Ep 269: How To Leverage AI for SEO (for more than content writing)

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for SEO: Beyond Content Writing

In a competitive marketplace, standing out in search results is critical. AI holds tremendous capability to transform SEO strategies by digesting content guidelines, enhancing articles, and providing key takeaways. Additionally, AI can help create catchy headlines and offer unique angles to stand out in search results.

Useful AI Tools for SEO

Unleashing the potential of AI for SEO isn't without its tools. Open APIs, Python, and even the underrated utility of Google.com for keyword research, come to the fore as powerful allies in the SEO methodology. Auto suggest results, related searches, and the "People also ask" feature on Google promise a gold mine for SEO keyword research.

Improving Call to Action (CTA)

AI extends its reach to optimizing the CTA. It can analyse and incorporate competitors' CTAs, identify areas in content that could leverage a CTA, and consequently drive stronger audience interaction.

Content Enhancement and Consolidation

AI has the capability to not only spur brainstorming for innovative topics but also leverage Google search results to understand and align with what the search engine prefers. Given the unpredictable nature of SEO and the control that search engines have over web traffic, it turns out to be a clever strategy to use AI to consolidate information into high-quality, search-friendly articles.

AI and SEO: Offering a Competitive Edge

Mass producing AI content can lead to trouble, and search engines are reportedly cracking down on low-quality content. Striking the balance with hybrid human-AI content could deliver key advantages, including longer dwell time and more comprehensive information, theoretically providing a boost in the search rankings.

The Human-AI Balance

The value of human inputs in the vast landscape of AI-SEO integration cannot be overstated. Fine-tuning content to users' demands is a skill that remains largely human. Search engines evaluate user engagement to understand the relevance and utility of content, thus making human approval a critical factor in the final equation.

Future Outlook

With increasing partnerships between tech giants and AI companies, along with the evolution of AI technology, it's fascinating to ponder the future of SEO. It's plausible to suggest that comprehensive, well-researched content, which isn't readily AI-produced, will likely play a significant role in the SEO of the future.

Harnessing the power of AI for SEO goes far beyond content writing. Embrace it to enhance existing content, identify new topics, and ultimately gain that competitive edge crucial for success in today's digital marketplace.

Topics Covered in This Episode

1. Utilizing AI for SEO beyond content writing
2. Human-written content with AI enhancements for SEO
3. Role of Google in content quality control
4.  Pros and cons of AI content
5. Practical applications of AI in content creation

Podcast Transcript

Jordan Wilson [00:00:17]:
When you think of using AI for search engine optimization, you might just think it's for writing content, like 100 of thousands of words and just churning out as as much SEO optimized content as possible. But that's not all that AI is good for when it comes to SEO. So we're gonna be talking about that today on Everyday AI. I'm excited for, for this one as a former, SEO geek and, you know, someone that still does SEO. Very, stoked for our guest today. But if you're new here, welcome. Like I said, my name is Jordan. I'm the host of Everyday AI.

Jordan Wilson [00:00:55]:
This is your daily livestream podcast, free daily newsletter, and your guide to grow your company with generative AI. So if you're joining us on the podcast, make sure to check out the show notes and go to your everydayai.com to sign up for the free daily newsletter. People don't understand Y'all, like, it's it is a university and a half of the amount of information and expert insights that we have for free available on our website. So make sure you go check that out. Alright. Before we get into our topic for today, let's start as we do every single day with going over the AI news. Alright. So California is the 1st state to go all in on AI.

Jordan Wilson [00:01:31]:
California's governor Gavin Newsom's administration announced the state's partnership with 5 companies to develop and test generative AI tools to improve public service. This initiative takes them, makes them one of the first states to establish guidelines for purchasing AI technology. Generative AI is obviously the type of artificial intelligence that can create content in response to prompts such as text, audios, and photos. So California's plans to use this technology is to improve, customer service call times and wait times, improve traffic, road safety, etcetera. And the initial trial for California will involve 4 state departments, and the public may have access to those tools in the future. So, pretty pretty interesting move there, out of California. Alright. Next piece of AI news.

Jordan Wilson [00:02:17]:
Well, there's a new competitor in the AI music race. So 11 Labs, a voice or text to speech AI startup, is offering an early look at a new model that turns prompts into songs, full songs. So the company hopes to use this technology in various industries, but it may face opposition due to concerns about copyright and job displacement for artists. So 11 Labs new AI new AI model can generate, both song lyrics, and it literally just lays down the entire song for various purposes such as creating jingles or even dubbing movies. So right now, it is just in preview. They posted 1 3 minute song, and I'll tell you, it is pretty good. Right? I I I think it's already at least one preview. I don't know if it's quite at the level of Suno, but it's pretty close for a first attempt.

Jordan Wilson [00:03:09]:
Alright. Our last piece of AI news and kind of relevant to today, well, we have some new, OpenAI search news. So OpenAI's new search engine announcement has been pushed to this Monday, May 13th, according to a new Reuters report. Also, model specs and code names have been leaked by a lead engineer at aiprm, one of the more famous chat gpt chrome extensions. So, the source code of the new Android chat gpt app, reveals some future code names called gpt4lgpt4lautoandgpt4auto in which could be actually the new dynamic mode, that some users have gotten early access to. So, presumably, this might be how, the new search engine that Chat gpt has been working on to compete with Google. Potentially, perplexity might be rolled out as soon as Monday. Obviously, tune in.

Jordan Wilson [00:03:59]:
We'll be bringing you the AI news live Monday. Alright. But that is not what you're here for. You're here to talk about how you can leverage AI for SEO. Alright. So if you are joining us live, on the livestream, appreciate it, like Brian, Rolando, and Denise, and everyone else. Make sure to get your questions in today. I'm excited to go ahead and welcome our guest for today.

Jordan Wilson [00:04:21]:
Please help me in welcoming Steve Toth, the founder of SEO Notebook. Steve, thank you so much for joining the Everyday AI Show.

Steve Toth [00:04:28]:
Hey. Thanks for having me, Jordan.

Jordan Wilson [00:04:30]:
Alright. Hey. Can you tell, our our listeners a little bit about what you do, your background?

Steve Toth [00:04:35]:
Yeah. For sure. So, I was the SEO manager at FreshBooks back in 20 from 2018 to 2020. And, during that time, I started my newsletter, which now goes out to 18,000 subscribers weekly. And, essentially, that newsletter is one actionable piece of SEO strategy. Not a lot of commentary on the industry, not not a lot of fluff, just essentially one actionable thing that you can try on the same day. And, I've been doing that for almost 5 years now and just loving it. And, yeah, in 2020, I left, FreshBooks, became an SEO consultant for them, And, now, an SEO consultant to a number of, mainly b to b SaaS companies.

Steve Toth [00:05:17]:
And, have a team of 14 right now and just loving what I do.

Jordan Wilson [00:05:21]:
So, if you aren't an SEO geek, and I have to get this out of the way, like, I've I've been in and out of SEO, quote unquote, I don't know, for 5 to 10 years depending on how you look at it. We still do SEO for clients. So, Steve is the real deal. You know, so if you are interested in the SEO, make sure in our newsletter today, we'll be sending links to all of his, to all of his information there. So let's just go straight to the end, Steven, and start off. How can people leverage AI for better SEO aside from just content writing?

Steve Toth [00:05:54]:
Yeah. I think, there's just, you know, multiple ways, but, one of the, interesting LinkedIn posts that I put out focused on using AI after your human written article is done. And there's just, some really interesting ways that we can do that. So for example, Google publishes what's known as the helpful content guidelines. And you can actually ask chat to, you know, digest these guidelines and rate your content against them and give you pointers on how you can better meet those guidelines. So little things like that. Also, you know, I'm using it to strengthen my articles. So I'll essentially ask chat to read the article and, you know, provide a a key takeaway summary so that it's, you know, super digestible.

Steve Toth [00:06:40]:
I'll also ask it to scan the article and show and help my readers, with a good reason to read the articles. So really looking at the benefits and what they're going to learn. So, you know, it kind of, for me, the, you know, human written side of things is still really important, and I think it's a way to continue to stand out. And, you know, if we look at the writing talent that's out there, it's also, quite plentiful. So I I would just say don't sleep on human writers just yet, but use chat to essentially enhance their articles.

Jordan Wilson [00:07:16]:
And that's actually such a great piece of advice, and, I wanna actually dive into that in in multiple steps and multiple follow-up questions here, Steve. So, what you're saying as an example, because a lot of people out there, you know, whether you know it or not, you know, you might actually be getting a lot of business from SEO. Right? Like, I I've worked with clients in the past and, you know, oh, come to find out. Yeah. Like, 75% of, you know, a company's, you know, incoming leads or inquiries are coming from SEO, and they may not even know it. So, you know, talking about this keeping humans at the front and center, it seems like so many people are just rushing, right, to use tools like, you know, ChatGPT or Claude or Gemini, etcetera, to just write literally as much AI content and throw it on their website. Is that a bad approach, you know, because you mentioned humans first, which I love. So what should companies, business owners, marketers be be be doing, you know, when they look at those 2 different approaches?

Steve Toth [00:08:14]:
Yeah. I think, you know, there's still there's still a place for a hybrid version of that. I think, where you're gonna get into trouble is mass producing AI content. You know, like, we were talking about if Google suddenly sees that you're publishing, you know, hundreds of articles a day or thousands of articles a week or what what have you, it's gonna be like, how did you actually do that? Maybe we'll take a closer lens and see, you know, the actual quality of this content. So definitely any, like, flagrant abuse like that, I think is super risky. And Google came down pretty hard on sites that did that and made public examples of sites that did that at the beginning of March of this year. So definitely avoiding that at all costs. But I think, you know, when it comes to authenticity and your readers and honestly the long term health of Google, I think it's a, you know, a big problem for them to surface 10, 10 blue links or, like, even an AI summary of AI articles, you know, like, that that ultimately threatens the long term health of Google and the faith that users put in it.

Steve Toth [00:09:22]:
So I think they're going to it's just common sense that they're going to, try to combat that in multiple ways.

Jordan Wilson [00:09:29]:
Yeah. And, you know, one other thing that you said there, Steve, in your first response is, you know, using, you know, chat gpt and, you know, obviously, you know, different large language models are, you know, better at some of these things than others. But, you know, using Chat GPT after the article is written and, you know, maybe sending it Google's guidelines and saying, how does this stack up? How you know, take us back to when you first started to do that and talk about some of those results and maybe why that's important, you know, for other people to

Steve Toth [00:09:59]:
do. Yeah. I think, you know, when you're doing stuff like that, you can honestly just go and compare yourself to the ranking results, and you can use also chat to evaluate your blog against the, against the other ranking results. And you'll just see that by implementing some of those recommendations, you just add a layer of richness to your content and essentially, scannability as well is another really important thing because as as we know, like, when most of us happen upon an article, we're just kinda scanning for the answer, you know, checking the headlines and stuff like that, and just making sure that we are offering something that the rest of the articles aren't. I think naturally you're gonna get rewarded, and some of those strategies are really gonna help you do that.

Jordan Wilson [00:10:44]:
You know, I'm curious. Have have you done any, you know, comparisons or testing? I know a lot of people do. You know, they might put in, you know, 10 10 articles that are fully AI written, 10 articles that are just humans, 10 that are a mixture, but, you know, I'm curious if you've either done any testing, if you've seen any studies, but just overall, you know, performance of, you know, how you find that right mixture of, you you know, the human and the AI ultimately writing for humans.

Steve Toth [00:11:13]:
Yeah. I think what I've seen is the human AI content tends to have a longer dwell time on that page. Like, it it people that literally the time on the page is longer because you're providing better information.

Jordan Wilson [00:11:27]:
Yeah. Yeah. And you said, you know, you said something which, you you know, I I kinda chuckle that, you know, if it's if there's so much AI content out there on the web and then, you know, you have the, you know, Google's, search generative experience, SGE or perplexity, you know, creating AI summaries, it's like, okay, AI summaries of of AI written content. Do you do you think or feel that at some point there just might be too much AI content or so much AI content out there that, hey, all of a sudden this human content is just really gonna stick and stand out?

Steve Toth [00:11:58]:
Yeah. So one of the things obviously that Google is built on is links. Right? So, links, I highly doubt that, you know, the super authoritative sites of the world, you know, the the newspapers that we have like WSJ or New York Times or whatever. When you get links from those type of sites, it really, you know, bolsters your website. I don't think those the I think Google is gonna pay a closer attention to the links that super authoritative sites are giving out because those sites have high editorial standards, and they're not gonna be linking out to AI content. Right? So I I feel like if you want to win long term and, like, win at the the links game, that, essentially, you know, that human written content is going to prevail in those circumstances. And, also, I think that, LLMs, when digesting the world's information, are going to prioritize looking at the articles that have the most links because ultimately those are like the ones that humans have voted to be the best, right? So, you know, if you're, if you've got an AI blog and barely, you know, any links to it versus, you know, somebody's, you know, very authentic industry expert type blog that's got a bunch of links to it, you know, the the LLM is gonna favor analyzing and and, and adding, you know, being trained on that type of content versus something that doesn't have links.

Jordan Wilson [00:13:21]:
Yeah. It's there you go. Link building is not dead. Right? It's always the, the the internal battle among SEOs. Right? Is does link link building matter? Is it dead? So there you go. So so, Steve, I'm I'm curious because it also seems like, you know, one of the way that you're leveraging AI or maybe, you know, helping clients leverage AI is is to actually make it more human or better for humans. Right? So how how do you think that that process actually plays out? Can a chat gbt, you know, or a Claude, you know, Gemini, etcetera, can you actually use it to improve content that is written by humans to make it more helpful for humans? Can AI actually do that?

Steve Toth [00:14:02]:
Yeah. I mean, like, I think what I just mentioned, around summaries and key takeaways and whatnot, looking at your, entire content and making it more digestible, I think that ultimately helps the consumption of, you know, your message. It can, you know, also help you create more catchy headlines. So one of the examples I've talked about in SEO notebook is essentially looking at all of the, ranking title tags, so the blue links in Google, counting how many instances there are of each word, reformulating a title based on the most frequent word usage, and then asking chat or whatever model you're using to create, like, a unique spin on that. And I've I've done that, and I have examples in my newsletter about, that specific strategy. And the unique angles that it creates just essentially help you stand out so much on the search results. So, you know, ultimately making you more helpful.

Jordan Wilson [00:15:02]:
Yeah. And yeah. That's ultimately what what it's all about. Right? Whether it's a human, AI, AI plus human is writing helpful, content for humans using these search engines. Great great question here coming in from, David. So, asking if crawlers and search engines get smarter and leverage AI, will a focus on SEO decline as the back end is able to turn to determine context versus us humans guiding it today? Great question. What do you think on that one, Steve?

Steve Toth [00:15:30]:
Well, I think ultimately the we need inputs from humans to tell whether or not something is actually serving them. And if you think about the data that Google has through their Chrome browser, understanding whether or not, you know, people actually scroll all the way to the end of the article, digest the article, click on the links of the article, share the article, bookmark it, you know, just basically engaged. Those are things that lend itself to, like a human stamp of approval essentially. And it's you know, Google also struck a deal with Reddit, to use their API, to essentially, you know, train its own models on, you know, human, like, everyday language. And they're also gonna be looking, I think, at, the links inside, inside Reddit because, obviously, Reddit is very kinda, like, highly moderated and hard to spam, harder to spam at least. And, they're they're be looking validation.

Jordan Wilson [00:18:08]:
One thing that I'm always, thinking about and, you know, I'm not gonna ask you to put on your, you know, your, wizard hat, but, you know, clearly, things are moving in a certain direction.

Jordan Wilson [00:18:49]:
Right? So, you know, Google, you know, is coming out with their, you know, search generative experience, which is essentially, you know, very similar to perplexity. You know, you have perplexity. Here you are with, you know, OpenAI, you know, presumably coming out with a search engine in a couple of days. What does that mean, you you know, both for SEO and for hue how humans maybe are going to be consuming content on the Internet? Like, what do you think as a, you know, SEO expert on that? I mean,

Steve Toth [00:19:16]:
it's super hard to predict what's going to happen, but what I can tell you is that people have predicted that at death at SEO for a very long time. Like, when featured snippets first came out and you got your answer all within the SERP, it was like game over, SEO is dead, and that was in, like, you know, 2014. Right? And obviously, my my Google search consoles tells a much different story. And the other, you know, thing that I think is important to realize is that, Google, you know, is very much in control of how much traffic it sends to the web. And there's definitely certain aspects of the web that it doesn't really want to reward as much, like, let's say, affiliate content for camping tents that or, like, you know, what have you, like toasters or, you know, laptop stands and, like, you know, just random affiliate type websites, that it's doesn't really want to to reward as much. And I think SGE is gonna be one of the first to wipe out those types of sites. But there's still, you know, I think a a long term viability, especially in this the niche that I'm in that I've purposely chosen, which is b to b SaaS. I think that, you know, people still need to go to those sites, watch the videos, consume the content to really understand what those products are.

Jordan Wilson [00:20:33]:
Yeah. And, you know, related to that, you know, we talked about Google's SGE, which, you know, essentially, it, you know, kind of gives you, you know, oh, here's, you know, highlights from the first 3 to 5 just kind of rewritten for you. You know, does does Google know? Right? Does Google know when content is AI? I I I think there's always, you know, different different takes, different methodologies, and, you know, if so, or if not, you know, what does that actually mean for people producing content for the web? Right? Like, oh, if it's allowed, should everyone be doing it? If Google can detect it, should no one be doing it? Where I I I know it's a gray area, but, you know, walk us through that, kind of what that looks like.

Steve Toth [00:21:15]:
Yeah. For sure. So I don't think Google has the ability or the they won't they won't want to, like, go through every article on the web and run an AI detector detection tool and say this is AI or this is not. That's not a scalable solution for for them. It's not very much it's not in line with the kind of things that their engineers would do. But, in this beginning of March update that happened that essentially made an example of a lot of sites that were abusing AI content, they looked for patterns. Right? So, as an AI language model, you know, like, things like that, if that was in your content, then then obviously, like, that's pretty risky. Right? So basically, it looked for footprints.

Steve Toth [00:21:57]:
And the other thing I think that they'll be able to do is, like what we mentioned, looking at publishing frequency and kind of raising some, potential red flags for sites over abusing, and and launching too much content in a short period or, essentially, looking at the type of content that you're producing. Does your does your content only really answer one question? Well, that's a that's a piece of content that's very easy to, you know, write with AI. But if your content is really, you know, a comprehensive guide and goes through, you know, multiple, viewpoints and very well researched and lots of links, those are the kinds of content pieces of content that are, you know, generally not gonna be 100% produced by AI. And I think that that's the type of content that's gonna be favored long term. And that's the kind of content that's gonna get links.

Jordan Wilson [00:22:48]:
Yeah. Yeah. That's a good point. Right? And, you know, speaking speaking of long term, you know, so, Steve, earlier, you you know, you mentioned the, the OpenAI, kind of partnership deal, with Reddit. We just saw the same about 2 days ago with Stack Overflow. So there has and, you know, maybe Stack Overflow is is one of those early examples of, you know, large publishing sites that really just saw, you know, a lot of their traffic just just kind of go away. Right? And it may be just in certain niches that maybe people are using, you know, for, you know, chat gbt or a different large language model instead. You know? But if someone out there, you know, has seen, you know, a huge, you know, drop off in traffic, you know, what advice, you know, might you have for them if it is something that, hey.

Jordan Wilson [00:23:35]:
Maybe this is one of those things that, you know, an AI search engine or an SGE or perplexity might really just take a long term big chunk, out of this this type of search. You know, what advice might you have for them, or what could they be doing to, you know, maybe regain some of that? Because, yeah, like, organic traffic is super important for companies.

Steve Toth [00:23:56]:
I think you really have to take probably, like, at least a week going through the SERPs that the search engine results pages that you used to rank in and really taking stock of of the pages that have won. Right? So understanding then, like, what Google is replacing you with and doing your best to achieve parity or, you know, even go above and beyond what's what's currently ranking. If somebody has lost, you know, a ton of traffic, my guess is that your content was deemed low quality from Google and that you probably want to get rid of a lot of it and probably consolidate your topics into, a few fewer number and more high quality articles.

Jordan Wilson [00:24:42]:
Yeah. Yeah. No. That's that's, that's very, very helpful advice. Yeah. And and and I think, you know, a lot of companies don't even take the time, right, to do exactly what you said when it's it's a fairly fairly simple step, and extremely important. Great great question here from from Tara. So just asking.

Jordan Wilson [00:25:00]:
Right? And I'm curious too. You know, so when it comes to AI, you know, what are your favorite tools, for SEO?

Steve Toth [00:25:08]:
Well, I I I for AI, like, specifically, I guess, the the open a API, we do a lot of work with Python and and utilizing that. But, I will just shift the topic to, my favorite tool that is the most underrated tool that there is, and that is google.com. So looking at the auto suggest results, the related searches, the people also ask, All those elements, really help us kinda understand the path that Google wants to steer users down. And I can give, like, a very quick tip, that is super useful. What you'll what and this was in one of my newsletters. Essentially, you can Google a keyword like best mortgage rates, for example. And then you go back up to the search bar and delete best mortgage rates and begin typing sort of question based keywords. So, like, what is, when does, how to, and then you're gonna start getting auto suggests that are related to mortgages.

Steve Toth [00:26:12]:
Right? So when I did that and I typed in when does, it said, when does the Fed meet again? Right? After you've typed in best mortgage rates, and it's like, you're never gonna get any SEO tool connecting topics like that. So I'm a huge fan of using Google for keyword research. And then beyond that, I would say Ahrefs is probably my favorite.

Jordan Wilson [00:26:35]:
Love love to see those hacks from someone that knows. Yeah. Like, originally, I was like, oh, kind of like AnswerThePublic, but then when you said that, I'm like, oh, that works in a little bit better or maybe a different way than even Answer the Public. So I think that's a great tip, for people that, you know, cost $0.0. So, you you know, one one other, you know, question that that I had, you know, what about how you can use AI to to to call users to do something. Right? Are there certain ways? Because I think, you know, sometimes great copywriters and, you know, providing value are maybe just doing that, But maybe they're not really, you know, putting that extra effort to say, how can we, you know, convert this person? How can we, you know, get them to take an action? Is is there a good way to use, AI to, you know, really improve that call to action?

Steve Toth [00:27:26]:
Yeah. You can definitely look at the call to action of your competitors and feed them into chat and ask them, you know, for something similar or something better. Another thing that I like to do is after my article's done is ask it to essentially find places in the content that it would be great to add a CTA. So little things like that, and just, you know, getting it to assist with your copywriting. Let's say you even have a CTA, but you're just unsure of this one word that's in it, you know, ask it what are some other words I could use in place of x. Things like that, are, you know, hugely valuable and ultimately end up enhancing your content and just our time savers as well.

Jordan Wilson [00:28:06]:
Yeah. That's great. Another another great point there. So, Steve, we we we've talked about a lot in today's show. We've talked about, you know, how you can use AI after, you know, a human writes an article to improve it. We kinda talked a little bit about Google's, you know, shifts on on their stance around AI and some of the best practices for actually making, content more human and better for you, better for humans. But, you know, if if you, you know, as we wrap up, if you had to give, you know, that one piece of advice to someone on, you know, the best way that they can use AI aside from just, you know, writing content, you know, in bulk? What is that takeaway piece of advice that you have for people?

Steve Toth [00:28:48]:
Probably looking at what you have produced either on a page or as your sort of map of all your content, so called topical map on your website, and asking, AI to essentially enhance what you've already written. You know, asking things like what you know, out of this comprehensive guide that I've written, what are some topics that I haven't yet thought about? Right? And then really getting that sort of last layer of polish on what you've already produced and already researched. And then just one other, you know, really important thing, I think, is don't neglect you know, don't just work within chat GPT. Utilize, the the Google search results, as much as you can. Get an understanding of what Google likes by actually looking at that stuff, and then pull it into chat and ask it to analyze and synthesize that data.

Jordan Wilson [00:29:47]:
Gotta love it. It's just such such great advice from an industry expert. Steve, thank you so much for your time and for joining the Everyday AI Show. We really appreciate it.

Steve Toth [00:29:57]:
Thanks. My pleasure, Jordan.

Jordan Wilson [00:29:58]:
And, hey, as a reminder, yeah, a lot of great advice there, whether you are an SEO expert, a marketer, or just trying to get your small business off the ground with a little more organic traffic. I think that there is great insights in there for all of us. So if you haven't already, make sure to go to your everydayai.com. Sign up for that free daily newsletter, and we'll see you back for more everyday AI. Thanks y'all.

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