SEO in the Age of AI: Still Human After All

SEO in the Age of AI: Still Human After All
Panchanit Thawornwong
Content Specialist
SEO in the Age of AI: Still Human After All

SEO is straightforward: it's about connecting with people searching online for what they need. This is the ethos that Phuwit (Toon) Limviphuwat, co-founder of Criclabs, lives by. Transitioning from journalism to digital marketing, Toon has seen firsthand that behind every search is a person looking for answers.

In our discussion with Toon, we uncover essential insights and strategies for making SEO more human-centric. This conversation highlights the shift towards understanding and engaging with the audience on a personal level, emphasizing collaboration and technology as tools to amplify human interaction, rather than replace it.

Q: Despite advancements in AI and search technologies, how do you maintain the "still human after all" approach in SEO strategies?

As AI and search technology continue to advance at a rapid pace, the landscape of SEO is undergoing a remarkable transformation. These advancements offer opportunities to tailor search experiences, making them more intuitive and responsive than ever before. 

However, amidst this technological evolution, the importance of a human-centric approach remains paramount. It's a reminder that at the core of every search query is a real person looking for an answer. Against this backdrop, Toon highlights the vital role of collaboration in SEO, emphasizing that the most impactful strategies emerge from the collective efforts of diverse teams.

Toon points out that the most effective strategies are the result of joint efforts from teams with varied expertise. According to Toon, "AI's ability to predict patterns and optimize processes is invaluable, yet it falls short in grasping the complex nature of human emotions and needs." He believes that the essence of impactful SEO strategies lies in the blend of technological precision with a deep understanding of human intent.

The synergy of creative storytelling, emotional engagement, and technological insights, fostered through teamwork, keeps the human element alive in SEO. Toon elaborates that, "This partnership across different disciplines enables us to formulate strategies that are not just data-driven but also resonate with users on a personal level. Integrating the art and science of SEO, we aim to deliver content that is genuinely useful to the end-user."

Committing to a "still human after all" philosophy ensures that SEO strategies are not just technically proficient but also enriching, aligning with the real needs and emotions of searchers, thereby adding substantial value to their online experiences.

Q: What led to your 'aha' moment in understanding the key driver of SEO?

The catalyst for Toon's pivotal insight into SEO was a seemingly minor change—a domain name update—that led to a significant drop in web traffic. This moment highlighted the fragile balance of online visibility, propelling him to explore beyond SEO's technical aspects to its core purpose.

"The moment I realized SEO was less about appeasing search engines and more about engaging people was transformative," Toon shares. His exploration revealed that SEO success hinges on a deep understanding of user intent and behavior. "It’s not just about getting to the top of search results; it’s about being the best answer to someone’s question."

Q: How do you balance the rapid advances in technology with the need to stay human-centric in SEO?

As the digital domain continues to evolve, with innovations like AI and search generative experiences shaping the future of SEO, staying grounded in the human-centric approach is more crucial than ever. Toon advocates for leveraging technology as a tool to enhance, rather than replace, the human connection.

"The introduction of AI and other advancements offers incredible opportunities to refine and personalize the search experience," he explains. "However, the end goal remains unchanged: to connect with the searcher on a human level. 

He further states that, “while our strategies must evolve, our focus on understanding and meeting the needs of users must remain steadfast."

Q: In an era where data is king, how do you ensure that your SEO efforts retain a human touch?

While data drives many decisions in SEO, Toon warns against becoming overly reliant on metrics at the expense of the human experience. "Data informs our strategies, but it's the human stories behind that data that truly shape our approach," he explains. 

By integrating qualitative insights with quantitative analysis, SEO professionals can create more nuanced, empathetic strategies that resonate on a personal level.

"To ensure our SEO efforts remain human-centric, we focus on user experience, content relevance, and accessibility. It’s about crafting content that not only ranks well but also genuinely helps and engages the user."

Q: How do you tailor SEO practices in response to the growing dominance of AI search technologies?

In response to the growing dominance of AI search technologies, tailoring SEO practices has become essential to remain competitive and effective. As AI search technology advances, it introduces a significant shift in how information is found and consumed online. Recognizing this, Toon underscores the importance of evolving SEO strategies alongside these technological advancements.

The adaptation process involves a comprehensive understanding of AI's capabilities, such as natural language processing, which is crucial for refining SEO tactics to better match AI-driven search queries. Moreover, it's imperative to enhance content so that it aligns with the intricacies of these queries, ensuring that digital platforms can seamlessly interact with AI algorithms to maintain optimal online visibility.

Toon asserts, "Adapting to AI search technology is more than just keeping up with tech trends; it's about reshaping our SEO strategies to cater to the sophisticated ways in which information is now being sought and consumed."

This proactive stance ensures that SEO practices are not only up-to-date but are also designed to meet the user's needs with greater accuracy and relevance in an AI-dominated search environment.

Q: Looking beyond Google, how do you view the role of SEO in the broader context of digital marketing and online presence?

Toon views SEO as a critical component of a holistic digital marketing strategy. "SEO isn't just about improving visibility on Google; it's about establishing a brand’s online presence across multiple platforms," he elaborates. This involves integrating SEO with social media, content marketing, and email marketing efforts to create a cohesive and comprehensive online presence.

"The role of SEO extends beyond search engines. It’s about creating a consistent and engaging brand experience across all digital touchpoints."

Q: How do you measure the success of your human-centric SEO strategies?

Success in human-centric SEO goes beyond traditional metrics like rankings and traffic. "We look at engagement, user satisfaction, and conversion rates as key indicators of success," Toon shares. This approach involves analyzing user behavior, feedback, and interaction with the content to gauge how well it meets their needs and expectations.

"Ultimately, the success of our SEO strategies is measured by the value they deliver to the user, whether that’s through providing useful information, solving a problem, or making their online experience more enjoyable."

Q: With the digital marketing landscape constantly evolving, how important is it to stay agile in your SEO strategies?

In the fast-changing digital marketing world, being agile in SEO is crucial. The SEO field changes rapidly with new technologies and shifting user behaviors. 

Toon highlights the need for adaptability, stating, "Staying agile lets us adjust to these changes proactively, not just reactively." He points out the significance of ongoing learning and strategic flexibility, which allow for SEO practices to not only keep up with but also stay ahead of the digital curve.

"An agile SEO strategy quickly adapts to search engine updates and user engagement data, making sure our actions meet our audience's current needs."

Looking Beyond Algorithms to The Future of SEO

Looking ahead, Toon believes that while technology will keep advancing, the focus on the human aspect of SEO will grow. He sees a future where technology enhances our ability to connect with users, making search experiences not just faster but more meaningful.

Toon's perspective on the future of SEO isn't fixated on algorithm changes or new technologies. It's about using these tools to deepen our understanding of users and provide answers that truly matter to them, ensuring the digital space meets real human needs with authentic and relevant content.