I was delighted to have an SEO-centric chat with Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Branding at Wix, who like myself, attended the Brighton SEO Conference in San Diego earlier this month. Mordy had some interesting conversations with fellow SEO professionals at the conference concerning the continued viability of today’s generation of popular SEO tools. Are they ready to take on the optimization challenges posed by generative AI, semantic search, and hyper-personalized results?
As Mordy notes, “the general sense I got, talking both on stage but also talking to average SEOs, is that they’re not. The SEO tools were built, I’d say, 15 years ago. At this point, not much has changed about them. Yes, they’ve added all sorts of bells and whistles and reports and graphs and this and that. But they’re fundamentally built on a link building model, which is clearly not where SEO is anymore.”
Mordy does acknowledge that today’s SEO tools do provide value in terms of their auditing capabilities but are far less useful when it comes to assessing issues relating to content gaps and content quality generally.
Our discussion then shifts to the topic of negative SEO and the potential for Google to accurately determine which links are toxic and require disavowing, with Mordy expressing skepticism about the need for the Disavow tool itself while noting that Bing’s Disavow tool has already disappeared. We then get into the issue of spam and low-quality sites which continue to pollute the web, despite the best efforts of search engines to ferret them out, and speculate as to whether AI will make an already dire situation measurably worse.
We trade notes on the issue of future-proofing SEO through content syndication and content co-creation and move on to a discussion about the importance of authenticity in influencer marketing. Then we tackle the issue of video SEO and the degree to which it is ignored by marketers, and chat about the continued viability of podcasts and other audio content.
Mordy and I agree that SEO – which has historically been a moving, evolving target – may be about to undergo more radical changes in the next few years than it has in the past two decades. As he notes, “something is changing under the surface of everything. Something very fundamental is changing. And I think it’s the combination of AI, obviously, but also user content consumption trends, which are changing very rapidly, and they’re very powerful.”