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Publishers try generative AI tools for SEO

Publishers try generative AI tools for SEO

April 7, 2023 * 4 minutes read * By Sara Guaglione

Illustration of a robot speaking to a person.

Ivy Liu

ChatGPT and Bing are two examples of AI chatbots that could pose a threat to publishers if they siphon off search referral traffic from their sites. However, not all publishers are ready for SEO-driven content to be removed.

Companies like Bustle Digital Group are moving away from SEO-driven articles, which are pages that answer specific search queries such as “Who won the 2023 women’s NCAA basketball championship?”. They have lost their value over time due to their inability convert readers to subscribers and build brand loyalty. Instead, they are producing original stories and visuals and personal takes.

Ingenio, BuzzFeed, Team Whistle and Gannett are also exploring how generative AI technology could be used to support their publications. Their SEO strategies, including optimizing headlines and keywords for search, and finding new topics to create content around in order to drive traffic.

It is not clear how successful these strategies will be. Traffic has not increased exponentially since Ingenio began to experiment with generative AI for search engine optimization at the end 2021. However, Josh Jaffe, president of media, stated anecdotally at last week’s Digiday Publishing Summit in Vail Colorado that traffic has “gone up.”

Ingenio, which owns sites such as Astrology.com and Horoscope.com, is “still waiting” for some dream interpretation pages it created using AI around popular search query to be combed, analyzed, and included in Google’s search databank. He also said that the company’s celebrity birth charts, also created using AI, will rank higher on Google’s search engine.

Team Whistle uses AI to generate metadata to its videos on social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Noah Weissman, evp for content, claimed that more of these videos have gone viral due to the technology. Team Whistle has over 176,000 views on TikTok. This video uses AI to assist with metadata, research, and scripting. A YouTube video with AI tools has more than 425,000 views and an Instagram post has over 59,000 likes.

Ingenio uses the technology on the back-end for headlines, keyword research, product descriptions, meta tags, and generation of meta tags. Published more than 1,000 articles on popular search queries Use generative AI to create your Horoscope.com or Astrology.com Since the beginning of 2022. Jaffe stated that the publisher is currently working on over 100 articles about the compatibility of each sign on Horoscope.com and thousands of articles on Astrology.com about different tarot cards combinations.

Jaffe stated that there is a cost to creating content and a return on each piece created. He stated that “we could never justify spending money on an editor or writer” to create pages on “long-tail” queries that aren’t searched as frequently per month as the most popular topics in astrology and horoscope.

Jaffe said, “But we can justify automating it to a large degree by using these generative AI instruments to create that content.

Team Whistle posts between 30 and 50 TikTok videos per day. AI can help determine which keywords to include in TikToks to help them get surfaced by the platform’s algorithm, Weissman stated.

Weissman stated that Generative AI helps Team Whistle identify the most searched or highest-performing topics on social networks to create videos. He said that the technology can also be used for creating meta tags from TikTok videos to upload them to YouTube. Team Whistle uses Glasp, an extension tool that generates a summary of a YouTube clip in seconds. This can then be optimized to optimize for SEO.

Other publishers are also exploring how generative AI could improve their SEO rankings.

BridgeTower Media has a task force that includes a head for SEO and web development. David Saabye is the svp for digital product management at this B2B media company. He said that generative AI can be used to support SEO is “part” of the evaluation of the opportunity.

According to a spokesperson, BuzzFeed is testing generative AI for SEO purposes. A spokesperson said that Gannett is still in the early stages with testing AI technology for SEO processes such as keyword research and data analysis. However, nothing has been implemented yet.

Forbes does not use generative AI for SEO. However, Vadim Supitskiy, chief digital and information officer, stated in an email that “it absolutely could possibly be a tool that helps optimize for SEO in some way down the road.”


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