Spoiler alert: AI will actually help SEO.

🎶 I hope your month sounds like 1989 Janet Jackson:

In this edition:

  • Will AI actually help, not kill SEO?

  • How I’m using AI at work in May

  • AI vs. Hollywood

  • Q&A with Ruth Favela, AI Marketing Specialist @ Tomorrow.io

Note: I’m looking for your feedback! Newsletter too long? Too boring? Too something else? Respond and let me know your thoughts so far or just say hi 🙋🏻‍♀️

FWIW: Will AI actually help, not kill SEO? I think so.

Okay, come here. Yeah, you…come here for a sec.

Can I be honest with you? Can we get a little vulnerable with each other here in this safe space?

Here we go: Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be an SEO. Like really embarrassed. Damn — felt good to say that.

Don’t get me wrong, I also LOVE it. I love it in a way that maybe makes me a workaholic, but it’s just that…SEO has a terrible reputation. 😣

Which, fine. SEO used to be really hack-y and gross (lest we forget the white-text-on-white-background days of yore), but thanks to Google’s ever-increasing focus on content quality, SEO has really had to step up its game over the past several years.

Luckily, there is a new change on the horizon that’s gonna make SEO step up its game even more: AI. Ever heard of it?

As someone who does SEO and content at an AI company, I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking not only about how I’m supposed to tackle SEO in the breakneck-fast AI industry, but how what we’re doing every day at Jasper will change how all of us do SEO in any industry.

Here are the biggest changes on my mind lately…

Blog-only content mixes? I don’t know her.

Have you taken a look at the SERPs lately? What used to be “ten blue site links” is now a handful of site links and then some other mix of:

  • Ads

  • Videos

  • SERP features like Featured Snippets and People Also Ask

  • Links to LinkedIn and Medium articles

  • Links to Tweets and Reddit threads

  • Links to TikTok videos

These types of SERP changes were already making competition fierce, but AI will make that competition even fiercer as companies ramp up their content creation and compete for increasingly-limited Google real estate.

With a flood of new content competing for just a few existing site link spots, it has never been more important to diversify away from a blog-only content strategy and distribute your content via other platforms that are showing up in search.

We might have to learn TikTok now, and I’m truly sorry for us all.

This doesn’t mean you should ditch your blog or other on-site content, but it does mean that it shouldn’t be your only tactic for driving organic growth via search engines.

Which means that…⤵️

You can no longer put Baby SEO in a corner silo.

The gap between SEO as a performance channel and SEO as a brand channel was already closing, and with all these new SERP changes, we’ll see that gap start to diminish at an even more rapid pace.

To diversify your content mix in search, SEO can’t be in a silo. SEO now needs to be one of your most collaborative marketing channels. I think we’ll see SEOs work a lot more closely with:

1. Social media: This is a no-brainer given the inclusion of LinkedIn articles, tweets, and TikTok links in search. Especially since Google is rumored to be implementing more social and creator content into the very-near-future of its search engine.

2. PR: This collaboration was probably already happening to some extent on your team, but as competition increases, off-page brand signals like media mentions and high-quality backlinks will become even more important.

Partnering with PR to make sure your company and its products are being talked about properly across other sites could also prove to be really important for future AI chat optimization.

Example: Let’s say I want Bard to spit out a couple sentences about Jasper every time someone asks “how can I use AI for marketing?” Because I don’t fully know where Bard will pull those responses from every time, it may be helfpul to collab with PR to really tighten up our brand presence and make sure other sites are talking about us in a way that tees us up as an answer to that question.

3. CRO: Low- or zero-click searches have been here for a while thanks to SERP features like featured snippets and people also ask, but new features like AI chat could reduce click-through rates even more.

This means that the traffic you do get needs to convert, and that’s why I think…⤵️

Content CRO is gonna be a whole Thing™️.

Reduced traffic doesn’t necessarily have to mean reduced returns if the traffic you get converts.

While traditional CRO efforts are focused more on big money pages and sign-up flows, I think we’ll see a lot of SEOs and content marketers start to use CRO tactics to make sure their content is actually performing and readers are taking the intended action.

This is an area I’m really excited to grow in and experiment with at Jasper, so don’t be surprised if there’s a future newsletter on the topic.

Ultimately, AI will force SEO to be better and I’ll no longer have to be embarrassed about the grift-ier parts of the SEO days of yore.

As more companies adopt AI and we see that explosion of competition in the SERPs, we don’t need to panic.

It may sound scary, but I think it’s really just a chance for us all to take a step back, look at what we’re creating, where we’re creating it, and figure out how to make it better.

And isn’t that we’ve been wanting more of all along?

Next month: Why the “you can’t be creative with AI” narrative drives me absolutely insane. 😵‍💫 🥴

How I’m using AI this month

Automating blog outlines

Jasper released its API in April and I’ve loved playing around with it. This month, I’ll be using it to automate blog outlines.

Here’s my process:

1. Create a Google Sheet with columns for “Blog topic”, “Main keyword”, “URL slug”, and “Outline”.

2. Connect the Jasper API to my Google Sheet. Whenever I create a new row, Jasper will create an outline based on my blog topic and main keyword in the “Outline” column.

💡 Tip: If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how the hell to hook up an API to a spreadsheet. I learned by asking AI.

I asked Jasper Chat how to connect an API to Google Sheets and I got step-by-step instructions along with the actual script to add. 🤯

3. Then, this will trigger my Zapier zap. Zapier will take all the info in my new spreadsheet row and create a new article draft directly in my Webflow CMS.

4. Now, my outline is already in my CMS waiting for me to tweak and expand.

5. Rinse and repeat at whatever scale you’re comfortable with!

In the news: AI and the WGA writers’ strike

B2B writers aren’t the only ones nervous about AI, as shown by the huge part AI is playing in the WGA writers’ strike.

Excerpt from The Hollywood Reporter article above:

“‘The challenge is we want to make sure that these technologies are tools used by writers and not tools used to replace writers,’ says Big Fish and Aladdin writer John August, who is also a member of the WGA’s 2023 negotiating committee. ‘The worry is that down the road you can see some producer or executive trying to use one of these tools to do a job that a writer really needs to be doing.’

That’s already happening, according to Amy Webb, founder and CEO of Future Today Institute, which does long-range scenario planning and consultation for Fortune 500 companies and Hollywood creatives. She notes, ‘I’ve had a couple of higher-level people ask, if a strike does happen, how quickly could they spin up an AI system to just write the scripts? And they’re serious.’”

My response to these studio execs would be the same as it would be to any content managers or directors who may be thinking you can remove humans from the writing process: Respectfully, don’t be stupid. You will immediately regret this. AI can help your writers make sense of their ideas or outline their script, but you’re not gonna get an episode of Succession without the human secret sauce.

I get b(AI) with a little help from my friends: Ruth Favela

Ruth Favela is a Salt Lake City, UT-based marketer working remotely for Tomorrow.io, the world's leading Weather and Climate Security Platform, and the first weather and climate-generative AI.

Tell us a little bit about you and your role at Tomorrow.io.

Tomorrow.io invented weather intelligence—technology that replaces traditional forecasts and raw weather data with actionable, scalable intelligence. We deliver this through a SaaS platform and Weather API, which brands like Uber, Delta, National Grid, and more use to improve operational efficiency, automate risk management, and customize resiliency plans.

I’ve been with Tomorrow.io as their AI Marketing Specialist for almost two months now, and I’ve loved it! I’m generally focused on content, so a lot of SEO, social media, and product marketing, with an emphasis on using AI tools to get things done. I’m looking into anything and everything related to marketing + AI and thinking through different ways to implement AI into our current processes.

Since it’s only been a couple of months, I’m still deep in the weeds of discovery—I’m reviewing current processes, understanding our product and audience, investigating new AI tools, and soaking up as much marketing AI education as possible (including the Marketing AI podcast) to keep up with all the noise.

How does it feel to be sitting in one of the very first AI-specific marketing roles? Exciting? Overwhelming?

It’s a little of both. 😅

Exciting for many reasons—everyone at Tomorrow.io is pumped about this role, and I could tell from the moment I began the interview process that it was really going to impact things; I’m also just really proud of myself for having the growth mindset I’ve had to get myself into a role like this and seeing my own growth is pretty cool.

Definitely also overwhelming, though. There is just SO MUCH going on every day in the world of AI, and not just as it relates to marketing.

As someone who was specifically hired to run marketing using AI, how have you approached incorporating it into your team processes and workflows?

My mindset is that AI is meant to enhance our capabilities and help us do our jobs more efficiently. I’ve been using AI specifically for content, which is really the basis of our functional strategy. As I work through a process for incorporating AI into current content-related processes, I’m also thinking about how they can be applied more broadly. Here's my typical thought process:

  • Educating My Team

    • AI can be kind of daunting if you haven’t had much exposure to it. Since Tomorrow.io has AI built into its product, my team has some familiarity with it. I actually started my role the week that GPT-4 launched, so I had to educate myself on a new tool and then share that knowledge with my team. I wanted them to understand how it worked and what it could be broadly used for, which is key for any AI tool you’re implementing.

  • Assessing Current Processes

    • We need to understand what the current process looks like for various marketing tasks in order to best optimize using AI. How do new blogs happen? Product announcements? Meetings? How do we get new designs? Stuff like that.

  • Identifying Use Cases

    • Out of the tasks we’re working on, how long are they taking us to do? What parts of those tasks take the most time? For me and my content tasks, it’s usually research and brainstorming to get started that can be difficult. But this can be a lot of stuff from summarizing, analyzing things, brainstorming ideas, coming up with rough draft copy, etc.

  • Choosing the Right Tools

    • There are so many AI tools right now. it’s key to make sure the ones you pick work for what you’re working on.

  • Implementing & Testing

    • Because there are so many tools, don’t be afraid to test them out and then find new ones that are better. As you try different tools, and see if they can help, you can take over the more time-consuming tasks with those tools.

  • Checking Results

    • Check your results and then iterate from there. Specific to what I’m doing, I’ll likely create benchmarks for different tasks and try to optimize based on those metrics.

What’s your favorite way to use AI?

For ideation! I’ve been a remote employee for a while now and sometimes having people to bounce ideas off of isn’t possible.

With ChatGPT, I’ve been able to get started on tasks for new topics and industries I haven’t been exposed to and do it a lot faster. Plus, it’s really awesome at helping you plan hiking trips.

What are your favorite AI tools right now?

I’ll give you three: Frase.io, Descript, and ChatGPT.

I’ve used Frase and Descript for a while now, and Frase helped us scale a blog at the first startup I joined. Then I looove Descript because I’m not a video editor by any means and Descript has some awesome features to speed up repurposing video content. And ChatGPT has just been such a great assistant with getting ideas and doing long-form content.

What are you most excited about for the future of your role, or the future of AI in general?

AI tools are only going to get more powerful, and I’m fascinated to see how the ecosystem changes and adapts. At Tomorrow.io, we’re using AI within our own product as well as looking into other tools that can help us do our job faster—it’s a unique position to be in, and I’m just thrilled to be part of the journey.

How can people keep up with your work?

Definitely visit our website and follow Tomorrow.io on LinkedIn or Twitter.

We’re doing amazing things (including launching an upcoming first-of-its-kind satellite constellation!) to transform how the world operates around the weather. This team is phenomenal, and I’m excited to see where we go next! ✨