The ethics of AI in SEO and why humans are still (just) better

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As the use of artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more and more widespread in SEO (search engine optimization), especially due to the phenomenal success and widespread appeal of ChatGPT, there are growing concerns about the ethical implications of these practices.

SEO alone is a veritable gold mine, with a global market set to reach $122.11 billion by 2028, according to a research and markets study. Not surprisingly, AI has become an attractive tool to save time and therefore increase profitability and the ability to serve more customers.

In the world of SEO, continuous data processing and analysis is required. AI tools can help automate these tasks and improve overall site performance at scale. But there are some major hurdles regarding AI’s SEO dominance over humans.

How AI is changing the game

Bloomreach conducted a study in customer engagement and found that B2C shoppers spend 82% of their shopping time searching for and browsing the right content. This underscores the importance of long-tail searches, which are often overlooked by marketers. AI integration can help address long-tail searches by identifying matching content and presenting relevant pages that aren’t typically linked to the search.


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SEO audits are crucial in identifying issues like broken links and duplicate content that can negatively affect a website’s search performance. However, these audits can be complex and time consuming. AI-powered SEO tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Spyfu provide comprehensive audits and reports on keyword searches and organic research trends, highlighting issues and ways to improve website performance.

The biggest challenges of AI in SEO

From bias and discrimination to data privacy and security, a number of important issues need to be addressed to ensure AI is used transparently, responsibly and fairly.

One of the biggest problems with using AI in SEO is bias and discrimination. AI systems are only as unbiased as the data they are trained on, and if the data is biased, the AI ​​system will learn and perpetuate that bias. This can lead to discriminatory practices, such as promoting certain websites or content over others based on factors such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status. To combat this, it is essential that AI systems are trained on diverse and inclusive data sets that reflect a variety of perspectives and experiences.

Another big concern is privacy and data security. The use of AI in SEO often involves collecting and analyzing large amounts of user data, which can raise privacy and data security concerns. If the data is collected without the user’s consent or used in ways the user did not expect, this may violate their privacy rights. To address these concerns, AI systems must be designed with strong privacy and security protections, such as strong encryption and secure data storage.

Transparency and accountability are also critical issues. AI systems can be difficult to understand and interpret, making it difficult to hold them accountable for their actions. In SEO, this can lead to problems like opaque algorithms that prioritize certain websites or content over others without clear explanations or justifications. To address this, AI systems need to be designed with transparency and accountability in mind, for example by providing clear explanations of how they make decisions and allowing for external audits and oversight.

Deception and manipulation are also major concerns. AI systems can, for example, enable the creation of fake news or the manipulation of search rankings. This raises concerns about the impacts on public opinion and democracy. To combat this, AI systems must be designed with safeguards such as requiring transparency and accountability for sources of information and content.

Job loss and economic disruption are major concerns. As AI systems automate many tasks previously performed by humans, there is a risk of job loss and economic disruption, especially if individuals and communities are not prepared for the transition. To address this, it is important to invest in education and training programs to help people develop the skills they need to succeed in an AI-driven economy.

Can humans still do a better job?

So what are some solutions to these ethical problems? First, AI must be designed and used in ways that prioritize transparency, accountability, and fairness. This means taking steps to ensure that AI systems are designed with diverse and inclusive data sets and that there are clear explanations of how these systems make decisions. It also means investing in oversight and regulation to ensure that AI is used ethically and in line with public values.

Another solution is to prioritize human-led responses to ethical questions. While AI can be a powerful tool to automate many tasks, it’s important to remember that there are certain ethical questions that only humans can answer. By prioritizing human-led answers to these questions, we can ensure that AI is used in ways that align with our values ​​and priorities as a society.

In conclusion, while significant ethical issues arise when using AI in SEO, there are also a number of solutions and strategies that can be implemented to address these issues. By prioritizing transparency, accountability and fairness and investing in education and training programs for workers who may be affected by AI-driven automation, we can ensure that AI is used in ways that benefit society at large. its set.

At the same time, it is important to recognize that AI is not a silver bullet for all problems. While it can be a powerful tool, it is not a replacement for human judgment and decision making. By taking a thoughtful and considered approach, we can harness its potential while avoiding its pitfalls and ensuring that our use of technology is guided by ethical principles and values.

Irina Proskurina is the CEO and founder of E-PR Online.


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