AI has become a hot topic all over the world. The Economist recently had an interesting read on AI, and a Google engineer recently made news by saying that a chatbot was sentient, making many think of bad sci-fi horror movies. In the midst of all the noise, there is value in AI though for your business.  I’m not here to rip on AI, but to help small business owners understand how to harness it for their own benefit in regards to SEO, PPC (Google Ads), local search, and other types of digital marketing.

I wrote a post some time ago about making sure you know how to use the tools. A tool is useless if you don’t know how and why to use it. AI can be very powerful, but it can also leave your website or y0ur ad campaign a mess if you trust it fully and don’t have anyone at the controls. Algorithms and robots can do many calculations very quickly and help make decisions for your business on the fly, but they still need to be pointed in the right direction, and at the end of the day, one of the differentiators in online success is “information gain” and adding value to help you stand out from the crowd.  You need to add your own flavor and business knowledge to the formula to actually make it work for you and not against you. Beware of the people selling tools to just turn on the AI and let it go.  We are still at a time where this will most likely drive you into a digital ditch.

Harnessing AI in Small Business SEO

AI can definitely be used as a tool to make life easier. As SEO tools get better and automated writing tools get more proficient, we can lean on them more and more, but as I recently pointed out, we still need to keep an eye on things. AI has gotten pretty good at covering the bases and saving time coming up with the core content of a service page, but you still want to add your own information about your individual processes and why you are better than a competitor. Any AI tool that is used for content writing or even technical SEO still needs to be monitored. I have seen AI make some horrible decisions because it is still built on assumptions from very general data, and we all have very specific market niches.  It also doesn’t have the “brain” to create good information gain. It can mostly just spit out the most generic core pieces that you need to add to and build on. That being said, it can do a great job at getting you started with the structure and basics of your post before you add the detail at the end. There are tools that can help with this if you know how to stay on top of them.

AI for Google Ads and PPC

PPC campaigns and Google Ads are just swimming in data decisions. From targeted ROAS or CPA’s to measuring quality score based on landing page experience or ad copy.  There is a lot of data swimming around in there to use for decisions.  But again, you have to be careful relying on AI, especially the AI of the system you are paying money to. I have seen many businesses lose lots of money letting Google make their decisions. Google is focused on making money themselves, which usually centers on giving you just enough success to keep advertising. You will often see them tell you that you can get X number more conversions if you lower your ROAS target, etc. Typically we are here to make money, so ROAS is important. They would rather have you just spend more, and that is typically the heart of their suggestions.

All of that being said, using AI for target ROAS or CPA can be very helpful to help eliminate as many tweaks and adjustments on a day-to-day basis as in the old days. You just need to be sure you are measuring the right results and feeding the system properly. If you know what you are doing, it can do wonders. Or if you hire someone that knows what to use and what not to use in regards of AI.

Continued Success Using AI for Small Business Success

We have been examining and choosing the best AI options for clients for years. Curating tools that really help vs those that cost a lot of money to deliver something that a free plugin also provides. It is always a balance.  Make sure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot by letting the computers make your most important business decisions, but if you can control the AI and keep an eye on it, it can really launch your business into greater success.