Nitin Rustagi

Vice President of SEO at

Mastering SEO in the Age of AI With Nitin Rustagi

In the age of AI, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) remains of paramount importance as it plays a crucial role in ensuring that digital content is discoverable, relevant, and valuable to users. AI-driven search engines constantly evolve to deliver more personalized and contextually relevant search results to users.

To stay ahead in this dynamic landscape, mastering SEO becomes essential for marketers and content creators.

In this interesting conversation, Kunal from Pepper Content is joined by Nitin Rustagi, Vice President of SEO at to discuss all this and more.

Discover the best practices, tools, and strategies to stay ahead in the SEO game while embracing the advancements brought about by AI. Whether you are an entry-level marketer or a seasoned professional, this blog offers valuable insights to help you master SEO in the age of AI.

Here are some excerpts.

1. Tell us about your journey so far.

My journey in marketing, especially in SEO, began in the early 2000s when the internet was still in its nascent stage in India. Back then, internet access was limited, and I was fascinated by the potential of the web. I started exploring websites at cyber hubs, where you could pay for hourly internet access.

This curiosity led me to work with Indian Gypsy in New Delhi, where I delved into website development and marketing. Over the years, I have worked with various companies, including a US-based agency, NADA or Kanshens INC, and Times Internet Limited, gaining experience in content, technology, and product aspects of SEO.

During my journey, I witnessed the evolution of content and search engines like Google and Bing. In the early days, SEO was simpler, relying on keyword densities to rank higher. However, as search engines became smarter, manipulative tactics were no longer effective, and quality content became essential.

I currently hold the position of VP at PolicyBazaar, where my expertise lies in content marketing and writing, particularly in the insurance niche. We focus on keywords related to various insurance types like term insurance and health insurance, strategically targeting top rankings. Our content creation process involves extensive research to ensure high-quality and valuable content that aligns with user intent. We take care to include relevant facts to provide users with the information they seek.

In sensitive categories such as insurance and health, we exercise caution when writing content. For instance, when working with a medical consultant, we defer to their expertise to ensure accuracy and credibility. Websites in these fields often address questions related to health concerns, and people today turn to the internet for information before consulting a doctor.

2. How have SEO strategies evolved over the years?

As search engines like Google and Bing became smarter, they developed more sophisticated algorithms to provide users with more accurate and relevant search results. As a result, keyword density and other black-hat SEO techniques lost their effectiveness, and quality content became a crucial factor for website success.

With advancements in technology, search engines now focus on user intent and context, providing users with more personalized and contextually relevant results. This has led to a shift in SEO strategies, emphasizing valuable and user-focused content creation. Content marketing has gained prominence, where marketers not only need to produce high-quality content but also ensure its effective promotion and distribution on various platforms like social media and SlideShare.

Moreover, the rise of AI has impacted content creation and marketing. AI tools can assist with content outlining and scaling production, but human research and expertise are still essential to ensure accuracy, credibility, and relevance in sensitive areas like insurance and health.

As technology and AI continue to evolve, SEO professionals and marketers must stay updated, adapt their strategies, and be prepared to embrace new tools and technologies to stay ahead in the ever-changing search landscape.

3. How has technology, particularly AI, impacted content creation and marketing strategies?

While AI can efficiently generate content outlines and suggest topics, we still rely on human expertise for research and writing, especially in the insurance industry where accuracy and credibility are paramount.

AI can assist in scaling content production, but we believe that thorough research and human touch are necessary to provide valuable and reliable information to our audience.

As of now, our team is in the experimental phase of incorporating AI technology. We have not fully implemented it, primarily due to the nature of the insurance industry, which requires precise and personalized content. While AI-generated content might work for generic topics, sensitive subjects like insurance and health demand human involvement to ensure the information's correctness and relevance.

In the future, we might explore using AI for content outlining or less critical topics. However, the core content creation will still involve a human touch to maintain the highest standards of quality and meet the specific needs of our audience.

4. In your experience, where does content lie in the overall marketing framework, and how important is it for a website's success?

In my experience, content holds a central position in the overall marketing framework, and it plays a critical role in a website's success.

Content is like the bread and butter of any website, providing valuable information and engaging the audience.

However, for a website to truly succeed, content cannot stand alone; it needs to be complemented by technology and proper marketing strategies.

Having great content alone is not enough; it must be presented effectively using appropriate technology, such as user-friendly layouts and seamless navigation. A balance between content quality, technology, and marketing efforts is essential. Content should account for around 30-33% of the overall strategy, while other elements, like product quality and marketing, also contribute significantly to a website's success.

Content, along with context and user intent, remains essential. AI can assist in scaling content production and generating outlines, but human research and expertise are crucial for providing valuable, accurate, and relevant content. While content is undoubtedly king, its effectiveness relies on a holistic approach that incorporates technology, marketing, and user-focused strategies to achieve optimal results on the web.

5. As the industry rapidly evolves, what advice do you have for entry-level marketers looking to shape their careers?

As the industry rapidly evolves, my advice to entry-level marketers looking to shape their careers is to stay updated and adapt to the changing landscape. The next two years will be crucial due to the emergence of new technologies like Google's bar and advancements in AI. As search engines evolve, marketers must understand how to integrate their content effectively.

Being prepared for continuous change is essential. Stay informed about the latest trends and updates through blogs and industry news.

Focus on building adaptable strategies that can evolve with the shifting landscape. Be open to embracing new tools and technologies that can enhance your marketing efforts.

In this rapidly changing environment, content marketing will continue to play a significant role, but it may undergo modernization and incorporate AI tools. As a marketer, be ready to explore AI-driven solutions and personalized software for more targeted and efficient campaigns. Embrace the opportunities that arise from advancements in technology and keep learning and experimenting to stay ahead in your career.

Get started with Pepper’s Content Marketing Platform.

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