Paid and Owned Media

Can You Use AI for Content SEO?

Generative AI is on every marketer’s mind. Strategists and media planners are using it to generate audience insights from massive datasets. Creatives are using it as a starting point for imaginative campaigns. Logically, SEOs and content marketers are testing out text-based AI for content creation. Tools like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard can create large swaths of text with just a few clicks. The real question is: should we use AI content for SEO?

It’s more complicated than asking if AI content is good or bad for SEO; rather, it’s all about how you choose to implement these tools into existing content creation workstreams. Ovative’s POV is that these tools can be used to jumpstart the creative process and streamline content creation, but they must be used thoughtfully—and they do not eliminate the need for a writer.

Risks of AI-Generated SEO Content

Brand Safety Issues

When it comes to content creation, your brand guide is your North Star. Because AI does not understand the nuances of human language, it’s not yet capable of accurately conveying your brand voice—especially if your brand voice is particularly unique. If you publish AI SEO content writing that hasn’t been thoroughly vetted, you run the risk of devaluing your brand and losing its differentiators.

Evolving Legal Landscape of AI Content Creation Tools

Legal regulation of generative AI is only just beginning, and companies that design generative AI tools are already under fire for training their algorithms on content that doesn’t belong to them. In the time we’ve spent writing this article, a copyright lawsuit has been filed against OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT.1 

As a digital-first media and measurement firm, we like to be the first to test out promising new tools. But that also means that we approach every innovation with extreme sensitivity toward our clients’ data privacy. Brands should keep an eye on the fast-changing legal landscape while striving to maintain ownership of their content.

Usage limitations are another concern. Free AI content creation tools could be locked behind costly paywalls tomorrow, or their free tiers could become inundated and unwieldy. For example, the image generation tool MidJourney’s free tier has been made effectively unusable by an inundation of user requests.

Lack of Originality

To implement an SEO content strategy that drives incremental results, brands need to focus on providing content that shows expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Tools for AI content optimizations cannot provide net-new ideas or unique perspectives, meaning that unedited generative content can often fail to meet the bar. Plus, launching AI-generated SEO content for the sole purpose of influencing search rankings is against Google’s guidelines and could hurt the health of your site.2

Algorithm Bias

Unfortunately, data sets used to train AI, along with the algorithm itself, can perpetuate harmful racial and gender stereotypes. Brands should carefully evaluate and edit any AI-generated SEO content to avoid causing harm or providing incorrect information to their audience.

What AI Can Be Used for in Content SEO

With all that said, AI content creation tools have their uses. They are a good companion in the initial idea generation and brainstorming phase. Because the datasets for these tools do not get updated frequently, they are not a good source of truth for search volume. However, they can be a great source for keyword ideation.

Here is where you can use AI for content marketing:

  • Idea generation
  • SEO keyword research ideation
  • Outlining header tags for long-form content and content blocks
  • Very short content (i.e. metadata and image alt tags)

AI tools can get you off to a great start, even providing a serviceable rough outline or draft with the right prompts. But the important thing to remember is that any AI-generated SEO content, no matter how long or short, will always need review and editing. This ensures it adheres to your brand guidelines, speaks to your target audience, and provides unique, relevant information.

What AI Should Not Be Used for in Content SEO

We believe AI content creation tools can be used to increase productivity and efficiency, but they should be implemented intelligently. If creating valuable, meaningful content is important to your brand, we recommend limiting the use of generative AI tools for the following:

  • Content where brand voice and style are extremely important (think key site pages)
  • Content where reliability and fact-checking are essential (i.e. site FAQs)

How to Use AI for SEO Content

Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you begin thoughtfully testing these tools.

Get Specific with Your Prompts

The response an AI tool gives you is only as good as your prompt. The more guidance on target keywords, brand voice, and character limits you can include in your content SEO prompts for generative AI tools, the better, more usable responses you will get.

Example Use Case: Writing Meta Descriptions

Original Prompt: “Write me a meta description for a sneakers Product Listing Page.”

Ovative take: This prompt will generate meta descriptions that are too long, do not represent the product on the page, target keywords we want to target, or match the brand’s voice.

Improved prompt: “Give me three ideas for a 130-160 character meta description targeting the keyword “women’s designer sneakers” for a product listing page on a luxury footwear brand’s ecommerce site.”

From character length to keyword targeting, this prompt gives generative AI tools parameters to follow that align the meta description with SEO best practices. While these responses will still require editing, they are a good starting point. This approach is valuable when you need to populate a large amount of site content.

Explore Multiple Generative-AI Tools

Not all AI content marketing tools are created equal. Test a variety of tools to find the ones that best fit your brand needs and aid you in creating high-quality SEO content. Here are our favorites, all of which are currently free to use.

Best Free AI Tool for Keyword Research: Google Bard

Best Free AI Tool for Idea Generation and Short-Form Content Creation: ChatGPT

Edit, Edit, Edit!

Make sure any content that generative AI tools produce matches your brand voice, style & grammar guides. And above all, ensure that content is factually correct. The last thing you want to do is publish inaccurate, unhelpful SEO content that will hurt your site performance and confuse your audience.

Create an Ongoing Measurement Plan

Determining whether AI content is effective for SEO can only be accomplished by analyzing the data. If AI-generated content is launched on your site, measure its incremental impact on your KPIs.

As search algorithms and AI continue to evolve, SEOs and marketing measurement experts will want to keep an eye on the performance and incremental impact of AI-generated content to ensure it is performing as expected.

The Future of AI SEO Content Writing

So, should you use AI for SEO? If you do, we suggest caution. Using AI for content marketing can help you speed up your content creation process—but fully relying on it can be risky, both from a search and branding perspective. Explore different AI content creation tools and see where they can expand your capacity and capabilities, rather than limit you to bland, formulaic content.

As marketers, it is crucial to recognize the potential of this emerging technology while giving it a human touch. That is why our SEO team works alongside our Creative Lab to create optimized content that drives incremental impact. Stay ahead of the curve and speak to our team of experts about how your brand can incorporate AI into your SEO strategy.

1Search Engine Journal | ChatGPT Creator Faces Multiple Lawsuits Over Copyright & Privacy Violations
2Google Search Central | Google Search’s guidance about AI-generated content.

Lillian Smith

Senior Analyst, Paid Social

About the Author

Lillian is a Senior Analyst on the Paid Social team at Ovative.

Dale Nitschke

Dale Nitschke

CEO & Founder

About the Author

Dale is the Founder and CEO of Ovative. After years of operating a large omni-channel business and leading a customer data initiative, Dale knew there was an opportunity to create a marketing firm that helped clients become more customer centric and drove better performance outcomes. A gap existed between business consultancies and advertising agencies that modern marketing approaches demand. He also believed that a strong, healthy culture could attract and develop smart, talented team members. In 2009, he formed Ovative to bring media, measurement, and consulting together under one roof to enable an enterprise approach that drives more revenue and grows clients’ customer base.

Prior to founding Ovative in 2009, Dale spent 23 years at Target Corporation where he served as President of and grew the ecommerce business from start-up stage to a $1 billion+ business and established the foundation of Target’s Guest database capabilities. Previously he served as SVP Merchandising at the Department Store Division of Dayton Hudson. Dale has advised retailers and brands globally on business, growth, marketing, and measurement transformation strategies.

Outside of Ovative, Dale is a leader on topics including business strategy, change management, and team leadership. He serves on the board of Allergy Amulet and on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison.  He enjoys spending time with his family, up north in northern Wisconsin, playing golf, and cheering on Wisconsin sport teams.

Seth Brand

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Seth is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Amanda McCann

Senior Manager, Consulting

About the Author

Amanda is a Senior Manager on the Consulting team at Ovative, specializing in Retail Media Networks.

Jenny Reinke

Senior Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Jenny is a Senior Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Annie Zipfel

Executive Vice President, Media

About the Author

Annie is the Executive Vice President of Media at Ovative. She oversees delivery and growth across paid and owned media (digital, traditional, and retail media) and creative services.

Annie has more than 30 years of experience in media, brand management, insights/analytics, marketing, and product. She has also developed large, high-performing teams and built new measurement capabilities. Annie led the marketing team at Andersen Windows & Doors, leading the digital, social, content, customer insights, and creative functions. Prior to that, Annie served in multiple marketing leadership roles at Starbucks, REI, Target, and General Mills, with a keen focus on brand, media, insights, analytics, and measurement.

Annie is an industry leader in brand management, customer insights, e-commerce, social media, and analytics. She enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, fishing, and spending time with her sweet dog and two sons.

Bonnie Gross

Executive Vice President, Talent Services

About the Author

Bonnie is the Executive Vice President of Talent Services at Ovative. She is responsible for attracting and retaining top talent and creating a culture in which our team thrives personally and professionally. Under Bonnie’s leadership, Ovative has defined an industry leading leadership and development program and transformed our approach to talent recruitment with a focus on diversity, equality and inclusion. Prior to her current role, Bonnie led Ovative’s Client and Business Development team overseeing client satisfaction and new growth opportunities.

Before joining Ovative in 2014, Bonnie spent 13 years at Target Corporate as the VP of digital and Digital Marketing where she led the launch of Cartwheel, an industry-leading social shopping application. Bonnie was the VP of Marketing for Fingerhut for 15 years prior to joining Target.

Leander Cohen

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Leander Cohen is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

Will Silva

Analyst, Measurement Solutions

About the Author

Will is an Analyst on the Measurement Solutions team at Ovative.

Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang

Analyst, Consulting

About the Author

Sarah Chang is an Analyst on the Consulting team at Ovative.

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