An Update Regarding AI SEO

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into search engine algorithms seems poised to revolutionize search engine optimization (SEO). As search engines such as Google and Bing further rely on AI technologies to better understand the intentions of users, deliver personalized search results, and improve the overall user experience, businesses will eventually need to adapt their SEO strategies to stay ahead.

The rise of AI-powered SEO has sparked a wave of questions and concerns, and you may be wondering about AI’s impact on various aspects of marketing, particularly in relation to Google’s recent update showing an “AI Overview” section at the top of search results. While the field of AI-powered SEO is still evolving, early reports suggest that these AI Overviews primarily cite pages that rank in Google’s top 10 search results.

To achieve a top 10 ranking and potentially appear in Google’s AI Overviews, businesses should adhere to the same fundamental principles of SEO that are emphasized in the following blog post. 

That means you should be focused on:

  • creating content that prioritizes human readers,
  • using proper page structure,
  • optimizing for mobile devices,
  • and following Google’s other relevant guidelines.

The AI Overview section of Google Search Central states [with our added clarity and emphasis]: “There is nothing special for creators to do to be considered [for the AI Overview section] other than to follow our regular guidance for appearing in search.”

While specific tactics for optimizing content for AI Overviews may emerge, the core factors that have traditionally influenced search rankings remain the primary focus for now. We are, of course, monitoring these evolving concerns and will share with our clients any relevant changes or adaptations they should make to stay relevant in the era of AI SEO.

By this point, most of our clients and prospects know that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important. A few are deeply aware of its importance—and the positive impact it has on their business—but SEO is often shrouded in mystery, with many myths and misconceptions arising over the years to might mislead even the most diligent marketing-minded business leaders. 

By debunking these myths, we aim to empower you with a clearer understanding of what truly matters in all things SEO. Our digital marketing manager, Kyle Wainscott—who dives into data and analytics every day for our clients—says, “Earning organic (free) traffic takes time. Google will sometimes index and rank a well-written page within a few weeks, but it usually takes many months. If we prioritize writing great content using the E-E-A-T formula, pages will rank and your traffic will increase—but you must be patient.”

Google wants high-quality content when indexing your website and ranking its relevance, usefulness, and authority on the subject(s) under discussion. E-E-A-T, by the way, stands for “Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” Leave it to Google to concoct a “formula” for the common-sense mantra we rely on here at Rare Bird: Write for readers first.

Kyle also says, “You can’t write a piece of content and then just optimize it before launch. The research, planning, and optimization should take place at the beginning of any content effort, before a word of content is written. Adding a few keywords to a short blog post will have little to no impact.”

He adds, “Google is becoming much better at understanding whether a piece of content is actually useful in answering people’s questions with practical advice based on real-life examples, rather than content that tries to play the ranking game. Content written for bots or even by bots (AI-generated copy) will not win in the long-term game that is SEO.”

Here are 10 SEO myths to set aside forever.

SEO Myth #1: One and Done

Contrary to the belief that it is something you can set and forget, SEO should be a diligent, attentive, and ongoing effort. Because SEO so heavily involves search engine algorithms and user behavior, the process is continuously evolving. Staying ahead with SEO means regularly updating your strategies and content to maintain and improve your rankings, and also keeping up with the latest developments. (For the latter, you can sign up for our free newsletter at the bottom of this article.)

SEO Myth #2: Keywords Don’t Matter Anymore

While the general approach to keyword usage may have shifted over the year, their importance hasn’t diminished. Keywords are still fundamental in connecting user queries to your content. But instead of keyword stuffing (bad! bad!), the focus has shifted toward working to understand your audience’s search intentions and incorporating keywords naturally into high-quality, relevant content.

SEO Myth #3: Only On-Page SEO Matters

On-page SEO is essential, but it’s only one part of the SEO puzzle. Off-page SEO, such as building quality backlinks, and technical SEO, which includes improving site speed and mobile-friendliness, are equally crucial for a comprehensive SEO strategy. There’s also image SEO and other less obvious on-page SEO elements to worry about, as well. Neglecting these aspects can significantly impact your site’s ranking and performance. Even a souped-up and responsive Google Business Profile can help your site’s SEO efforts. You must come at it from different angles.

SEO Myth #4: Social Media Efforts Boost SEO

While social media content can enhance brand visibility and drive traffic to your website, it doesn’t directly influence search engine rankings. Social signals, such as shares and likes, can indirectly benefit SEO by expanding your content’s reach, but ideally your social media output should supplement traditional SEO efforts, rather than supplant them.

SEO Myth #5: More Links = Better SEO

The quality of backlinks is more important than the quantity. A few authoritative and relevant links can have a more significant impact on your SEO than a large number of low-quality links. It’s about earning links that add value and trust to your site, rather than accumulating them indiscriminately.

SEO Myth #6: SEO Success Requires Frequent Strategy Changes

Adaptability is important, but constantly changing an SEO strategy can be counterproductive in some contexts. Effective SEO usually requires patience, consistent effort, and data-driven adjustments. Reacting hastily to every new trend can disrupt your progress, which can also happen if you’re not satisfied with early results and rush to take immediate action.

SEO Myth #7: SEO = Tricking Search Engines

The ultimate goal of SEO is to improve user experience and deliver valuable content, not to game search engines or trick them into delivering an audience to your digital doorstep. Getting backlinks, which are links from other websites to your website, is critical for SEO because such links affect a site’s ranking in search engine results. But bad backlinks—those that originate from spammy or low-quality sites, irrelevant sources, paid link schemes, excessive link exchanges, automated processes without editorial oversight, foreign language sites when unrelated to your audience, and over-optimized anchor text—are incredibly harmful to your digital marketing efforts because they appear manipulative or irrelevant to search algorithms.

SEO Myth #8: Meta Descriptions Directly Impact Rankings

Meta descriptions matter for click-through rates, as they give users a preview of your page content. However, they don’t have much direct impact on search rankings. Include them, of course—and craft meta descriptions that function with character limitations—but the goal should be to engage and inform potential visitors first and foremost. Sound familiar? Focus on creating quality content that provides what users need, no matter the context. Follow the guidelines search engines like Google release every so often. Be patient.

SEO Myth #9: Mobile Optimization Isn’t Necessary for SEO

More than 60% of web traffic is generated by mobile devices of one kind of another. With the increasing prevalence of mobile searches, having a mobile-friendly website is a must-have for SEO success. Mobile optimization affects not only your site’s ranking in mobile search results, but also the overall user experience, making it a critical component of modern SEO. Have you noticed how often this article mentions the “user experience” or writing for actual readers?

SEO Myth #10: If You’re Not Ranked First, You’re Last

Achieving the top position in search results is an excellent goal, but it’s not the sole measure of success. Though user satisfaction and the high relevance of a page or site can make top-five rankings incredibly valuable, other metrics—such as targeted traffic, user engagement, and conversion rates—are also important indicators of the effectiveness of your SEO strategy.