the balance.

Sweeny, Marianne “SEOs are part of a team of human experts that guarantee that human concerns are included in AI development. That is, if they so want. It necessitates a level of expertise in the field that goes much beyond traditional SEO resources.”

Sharma, Praveen “We must ensure that AI is here for humans, not the other way around. Incorporate it into your SEO strategy to aid in the execution of your approach. Make sure it doesn’t make us forget what we’re capable of and become completely reliant on technology.”

Thomson, JM “If your job is to provide high-quality SEO for a customer, the outcomes will reflect this. That’s great if AI can get the job done. If not, you’ll have to perform the task by hand, like you always have.”

It’s challenging to strike a balance in terms of SEO when Google is continually changing the rules. Humans must determine where to begin and where to end their journey. So, if you want to pass on the outcomes of AI to your clients in ways that actually benefit them, do your homework and offer your own thoughts.

Lima, Danny Ray “You must realize that AI is on your side, not against you. It would be fantastic if you could delegate keyword research to AI. That’s a no-brainer, but make sure you check the keyword data for quality and originality, since to AI, it’s data, but to you, it’s content for consumers.”

The main concern is how AI’s increasing usage in SEO and other digital channels will impact the marketing employment landscape in the coming years. 

Capper, Tim “Is there a middle ground? – As an SEO, I utilize tools to interpret the data, and if I want further information, I hire a Data Scientist to do so.”

Recap on AI and SEO: How can SEOs strike a balance between what AI can achieve and what is left to be done by humans?

  • Make sure AI is working for you, not against you. Incorporate it into your SEO plan to aid in strategy execution, but be careful not to lose sight of what you can accomplish and become completely reliant on it.
  • Continue to investigate AI capabilities and have a skeptical attitude toward these technologies.
  • This connection is dominated by human professionals. If AI becomes a barrier rather than an advantage, we can easily dial it back. The ideal mix between AI and human labour will be different for each team.

The finest SEO tools, according to Shannon, integrate on-page technical SEO improvements with content marketing possibilities.

A5: The greatest tools enable SEOs to check for both on-site technological concerns and content possibilities. SEMRush (on-site technology, competitive research, and keyword rankings) and Buzzsumo are two of my favorites (highlight successful content topics that rank well). #SEMRushChat

August 15, 2018 — Shannon K. Steffen (@ShannonKSteffen)

Our thorough on-site audits, rank monitoring, keyword research, and competition analysis services make SEMrush a popular option. 

“Of course, SEMrush!” says JL Faveiro.

“SEMrush is the ideal tool since I haven’t bigged them up in a long time and I need a XXl shirt ;)” says Simon Cox.

There are also the following tools:

Alice Davies is a British actress. “Buzzsumo for me!” says the narrator.

Lima, Danny Ray “SEMrush, Ahrefs, Buzzsumo, and Conductor are among of my favorite tools. In terms of competitive research and content generation, these tools stand out the most to me. I also use Screaming Frog for my website’s technical difficulties and AI concerns.”

Google provides a number of tools that may help you estimate user intent and analyse user behavior using searches. To understand the AI underneath the ranking mechanism, start with the search results themselves. To learn more about how AI handles the link between keywords and relevant content, try out the Google Machine Learning kit for mobile, Google Assistant, Google Home, and Google Ads.

Slawski, Bill “The results on Google itself are one of the finest tools to utilize to study AI and SEO since they leave a lot to learn from if you seek for them and know what questions to ask.”

Simon Cox is a British actor. “You may start with Google’s mobile machine learning kit. I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know how excellent it is. Years ago, I tried 80legs, but it was no longer being developed.”

Mead, Peter “Begin with Google Assistant, such as Home, and Amazon Prime. Experiment with different searches. Experiment with Google Ads’ automatic functions as well. Experiment with Bing Ads. It’s also a good idea to become acclimated to how speech recognition works. There’s a lot to it, and there are a lot of places to begin.”

Alexis Huddart is a model and actress. “Hide interfaces have predictive content pre-set for common keyword strings, related to site/page/product/price/type/location/functions, and so on.”

Instead than chasing AI and technologies, which are always changing, concentrate on users, customers, their intentions, and the content that links them to you. 

Recap on AI and SEO: What are some of the greatest tools for optimizing for AI and SEO?

  • On-site technical, competitive research, and keyword rankings are all handled by SEMrush.
  • Buzzsumo’s goal is to showcase high-ranking content topics.
  • Answer the Public assists you in transitioning from keywords to questions that AI or SEO can respond to.
  • If you know what questions to ask, you may learn a lot from Google results.
  • For competitive research and content production, use Ahrefs and Conductor.
  • Screaming Frog can help you with technical and AI difficulties on your website.

Shannon’s Key Takeaways on AI and SEO:

  • While SEO boosts traffic, AI boosts traffic conversions.
  • The terms “automation” and “artificial intelligence” are not interchangeable. A procedure may be sped up by using automation. AI assists in making the process more human and engaging.
  • Use SEO to reach out to search engines, and AI-related content to reach out to people.

That’s all I’ve got for today! Let us know what you think about AI and SEO in the comments. What is the current state of AI? Where does it intersect with SEO and other forms of digital marketing? What tools do you employ to evaluate data from your customers or users?

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This SEMrush discussion took place in August 2018, and all of the information was current at the time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will SEO be affected by growing artificial intelligence?

A: Yes, as artificial intelligence becomes a larger part of society, it will become harder and more expensive to rank for keywords.

How does AI affect SEO?

A: Artificial intelligence has a significant influence on SEO. There are many tools that enable you to make use of AI technology in order to rank better, such as Googles RankBrain and Bings Smart Search Engine. These features can be specifically useful for webmasters who dont have the time or resources necessary to create content themselves.

How does AI affect media?

A: AI is a computer program that interacts with humans in many different ways. It has been studied for the past century, but its only recently become widespread.

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