AI is more than just a flashy buzzword—it’s reshaping how we approach SEO and content marketing.
But with new territory comes new challenges. So, where’s the playbook?
To help you win the AI game, we gathered tips from industry experts.
Read on to discover the dos, don’ts, and top trends in using AI for content creation.1. Don’t Shy Away from AI When Producing Content—But Be Cautious
1. Don’t Shy Away from AI When Producing Content—But Be Cautious
Companies that disregard AI’s potential for marketing are missing out on many opportunities.
It’s like ignoring the power of the internet in the ‘90s.
AI can aid you in lots of content and SEO-related tasks. For example:
- Research: AI helps you analyze vast amounts of data in mere seconds. Use it to find content ideas around your keywords, analyze data sets, create content outlines, and more.
- Content creation: Writing becomes 12x faster when using AI tools. You can generate entire pieces of content or create separate paragraphs, introductions, titles, and more. Besides, AI image generators are great for producing visual content.
- Optimization and editing: Various AI writing tools will help you improve your content’s structure, grammar, readability, tone of voice, and SEO. There’s no limit to your creativity. For instance, you can create a buyer persona profile using AI and ask it to optimize your content for this audience.
- Content analytics: AI takes content audits to the next level. For example, use it to assess whether your page needs some extra keywords and adequately translates your value proposition.
As Kyle Byers puts it:
One of the risks with AI is not using it enough. AI is so powerful that brands (and people) that don’t use it are simply going to get left behind.- Kyle Byers, Head of Organic Search at Semrush
Google’s guidelines are currently AI-neutral. Their official stance: “Rewarding high-quality content, however it is produced.”
In other words, websites don’t get penalized for creating copy with AI.
Additionally, AI-generated text aims to be plagiarism-free. So you won’t need to worry about duplicate content.
What Google values—and what you should prioritize—is ensuring your content is useful, practical, and original.
According to Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liason for search:
So, does it matter that you write a blog post using AI? No.
Does it matter that it creates a great user experience and features unique thoughts and ideas? Yes.
And here’s the kicker: going all-in on AI without human touch isn’t the golden ticket.
Think of AI as the brush and humans as the artist. AI can lay the strokes, but human oversight brings the masterpiece to life.
Now, let’s see how you can achieve this.2. Integrate Original Thought and Research When Writing Content with AI
2. Integrate Original Thought and Research When Writing Content with AI
While AI can help you create content faster, you should strive to enrich it with original research and ideas.
Using firsthand experience when creating content should be your number-one priority.
With more AI-generated content, its significance will further increase.
No one wants an internet that’s overflowing with low-quality automated articles. And—as we all know—Google always responds with updates focused on surfacing the most valuable content.- Dave Birss, Founder, Trainer, and Learning Instructor
This is actually in line with Google’s guidelines.
For example, you may be familiar with E-A-T, Google’s acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
It comes from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines and is not a direct ranking factor. However, it’s an important framework to take into account.
This emphasized the importance of expertise-driven content.
How can you incorporate Experience into AI-produced content? For instance, you could:
- Run original research (e.g., a survey with your audience or real-life testing of products)
- Interview subject matter experts (e.g., professionals from your company or industry thought leaders)
- Share your real-life experience (e.g., create content based on the case studies with your clients or something you implemented in your company)
- Publish content bylined by experts in your industry
Feed these insights and data to AI and get your copy generated in an instant.
But the human oversight doesn’t stop here.3. Involve Editors & SMEs to Fact-Check and Improve AI-Generated Content
3. Involve Editors & SMEs to Fact-Check and Improve AI-Generated Content
If we’ve learned anything from AI, it’s that it can be extremely helpful—but not without the skills and judgment of a human.
Human review is probably the most important thing to do in terms of avoiding risk. Every AI tool is known to hallucinate sometimes. So, make sure to check for accuracy.- Kyle Byers, Head of Organic Search at Semrush
We suggest the following precautions when using AI:
- Verify the accuracy of auto-generated content: Ask AI to provide proof and use search engines
- Refine vague paragraphs for clarity and get rid of broad statements
- Revise for consistency, removing redundant words and concepts
- Make sure your content is consistent with your brand tone of voice
You might also want to add and change some structural elements, such as:
- Review the copy and add personal elements—for example, a real-life example or even a humorous touch
- Run your content by the subject matter expert (SME) to make sure all statements and suggestions are correct
- Make sure to optimize your content for keywords and search intent (more on this below)
There are lots of people trying to approach AI as a hack to get them results without effort. I think that's a big mistake. Anyone who's ever had success at SEO knows that it requires a combination of smart strategy and hard work. I don't think AI changes that.- Dave Birss, Founder, Trainer, and Learning Instructor
The key takeaway? Don’t expect your work to stop once AI generates your content.4. Embrace the “Hybrid Approach” to Using AI for SEO
4. Embrace the “Hybrid Approach” to Using AI for SEO
AI can write original content you can publish on your website.
But that content might not be strong enough to rank number one for a competitive keyword.
In part, because many AI tools like ChatGPT don’t provide real-time data on keywords, search volume, or other SEO elements.
That’s a problem. But worry not.
You can fix it. By combining AI with manual competitive research and SEO tools.
Which SEO tools?
AI writing tools that offer real-time SEO data.
For example, ContentShake AI. This tool generates ready-to-publish articles using Semrush’s powerful competitive insights.
Its AI Writer integrates target keywords into your content and creates articles based on the analysis of your organic rivals.
AI can also help you with other aspects of keyword research and content optimization, such as:
- Brainstorm content ideas around keywords you’ve identified
- Assess keyword optimization of your text and compare it to the competing pages
- Implement keyword clustering and mapping
- Assess whether your copy is optimized for specific keywords, questions, and needs
Keep reading to learn more about those out-of-the-box uses of AI.5. Talk to AI Like You Talk to a Real Person
5. Talk to AI Like You Talk to a Real Person
One common misconception is that AI can produce perfect results from the first interaction.
But, for many who are just starting out, the learning curve feels steep.
One perspective that can change this experience is viewing AI interaction like a human conversation.
The Dynamics of a Dialogue
We’re used to instant gratification when using digital technology. Click a button and see immediate results.
With AI, however, the expectations should be somewhat different.
Rather than seeing it as a straightforward tool, view AI as a collaborator.
Think about it.
You wouldn’t expect a colleague’s immediate and comprehensive response on a complex topic.
AI, too, thrives on clarity and context.
When interacting with AI, you can:
- Engage in follow-ups: If a response seems incomplete or off-mark, probe further. For example, ask AI to create more content, or rewrite it in a certain way.
- Provide a backdrop: Context can significantly influence a response. Offer AI a clear picture to garner more relevant insights.
For instance, if you feel like the copy doesn’t hit the mark, feed AI more details about your target audience or tone of voice.
- Reframe and refine: Rephrase your query if you’re not getting the right input. It’s similar to rewording a statement when talking to someone unfamiliar with a specific topic.
- Embrace patience: It’s entirely natural to want immediate results. However, with AI, patience and persistence can transform the interaction.
Remember, it’s not about a one-off query but cultivating a dialogue.
Over time, you’ll find the balance in communicating effectively, much like honing the art of conversation with real people.
Let’s look at an example.
Imagine you’re writing a few LinkedIn ad variations using ChatGPT.
First, you want to input all essential information, such as:
- Add context (e.g., ask ChatGPT to act like a copywriter)
- Provide details about the company and its unique selling proposition
- Share info on the target audience
- Specify which ads you’re looking to create (platform, CTA, etc.)
The first results answered your query but aren’t quite what you’re looking for. For example:
We wanted to further improve it. So, we added another prompt asking AI to make some changes:
The result came back much closer to our expectations:
To make these ads truly perfect, we had to take a few additional prompting steps.
Just like we’d need a few revisions with a real copywriter.6. Create Content that Can’t Be Easily Replicated on SERP
6. Create Content that Can’t Be Easily Replicated on SERP
Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) will further change how we optimize our content for rankings.
This new feature will pull more information directly into the search engine results page (SERP). It’ll offer AI-generated summaries to answer user queries on the spot—even the long-tail, complex ones.
For example, when researching something like “Where should I go for a honeymoon in October, to Vietnam or Bali?”, you would get:
- A comprehensive AI-generated response on the actual SERP
- Additional useful links for further research
Here’s what it might look like, as shared by Google:
This way, users will get responses to questions faster—without even clicking on any links.
But what does it mean for businesses and content creators?
Let's put it this way: SEO's becoming a bit trickier.
Between Google ads, Featured Snippets, and now the SGE, getting those search clicks isn’t as straightforward as it used to be.
However, there’s a way you can address this.
As Kyle Byers puts it:
Google’s SGE (Search Generative Experience) can take up a lot of space for the queries. Once that gets released out of beta, the available traffic from some keywords might go down. To hedge against that risk, I highly suggest creating pages with valuable experiences that can’t easily be replicated directly on the SERP.- Kyle Byers, Head of Organic Search at Semrush
So, the emphasis on quality and valuable content experiences is now more critical than ever.
The challenge is to craft content that offers something unique, engaging, and immersive that an AI summary simply cannot capture.
Here’s how you can make your content more interactive:
- Add detailed guidelines for every step you describe in the article
- Provide explanations and practical examples for every concept you introduce
- Add charts, videos, GIFs, and other visuals
Let’s look at an example.
In this article, we shared some information about brand tone of voice.
One of the sections specifies the steps for defining the tone of voice for your company.
For every step, we provide specific instructions on how to complete it and give a real-life example:
Think of your content not just as information, but as an experience.
In essence, Google’s SGE is also an opportunity for businesses to push the boundaries of what online content can be.
This also means that SEOs and content marketers will need to start optimizing their content to appear in those summaries.7. Don’t Ignore Alternatives to Google Search: Opt for Multimedia Content
7. Don’t Ignore Alternatives to Google Search: Opt for Multimedia Content
While Google search is not going anywhere, a successful SEO strategy must expand its reach. Avoid keeping all of your eggs in one basket.
As highlighted by Kyle Byers:
“First is Google SGE, which is an expanded, advanced version of Featured Snippets.
Second is Bing Chat, and how interest in Bing has grown significantly compared to before Bing Chat was released.
And third is new AI-based search engines that are entering the scene and may carve out their own user bases.”
All this suggests that we start paying attention to other search engines and grow our presence across multiple channels.
As Ross Simmonds puts it:
You can face the growing content marketing competition by diversifying traffic sources and finding alternatives to Google. What does it mean? It means creating different content assets, whether a YouTube video that ranks for a priority keyword or a vertical video that lives on TikTok.- Ross Simmonds, Founder, CEO at Foundationinc.co
So, expand your content marketing mix and tackle the search behavior happening on video platforms, social media, and even in communities.
SEO specialists, too, will need to collaborate closely with other teams and departments. This is key to maintaining the omnichannel approach and creating synergy. Himani Kankaria mentions:
“It will be everything about the brand — its authority in the market, its popularity among consumers, and its value in terms of its products, services, and education. SEOs must look at all those to ensure their strategies perform and help the business sustain and grow exponentially.”
– Himani Kankaria, Content Marketing Strategist and Founder of Missive Digital
8. Prioritize Off-Page Authority Signals and Story-Driven Content
As AI-generated copy floods the web, it’s getting trickier for search engines to pinpoint top-notch content.
So, how will Google navigate this?
The answer might lie in thise age-old strategy: Off-page authority signals, such as mentions and backlinks.
We think it’s safe to say that those will become even more important and valuable.
Here’s what you can do to address this:
- Create research-driven and thought leadership content
- Opt for story-driven content marketing
- Produce content that drives positive change in your community
Brands must realize that in an AI-driven content world, it’s not just about quantity but depth. Depth of research, depth of insight, and depth of narrative.
For instance, iFixit—a DIY repair kits seller—wove a narrative around their brand mission: “The right to repair.”
They empower individuals to mend their devices, thereby cutting costs and protecting the environment.
They craft compelling stories through detailed guides, community forums, and passionate advocacy.
It wasn’t just content; it was a movement.
And movements? People talk about them, generating shares and links.
In September 2023, they had over 29M backlinks:
Now, think about the way you want your brand to change the world, and use this narrative to shape your content strategy.9. Get Creative When Using AI for SEO
9. Get Creative When Using AI for SEO
Finally, AI can offer so much more than simply writing your content.
Keep an open mind and always look for its out-of-the-box applications.
AI can also help SEOs and other marketers brainstorm creative campaign ideas, write cold outreach emails, analyze data, optimize customer journeys, and more. As a result, each person and team can be more productive in their work.- Kyle Byers, Head of Organic Search at Semrush
We discovered a few such cases in our recent webinar with Andy Crestodina.
For instance, AI can help you:
- Find gaps in your SEO strategy
- Realign and optimize keywords in your content
- Optimize titles to increase organic CTR
- Run on-page SEO edits
- Identify missing topics on your key pages
- Find interlinking opportunities
- Share your audience’s characteristics
- Help you understand why your audience would be interested in reading this content
- Advice you on what things to include in a specific piece of content
- Provide real-life examples for your article
- Create a comparison table
- Suggest what types of graphics and media to include
Keep pushing the boundaries and looking for more opportunities—the sky is the limit.Let AI Help You Produce Your Best Content
Let AI Help You Produce Your Best Content
While AI brings its share of challenges, it also unfolds promising opportunities for businesses and marketers.
In the era of AI-generated content, brands set to succeed will master a dual approach: leveraging AI’s benefits while also crafting authentic, story-rich content.
Equipped with these insights, you can start weaving AI into your content marketing strategy.
Get experimental, unleash your creativity, but also map out a smart strategy to navigate AI’s potential pitfalls.
It’s about blending innovation with caution, ensuring you’re both forward-thinking and risk-aware.
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