Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an ever-evolving field. As search engines like Google become more advanced, SEO strategies must adapt to stay effective. One of the most exciting new frontiers in SEO is the use of prompt engineering to optimise content.
Prompt engineering refers to crafting instructions, or “prompts”, for AI systems to produce desired outputs. It involves guiding the AI model to generate content that meets specific SEO objectives.
Prompts are essentially instructions that you feed into an AI system to get it to provide a tailored response.
For example, instead of just telling an AI tool like ChatGPT to “write a blog post about SEO”, you could give it prompts like:
“Write a comprehensive 1500-word beginner’s guide to technical SEO optimisation in 2023, focusing on topics like site speed, Core Web Vitals, and mobile optimisation. Use subheadings and include three examples for each optimisation technique mentioned.”
By engineering the prompt with key details, you can steer the AI to generate optimised, high-quality content.
SEO has come a long way since the early days of simply stuffing keywords into content. As search engines evolved to prioritise user experience, SEO shifted its focus to creating valuable, relevant content.
In recent years, the integration of AI into search algorithms sparked a new wave of innovation in SEO. Suddenly, generating customised content at scale to match user intent became possible. This catalysed the rise of prompt engineering as a way to leverage AI for targeted content creation.
While rudimentary “AI-generated content” existed earlier, prompt engineering marks a shift towards guiding AI tools deliberately to suit SEO goals. This strategic use of prompts is revolutionising content creation for SEO.
Prompt engineering unlocks several capabilities that can massively boost SEO content:
With prompt engineering, keywords can be integrated into content naturally without awkward over-optimisation. Prompts can instruct AI to include specified keywords at optimal densities.
For instance, a prompt could be:
“Write a 1000-word guide to ‘creating an automated email marketing funnel using Klaviyo’. Make sure to include the keyword ‘Klaviyo email marketing’ at a 3% density and focus on informing small business owners with beginner-level expertise.”
This allows keywords to be precisely targeted without forcing them into the content artificially.
Prompts can guide AI to generate content personalised for the reader. This results in more engagement and higher dwell times, which are SEO ranking factors.
For example, prompts can specify tailored content for different user intent types, like commercial vs informational. Or target content to specific audiences, like healthcare workers vs finance professionals.
Prompt engineering enables the creation of expansive, in-depth content targeting long-tail, low-competition keywords.
Prompts can instruct AI to write comprehensive 4000+ word guides on niche topics, optimised specifically for multiple related long-tail keywords. This allows tapping into search volume neglected by thin content.
Prompts aren’t just limited to text – they can generate SEO-optimised images, videos, and other multimedia content.
Prompt engineering unlocks creativity in content formats. For instance, prompts can create visual guides rich in diagrams, flowcharts and illustrations optimised for image SEO.
Prompt engineering can enhance all forms of content for SEO, from research to ideation to creation.
Optimised Titles and Metadata
Concise, engaging titles and metadata are crucial for click-through rates. AI prompts can generate optimised titles, meta descriptions, and alt text for images.
“Write a meta title under 60 characters and a meta description under 160 characters for a blog post titled ‘A Beginner’s Guide to SEO in 2023’. Include the focus keyword ‘SEO guide‘ in the title.”
AI tools can rapidly generate keyword ideas grouped by intent type, search volume, and competitiveness when prompted.
Prompt example: “Suggest 15 high search volume, mid-to-low competition keywords related to ‘content creation for startups’. Cluster them by commercial, informational and navigational intent.”
Prompt engineering can develop clusters of interconnected topics around a core term. This allows expanding into related keywords.
Prompt to generate topic clusters:
“Generate a list of 10 related topics around the keyword ’email marketing strategies’. Include 2-3 top subtopics for each one along with relevant keywords.”
Outlines and Structuring
Prompts can get AI to create content outlines, structuring information in an engaging, logical narrative.
“Develop a detailed outline for a 3000-word guide to ‘SEO copywriting’. Include 15 subheadings and structure information in order of relevance.”
Drafting and Rewriting
While not recommended for entire drafts, AI can generate paragraph-level drafts of sections within an article when prompted. This can quicken writing.
Prompts can also rewrite content in different styles.
For example: “Rewrite this 150-word introduction in the tone and style of a magazine blog targeting aspiring photographers.”
Prompt engineering opens up new formats like optimised videos, visual guides, quizzes, and interactive content.
Formatting and Fixes
AI can be prompted to execute various formatting tasks like adding headers, images, links, tables etc. It can also fix grammar and spelling errors.
Crafting effective prompts is an art that improves with practice. Here are some tips:
As AI capabilities grow more advanced, prompt engineering will become increasingly vital for staying ahead in SEO. Here are some potential trends:
These innovations will enable prompt engineering to stretch the boundaries of what’s possible in SEO.
While promising, prompt engineering does come with risks if used without diligence:
By keeping these pitfalls in mind and applying prompt engineering judiciously, SEOs can harness their potential while avoiding downsides.
Prompt engineering provides an immensely powerful new tool for SEO professionals to create optimised, high-quality content at scale. As AI capabilities grow more sophisticated, prompt design will become even more pivotal for dominating search results.
Mastering prompt engineering takes experimentation and practice. But those who embrace it early will have a decisive competitive advantage. With the right prompts, AI content can match or even surpass what the best human writers produce in terms of optimisation.
The future of SEO will belong to those who can leverage technology like prompt engineering while still focusing on searchers. After all, the core of SEO remains understanding user intent and providing genuine value through content. Prompt engineering just makes achieving this at scale far easier.