What will the future developments of SEO and Content Marketing be in the age of Artificial Intelligence?

Organic coverage is falling: what should you do?


It’s a difficult period for those who take care of SEO.

The self-learning algorithms and the related process that causes Artificial Intelligence to evolve on its own are making search engine optimization (SEO) an increasingly complex subject to master that is more art than science.

For several years, the indexing performed by Google (and its counterparts) followed basic rules (keywords, backlinks etc.) which, in general, gave indications on how to set “attractive” content for search engines. To give an example, one of the strategies that was largely performed for SEO and for the positioning of websites is indeed called backlinking: the quality, number and kind of links that a page receives from an external page give a certain level of value to a specific page on the initial website.

Moving toward the present day, however, we are witnessing a progressive decline in organic coverage. Just think about the Facebook Zero case: by making significant changes to the algorithm of news feeds, Mark Zuckerberg’s platform has started to prioritize the content that facilitates significant interactions and connections between people. This means that less visibility will be granted to content that arrives directly from professional pages.

Google too is undergoing an important transitionary phase: in addition to mobile-first indexing, which rewards websites that make mobile devices a priority, it is also using RankBrain to elaborate search engine results and order them accordingly. This is a new system based on Artificial Intelligence, whose functioning is continually evolving (it is much more focused on the search intention than on keywords).

This is why Eric Siu from Single Grain advises brands to completely reverse their perspectives: instead of creating content to appeal “to the masses”, in order to improve positioning in searches, it is better to create tailor-made content that speaks directly to the reference audience. The production of quality, targeted content is the only anecdote to content shock as it manages to create a more qualified traffic.

 

How do you take advantage of AI to improve your Content Marketing?

 

Watch out! We know it is highly likely that AI will be so evolved by 2050 that it will be able to independently write a New York Times bestseller.

We can already imagine the ranks of copywriters and creative minds terrified at losing their jobs. In actual fact, if taken advantage of correctly, AI may prove to be an extremely powerful tool in the hands of industry professionals to improve their content marketing.

The supporting role is already partly covered by tools that use AI technology (Machine Learning or NLP): just think about tools like Grammarly that helps us to review texts, CoSchedule that “thinks up” titles which increase click percentage, and Clearscope that optimizes content performance through the analysis of the keywords inserted.

But there’s more.

Usually, marketers see to the creation of buyer personas, or rather, real customer types on which to set campaign objectives. Of course, it is a good starting point, but hinging things exclusively on hypotheses is not reliable: what is needed are precise data on viewing journeys and customers’ purchasing behavior. These allow for more detailed profiles that enable understanding of which content could drive conversion more.

Eric Siu provides the example of Fender Guitar which, in collaboration with Crimson Hexagon, has managed to improve its content marketing with data obtained from AI. After having analyzed its audience, Fender realized that its communication had no grip on a feminine public. So, rather than regulating itself on hypothetical company profiles or sample interviews, the company decided to use the insights obtained on customers with AI to created content targeting the female market share.

Indeed, thanks to AI, it was discovered that bass guitarist Nik West was very popular among women. For this reason, a video was published with her jamming on a Fender guitar (before subsequently creating promotional material with the artist). Needless to say, the benefits in terms of engagement were excellent!

Furthermore, thanks to AI, it is also possible to enrich each user’s digital experience, providing them with the right content at the right time in the funnel, to drive them toward the final step in the purchasing process. Indeed, we know that 47% of consumers interact with 3 to 5 pieces of content before proceeding with the purchase. For this reason, the relationship must be “nurtured” during the different steps with the most appropriate content. And without a doubt, AI, with its measurement of content performance, is able to establish which content is the most effective to guide the consumer through each phase to the final conversion.

Once you have profiled your audience and know, thanks to AI, which content moves customers from one phase of the funnel to another, you can go further: you can move to a dynamic hyper-personalization of the customer experience. This can be created with:

- dynamic pages and websites

AI allows you to automate the personalization of pages on the basis of “safeguarded” user interests within the “catch basin” (single customer view) that are updated in real time. In practice, in this way, it offers the consumer the most relevant content for their interests. An example is provided by HubSpot which offers different messages thanks to the “Intelligent Content” function, showing the pages that are most in line with the data collected by the brand and enriched with CRM.

- cross-selling

Being aware of the user’s entire viewing journey allows you to hone your cross-selling techniques (the customer who has already purchased a product is proposed other complementary products). Amazon has turned this technique into an art with 35% of purchases coming from its recommendation algorithm.

- unique experiences

With AI and its algorithms, you can offer users a completely different experience based on their profiles: to give an example, this is what happens with the “On This Day” Facebook videos which, although aimed at billions of people, provide different (and therefore unique) responses to whoever visualizes them.

Only those who manage to keep up with technology and, therefore, to incorporate AI into their marketing strategies will be able to benefit from this new age and stay “afloat” in the ocean of content indexed by search engines.

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