It’s a tale as old as the internet.
It’s told in blockbuster hits like The Matrix; I, Robot; Ex Machina; and Dave Eggers’ novel The Circle. It relates to a deep-seated question—even fear—in human consciousness: will technology eventually outsmart people?
The human vs. machine question comes into play not just in movies and books, but in our everyday lives as well. Will robots or intuitive technology replace human labor? When we go to the grocery store or shopping mall or theme park in the near (or at least not-so-distant) future, will we be greeted by human helpers or a hologram?
When thinking about SEO, it’s becoming increasingly common to see claims about free or cheap SEO tools that can be used to dictate a dealership’s entire online strategy. While some of these tools can certainly be helpful, none of them can fully replace a real human SEO strategist.
SEO tools can give you the metrics of your audience, such as the amount of traffic on your website, the bounce rate, and the average time spent on a page. However, a tool can’t say which of these clicks led to a sale, or which ones were converted into leads. A person who knows the industry, however, and is an expert at both interpreting and predicting SEO, can give you a good estimation.
Tools may run on algorithms that collect and show you the information you want, but they don’t think. They don’t strategize. They can’t come up with content ideas that would interest your target audience, and they can’t formulate a plan on how to best showcase this on your website. They give you the facts, but they can’t help you present or interpret them.
If the details are in the data; then, the conversions are in the content. Having a solid foundation of content is what will draw consumers in and keep them interested, hopefully to the point of them contacting or visiting your dealership. But SEO tools can’t tell you what to write, or even the best topics to write on. A tool can give you insight into keyword strategy, but keywords are only one part of effective SEO content. Having the ability to think up content ideas, test them to see which ones resonate, and create a roadmap for success are things only an SEO strategist can do.
You wouldn’t want a computer telling you how to raise your child—just as you wouldn’t want an online SEO tool telling you how to organize your website. Tools can provide valuable information on broken links and what needs fixing, but they don’t have the human expertise and experience to know how to prioritize your SEO strategy best. A strategist can decide when it’s better to focus on creating new content than backlinking preceding pages, or when adding a video to individual pages would better boost overall rankings. Again, online tools can show you the data, but they can’t make the decisions.
In our world of ever-expanding technology, it seems like some human-run systems may eventually become obsolete. But while sci-fi movies have their place—technology is advancing quickly—we can rest assured that robots won’t be replacing SEO strategists anytime soon.