Answering our queries as a chatbot, personalising our Facebook feed and recommending the next serial killer documentary we watch on Netflix…now it wants to write our content! With AI continuously advancing, should SEOs and other content writers be worried about what the future holds?
This may or may not be a surprise to you but there’s already AI-powered content generating services out there. If you’re still sitting pretty at your desk writing content, feel assured that your role is still valuable. The thing is, AI isn’t yet up-to-scratch (or at least, the more advanced AI isn’t yet available or too expensive for the majority of businesses), but it is continuously learning, becoming bigger; better - okay, I may have raised your blood pressure again but what if AI could be your friend and actually aid your SEO efforts? In this article I’ll share what AI is currently able to achieve in the way of content creation, the pros and cons of using AI and what the future could look like for SEO writers.
It appears that there is fear amongst many content writers that AI could replace them in future, with some people suggesting that AI could take over content creation entirely in the years to come. Personally, I’m not worried about this. Admittedly I was a little skeptical at first, but I believe that no matter how much content a robot dishes out, it will always lack the creative and pioneering views that us content writers have*.
What’s more, AI content creation tools could be beneficial for large ecommerce sites who write copy for thousands of products. Marketers can now benefit from automated product descriptions, put together by AI scanning the internet for information from manufacturers’ websites and discovering other relevant details about your products to generate unique copy. Let’s face it, a human couldn’t create thousands of these per hour, but that does not make them invaluable (especially if you’re using AI which isn’t always accurate - someone needs to prove their work!). SEOs can then take a look and optimise this copy the way they usually do.
How does AI work?
AI (Artificial Intelligence) learns from data. You feed it information about a topic, product or service and it will use this data to create an article. After being trained, AI is then capable of extracting certain features from the data to create an output. Whilst some forms of AI may require human intervention (telling it how to extract information), there is more advanced AI out there which can teach itself to perform this. The issue here is that if you want AI to piece together natural and conversational content which impersonates a real human, you’ll need to give it a lot of data.
GPT-3 is OpenAI’s language generator, AI that can generate content using pre-trained algorithms. It’s a highly advanced AI content creation tool which is trained with over 175 billion learning parameters and can create anything with a language structure - impressive, right?
Last year, The Guardian published an article written entirely by GPT-3 - It’s essentially a 6-minute read on how AI isn’t going to overthrow the human race and that we can trust it (see below snippet).
I’ll be honest, this article made me feel slightly uncomfortable and although it was trying to convince me that AI wasn’t a threat to humans and our livelihoods, it somehow did the exact opposite (perhaps it was the mention of blood and gore? It sounds like AI just wants us to eradicate ourselves through all that fighting!) Anyway, after reading this article, it was obvious to me that it had been written by a machine. The copy wasn’t coherent enough and it really lacked personality - which reassured me that SEOs and content writers around the world are still needed to create high-quality content.
The pros and cons of of teaming up with AI
For those of us working in digital marketing, there are both benefits and drawbacks to using AI to generate content. Whilst many of you may be hesitant to run into AI’s arms and skip off to the sunset, others may be curious and ready to explore how AI could actually enhance our work. Here’s some of the main pros and cons i’ve put together for AI and content writing:
1. You can improve efficiency in your role
From developing strategies, writing quality content, auditing sites and performing technical SEO checks to liaising with clients, as an SEO specialist, you’ll be juggling many responsibilities at once. Now, there’s no doubt that many of us here are passionate about writing great content and ensuring it’s a hit for search engines as much as it is for readers themselves, but it is undeniably time-consuming. Whether you have writer’s block or not enough time on your hands, AI can make content suggestions and ease some of your writing hardships.
With more time freed up, you can focus on other pressing tasks and spend time proofreading and editing AI’s copy. That said, at this stage, AI may just be beneficial for ecommerce sites and writing simple product descriptions. If you read what GPT-3 wrote for The Guardian, you may waste more time rewriting what AI put together for large content pieces.
2. You can create more content
Marketers will be able to post more content to their site to engage their target audiences. This will help businesses to be consistent with the amount of content they push out there so that they can continue to build their brand and share relevant information.
3. You can take on an editorial role to ensure quality control
You could step back and allow AI to write the bulk of your content, but you can cast your eyes over it to ensure there aren't grammar mistakes, to add your own personal touch and add any parts that AI might have missed such as links to your brand’s key services to the copy afterwards.
1. Content will lack creativity and forward-thinking
At the end of the day, AI is not an SEO specialist…nor is it human for that matter! Whilst AI is incredibly good at interpreting data sets and quickly churning out content, it simply lacks the creativity of a content writer. Yes, it may be able to replicate our tone of voice and conversational style, but it simply can’t think the way we do and form its own opinions. It has no emotional intelligence. Our experience, research, training and social interactions are what helps us to shape our opinions and inspire others. AI’s content is surely doomed to be stale and trapped in the present with its lack of initiative.
2. We could become reliant on algorithms
In order to produce well-written, SEO-friendly content, AI will rely on algorithms. The issue here is that any SEO knows that algorithms alone aren’t enough to produce inspiring content that grabs the attention of your target audience. We need to consider user intent above all and cater to users’ needs - not just create content that gets a nod from Google.
3. AI isn’t advanced enough yet
As mentioned, AI is good at spitting out high volumes of content, but this raises the debate of quantity over quality. It’s unquestionably impressive how AI has advanced thus far, but copy written by AI will still require the expert eyes of SEOs themselves to check everything is in order.
4. Content generated by AI can be expensive
Yes, there are some impressive AI content generating tools out there but they come at a price, a price which many businesses won’t be able to afford, leaving them with their less articulate counterparts which probably won’t impress their customers and other online users.
So, what could the future of content writers look like?
If and when AI does finally advance to a level where it can impersonate us unnervingly well, what’s left for us? Well, we could see ourselves taking on more of an editorial role, where we proofread the content that AI has produced. More importantly, as SEOs, we could also focus more of our time on developing the content strategy and ensuring that we are meeting our clients’ targets.
Essentially, we may just have to bite our tongues and work alongside AI as it evolves, blossoming into an SEO apprentice and reshaping the way we do things around here. In AI’s early days, many people were quick to fear it and the security of their jobs, however, we now know that marketers can integrate AI tools into their workflow rather than it overpowering us. Really, we just need to better understand the capabilities of AI and find a working balance where SEOs and AI can collaborate harmoniously. AI can produce the content quicker, but we can enhance it with our innovative minds and play a big part in research and strategy development. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat 'em’, join ‘em!
Looking for HUMANS to develop your content strategy?
Here at Adido, our team of SEO specialists in Bournemouth are ready to help you develop your content strategy so that you can drive more organic traffic to your site and successfully convert more users. Why not get in touch with us today to see how we can help?
Hungry for more information on AI? Check out our blogs on ‘How AI is changing the future of digital marketing’ and ‘Will AI replace UX designers’.
*If 10 years have passed and it turns out that I was wrong, I hope you’re enjoying your new day job.