From SEO to CRO: Optimizing Strategy for the AI Era

With AI saturating search, focusing on conversion and user experience is key.

From SEO to CRO: Optimizing Strategy for the AI Era

The rapid advancement of AI technologies like ChatGPT is leading to an explosion of algorithmically generated text, images, audio, and more. While this AI content can be helpful for certain use cases, many argue it lacks originality and nuance.

As this AI-generated content proliferates across the internet, optimizing for user engagement and conversion may prove more valuable than chasing search engine rankings. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) will likely grow in importance as organizations aim to captivate audiences and drive actions amidst oceans of AI content.

The Changing Online Landscape

In the past, SEO was key for businesses trying to get their web pages to rank highly in search engines like Google. Having a top search ranking could direct lots of qualified traffic to a company's site.

However, the online landscape is shifting. With the rise of AI systems that can generate blog posts, social media captions, and even news articles, the amount of content online is exploding. The resulting "content shock" means search engine results pages are becoming saturated with AI-generated content.

Getting to the top of Google is no longer enough. Even if a business ranks highly, their site may now be surrounded by AI-created pages that dilute the value of search traffic.

Understanding SEO vs. CRO

To truly appreciate this shift, it's important to recognize what SEO and CRO are at their core:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): This involves tweaking and tailoring websites so they rank higher on search engine result pages. Essentially, it's about attracting traffic. Think of it as a billboard on a busy highway, beckoning potential customers.
  • CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization): Once the traffic comes in, CRO is about maximizing the number of visitors who take a desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. If SEO is the billboard, CRO is the compelling storefront display that encourages passersby to walk in and shop.

While SEO ensures visibility, CRO is instrumental in actual engagement and conversion. And in a world overflowing with AI-generated content, originality and genuine user engagement become paramount.

Original Ideas Stand Out

AI tools like ChatGPT can synthesize information and mimic human writing styles, but they cannot formulate truly novel ideas or make conceptual leaps based on intuition.

As Janelle Shane, AI researcher, notes: "The biggest limitations of large language models like GPT-3 are a lack of understanding, an inability to follow logical reasoning over more than a short span of generated text, and a lack of any model of the world beyond what's represented in its training data."

So in this ocean with larger and larger waves of AI-driven content, what makes a piece stand out? Authneticity, originality, a unique voice, perspective, or insight is what will resonate with readers.

It's like offering someone hand-crafted artisanal chocolate in a world overflowing with factory-made candy bars. The distinction is palpable and precious.

While AI can synthesize and remix existing information into new configurations, the ability to share a wholly fresh viewpoint remains uniquely human. While AI can produce passable content, it lacks ingenuity. Truly original perspectives and ideas will become more valuable as AI content pervades.

Companies that wish to break through the noise must empower their teams to move beyond derivative content and tap into their talents for imagination and creativity.

Of course, human-generated content must still meet high standards for relevance, accuracy, and clarity. But blending great craft with one-of-a-kind intellect and perspective will be the key to content that captivates. For marketers seeking an edge in an AI-saturated media environment, there is no substitute for human ingenuity.

Media companies and brands that invest in thoughtful content strategy and empower creative professionals will have an edge. The ability to engage audiences through memorable narratives, surprising angles, and counterintuitive takes will help set apart human-generated material.

The Allure of Authenticity

With the mentioned proliferation of Generative AI, automation and replication, authenticity emerges as a rare commodity. Consider two musicians: one who uses AI to generate melodies and another who composes from the heart.

While both may produce harmonious tunes, it's the latter's work that carries an emotional weight, a backstory, a soul. The same holds true for content.

Authentic content, marked by genuine insights, experiences, or perspectives, possesses a certain depth that's challenging for AI to replicate.

The Resonance of a Unique Voice

Each individual's experiences, backgrounds, and thought processes craft a unique voice. It's this voice that leaves a lasting impression.

Think of the countless stories or articles you've read over the years. It's often not the topic but the author's unique take or voice that stays with you.

In the crowded corridors of the internet, a distinct voice acts as a magnet, drawing readers who seek content that isn't just informative but also relatable.

The Value of Deep Insights

Beyond just a voice, original content often delves deeper. Instead of skimming the surface, it plunges into the depths, exploring nuances and offering fresh perspectives.

Thought-provoking ideas that challenge assumptions, provide counterintuitive takes, or unveil unexpected truths are the antidote to AI's formulaic approach. When so much content feels derivative, original thinking stands out and earns audience engagement.

Like finding a rare pearl, content with deep insights provides readers with value they can't find in the AI-generated chaff. It's these insights that spark discussions, fuel debates, drive change and converts a reader to a fan.

User Experience Reigns Supreme

With unlimited AI-written articles, books, and other media just a click away, retaining user attention and driving actions will grow more difficult. Simply populating a site with abundant AI content will not guarantee business success. More crucial will be optimizing content and overall user experience for engagement and conversion.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) techniques, like A/B testing landing pages, optimizing calls-to-action, personalizing content, simplifying workflows, and crafting targeted email campaigns will rise in necessity.

As AI makes producing basic content cheap and easy, successfully converting that content into leads, sales, signups, downloads, shares, or other desired outcomes will determine the winners. Companies unwilling to invest in strategic UX design, customer understanding, and CRO will likely struggle.

Balancing Human and AI Content

For many applications, finding the right blend of human-crafted creativity and machine-generated efficiency will be key. AI tools can rapidly produce initial drafts, reports, and other materials that humans can then refine and personalize. Architecting proper content workflows and understanding when to leverage both human and artificial capabilities will become a differentiating strength.

As AI impacts the content landscape, striking the right balance between automated scalability and bespoke craftsmanship will determine success. Companies able to meld human originality and nuance with AI speed and consistency will have an advantage. But pure machine-generated content farms without soul may falter.

Preparing for an AI-Centric Future

AI content generation is in its infancy, and pioneering best practices will take time. But the landscape is shifting. To be ready for an AI-saturated future, media and brands should double down on conversion rate optimization, truly original perspectives, and strategic integration of emergent technologies.

Blending AI and Human Creativity

While AI-generated content may be flooding the web, this technology can actually help human creators produce better, more impactful work. The key is using AI as a tool to expand one's ideas rather than as a crutch.

Skilled content creators can utilize AI to gain unique prompts, frameworks, and thought-starters. With the right approach, AI can help spark human imagination and intellect. Much like other generative tools such as brainstorming or mind mapping, it can unveil unexpected directions.

The most effective content will blend this AI-enhanced creativity with the author's own perspectives, analysis, and storytelling. Proper prompt engineering techniques can help shape AI output into compelling narratives rich with original insights.

Rather than fully automating content production, the smartest strategy is to combine AI's generative power with human oversight and ingenuity. This allows creators to augment their skills and produce work elevated above what either humans or machines could create independently.

In a media landscape influenced by artificial intelligence, the writers who thrive will be those who harness this technology to expand their creativity rather than replace it. The future remains bright for creators who hone their unique perspectives and strategically use AI to bring their one-of-a-kind ideas to life.

With careful preparation, organizations can harness the promise of AI while ensuring tech supports, rather than displaces, humanity’s unique genius. The future remains unwritten, but savvy companies will proactively mold it through foresight and imagination.

Building Audience Through Conversion

Just attracting an audience is not enough, retentions is necessary. Creators must actively convert site visitors into loyal followers who regularly engage with content and offerings.

Employing conversion rate optimization is crucial for capturing contacts and building an email list or subscriber base. Pop-ups, exit intent offers, and calls-to-action can collect information from visitors who found the content compelling enough to opt-in for more.

When crafted thoughtfully, these conversion points provide value in exchange for contact details. For example, offering a free toolkit or exclusive discounts in return for an email address. This exchange nurtures a reciprocal relationship.

Once converted into subscribers, audiences can be sent relevant content that continues providing value. This solidifies bonds between creator and audience. A percentage of subscribers will eventually convert to customers as well.

With AI-generated content so abundant online, creators must leverage CRO to actively engage audiences rather than passively accumulate views. Making content connect is still vital, but so are the technical techniques to capture contacts. A balanced conversion strategy helps creators build the recurring reach and revenue essential for succeeding in today's digital media environment.

Working strategically with AI through prompt engineering allows you to create content, headlines, subheadings, and calls-to-action tailored to effectively resonate with and convert your target audience.

With practice, you can frame and tune AI prompts in ways that generate novel ideas and language optimized not just for engagement but for guiding visitors down conversion funnels. The AI becomes a collaborative tool for ideation and a testing ground for finding the right phrases and messaging to capture audience interest.

Combining this AI-enhanced experimentation with your human creativity and understanding of what makes your unique audience convert results in content that is dialed-in to perform on key metrics like subscriber sign-ups. AI provides feedback and possibilities while you apply the judgment to refine content that converts visitors into long-term fans.

Nurturing Subscribers with Ongoing Value

Once you have converted visitors into subscribers, the work has only just begun. The key is continuing to nurture those relationships by consistently providing valuable, relevant content tailored specifically to that audience.

This is where AI and prompt engineering remain useful even after the initial subscriber conversion. Generating a constant stream of content that resonates with subscribers requires experimentation and refinement.

Prompting the AI with attributes of your audience’s interests, pain points, and goals will produce tailored headlines, article ideas, and email subject lines. While search rankings fluctuate, your subscriber list grows steadily as you convert and engage followers over time.

No matter what happens with SEO, focusing on subscriber satisfaction and loyalty leads to organic growth and retention. Even if you do not always rank at the top of Google, you can still accumulate devoted, high-quality followers who read and share your content.

In today's oversaturated media climate, building a strong subscriber base one fan at a time is ultimately more valuable than chasing search engine rankings. By consistently learning from and providing for your followers, you will earn an audience that lasts.

Leveraging AI Chatbots to Boost Conversion

Interactive chatbots powered by artificial intelligence are another valuable tool for boosting conversion rates. These bots can be implemented on websites to provide instantaneous answers to visitor questions and guide users along conversion funnels.

A key advantage of AI chatbots is their ability to be trained on a company's own available data. The bot can ingest knowledge bases, product specs, help documentation, and other proprietary information. With this data, the chatbot can address visitor questions by providing answers tailored to the company's specific products, services, and resources. Users get quick, accurate answers without having to dig through your website searching for the information they need. An AI bot with site-specific training acts as an efficient, personalized guide for each visitor.

AI chatbots create more opportunities to capture leads by being available 24/7 to engage site visitors. Embedding a chat window on a webpage allows the bot to proactively reach out to visitors with customized messaging aimed at converting them into leads.

The bot can ask qualifying questions to understand each visitor's needs and interests. With this insight, the bot can then recommend relevant content offers, free toolkits, or other resources to encourage the visitor to exchange their contact information for access.

Chatbots also scale personalized communication in a way human agents cannot. While a person can only chat with one visitor at a time, an AI bot can engage with multiple visitors simultaneously. This allows more of your website traffic to be addressed with targeted conversion messaging.

Additionally, chatbots gather data on visitor behaviors and conversations over time, learning what messaging works best to boost opt-ins and build your subscriber list. Chatbots act as 24/7 conversion optimization experts, constantly testing and improving their ability to convert visitors into contacts.

Implementing a smart AI chatbot gives you an always-on sales and engagement force fine-tuned to create more qualified lead opportunities. In the quest for higher conversion rates, chatbots enable human-like connections while providing benefits only AI can offer.


As AI proliferates online content, human creators must shift focus from attracting audiences to actively engaging users. Success will require embracing imagination and authenticity to stand out while optimizing experiences for conversion and retention. Blending machine scalability with human nuance, narrative and discretion will allow creators to flourish. Although the landscape is changing, quality and meaningful connections will remain the human advantage over any algorithm.

This essay was inspired by a brief conversation with one of our subscribers, Yashika Bhati, a CRO professional. You can check her out here

Are You Ready For The AI Onslaught?

Don't let proliferating AI make your content obsolete. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay ahead

Read next