If you've had enough of people talking about AI as if they're in panic mode ("We're all gonna lose our jobs; AI can do everything!"), then Episode 565 of Marketing Smarts should come as a breath of fresh air.
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In fact, explains SEO specialist Chris Rodgers, a lot of what AI does for SEO isn't all that new.
"With ChatGPT, all of a sudden everyone is like, 'AI came out of nowhere, now it's taking over SEO and we're all going to be replaced,' but AI has been in SEO on the Google side for a very long time," he says. "They've been building those components into their algorithm for a long time now, between Bard and semantic match, and all these different components."
It's clear at this point, he explains, that AI is good at some things and not so good at other things, and it's best to educate yourself on which is which.
"AI is pretty good at following a process," says Chris. "What is AI not good at today? Understanding your business, understanding your unique value proposition, understanding your audience and what their pain points are, how you meet that audience with your solution, and how you're using SEO more as a marketing channel versus a process."
Above all, it's marketers' job to treat AI as a tool, not an all-knowing tech wizard: "Don't ask ChatGPT anything that you cannot verify yourself. Do not go in there and expect it to teach you something that you can't look at or research to confirm...because it's good at giving you an answer that sounds really good, whether it's true or not."
Listen to the entire show from the link above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode.
George B. Thomas: Have you heard of a little thing called artificial intelligence? Maybe as a marketer you've heard of search engine optimization, or SEO for short. Have you been paying attention to how artificial intelligence is and can impact SEO? Have you maybe been researching how you can better your SEO or analyze your SEO with artificial intelligence?
Today we're talking about these things. We're talking about how artificial intelligence is impacting SEO with Chris Rodgers. We're going to talk about what keeps him up at night pertaining to AI and SEO, we're going to talk about hurdles and success, we're going to bust some myths along the way, and of course, we'll get those valuable words of wisdom.
Chris Rodgers is the founder and CEO of CSP, a specialized search engine optimization agency with unparalleled expertise and capabilities, providing revenue-driven solutions to enterprise and SMB clients for over 10 years. CSP has over 100 years of combined SEO experience and serves a variety of sectors and industries, including tech and AI, ecommerce, financial services, direct to consumer, ed tech, crypto, the outdoor industry, and many more. CSP carefully vets all prospective projects and only engages those with a high likelihood of success and ROI. By the way, Chris founded CSP way back in 2012.
You know that Chris knows his stuff, you know that the company is helping people, but how are we going to help you today? Well, we're going to get into the good stuff. It's time for how artificial intelligence is impacting your search engine optimization with Chris Rodgers.
Everybody is talking about artificial intelligence in some sort of way when it comes to content or SEO. Of course, we needed to get in on this conversation and actually see what you need to know. How is AI impacting SEO? Because it's impacting SEO, how does that impact you as a B2B marketer? Of course, I'm not the guy bringing you the good stuff. I'm just the facilitator here, and I'm here with Chris Rodgers.
Chris, how are you doing today?
Chris Rodgers: I'm doing good. I'm glad we're close to the weekend here now.
George: We're on the almost there side of Friday. One of the things I like to do is ask some interesting questions along the way, it makes it a little fun for the Marketing Smarts listeners. I know this first question that I'm about to ask you could be a dream or it could be nightmare. We'll see depending upon your answer. What keeps you up at night around how artificial intelligence is impacting SEO and/or marketers either paying attention to it or not paying attention to it, nightmare, dream, what say you?
Chris: I wouldn't call it a nightmare, but it's also not a positive dream. It's one of those where maybe you're wandering someplace and random things are happening that you don't understand in your dream, that kind of thing.
George: What is it that keeps you up at night, though?
Chris: My kids, honestly, mostly. But really when I look at the three to five year outlook, that's where I have really big questions marks. I'm not super concerned in the short term. I'm not really concerned about Google or Bing. But when we look at three to five and then five years out, what is going to look like in terms of the search experience? Are people using search engines or does everyone just have their personal search bot? That's a question that I have.
I also look at what we've done in the SEO space historically. It's completely different, but also more of the same. We've had to pivot this entire time. We've had unexpected things come at us this entire time, and we've had to pivot and change. So, if Google doesn't manage this thing right and people start leaving Google, we're going to be optimizing in other places.
Those are the big shifts of what does that look like, what's it's going to mean for our clients, what does mean for the industry, how is it going to change. Those are the fundamental things that I look at big picture.
George: Let's keep diving in. It's interesting, you said you're not really interested in the right now too much. I will say I kind of want to pick on what's happening in the right now. What I mean by that is in the title we literally said how artificial intelligence is impacting SEO. What the heck do we even mean when we're saying that, how is it impacting it, how would you define AI in SEO implications right now? Just unpack that for us on where we're at right now.
Chris: It's funny because with ChatGPT, all of a sudden everyone is like, "AI came out of nowhere, now it's taking over SEO and we're all going to be replaced," but AI has been in SEO for a long time. AI has been in SEO on the Google side for a very long time. They've been building those components into their algorithm for a long time now, between Bard and semantic match, and all these different components that they've been building in. When we look at the SEO software and platform side, AI has been in that for a long time, too. Even in content creation, there have been platforms that are working in AI on that side for a very long time as well.
ChatGPT said, we're going to open this up to everyone, we're going to open it up to the masses. Now the direct consumer, the direct marketer, the direct business could get in there. It blew up in the media, so now I think it's almost like this huge snowball effect. They drop it and then Bing is saying this is our opportunity, we're with ChatGPT, and then Google is going to say we weren't ready, we're making lots of money, but we better do something to show that we're not falling behind, so they roll out their side of things.
Today, I think it's a tool. I also think that it allows us to do a lot of things with data. I think it's opening up a lot of creative avenues. I think you're always going to have the get-rich-quick spammers and all that side of the house that is also going full speed ahead just doing garbage and saying how do we use this to not work and not think, so that's kind of the other side of it that we need to deal with.
Today it is, how do we use what we have in front of us in these tools to improve our effectiveness, to improve quality of content, to improve efficiency, to improve data analysis. Those are the things that we can use it for today.
George: I love that you referenced that it's a tool. I actually want to go off the beaten path for a second. I have lots of tools. Some of those tools I keep handy because I use them a lot. Some of them are behind the wheelbarrow and the golf clubs in the corner of the garage because I don't use them very often.
When you think of a level of importance of ChatGPT and the things that are happening around content and SEO right now, are these tools that eventually will be in the corner of garage or do you think these tools are here to stay, what are your thoughts?
Blowing up in the media doesn't mean that it has longevity. I remember the mini disc player. I don't know how many listeners remember the mini disc player, but that was a hot flash in the pan and then gone. Talk me through your gut response in where we're at and what that means for the long side of this?
Chris: I do not think that generative AI is going away. I don't think that's going to be a tool that is put in the back of the garage. You look at what it costs to create images and buy images and all of that, and now we can create images with AI. There's a fundamental value with that. Same with content creation. If we can do it well and there is this huge cost savings, and the end product can be accurate, can be high-quality, just as if someone were writing it, there is a fundamental value there. Why would it go away?
So, I do think that there is going to be a shift. When we look at writing, is ChatGPT specifically going to replace writers tomorrow? No, it's not there. This is the first version that was just dropped out there. It's going to get iterated upon over and over, and it's going to get better and better. I don't think it's going away. Then the question is what components of SEO and marketing will be able to be replaced with this technology and at what rate is that going to happen? Those are some of the bigger questions I have.
I think our job as marketers is ultimately to understand how to use these tools, but we have to do it in a way that we're maintaining the quality and the output of what we're doing. That's the most important thing. If you're not paying attention and not following the pulse of this stuff, I think you're at risk. We have to be adapting in the short term, figuring out how we use it, but these tools aren't going away. It's going to change the way we do things. It's not going to replace us anytime soon.
George: I love that you used the word adapt because I think those that are able to adapt and leverage versus just ignore are going to end up in a completely different space in the next one to three years as far as job security and things like that.
Let's drill down into the content creation, SEO/marketer side of this. You said in that last section things that are of quality. I would say human, valuable, these kinds of words. When we think about AI and we think about SEO in this light of content creation and marketers, what are some of the key elements of how artificial intelligence and the fact that it's impacting the process, impacting SEO, what elements should B2B marketers be paying attention to that equal that better outcome, better value, better human content even though they're using these AI tools?
Chris: Ultimately, it comes down to using the tools the right way and an extreme amount of oversight.
You look at EEAT, I'm sure that your listeners are up to date on EEAT and the signals of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness. This is a big thing that Google has promoted and said is important. It basically is validating a website, who is behind the website, who is creating the content.
When content gets created, Google wants to associate that with real people and wants someone to put their stamp of approval on it so that it tracks back to a real person. Even while AI may have been the source that got created, someone has to put their name behind that to back it up. Interestingly enough, they've doubled down on EEAT more and more at the same time as all this AI content has come in.
The importance here is that you're using the tool in the right way to achieve that content. What does that mean? That means that you're doing your research. Maybe you're using AI to come up with the content outline and to get ideas. Great. But you're putting thought into that as time goes on, and people who are subject-matter experts are involved in that process. Then as it's getting written, that information is actually getting validated, fact-checked, and run through just as if it was being created by a human, to the point that a person that has a face behind it will put their name on it and put their stamp that yes, this is legitimate, it's accurate, and you can use my name to publish this thing.
George: I like that. Marketing Smarts listeners, if when Chris dipped into EEAT you were like, "Wait, what?" and when he mentioned expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, you were like, "That's a thing?" Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, something, start searching that, because even Google says that EEAT is very important.
Chris, I love the Chicken Little story, the sky is falling, the sky is falling, different things like that. I also love the TV show Mythbusters. If I put on my Chicken Little hat and my Mythbusters hat, I really want to ask you are there any common myths or a myth about artificial intelligence impacting SEO that you would want to use the Marketing Smarts Podcast to debunk that junk right now? What myth do we want to debunk?
Chris: That you could use AI to automate your SEO strategy and execution today. Could you try to automate the whole thing? Maybe. It might be like trying to create a car in a digital printer. Maybe it will come up with something, and it might look like a car, but it's probably not going to run. A lot of the stuff is process-driven, and there's a lot of agencies out there that have built everything they do all on process, even to the point where they don't need a lot of experienced SEOs to execute that process.
When you get into rigid defined process, AI is pretty good at following a process and putting things together in terms of process. What is AI not good at today? Understanding your business, understanding your unique value proposition, understanding your audience and what their pain points are, how you meet that audience with your solution, and how you're using SEO more as a marketing channel versus a process.
George: Love it. One of the things that we like to do is we like to give the listeners tactics and strategies, tips and tricks, if you will. When we think about AI, when we think about SEO, when we think about trying to head them in the right direction, because that's a big piece of this conversation, are there are any tips, tricks, hacks, templates that B2B marketers can use when they are using AI to impact their SEO or their content creation? What are some ways that we leverage this in a better way?
Chris: I wish there was just an easy way to do this. I'll tell you, a lot of the information that I get is on Twitter. There's a lot of people out there that are doing very cool things in terms of prompts and prompt engineering. There is an add-on called AIRPM that you can put with ChatGPT. They have a free version and they have a paid version. It's kind of like a prompt library. There are engineers that are creating prompts, there are approved prompts and top prompts, that kind of thing, and that can be very valuable.
More than anything, I think you need to be in there using it, testing it, and paying attention to the news and seeing what's happening, and figuring out how you can leverage this technology and stay educated. Beyond what you're doing on the marketing side, that's also job security. In this new world, being able to use this stuff, even if let's say you got completely replaced and your industry was gone, now you have to go get another job, you could go in and say, "I know how to do all of this stuff with AI, so I am a very efficient human. My productivity is great because I know how to use these tools to write emails, to do social media ads, to do all of these different things."
That would be my advice. Don't stick your head in the sand. It's not going away. Stay educated. Start playing around with it and figuring out how you can use it in your job and in your daily life. Make sure you're maintaining the quality of the output.
Let's put it this way. Don't ask ChatGPT anything that you cannot verify yourself. Do not go in there and expect it to teach you something that you can't look at or research to confirm, because if you do that and you're depending on it, you're in the danger zone because it's good at giving you an answer that sounds really good, whether it's true or not.
George: That's funny. It came to my brain of be a thought leader using a tool, don't be a tool trying to be a thought leader when you said that. I love that you were like job security, and I love the words I'm an efficient human. Learning these things to become a better version of yourself, a faster version of yourself. I'm going to date myself, but can you use AI, SEO, content, and be the Million Dollar Man, the Steve Austin of your industry?
Let's go ahead and keep diving in. I'm sure that the Marketing Smarts listeners are like, "I want to have job security. I want to be an efficient human." So, they're going to set out on this journey, they're going to start educating themselves, they're going to start to follow people, they're going to start to mess around in the tools, all the things that we've talked about so far. Without a doubt, they're going to come to some potholes or hurdles.
What are the hurdles that maybe you've run into or you've seen other folks run into, what are some of the hurdles that B2B marketers may face when trying to use generative AI, create content, focus on SEO, all in this artificial intelligence world, what are the hurdles to watch out for?
Chris: I'll give two. One, the biggest hurdle for me is time. Probably a lot of people that are working professionals, there's not a lot of time these days, especially if you're trying to move up or excel or be the best at what you do. There's no good answer for that. You have to find a way to make it a priority, you have to organize, get it into your schedule, and start organizing some time.
The fact that you're doing this podcast, the people that are listening are already on that path. They took the action of being here. Stick with it and make the time to actually learn more. Don't get discouraged that you don't understand everything at a finite level. This is a giant rabbit hole. I'm not going to become an AI data scientist, it is not my path forward unless I completely shift and I'm no longer CEO of my agency. Learn as much as you can and learn how to use it, stick with it, and stay consistent.
Then the other thing is just like what I said before, the other pitfall is using AI to think for you. This is not supposed to replace your human brain. It is supposed to empower you and make your output better. You can use it to save some of your brain power. This is one of the great uses now. You're going through and doing creating things, like we just recently redid our website, we went through parts of that using AI, not necessarily to write, but to come up with ideas.
If you get writer's block, you can go ping ChatGPT and it's going to give you a great summary of different topics that you're like, "Oh, I forgot about that, that, and that." You can cover more ground more efficiently, but don't all of a sudden say, "Well, I don't have to do it anymore. I'm going to work on playing video games and ChatGPT is going to do my job." We don't want to go that direction as people or as a society, because if we let the robots take over, I don't think we're going to like what they do with us.
George: Definitely battle against letting the robots take over. If the robots take over, that's not success. That's another third massive hurdle. What does success look like, how do we know we've journeyed into this artificial intelligence, SEO, AI-powered content generative, how do we know that we've hit success in your thoughts?
Chris: The tough thing is I don't think we know. I don't know if there is actually a marker, at least not for the long term. Maybe for the mid to long term that success is you're able to navigate this path, you're able to continue moving forward in your career at an individual level. As marketers, we are able to adapt to this technology and use it to do better marketing and to remain a key part of how that's being done.
In the short term, I guess it really is can you be better at your job, at your mission, and at what you're doing. That to me is success. If you can avoid the landmines along the way, you can become better in terms of what you're doing, more effective. Who knows? Maybe you can improve quality of life along the way, too. I don't know, but that's probably not crazy either. I would think those would be pretty good markers of success.
George: Very nice. I like those markers of success. As you've gone through this journey yourself, you even mentioned you're finding stuff on Twitter, educating yourself, trying not to put your head in the sand. You're on this journey, and as you do that, you gain what I'll call nuggets of wisdom. What are some words of wisdom that you would want to share with the Marketing Smarts listeners today about AI, or AI and SEO, or generative content, or maybe life itself?
Chris: I'll go in a different direction. Find out what it is that you want in life. Most people don't know and it's a lot of work to figure out what you really want. Most people just don't take the time to figure it out. Figure out what you really want. Some people are like, "I want to be rich." What do you want, what does that actually mean to you? At a concrete level, what does that mean? Figure out what you want and get a plan to go after it, create the future in life that you want with actionable plans and persistence. That would be my advice.
Set your own path. Surround yourself with people that are going places that you want to go. If you have people that are naysayers that don't go anywhere and that are negative, get those people out. Get on the right track. By the way, as you're on this path, I would be paying attention to AI and figuring out how you can use AI to help you power your path to where you want to go in life.
George: Marketing Smarts listeners, did you take lots of notes? I have to ask, what is your one thing, your number one execution opportunity after this podcast episode? Make sure you reach out and let us know in my inbox or on Twitter using the hashtag #MPB2B.
I also have to ask are you a free member of the MarketingProfs community yet? If not, head over to Mprofs.com/mptoday. You won't regret the additional B2B marketing education that you'll be adding to your life.
We'd like it if you could leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast app, but we'd love it if you would share this episode with a coworker or friend. Until we meet in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast where we talk with Vin Turk about CTV precision, unleashing the power of ABM to reach the right B2B audience, I hope you do just a couple of things. One, reach out and let us know what conversation you'd like to listen in on next. Two, focus on getting 1% better at your craft each and every day. Finally, remember to be a happy, helpful, humble B2B marketing human. We'll see you in the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Podcast.
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Published on September 28, 2023
Chris Rodgers, founder and CEO of Colorado SEO Pros (CSP), a specialized SEO agency with unparalleled expertise and capabilities that has been providing revenue-driven solutions to enterprise and SMB clients for 10+ years. CSP has 100+ years of combined SEO experience, and it serves a variety of sectors and industries including tech and AI, e-commerce, financial services, direct-to-consumer, edtech, crypto, the outdoor industry, and many more.
LinkedIn: Chris Rodgers
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