AI is Affecting SEO and Marketing — How to adapt?

May 20, 2024
Stratifi Technical Director working on marketing strategies for SEO and AI

Marketing has always been about connecting with your audience in the right place at the right time. With the advent of the digital age, this meant harnessing the power of search engine optimization (SEO) and social media to put products and services in front of highly likely consumers. We got better and better at narrowing target markets and producing conversion behavior. However, in the era of artificial intelligence (AI), these marketing and SEO strategies will fail.

We’re not there yet. SEO and Social Media are still the best “bang for buck” strategies most businesses can leverage to increase sales. But the day is coming. We need to start talking about it NOW.

The Challenge with Current AI in SEO and Marketing

Until recently, the process of getting new products and companies visible to potential consumers was relatively straightforward. Create content that aligns with what people are searching for (SEO) or craft engaging posts on platforms where your audience hangs out (social media), and you’ll likely see a decent level of engagement. Do it right, and that becomes “conversion”, e.g. sales, signups, or whatever the goal was.

However, AI is changing the game. Search engines and social media algorithms are increasingly powered by AI technologies that are not only smarter but also quicker at adapting to new trends. Not only this but increasingly people are using AI INSTEAD of search engines altogether. The problem? These AI models are typically based on data that is at least several months old. What does this mean for businesses relying on these methods?

Simply put, by the time your marketing strategy is implemented, the AI might already be out of date. This lag can result in missed opportunities and wasted resources as companies struggle to catch up with the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

The Impact of Outdated AI Models

Consider this: when a consumer uses an AI to seek recommendations, the advice they receive is based on models trained on possibly outdated data. This means that new or small niche products might not even be on the AI’s radar, simply because they weren’t part of the dataset at the time of its last training.

This problem, known as ‘model lag,’ can severely limit the visibility of innovative products and services entering the market. (Ironically, one of the biggest problems AI tools have in their OWN marketing is that often AI doesn’t even know to recommend itself as a solution to a user’s problem.) The rapid evolution of AI only amplifies this issue, as the gap between data collection and model training continues to widen, potentially causing new market entries to miss out on critical early exposure.

Opening the Discussion: Will SEO be replaced by AI and do we adapt our marketing to those changes?

Recognizing the challenge is the first step. The next step is figuring out how to adapt. This is where I invite you, the reader, to join the discussion. I don’t think anyone has all the answers, but I believe that it is a conversation we NEED to have. As marketers, we must begin to explore potential solutions that could help businesses stay ahead in this new AI-driven era.

This will likely be an entire field of study, but here are a few ideas we can explore together:

  • Continuous training of AI models. Instead of relying on outdated data, develop technologies that allow for real-time data processing. This could help ensure that the AI models being used are always up to date with the latest trends, user behaviors, and solutions.
  • Realtime access. While the model might be out of date, AI can be trained to do the research an actual consumer would do. Instead of relying simply on existing data, using sources such as social media, publications, and general internet searches, emphasis can be placed on up-to-date recommendations, rather than those pulled from archived model data.
  • Focus more on human creativity and intuition. While AI can analyze large volumes of data and identify patterns that might not be immediately obvious, it still lacks the human touch. Creativity and emotional intelligence are areas where humans excel and AI falls short.

How Will Marketers Adapt to how AI will affect SEO?

As we navigate this shift, it’s crucial for marketers to stay informed about the latest advancements in AI technology and to be flexible in adapting their strategies. This might mean embracing new technologies, rethinking old tactics, or even going back to the drawing board entirely.

What are your thoughts on the impact of AI on marketing? Have you experienced challenges in your strategies due to outdated AI models? How are you adapting to these changes? Join the conversation on our social media – We look forward to hearing your insights and ideas.

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