Will AI kill keyword gurus in 2020?


letter oneThe Internet grew. New terms like search engine optimization (SEO) created thought leaders, book publishers, keyword specialists, and gurus of search.

Our vocabulary created many enterprising business models in the last decade.

We promised the corner cupcake store owner higher rankings on search engines. She got data on traffic, visits, referrals, direct hits, and examples of organic growth, half of which she never understood.

We became experts in search making money on similes, metaphors, and the unused thesaurus. But one thing remained clear: websites that created authentic, fresh, valuable content gave search engines a run for their money.

Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes coffee for you, runs your inventory, manages your supply chain, and delivers profits. AI will easily drive your web traffic to the top spot of search engines.

You don’t need a digital marketing agency, a search engine specialist or a keyword expert. The middleman will vanish.

Firms like WordLift, Woorank and Alli AI are helping businesses get higher search engine rankings without an intermediary. If you have reached maturity in online marketing you will rely more on AI this decade rather than search engine experts.

But folks like me will depend on books like Word Power Made Easy, by Norman Lewis. There is a difference between original and artificial in our vocabulary and that will never go away.

Cross-pollinating content: Where will it take us?


pollinationDuring my school days, an elderly biology teacher taught us cross-pollination in  simple terms. Today, it’s interesting to see how content gets cross-pollinated across multiple platforms.

By definition, cross-pollination of content is very simple. We dust  pollen off, in this case, words into every conceivable content platform we can. Our craze for repurposing has led us to rewrite less. Instead, we spend more time identifying keywords for search engine optimization. As content gets monetized, we forget ideas that really impact the bottom line. What do consumers want?

In our hasty bid to create, market and cross-pollinate content, we sacrifice authenticity for choice words . We engage in a mechanical, thesaurus hunting expedition sacrificing creativity. We look for platforms to cross-pollinate content and forget, to quote William Zinsser that rewriting is harder than writing. Are we creating content that provides a new user experience, adds value and moves an individual’s decision-making process?

Research from Hubspot says that adding 15 new pieces of content will increase traffic on your site five times more. Great! But is that traffic relevant? At a recent seminar, content marketer Arne Keunn  gave out some statistics showing the growing power of sharing content online. Here are a few observations: 93% of people use search before making purchases, 86% of search is for non-branded items, 90% click on organic clicks versus sponsored advertisements.

According to renowned writing coach, Ann Wylie, marketers should be “attention creators,” not just content creators. Once you know what your customers want, develop content that is easy, intuitive and usable. Think strategically about cross-pollinating content across different platforms so that in every medium you become an attention creator. Optimize content for your audience, your audiences’ devices and promote it through your website. Make it fresh every week. Today, marketing begins and ends here.