Picture this: What if search engines could understand user intent, personalize search results, and even predict what users are looking for? How would that change the way we approach SEO and content creation? Well, prepare yourselves because artificial intelligence is making its way into the world of search.
This means that the algorithm will change, and the strategies us marketers once used to rank on will rank on a different system. So what does that mean for marketers?
We explore the game-changing implications of AI in SERPs through the perspective of our blog team experts to reveal the steps bloggers, just like you, are taking to adapt and succeed in this new paradigm. But before we dive in, let's clarify what AI in search engines means.
How do AI-powered search engines work?
AI-powered search engines use natural language processing and machine-learning techniques to deliver personalized, relevant, and even human-like responses.
This type of search allows users to generate more unique or concise responses than traditional search that retrieves results based on relevant keywords, backlinks, and authority. For example, before suggestions of AI in search engines, many publishers would try to keyword stuff content to better rank, but in turn, would put out irrelevant results that aren't always useful.
How Bloggers are Preparing for AI in Search
I posed the question, "How are you preparing for AI in search?" to my colleagues in the HubSpot Blog Team, and received very different responses from each, offering a new perspective on the way we'll work with AI and search engines.
1. They're sharing expert insights that AI can't replicate.
We asked the Head of Content Growth, Pamela Bump, about how her team is preparing for a change in search, and her game plan offers excellent insight.
"Two areas my team is focusing on right now are expert insights and original research. At the moment, we believe Google and other search engines will begin prioritizing blog content that isn't easily generated by AI on its own. For example, AI can't easily schedule and run surveys or interviews of real people, or build relationships with expert sources on a personal or professional level. However, this is often the exact type of content our personas already crave."
While AI is a wonderful tool to help bloggers create content, it shouldn‘t be the driving force behind it. Marketing teams exist to share creative and insightful ideas to better serve the professionals that seek them. Artificial intelligence might generate results from older ideas that don’t understand your current buyer persona as much as you do.
2. They're offering authentic and credible data.
Bump continues to say, "And, ultimately, while decision-makers in our audience might find our data in a GPT summary at some point in the future, they'll likely want to visit our actual website to determine if the data or quotes AI has given them are actually factual and credible, enabling us to still gain traffic and authority."
Marketers and bloggers alike know the importance of sharing fresh and accurate information. Our team will continue to invest in authentic research that reflects reality, never publishing false statistics to push a narrative, and other companies should do the same to serve the audience and the SERP better.
3. They're incorporating AI into workflows and day-to-day tasks.
Associate Marketing Manager, Madhu Murali, emphasized the importance of personally being familiar with artificial intelligence.
"I'm preparing for AI by using it as much as possible in my daily workflow. For now, this means using Content Assistant by HubSpot for ideation, drafts, and SEO-optimized outlines, and experimenting with Midjourney for image creation. AI will be a growing part of our lives, so the more I can stay ahead of the curve, the better!"
We ran a 2023 Glimpse survey of 400+ professionals, and according to the respondents, about 58% of them claimed they were incorporating AI tools into their workflow. Both professionals in our team and out see the importance of learning to use new technology as it arises, and learning how to use it to improve your day-to-day work is invaluable in itself.
One way that you can start to learn how to use artificial intelligence in your blog is through platform features like HubSpot's content assistant or campaign assistant. Create blog outlines in a pinch, generate copy that fits your brand voice, and explore how AI can improve your workflow with these platform features.
4. They're building on the foundations of SEO.
Senior Marketing Manager Basha Coleman shares a great reminder on how bloggers should continue building on the fundamentals.
"I'm paying attention to the basics of content SEO that are within my control. Interlinking, images, storytelling, and offering my perspective on topics are elements that will always be essential to a content strategy and won't disappear as generative AI search emerges. I can always build on top of that foundation to optimize for AI in search, but while things are still in flux, I'm shoring up the fundamentals of my content."
Everyone will have something to learn from AI in search, but that doesn't mean we have to forget everything we already know about making good content. Until AI in search becomes more commonplace, refine your pre-existing skills and strategy to better your chances of ranking and meeting your reader's needs.
5. They're maintaining a flexible strategy and mindset.
SEO Content Writer Madison Vettorino shares that being ready for change is the best mindset for the introduction of AI in search.
"I think more than ever it‘s important to remember that as writers we’ve had to pivot before due to innovations in the SERPs landscape, and we‘re being asked to do it again. So I think keeping a degree of flexibility in your content strategy is important. The reality is we don’t know how AI in search will impact content yet. But as for right now, I‘m preparing by learning as much as I can about how major search engines are planning on integrating AI. And, of course, I’m maintaining that flexible mindset. We can and will pivot and create content that stands out and fulfills our ultimate mission to inform readers, even if that looks a little different in this new search landscape."
A stagnant marketing strategy can only serve a blog team for so long. It's up to you to prepare for the unknown and to change your perspective and workflow to serve an ever-changing algorithm better.
6. They're learning from their peers.
Vettorino continues on to say that when she's looking for clarity or context on AI, she can rely on her team to get her up to speed.
"I've also been fortunate enough to speak with members of our SEO team who have been kind enough to share their insights on what AI may mean for the future of search. If you're fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk about this, you'll hear a lot of interest, excitement, and enthusiasm about what this means for the SERPs. So talk to folks who specialize in SEO, sit down and schedule a 15-minute coffee chat with them and soak up all their knowledge about how things may be changing."
There‘s no shame in reaching out to your coworkers for their knowledge on the subject, and how it’ll affect your strategy as you begin to work with it.
And if you're looking to learn more about changes in search, check out AI podcasts and other resources to start educating yourself on what these changes may look like in practice so you're as prepared as you can be.
Learn to Work with AI in Search
As the influence of artificial intelligence grows and becomes more integrated into SERPs, bloggers must adapt and prepare for these changes. By staying up-to-date with the latest AI advancements, understanding the evolving dynamics of user intent, and creating valuable and engaging content, bloggers can position themselves to thrive in this new era of search.