Nailing organic search in an AI world – where are we now?

Azeem Ahmad, ASSA ABLOY; Chrystal Carter, Wix; and Areej Abuali, Crawlina
For this session, we had 3 verifiable SEO legends take to the virtual stage.  This Q&A panel covered how AI has impacted SEO, and what you can do about it. Highlights included: It was a session full of love and wonderful humans sharing resources and compliments.  Watch the full webinar back above, or read on […]

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For this session, we had 3 verifiable SEO legends take to the virtual stage. 

  • Azeem Ahmad is a digital marketer with almost ten years experience in multichannel marketing, currently working at ASSA ABLOY.
  • Crystal Carter is the Head of SEO Communications at Wix who loves to help SEOs and Wix users understand how to drive digital results.
  • Areej AbuAli, is an SEO consultant, the founder of independent agency, Crawlina, and the founder and chief community builder at Women In Tech SEO – a global community for women in the Technical SEO field.

This Q&A panel covered how AI has impacted SEO, and what you can do about it. Highlights included:

  • 🧩 Discussing what has changed and what remains the same
  • 🧠 Learning how to approach your SEO efforts in this AI world
  • 🕵️‍♀️ Finding out how you can apply it in your own world – particularly if you’re working with little or less than you’re used to.

It was a session full of love and wonderful humans sharing resources and compliments. 

Watch the full webinar back above, or read on for the key takeaways.


A positive reminder from Areej:

“SEO is a lovely industry that is all about knowledge sharing. I’m seeing lots of experimentation, discussion and case studies going on, and I love the collaborative nature of it all. It can definitely feel a little bit overwhelming at times and there’s a lot of change in the world of AI and SEO, but it’s definitely exciting.”

👀 Has AI changed the game in SEO?

Crystal – The generative space has evolved, but it’s not been introduced in the last year. For example, featured snippets have been powered by AI since they were invented. Tools like Google Translate and Google Lens are all powered by machine learning and AI. So, it’s important to remember in all of the hype, that AI within SEO is not brand new.

What that means for marketers and SEOs, is that you don’t necessarily have to follow people who are shouting the loudest. Instead, think about who has been in the space for the longest – this is where you should be looking for help and information to inform your own efforts. 

(We’ve made a list at the bottom of this summary of all of the incredible people and resources that Crystal, Areej and Azeem recommended in this Q&A).

👀 Has ChatGPT changed how you approach your work?

Azeem – With a solo marketer’s hat on, I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed, with the rise of these pieces of tech is that lots of marketers’ mindsets have changed. If you’re someone who has to look after every marketing channel, it can be easy to try to use ChatGPT to cut corners. Whilst you might get quick wins upfront, in the long term, this could come back to haunt you, and I’d encourage people to remember to apply their expertise when using new tools.

Crystal – I always advise people to use AI to amplify their intelligence, rather than to substitute their intelligence. Use it to do more with what you have.  

👀How are you using AI tools in your day to day activity?

Areej – I like to think of AI tools as my brainstorming buddy, especially when I’m working solo or with small budgets and low resources. So, I try to use tools to speed up tasks that I might have done manually in the past. Recently I started using a tool called Keyword Insights for a very big content project. Instead of wasting time on spreadsheets, AI (the tool), did a part of the job so I could spend the time coming up with a proper content plan that the team could go ahead and implement for the next few months.

If you are working solo/with a low budget/don’t have people to help you with some of the analysis, think about using tools that are powered by AI to help you with that, and invest your time in working on the strategy.

Crystal – From a content creation perspective, AI tools like Chat GPT can be really useful to help you get your head around a specific subject area and industry jargon. You can ask tools to help summarise what you need to know and it can be a great way to streamline your discovery process and point you in the direction of where you might need to do some more research. 

Azeem – In SEO, a lot of day to day activity can feel laborious and slow. The right tools used in a productive way will help you speed up and move the needle faster in your respective businesses.

👀 Do you think Google will penalise AI-generated content if this is even possible?

Crystal – No. Linkedin recently published a whole folder of articles called Collaborative articles.

Essentially, the way these work is that Chat GPT generates all the bits between questions, and then people add in the perspectives and answers. These articles have existed for a while, but they’ve only recently started to see traffic this spring. And that’s because Google has been trying to keep up with Bing this year. So I don’t think that Google has any trouble with AI content at all. I think they want to be competitive and if you’re doing it well and declaring it, and you make sure everything is factually correct, then it can be hugely beneficial. 

👀 Is the age-old objective to rank number one or number zero on Google still relevant?

Azeem – I don’t think the aim is to rank at the top on Google anymore. I think there’s a split between people who are trying to game the algorithm for as many clicks and short term wins as possible, and then there are people who are keen to genuinely provide information and content that is expertise-led. 

And it is in your best interest to prioritise creating helpful content. We can see that in the amount of videos and Tiktoks that are appearing on SERPs. The ways to win going forwards?
Try to be helpful and demonstrate your expertise. Focus on what your users actually want rather than just satisfying an algorithm.

Areej – To add to that, we’re also starting to see more and more the importance of building brand authority. It is essential for us to remember to use EEAT (expert, experience, authority and trust) in our content to contribute to building the brand into a stronger and more trusted content source. As marketers and not just SEO specialists, that’s exciting for us to keep in mind, and to work out how we can amplify the work of other members of the marketing team.

👀 If you had just one hour each week to work on SEO, how would you spend it?

Crystal – I would make a video about something the business is knowledgeable. I’d film it, post it on Youtube, transcribe it (use a tool to create the best transcription possible), upload the transcription to my website, embed the Youtube video on my website, and then go back to the video on Youtube and add the blog post URL under the Youtube description.

Video is something that Google is leaning into a lot but lots of people are overlooking it. 

Areej – I feel like we spend far too much time on our own websites and can forget to notice what our competitors are doing. I’d spend time looking at their websites and remind myself what the SERPs for our keywords look like. Going through that manual process could give you a few ideas for what your website might not be doing. I’d spend an hour taking things back a step and putting myself in the shoes of the folks who visit my website – working through what the journey looks like for them.

Azeem – Diversify where your traffic is coming from. If you’ve only got an hour, create video, create audio, create different types of content and leave text alone for a while because you’ve probably got a website full of it.

3 key takeaways

💻 If you haven’t already set up your Google Search Console, go away, do that and your day will be made better.

🕴️Use AI tools like a marketing assistant who can handle the laborious, manual tasks, so you can focus on higher level work.

🎥 Create videos about topics you’re an expert in and embed them on your website!