Blogging has a list of deceased tactics longer than the French Revolution. Micro niche sites, autoblogging, affiliate sites, and keyword stuffing – they’re all blue and cold.
Ours is a gelatinous industry. It’s constantly shape-shifting and oozing into new territory. It’s a short hike from the future to the past. Anyone remember Romenesko? No? Exactly. Farewell, best of 2005.
Our latest competition doesn’t come from each other, but from our Franken-creations: the ‘bots.
I want to talk about (or even better, think about) how AI and Google will change blogging for long-tail keywords.
What Is the Future of Info Blogging?
You’ve probably heard that the future of small-scale blogging is authority sites focused on long-tail search queries.
I would agree that long-tail keywords are perfect for small blogs – but that’s incomplete advice.
Because the robots are coming for your job.
(Or at least some of your long-tail keywords.)
Long-Tail Keywords Invite AI Competition
Conventional advice for beginning bloggers has been to focus on long-tail keywords because:
- Competition is lower
- Search intent is more defined
- Commercial intent is higher
You can even pay a small salary for SEO software that will “calculate” the relative value/competition of a longtail keyword.
But some long-tail keywords can be:
- Easily answered by AI-generated content
- Quickly answered by an Intelligent Assistant, like Siri
- Displayed on a native Google result, like a Featured Snippet
Do you really want to be competing with Jasper AI, who has read 10% of the entire internet? Or answer more questions than Siri? Or vie for shelf space with Google, who literally owns the search engine that gives you breath?
There’s more to long-tail keywords than volume and impressions.
Play to your strengths, I say. As the saying goes: “Man is a slow, sloppy, and brilliant thinker; computers are fast, accurate, and stupid.”
Why AI Will Take Over “Easy” Blogging
As I wrote in my review of Jasper, I expect AI will rapidly dominate “easy blogging.” If I didn’t care about 10x content, I could easily churn out 5,000-10,000 words a day with Jasper. I could write about everything from computer software to interior design.
You see, AI is like a crowdsourced Britannica Encyclopedia. The robots can parrot anything that’s already been written. How well will your 30 minutes of Google “research” compare to a robot that has read 10% of the entire Internet and thinks at 500 WPM?
So if your strategy is to regurgitate, parrot, or curate others’ original research, then I think the robot will be much better (and cheaper).
Why Google SERPs Will Steal Click-Through Traffic
I have a rule about blogging: If Siri or Alexa can answer it, I don’t write about it. Because these are the sorts of topics that Intelligent Assistants or Google results can – and will! – answer for you.
Google is unapologetically trying to keep search results on their platform. They’ve tried the Google Answer Box, the Side Wiki, the Knowledge Graph, Featured Snippets, etc. And more stuff like this will keep coming out. Less than half of Google searches result in a click-through.
If a search question can be answered in a paragraph or less, I don’t really see the value as a blog post.
We must write content that Readers want to read! We must write content that is best answered by a thoughtful blog post, not content that just could be answered by a blog post.
How to Write Bot-Proof Content
Don’t be frightened by the bots. They’re here to stay. And they can take care of the laundry, clean the house, and research the stuff that needs a quick n’ dirty answer.
Instead, let’s focus on the long-tail content that humans are better at. Avoid No Sh*t Sherlock writing.
- Product reviews: Yup, only humans (so far) can write a decent product reviews! The catch, of course, is that you must have personal experience with the products or services.
- Product comparisons: Similarly, only humans can write a unique product comparison – so long as you’ve actually compared products, and you aren’t just reciting specifications.
- Technical content. AI is best at the easy stuff. I wouldn’t trust an AI to fix my car, though. Write content that requires a high level of technical knowledge, and break it down for easier reading.
- “It depends” content. If there’s not one specific answer, great! Walk the Reader through the possibilities with clear pros and cons.
- Be controversial. Bots are just bits of code, after all. They can’t choose a side. You can. Indulge your inner Karen and distribute advice generously.