2019 has seen a slow-burning rise in anxiety about the threats posed by AI, and it could have big implications for the future of SEO.
Back in February, the creators of an AI-based text generator called GPT2 made waves by publicly expressing fears about the dangers posed by AI-generated content that would be indistinguishable from texts created by humans. Coupled with widespread fears about fake news and bot farms, and we’re not too far away from a full-blown AI panic.
But are these fears misplaced, and will the world of SEO copywriting be totally automated within 5 years as the doomsayers suggest? At greatcontent, we don’t think machine-generated contentwill conquer human ingenuity so quickly, or completely. Here’s why.
1. Emotions Increasingly Matter in Consumer Marketing
One of the ironies of the rise of SEO has been the consequent need for marketers to appeal directly to human emotions.
Social media and search engine users aren’t robots themselves (even if they are directed to pages by algorithms). They choose the content they trust, and the companies they patronise based on how well they appeal to their individual personalities.
You might say that humans have empathy and cultural instinct which allows them to persuade, while a content bot will always (at least for now) come across as flat and mechanical.
You can easily see this in fields like fashion content marketing, where buyers feel much more at home with brands that relate to them as humans – not cattle or money-transferring robots.
2. Brands Don’t Build Reputations on Keywords or Conversion Numbers Alone
One of the great strengths of using a content bot is the ability to churn out vast amounts of reasonably coherent texts with the right keyword density, and get them out on the web and ready to populate search engine results immediately.
But this is a far from the only purposes of SEO copywriting. As any company who has enlisted poor-quality copywriters or content mills will attest, focusing on keywords and basic facts isn’t enough. The content we create needs to do more.
Most importantly, each piece of human-generated content contributes to brand identity. The humour, style, and cultural references a piece of content contains all feed into social media conversations and public opinion. So even the most basic product description writing needs a human brain behind it, if companies want to maintain their brand’s consistency and quality.
3. Humans Can Become Part of Wider Communities
Even if machine-generated content creates logical articles which read well and capture a site visitor’s attention, it will always lack a key function: to become part of a wider ecology of conversations, opinions, and queries that make up effective websites and sales channels.
The best human generated content sparks conversations from readers. It also follows on from other articles or discussions, contributing something new and useful for visitors to use.
Artificial intelligence might be able to function as an article writing tool but it’s harder to envisage content creation software bridging conversations and building buzz in the way that humans can, and do.
Expect Major Developments from AI Content, But Not Total Domination
So where do we stand regarding AI-generated content? Are we on the verge of a clear-out of human writers, who are about to be rendered obsolete by an army of content bot alternatives? Probably not.
Machines already build some forms of article, such as economic and sports reports. And they will be used to create everything from product descriptions to landing pages in the future. But that won’t allow companies to dispense with the insights, humour, creativity, and empathy provided by human writers. Instead, some kind of synthesis is more likely – as humans and AI find their own niches.
In the meantime, and well into the future, greatcontent will try to prove the value of human-generated content. So if you need engaging descriptions or articles that will never be mistaken for the work of robots, get in touch and we’ll find a way to create the content you need.
Text: Sam Urquhart