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Stop cheapening your brand ethos with AI content

There’s been a lot of back and forth in the SEO industry about the responsible use of AI.


On one hand, SEOs are suggesting the use of AI to do mass amounts of research and crank out thousands of articles in one go.


Others, like myself, are much more skeptical about this approach.


In my opinion, mass-producing with AI cheapens the value of your brand authority. Sure, maybe you’ll rank for thousands of keywords, but ultimately earning keywords is a vanity metric.


And before SEOs get mad at me... I'm not saying keywords don't matter. I'm saying there are better questions to ask than “How many keywords are we ranking for?”


What you should be asking instead:

  • Is your content converting readers into buyers? 

  • Are people downloading ebooks after an insightful piece? 

  • Is the traffic you're getting actually your target buyer? (Content downloads are only helpful if it's the right buyer.)

  • Is the sales team using it to build credibility with prospects? (If your own team won't use it, why would anyone else?)

  • Are customers viewing pieces throughout the sales cycle?

  • Are people scrolling and reading your blog? Or do they land on it and bounce without getting past the introduction? 

  • Do readers visit other pages on your website after coming to a blog from a keyword?


You can earn thousands of keywords, but that doesn’t matter if you're mass-producing without a strategy that prioritizes quality. 


The formula is simple, really: Quality content = quality readers = quality buyers.


Basically, what I’m saying is don't pull off an SEO heist with AI where you curate thousands of keywords and crank out thousands of articles in one go.


Here's just one example of this happening (and Jake isn't the only person to do this. It's just the example I think of first since this post went viral).


Screenshot of image from Jake Ward on pulling off an SEO heist using AI.
SEO heist example from Twitter post

First, if you read the thread, Jake’s approach to research isn’t wrong—people target competitor traffic all of the time. Using AI to speed up and automate the process can be a smart move for businesses.


What you need to be cautious of is curating content from scratch using AI, and then publishing that content without any editing.



Despite AI improving the process of content creation, there still needs to be some element of quality control from humans (and an expert behind the scenes prompting the AI tool to respond accurately). 


In case you’re wondering, here’s an update on what happened after Jake shared his strategy with Twitter: 



Yikes.


Keep in mind, Google isn’t necessarily against AI-generated content.


Google says “Appropriate use of AI or automation is not against our guidelines. This means that it is not used to generate content primarily to manipulate search rankings.” In other words, the focus is on content quality and authenticity, regardless of origin.





But ranking is only one part of the picture. Converting that traffic into meaningful leads is another—and that’s the part of content marketing that requires expert skill sets. 


Plus, do you really want every article you publish to start with something along the lines of “In today’s modern landscape…”? 


And on top of that, there are other sides of SEO that are equally important: technical SEO and off-page SEO.


A common mistake marketing teams make is forgetting that your website tech stack has a huge impact on SEO. And it’s really hard to fix once you’ve been using a specific site structure for years.


Take it from me, a marketer that once headed up SEO for a site with over 60,000 pages that was custom-built with Javascript… It’s not easy to pitch a CTO on why their dev team should be pulled away to fix technical website issues instead of focusing on core product work.


That's why you need to think about SEO holistically.


Earning quality traffic isn't about producing as much content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't even matter how high-quality your content is if you're battling technical issues or aren't earning backlinks.


My point: Put AI aside and do the work to build an SEO engine that converts—while also creating content that build community and helps your brand ethos shine.


Nothing good ever comes easy.



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