Unlocking B2B potential: How AI SEO can drive B2B growth

In my 25 years of doing SEO, the one constant about search engine optimization is it’s always changing. Back in the early days of SEO (pre-Google), simple concepts like keyword density and other elementary tactics produced results. As time went on and Google ushered in the era of links, that opened the door to a whole new world of SEO tactics and strategies.  In the years since Google PageRank was the important Google ranking factor, other advancements have diversified what activities are necessary to be successful in growing SEO performance. These include resolving technical SEO issues and core vitals opportunities, social media alignment to SEO strategy, Schema implementation, and more recently, matching content to intent. 

Now, in 2023, the game continues to change because of the explosion of large language models that leverage artificial intelligence. ChatGPT, Bing Chat and Google Bard as well as other AI applications that use data for generative AI, modeling and predictive analysis are the new technologies that we must adapt to. 

In this article, we will explore what these new changes mean for B2B organizations that are trying to modify their existing SEO strategies to keep pace. 

What is AI SEO?

AI SEO is the application of AI technology to automate, enhance and optimize the process of search engine optimization to produce better results in less time. It consists of using artificial intelligence SEO tools to augment SEO strategy, process, tactics, data analysis, predictive modeling and reporting. AI SEO is the next evolution of SEO, and it’s just the beginning.

In simpler terms, AI SEO is like having a super-smart, professional SEO assistant who can do a lot of different things and do them faster than anyone else. For example, it can constantly learn and adapt to ensure your content is optimized for user experience and search engine algorithms. It can analyze vast amounts of data, identify patterns, and generate insights to help improve SEO performance by making correlations that a human would not be able to see.

These are just a few examples of the potential of AI SEO. The number of things AI SEO tools can do continues to increase daily and no one is quite sure yet what the upper limit of these new capabilities might be. The caveats, however, are that it often makes mistakes, needs very specific instructions, and all of its work needs to be checked for accuracy. That said, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks despite these limitations.

The Impact of AI SEO on B2B

As I alluded to in the introduction, AI SEO can be a game-changer, and this is especially true for B2B SEO. When we think about the difference between B2B and B2C SEO, we usually attribute the following to B2B: longer user journeys with multiple stakeholders (organization-based decisions), more long-form content, more data and user touch points that need to be analyzed to properly understand performance, and more diverse topical keyword sets. 

When AI technology is applied to strategies and tactics that address these common B2B SEO scenarios, it has the potential to help SEO professionals be more efficient, increase the velocity of content production, enable better (more profitable) data-driven decisions, and rank higher for priority keywords in search engines.

How Does AI SEO Help With B2B SEO Strategies and Tactics

AI SEO is just starting to scratch the surface in defining best practices and SEO workflows, capabilities and use cases. Here are some highlights of how we at BOL Agency are currently leveraging AI SEO tools to drive B2B organic search strategies:

Keyword Optimization with AI

Admittedly I am not a fan of relying on generative AI tools like ChatGPT to identify priority keywords because they usually aren’t connected to a data set that is reflective of current search engine trends. However, there are tasks within the keyword research process that I am prone to use those tools for. 

For example, they can help with brainstorming around keyword ideas, topics, topic clusters and even summarizing keywords from competitors. Keep in mind though that those recommendations still need to be checked against a reliable data source that can accurately infer the relative opportunity between the identified terms. 

There are more advanced tools that are connected to a reliable database that can provide more curated lists of potential keywords. For example, Keyword Insights seems to hold a lot of promise for analyzing and collecting keyword data based on estimated search volumes, being able to create keyword clusters quickly, and creating content briefs based on that research. Full disclosure: I have not tried this tool yet. 

Putting keyword research into a user-friendly interface that allows SEO professionals to make data-driven decisions in a fraction of the time that it used to is one of the most important use cases for AI SEO.  

Automated Content Creation and Optimization

AI can also automate the process of content creation and optimization. By analyzing your existing content and comparing it to high-performing content in your industry, AI can suggest ways to improve your content and make it more appealing to search engines. I know Google’s official position (for now) is that AI content is fine if it serves the user. 

Conversely, there are several SEO folks on Twitter that have reported sites gaining and then quickly losing traffic by relying on AI content generation. I don’t personally have data to back up those claims but in the world of SEO, you use history and in some cases trusted third-party testimonials to place your bets on tactics that mitigate risk. Especially if you don’t own the website that you are optimizing. 

So for these reasons, I am not a proponent of using generative AI to create content without much human editing, oversight and addition. I’m sure that a lot of folks will disagree with me about that but, especially in lieu of the new Google Perspectives filter and the recent emphasis on authorship via Schema, I’m guessing that Google (and users) will ultimately care more about content written by humans with experience, expertise, authority and trust.

Having said all that, much like keyword research, there are some tasks related to writing new content that generative AI and AI SEO can augment to make SEO professionals and writers more efficient. For example, 

  • creating an outline
  • generating text that can be used as a springboard for the final copy
  • rewriting sentences to include additional keywords or entities
  • writing content briefs
  • researching a topic or idea
  • doing competitive research based on what is currently ranking in search results
  • summarizing other documents, Webpages and videos 

These are all tasks that tools like ChatGPT are very good at. They do occasionally make mistakes but fact-checking or correcting those mistakes is still usually much faster than trying to do the same task without an AI tool.

I have used all three of the biggest generative AI tools (ChatGPT, Bing Chat and Google Bard) for all of these activities, as well as Frase.io and SEOClarity’s new AI functionality. Additionally, there are many tools that look promising that I haven’t had a chance to try yet like On-Page.ai, Jasper, and SEO.ai

More familiar to most marketers, HubSpot has a brand new suite of content creation tools that look interesting, as well as SEMRush. For the sake of full transparency I am not compensated for mentioning any of these tools nor am I providing an endorsement or review for any tools listed in this article. I mention SEOClarity because I have used their product for 17 years and I have access to their new technology as it rolls out. 

The AI SEO Tool space is exploding with new products, new features and new functionality at a pace that is astounding. Understanding, evaluating and being able to leverage new AI SEO tools is going to be part of every SEO professional’s job description going forward. One of the resources that I use to keep track of all the emerging SEO content tools that you might find useful is AI Hunter

Lastly, on the subject of content creation and optimization, I will mention that ChatGPT is a good source of ideas for content specific to user journeys. If you are adept at creating good prompts you can oftentimes glean some solid ideas for what kinds of content to produce for your customers at each stage of the buying process. Conversely, it is also good at rewriting existing content for a different vertical or user persona and can help streamline that process. It is also effective at translating content (again you need to QA the results).

The bottom line is that AI SEO tools can dramatically increase the velocity of your content production which is critical for you to stay competitive in the current B2B SEO landscape.

Page Title and Meta Description Optimization

I feel like creating a good page title takes a fair amount of SEO strategy and experience based on the target keywords, site hierarchy, what kinds of titles are prominent in Google for the target keywords and what messaging is going to be most likely to attract clicks. If you know nothing about SEO, then AI tools will probably be better than nothing for optimizing page titles. Personally, page titles are not something I like to use AI to create. 

That said there is a case to be made for creating page titles at scale for large numbers of pages when it isn’t practical to optimize each one individually. There are use cases where this makes sense and would likely produce better results than not leveraging AI.

Unlike page titles though, meta descriptions are a perfect use case for AI SEO tools. Often the trick with writing a good meta description is to:

  • restate some of the more important target keywords - which improves the chances that the meta description will be used as the text snippet in SERPs for those keywords
  • include a compelling value proposition to the user that differentiates your website from competitors

…all in 155 characters or less so that the messaging isn’t truncated in search results. Solving this language logic problem is a perfect application of generative AI.  

The only caution, if you use ChatGPT for this purpose, is that sometimes it doesn’t count characters particularly well and can be repetitive if you are using it on multiple pages. As previously mentioned, check any work produced by generative AI Tools for accuracy. 

AI SEO Goes Beyond Content

When it comes to AI-enabled SEO, we’ve only scratched the surface. Check out part two where we go beyond content and dive into AI-enabled linking, analytics and reporting for B2B SEO.