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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Kayler

Mastering SEO in the age of AI: A guide for modern businesses

Welcome to the digital era, where the virtual landscape is as competitive as ever, and the rules of the game are constantly evolving. If you're a marketing or sales professional, or a business owner looking to stay ahead in the online world, mastering Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is non-negotiable. I recently attended a fantastic webinar in which Eagan Heath of Asymmetric Marketing broke down the essentials of SEO, why it's crucial to rank on Google, how Google determines rankings, and most important, how you can enhance your SEO game to propel your business forward. Let’s begin.

Why has it been important to rank on Google?

Let's start with the basics. Google isn't just a search engine; it's a gateway to the digital universe. With a staggering 81.95% share of online desktop searches in 2024 (even higher on mobile), Google is where the action happens. But why does it matter to be on the top page? Simple - visibility equals opportunity. Studies show that the majority of clicks go to the top-ranking results. Whether it's a branded search or a non-branded one (where users are searching by topic), securing a prime spot on Google's SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) can significantly boost your traffic and, consequently, your business.

How does Google determine rankings?

Understanding Google's ranking algorithm is akin to unlocking the secret recipe to SEO success. Three primary factors come into play:

  1. Relevance: Your content needs to speak the language of your audience and Google's bots. This includes aligning your page titles, content, and meta descriptions with relevant keywords and related concepts. Additionally, inbound and outbound links, along with anchor text, play a crucial role in signaling relevance.

  2. Authority: Google trusts authoritative sources. Factors like PageRank (Google's algorithm for ranking web pages) and backlinks from reputable sites contribute to your domain's authority. Traditional credentials and contact information also add credibility.

  3. User Experience: A seamless user experience is paramount. Factors such as engagement metrics (time spent on page, bounce rate), page speed, and mobile-friendliness impact your rankings. Google penalizes poor user experiences, so ensuring a smooth ride for your visitors is non-negotiable.

How can you improve your SEO?

Now that we've covered the fundamentals, let's dive into actionable strategies to enhance your SEO game:

  1. Keyword Research: Start by understanding how your audience searches for your products or services. Utilize tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush to gather insights, and build a robust list of target keywords.

  2. Optimize Your Pages: Once you have your keywords, optimize your website's pages accordingly. This includes crafting compelling titles, meta descriptions, headers, and content that seamlessly incorporates your target keywords. Don't forget about optimizing images, videos, and internal/external links.

  3. Google Profile and Reviews: Your online reputation matters. Claim and optimize your Google My Business profile, encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, and address any negative feedback promptly.

  4. Fix Technical Issues: Ensure your website is technically sound. This includes optimizing site speed, ensuring mobile-friendliness, and fixing any broken links or missing pages. A secure HTTPS connection is also essential.

  5. Content Creation: Regularly publish high-quality, relevant content that addresses your audience's pain points and interests. Blogging not only showcases your expertise but also attracts backlinks and encourages Google to crawl your site frequently.

  6. Build Quality Backlinks: Earn backlinks from authoritative websites through PR efforts, partnerships, guest blogging, and participation in industry forums. Avoid black-hat tactics like buying links or engaging in link schemes, as they can backfire.

How is AI changing the SEO landscape?

With a good understanding of how to improve SEO, there is still an elephant in the room we need to address: How is AI revolutionizing SEO?  Does ChatGPT eat into Google searches? Well, AI is already making an impact in pulling the searching audience. For example, as of Feb. 2 of this year, 84.2 billion have used Google to conduct an online search, while 1.6 billion have used ChatGPT (numbers represent 30-day timeframe), YouTube is 33.6 billion and Facebook had 16.6 billion. So, while generative AI is certainly growing as a search resource, consider that social media channels are also eating into the traditional browser practice.

There is definitely a role for AI to assist in SEO as well. AI can help businesses create and repurpose content at scale, driving efficiency and lowering costs. Google's utilization of AI algorithms like RankBrain has made search more intuitive and context-aware. AI-powered tools like Ahrefs and Surfer SEO streamline keyword research and content optimization processes. While AI presents new opportunities, it also poses challenges, particularly in addressing technical SEO issues and staying ahead of algorithm updates.

Mastering SEO in the age of AI is essential for businesses looking to thrive in the digital arena. By understanding Google's ranking factors, implementing best practices and leveraging AI-powered tools, you can enhance your online visibility, attract more qualified leads, and ultimately, drive business growth. AOE has a team of digital marketing experts as well as unique expertise in AI marketing, so reach out today so we can brainstorm what will work best for your organization.


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