By Published On: May 23, 2024

With the cat&tonic team of humans building the set and directing the show, our trusty robot stagehand—ChatGPT—is helping us create a wildly informational, up-to-the-minute blog series about its favorite topic: AI. This is the second one:

It feels a little strange to ask ChatGPT to predict the future of itself, but no human really knows what’s to come, so we thought, why not?

In our first blog in this series, we explored the areas of SEO beyond the foundational best practices that content creators, website owners, and search experts should start exploring now. For this blog, we asked ChatGPT to tell us how search engine algorithms might evolve as AI advances.

It started by telling us something we already knew: SEO will change significantly. Because, as AI becomes more sophisticated, search engines will develop deeper capabilities in interpreting, predicting, and satisfying user queries.

Here’s a look at where things could go:

Understanding Intent

Search engines algorithms will start to understand the intent of a user, like whether they’re looking for information, intending to make a purchase, seeking a specific website, or exploring a topic for research. For SEO, this means content needs to be created that more precisely matches these intents and contexts. It won’t just be about targeting specific keywords.

More Personalization

Search results will likely become even more personalized, with AI using data on users’ past behaviors, preferences, locations, and even the devices they use to tailor results. SEO strategies will need to adapt by focusing not only on general best practices but also on creating diverse content that can meet a wide range of needs and preferences.

And then there’s the data and privacy aspect, which will impact what’s possible with this type of personalization. The irony here is Google’s stance on third-party cookies: while the search engine may know exactly what someone’s intent is, those of us tasked with creating content will likely be guessing.

Improved Semantics Analysis and Natural Language Processing (NLP)

This is a fancy way of saying that search engines will get better at understanding the meaning behind content, beyond the superficial level of keywords. This could lead to a decreased emphasis on keyword density in SEO and an increased focus on creating content that genuinely covers a topic in depth, leveraging related concepts, synonyms, and thematic elements. We like the idea of this, as the current focus on keywords leads to shallow and copycat content in topics explored, vocabulary, and format. Bring on the fancy words.

Voice Search Optimization

Voice searches are expected to become more accurate and widespread. SEO will need to evolve to accommodate more natural language queries, focusing on how people speak rather than type, which often involves longer, more conversational phrases. If you’re not already creating content that answers questions as a human would ask them, it’s time to start. Consider watching Jeopardy for inspiration (yes, it’s on Netflix).

Visual and Video Search Enhancements

Search engines will get better at understanding and indexing visual and video content. This means SEO strategies will need to include optimization for images and videos, ensuring they are tagged correctly and accompanied by contextually relevant information. If you’re not already doing it for accessibility and watch time on social media, it’s time to start providing captions and transcripts for your video content. This will likely be one of the easiest things you can do to improve search results.

Predictive and Proactive Search

With the assistance of AI, search engines could anticipate user needs and provide information proactively, based on patterns of individual behavior and broader trends. SEO might then involve optimizing for predictive search scenarios, focusing on content that meets users’ needs even before they actively search for it. This one intrigues us too—we’re going to become mind readers! (Future blog to come on this.)

Content Authenticity and Quality

With AI’s ability to evaluate the authenticity, reliability, and quality of content, the future of SEO will likely emphasize original, well-researched, and high-quality content more than ever. Techniques aimed at gaming the system will become less effective, pushing SEO towards more genuine value creation.

When we asked ChatGPT about the best way to creative original, high-quality content that provides real value to an audience, it assured us that humans are the way to go. AI isn’t competing with us, so it won’t be giving preference to lower quality content just because one of its cousins wrote it.

EAT Factors (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)

The importance of EAT is expected to grow as AI becomes better at assessing the credibility of websites and authors. This means SEO efforts will need to include clear demonstrations of expertise and authority, such as through expert authorship, citations, and user engagement. This might be the strongest argument yet for humans to become thought leaders in their fields. We wrote a blog on why people should be posting on social media to grow their career. This is yet another reason to do so.

Driven by AI, the future of search engine algorithms suggests a shift toward more natural, user-centric, and content-focused SEO practices. Success for companies will require a deep understanding of both users and technology, with a focus on creating content that is genuinely useful, accessible, and engaging. As a consumer, you’ll get better results as search engines begin to understand the context in which you’re searching. If you’re a B2B buyer or seller, you’ll no longer get drowned out by consumer applications. It’s an exciting time for everyone.

But wait, there’s more

Want more marketing and branding insights? Sign up for The Scratching Post, our monthly newsletter for smart marketers.

About the Author: cat-tonic

cat-tonic
Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
What we know today about the SEO of tomorrow
Marketing Needs Rehab