Mastering SEO and AI in Content Strategy With Kruti Khandelwal
Dive into an enriching conversation with Kruti Khandelwal, an expert on marrying SEO and artificial intelligence within the content strategy. This interview peels back the layers of the inherent value of SEO and showcases how innovative technologies like AI are revolutionizing content production. Khandelwal gives us a deep insight into the market research required for delivering business value and stresses the rising importance of content clusters. The conversation also explores the emerging trend of AI-generated content and its future scope while retaining the essence of the human touch in content editing.
Kruti Khandelwal, Marketing Director at Yellow.ai, in conversation with Rishabh Shekhar, Co-Founder of Pepper Content, encapsulates a comprehensive guide into the dynamic world of content strategy and SEO, accentuated by the promising power of AI.
1. Tell us about your journey.
With over 17 years of experience, I've grown from a newcomer to a seasoned professional in the ever-changing field of SEO. The industry has evolved immensely, shifting from focusing on link building and keywords to a more human-centric approach, considering user experience, content structure, and engagement.
One of my defining moments was working with an e-commerce startup in the home furniture and decor niche. Launching buyer's guides and glossaries helped us skyrocket traffic, setting the stage for future achievements. I also had the privilege of being part of a startup for a big brand, witnessing remarkable growth through process automation and optimized page launches.
Another highlight was leading a project that boosted a leading wallet company's paid experience score from zero to an impressive 98%. The impact was immense, leading to substantial growth for the company.
I think today there are a lot of AIs available in the market with a lot of advancement, but somewhere the human touch is still missing.
2. In your opinion, what are the top three most important things in SEO right now?
First and foremost, adopting a mobile-first approach is a must. If you're still fixated on the desktop, it's time to shift gears and prioritize mobile. Be sure to consider desktop entirely, but given the industry's shift towards mobile usage, it's vital to put mobile first.
Secondly, content plays a pivotal role. It's not just about churning out content; it's about creating meaningful and valuable content. Building content clusters that align with user needs and interests can significantly boost your SEO efforts.
Lastly, pay attention to the technical aspect of SEO, where automation comes into play. Take a deep dive into your crawl stats and focus on the technology and infrastructure of your site. Understand how Google bot interacts with your site and optimize accordingly.
By prioritizing these elements, you can be on the right path to improving your SEO strategy and staying ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
3. In your experience, what is one common mistake companies make when trying to improve their SEO game?
Based on my experiences with various companies, one common mistake I've noticed is their expectation of instant results when investing in SEO, and that too with minimal manpower. While building the SEO function, some companies tend to be impatient and want immediate outcomes, similar to what they expect in performance or brand marketing. However, SEO doesn't work that way. Companies need to understand that SEO is a process that takes time and patience. Unlike other marketing efforts, you can't see overnight results. Numerous dependencies, such as content and product optimization, require time to set up and enhance. Search engine bots, like Google bot, also need time to comprehend and index the changes you've made to your SEO infrastructure.
Hence, companies must be patient and open-minded when embarking on their SEO journey. Instead of expecting instant results, they should focus on building a solid SEO strategy and giving it the time it needs to deliver sustainable and long-term success.
4. According to you, what framework should companies use to determine how much they should invest in SEO?
When building an SEO strategy, it's essential to consider the market size and the online opportunities available in the next three to six months. I like to create a one-year roadmap with numerical targets whenever possible, which I then break down into smaller milestones for three and six months.
The key to crafting a practical roadmap is clearly understanding the business and organizational goals. By aligning the strategy with these goals, we can ensure our efforts contribute to the company's overall success. Market research and competitor analysis are crucial in determining the necessary actions, such as launching new pages, creating content clusters, and allocating resources.
Once the roadmap is ready, we prioritize tasks for three to six months, setting clear objectives for each stage. With a comprehensive plan, we present it to the business stakeholders, seeking their buy-in, especially when the strategy is closely aligned with the organization's objectives. Using this approach, we can build a strong SEO strategy that delivers tangible results and helps the business thrive.
5. As a founder, if I ask you how to determine if I should invest in SEO and the critical method I should consider, what would your advice be?
To demonstrate the business value of investing in SEO, I follow a back-calculation approach. For instance, let's take the example of a study abroad domain I'm currently working on. Firstly, I analyze the search potential in the study abroad market to understand its size. From there, I estimate how much market share we can potentially capture as a first step in the strategy.
Next, I present a clear roadmap detailing how much traffic we can attract over a year, emphasizing meaningful traffic. This traffic projection further translates into estimated conversions, providing a tangible understanding of the potential business outcomes from the SEO efforts. For startups starting from scratch, industry benchmarks are a reliable reference point. However, if historical data is available, I also consider historical benchmarks for more accurate estimations.
This data-driven approach allows me to effectively showcase the business value of SEO investment and provide a concrete roadmap for achieving growth and success in the competitive digital landscape.
I would say that to show the business value, there is a back calculation that you have to do; how much search potential is there for a particular industry.
6. What are your thoughts on the future of AI in content writing, particularly in terms of SEO content?
When discussing the future of content and SEO, I see multiple trends emerging, with AI playing a pivotal role in driving one of these trends. Content will undoubtedly continue to dominate the digital landscape, but it's no longer about mindlessly creating content. Instead, the focus is on building content clusters that provide comprehensive and valuable information to users, making websites a one-stop destination for their needs.
AI comes into the picture as a clever tool, helping with fact-checking, content generation, and more. While AI-generated content is a possibility, human editors are essential to ensure accuracy and add that human touch that is often missing in purely AI-generated content. Though advancements have been made, the complete humanization of AI-generated content is yet to be achieved.
AI and human expertise can help in covering content clusters efficiently. AI can assist in generating content, and human editors can then spend time refining and proofing the content before making it live. This way, we can deliver valuable content that boosts search engine rankings, fosters user engagement and builds brand trust.
AI undoubtedly shapes the entire industry but comes with its unique challenges. As we navigate the future, the seamless integration of AI and human creativity will be crucial in driving the next content and SEO evolution phase.
7. What tools do you currently use in your SEO and content work, and do you consider them adept?
In my experience, many tools in the market excel in various aspects of SEO and content analysis. However, one significant area where most of these tools seem to lag is aligning traffic with the project's scope. While tools like SEMrush are helpful for topic research and scoping, they don't provide a comprehensive view of how much of the scope has already been covered.
The missing piece is a tool that seamlessly connects your website's analytics, like Google Analytics, with your target scope. This way, you can have a holistic understanding of where you currently stand in relation to your set objectives. Currently, this crucial connection needs to be present, and as a result, users have to toggle between multiple reports and tools to gather the necessary insights.
8. What is your one piece of advice to someone who is just starting a career in the SEO industry right now?
I believe that while the basics of SEO are crucial, it's essential to recognize that the traditional approach is no longer sufficient. SEO professionals must possess technical knowledge and skills in today's dynamic landscape. I've encountered many newcomers in the industry who need this technical expertise, but it has become a vital aspect of modern SEO.
SEO's no longer just about link building and content marketing; it requires a multidimensional approach. You need to think holistically, considering technical aspects, user experience, content optimization, and more.
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