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For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser has a one-on-one with Cody Jensen, Founder, and CEO of Searchbloom. Cody discussed the benefits, shortcomings, and future of AI-generated content, along with his go-to AI tools for content creation. Watch now to get some deep insights.
AI is legit and does a great job. Having said that, it will never do the job of a human straight out of the box.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to this week’s episode of Ecoffee with Experts. I’m your host Matt Fraser. And today I have with me, Cody Jensen. Cody is the founder and CEO of SearchBloom, an award-winning search engine marketing firm named an inaugural member of the prestigious clutch 1000 list. He began his career at Google and then vaulted up the ladder at some of the biggest agencies in the Digital Marketing industry. His ability to manufacture full-funnel Digital Marketing strategies for businesses makes him a valuable asset to SearchBloom and its partners. His hard work and innovative spirit led him to develop proven methodologies for SEO and PPC success. Cody, thank you for being on the show.
Hey, I’m glad to be here. Should be fun.
So you and I were talking via email about artificial intelligence and how to create better content in less time and how to use artificial intelligence to support your content creators. What is your opinion on the effectiveness of AI-generated content?
My opinion of AI is high. All of these systems out there nowadays, they’re all based on one, which is open AI. And it’s quite legitimate and does a great job. With that said, out of the box, it will never do the job of a human.
So is it effective in creating unique content that gets indexed and ranked by Google?
It is, but it has to be reviewed and edited by a human being.
So it’s not something for autopilot? It’s something to be used to assist content writers?
Yes, it’s a part of the process. Often we hear writer’s block. AI is a big opportunity to remove that block.
That’s amazing. What are some of the content types that AI can be used for and that you’ve used it for?
Every content depends on the content creator. We have some on our team that swear by it and use it on every piece of content, no matter how small or big, they’ll always use it, and some that don’t use it. The thing is the ones that do well, make more money, because they make more content and our content standards have not changed. We have very high-quality content standards. The thing is those that leverage AI specifically, we use Jasper, for those that leverage it, they can make more earnings because they create more content, and it still hits the quality threshold and then some.
So you’re using it for like, for instance, you say all types of content. So I’m thinking long-form content, like blog posts, Facebook ads, Google ads?
Everything. Google My Business profiles.
All these descriptions and everything.
Where it struggles is understanding specific lingo. So like industry lingo. It does well in certain industries, and it really sucks and others it hasn’t learned enough. It is artificial intelligence, it has to receive input to provide output. So where it receives a lot of input is actually in business and marketing. Where it does not receive a lot of input, it’s in tech or SAS or niche industries. It just doesn’t have enough data yet to make high-quality content.
So it’s interesting you mentioned Jasper. So I guess their user base is helping them feed their AI to be smarter with the more people using it, is that correct or is that incorrect?
Indirectly it’s correct. Because Jasper is heavy if not completely reliant on Open AI. Open AI company is flourishing and I would say the majority of all of these AI software leverage Open AI, and they’re teaching Open AI. So, yes, indirectly.
So when you say, content software, like you’re meeting other things similar to Jasper such as Long Shot, Copy.ai, Word Hero, and other things like that? Have you tried them all?
Every single one out there.
And Jasper is the one that you found to be the best?
By a Long shot.
By a long Shot? That’s kind of a distal long shot, .ai because they claim to be the best. Interesting. Can you share any examples of AI-generated content that has been successful? In general terms.
Every piece of content is touched by AI at SearchBloom.
So for instance, is there a specific, not going into like exact details, but either a campaign and Facebook ad campaign or a Google ad campaign that was like, get it out of the ballpark? Like I’ve written ads myself that have gone to a 23% click-through rate and conversions. Is there anything like that, that you’ve seen? And I wish I’d had AI to write those darn ads. Because I just wrote them myself and spent an incredible amount of time writing them and researching how to write them.
I’ll use AI to draft something for you. What is your opinion on the effectiveness of AI-generated content? And the answer is, that this is 100% AI. There’s no denying that AI-generated content has made a significant impact in recent years, however, its effectiveness is still open to debate. Some believe that AI-generated content is a little more than sophisticated gibberish, while others contend that it can be just as effective as traditional forms of writing. I believe that AI-generated content has the potential to be highly effective, but only if it is used in the right way. In other words, AI-generated content should not just be relied upon as a replacement for traditional forms of writing, but rather as a supplement that can add value in certain situations. I have six blocks that were all 100% written by AI.
That was written by AI, by Jasper. Wow, that’s amazing.
Plus six more paragraphs.
That’s incredible. Do you think AI-generated content is a threat to human writers?
No, not even close. It’s a supplement. It’s helpful. But humans are essential because AI is well, it’s okay. It’s a heck of a lot better than those spinners that we use 10 years ago, but it’s nothing compared to humans and it helps the content creator when they face a block, or they need an outline or they need an idea. It will never, in my opinion, it will never replace humans. Now, never is a strong word because AI continues to get more and more sophisticated as time goes on, but as of right now, I don’t see that happening.
What about a highly-skilled experienced trained direct response copywriters?
So like sales copy, it’s not good sales copy. It sucks at sales copy. It doesn’t understand that sort of aspect. It’s good at information. It can be okay with commercials but certainly not sales copy. It’s nowhere near what you need for sales copy.
I wonder if they will start scanning Dan Kennedy’s stuff. I mean, Russell Brunson bought all Dan Kennedy stuff. I don’t think they can do that because he owns the rights to it. But imagine having AI with Dan Kennedy’s sales letter formula? Like his book, The Ultimate Sales Letter formula, that would be unbelievable.
It would be incredible. The thing that is often misunderstood about AI is that it scrapes the internet. It doesn’t get all there is.
Do you know how many people say that it scrapes the internet? It’s incredible how many. So how do you know for sure? I don’t know anything about it. So I’m just playing devil’s advocate like, how are those things?
Well, I mean, I talked with the company, I talked to the owner of Jasper and the way that it works is it predicts the next word. That’s it, it predicts the next word over and over and over and over again. It does not scrape the internet. And I think in the beginnings of Jasper, for example, they did have to scrape, but now there is no scraping, no.
How much have you seen it speed up, you mention somebody or other content writers are making more money. This AI helped to speed up the process of creating high-quality content, and how have you seen twice the output, three times the output, four, ten?
Almost 10 times the output. From some of our creators, it’s almost 10 times the output. And the only reason is that they’ve documented their process, they’ve leveraged AI where it can be leveraged. And they tidy it up. That’s it, they can produce 10 times the amount of content that a human can do on their own.
Do you disclose to clients that you’re using this, using AI to write the content?
I’m doing it right now. Like, hey, yeah, exactly. We leverage AI, and you should be happy that we are because we’re at the forefront of something big, and it’s going to continue to get bigger. And you’re welcome.
Exactly. Those are my thoughts exactly. Some people think that you should like oh, no, don’t tell anybody. It’s like you’re cheating.
They won’t even notice. It sounds just like a human being.
Exactly. As long as the quality output of what they’re getting is quality. You shouldn’t make a difference in how it is done in my opinion. As marketers, we get paid to produce results. Are there any particular types of content where you think AI assistance would be especially useful?
Long-Form is tremendous. Any sort of website copy it’s really good. Where it lacks is an understanding of specific industry jargon or lingo. But otherwise, if it’s generalized content, it shines. It can’t do a sales letter.
Yes. You said it sucks at that, man, I wonder if that’ll get better?
I don’t think it will. Because that takes craft and it takes salesmanship and marketing prowess to do that. I think you’ll probably get better but I don’t think it will ever get close to not having to be edited as heavily.
Yeah, I think it might eventually get to the point where sales and copywriters can use it. Direct response copywriters can use it like I wonder if they could use it to create an outline? And so full disclosure, I have a friend who is a 20-year copywriter, and he’s a very, extremely talented copywriter. He wrote the copy that sold 10 Nicholas’s house, he has written sales letters that generated millions of dollars in business. I don’t want to say his name, I have no permission to do so. He’s released digital products that business owners bought that generate lots of money, and it’s very good. And he and I were working on a project together, and he would have some time constraints I showed him Jasper and we generated a headline that blew him away. Just from him and I know he taught me a lot about copywriting and I took some of his courses and I also took courses from Ted Nicholas and Joe Sugarman but this is about me. But a point I’m trying to make is I understand copy. And we were able to input some stuff and the headline it pushed out was perfect, it was just incredible. But it wouldn’t have done that if we hadn’t inputted what we inputted, from what we know about copywriting and headline formulas, and we just entered in like basic stuff, and it kicked out something we’re using. I wonder if then copywriters can maybe use it for headlines and maybe generate sub-headlines and then perhaps, some kind of body copy to get started and then edit it? But like you said, I don’t think it will ever replace humans. He had a company hire him that did, they’re an Amish community and all they make is Amish furniture. And he went and visited them for a week just to learn about their culture and how they made the furniture to write the sales letter. And when I read the sales letter, it was the most brilliant sales. Well, if you read Dan Kay’s book, The Ultimate Sales Letter, when you read it, it’s like, wow, this is amazing. But I don’t think AI will ever get there like that. To write a sales letter, first of all, you have to know how to sell. And I think a lot of copywriters out there don’t know how to sell and they call themselves copywriters, no disrespect for them. Maybe you can get good at the craft without ever selling something or reading about the sale. But reading about the sales process and reading other books, maybe you can. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. But I’ve heard copywriters say you don’t have to know how to sell and understand sales to write a sales letter. But for me, I don’t want to go down a rabbit trail.
I would agree with that. I’ll say that I agree. To write an effective sales letter, you should have been able to sell something.
Yeah, exactly. So right now, it’s not that great at sales letters. But who knows what will happen?
Yeah, I mean, it’s still learning. Yeah, honestly, we are in the infancy stage of AI, especially AI content. I can’t imagine what it looks like in 10 years. We were talking about inputs and outputs just a second ago. And it’s very dependent on inputs. But when you put in just one word, that’s all you need one word and it’ll generate. It’ll generate 100 words easily. And it’s in its human-grade content. And it’s good. You need to go in and adjust a little bit. But otherwise, it’s really good. My bio that you read at the beginning of this podcast, that’s written by AI.
That’s amazing. That’s pretty cool. So we were talking about the future, or and talking about the future of it. Here’s a question about the future. I think AI is going to become even more and more popular. I think you would probably agree more if, if more and more agencies don’t start using it, they’re gonna get left behind.
They will be left behind because AI can generate content at a 10 to 15 times faster rate.
Therefore, you make more money. How do you think that’s going to affect the internet, for instance, all of a sudden, Google is now going to have way more content to index?
Well, Mueller came out and said that AI-generated content is against Google’s policies. Which was laughable to me, frankly, most things that he says are laughable to me. But that’s another subject and another rabbit hole. But the thing is most of, not just SearchBlooms content, but a lot of the high-performing agencies or affiliate companies out there, majority of their stuff is written by AI. Uh, yes, it always has a human to proof and edit it. And that requires time, but significantly less time than doing it from scratch. And also, when you parlay that and you leverage AI-generated content with natural language processing like Alexa surfer, you’re able to reverse engineer what you need. And it’s a perfect pairing. I’ve seen it work time and time again with regards to keyword density and all of them. Honestly, if you’re not doing it you are going to be nowhere in the future for sure.
With all respect to an agency owner I was talking to, he is very much opposed to using AI and thinks that Google all knowing all seeing Google, will be able to tell that it’s AI-generated content and you’re gonna get waxing, though they’ll find out eventually. I don’t know-how but their Google and they are smart.
They’re not. It’s a robot. So it’s, it’s not people. It’s a robot that is checking.
Do you think Google’s kind of hypocritical? They are using artificial intelligence?
To a very, very probably in this world, probably more than any other company ever.
I’m gonna be frank, it pisses me off that they come up with that stance.
That’s why I take Mueller’s comments with a grain of salt. Because I know what he can and cannot say. And I don’t have any hard feelings towards the guy. I know that he’s in a difficult spot. But when push comes to shove, they say one thing. And it’s just not truthful. It’s just not, period.
Cody, do you see any potential problems with using AI in content creation?
Oh, yeah, there’s tons. There are so many problems. You mentioned headlines for some sales letters. From my point of view, I use the tools a lot. I don’t have a lot of time. So I leverage artificial intelligence as much as I can. It’s really poor as I mentioned, in specific industries. Technology is the biggest one that comes to mind, but also niche industries like CBD and other things. It’s just not up to par there. Additionally, if you want to write a Google Ad headline, it’ll do all right. But you’re just going to have to rewrite it anyway. Facebook ads, any ad headlines that I’ve tried, just don’t fit what I’m looking for in my app, but where it shines is in on website content, long-form content. It can’t describe a product. It’s horrible at that.
Horrible product descriptions?
Oh. Because brands are so diverse and have their style guides for specific products. So it doesn’t do a good job there.
So if you had success then or no success with the AIDA formula, the attention, interest, desire action, there’s a template in there for free?
Yes and it’s a great template. Now it works great, but not for specific products or services. It’s just, that it’ll kick out something that you can then manipulate and work. But if you can use that formula as a template, so that you have that. But otherwise, it’s not there yet. I think in five years if we had the same conversation, it would be there, but right now it’s just not there.
You had mentioned a couple of tools, obviously, Jasper, I’ve mentioned a couple of them. You said you’ve tried them all. What are some of the best AI tools that you found for content creation? So I know you like Jasper and surfer. Are there any others that you can talk about that you’ve tested and they just haven’t done anything I guess or haven’t been as good or successful? Because this would be like a tip for the rest of us who haven’t. I guess you would be saving yourself some time and money if you could share.
Yeah, I just did them all and overarching wasn’t even close to what Jasper and surfer can put out.
What are some of the things the others couldn’t do that were their deficiencies?
They were unreliable. On the whole, it was just very very unreliable with the output. Regardless of inputs if I put it into Jasper and we compare that to another AI software, the outputs are just totally different. Yeah, night and day.
So in other words these other companies, what do they need to do to catch up to Jasper? What is Jasper doing that’s so effective?
Time? They need more time. Yeah.
And will capital investment help these others? So Jasper won’t be ahead of the curve?
It certainly could help by raising the user base, which would provide more inputs. But overarching, they need more time and money buys time and buy scale, too. So yes, capital could certainly do that. But Jasper isn’t a company that focused on huge capital investments. They just focused and they got in early. So they have a huge share of the SEO market. Yeah. So they get a lot of input. And the other companies, they’re not even close. It’s like Google versus Bing. They have a percent of the market share, whereas Jasper and or Google have 85%- 90%.
Do you think it’s going to make it harder for SEO to be more competitive to rank because people are churning out so much good content?
Yes. I know it. It’s already happening. And a lot of it has to do not just with ranking. In general, let’s say I have a money page or a target page that I want to rank? Well, there’s something called topical authority. And let’s say I have a pet website. And I still, you have to be the topical authority on that subject matter. And Google takes that into their ranking algorithm. So you have to generate a lot of content about all kinds of pets and everything to do with pets, their food, their all that everything, right, to chatting. Yeah, and you have to have topical authority to move the needle, you have to answer every question about that subject matter. And that is where scale and AI can support you. Back in the day, you could take a one-page website, and you could bring it simply with backlinks. But nowadays, it’s not just backlinks. This latest core algorithm update here in May, I think was a hardening update on the fact that they don’t have to rely so much on backlinks. Nathan Gotch came out yesterday with a video that compared Yep, the Atrus search engine against Google. And yep, it’s like, again, 20 years behind Google. And so they have to rely so much more on backlinks. And Google they don’t have to rely so much on backlinks or PageRank. They’re relying on so many other things.
Shout out to Nathan Gotch, I had him on the show. He’s an awesome guy. Yep. I don’t even know why Atrus even bothered. They’re trying to disrupt a giant. If Microsoft can’t do it. What makes Atrus think they can?
If they take 1% of the market, that’s a win. If they take a half percent of the market, that’s a huge, huge twin. Their model is completely different than Google’s. They compensate creators versus Google, they just rip you off and make money off of you. And that’s true. This is coming from a guy that makes money off of Google. So I love Google. I work for Google. The thing is I also have a love-hate relationship with them for sure. And I will go on record saying that I hate Google and also love them at the same time. Because they’re, well, they’re very, as you mentioned, very hypocritical. They don’t share anything. And at the end of the day, you’re leveraging them against themselves to figure out what to do. It’s a fun game, and I love kicking Google’s ass frankly, I really, really do.
Yeah, it’s awesome. Yeah, I switched from iOS to Android about six years ago after being with Apple for eight. And there were multiple reasons. The ecosystem. I had all of Apple’s native apps in a folder called Do Not Use and replaced them with Google Apps. I was like what am I doing, I don’t use anything? I was waiting for Apple to come up with a smart speaker, an affordable one. And they come up with this glorious $400 Smart speaker that everybody’s oohing and aahing over that’s now been discontinued. So anyway. But the point being is I’m heavily, heavily involved in Google’s integration into Google’s ecosystem, and I love it. I love my Pixel phone. I love my Google Home Mini. I love my Android TV. But I have this love-hate relationship with them because of things they say and do. And they’re hypocrites. It kind of pisses me off. That’s another subject that we have derailed. Yeah, I don’t know if this is and if we answered this already. But is there any potential for misuse of artificial intelligence when it comes to content creation?
Yes. People think that AI will just allow them to scale a website or business without any work. Like, “I’m going to plug in these words and then publish the content”. If you do that’s where Muller’s comments come in at 100%. It is required for a human to review the content, edit the content and make citations. If you do it that way you are misusing it and it won’t work at all.
So that is how you misuse it, generate content without having a human review it, edit it and change it?
People throw up content on their website all the time, just for the sake of making a deadline or KPI. You have to have a rationale, a reason to generate content. If you are doing it for the sake of hitting numbers, then no, it’s not going to work.
It may be the same thing as a human putting out crappy content as in AI. But crappy content is crappy content. If you are going to put out crappy content using AI, that’s what he’s talking about. Like you are putting out crappy content which is 100% AI, not based on anything else and you are just trying to flood the search engine and the keyword SEO with content, trying to splatter it everywhere to get ranked.
The thing is this, you are doing yourself a major disservice because you are just bloating your website. Which clogs up a lot of things like Google Bot and being able to crawl your website, so then you are throttled when it comes to your crawl budget. If you don’t have a reason to put up content, then don’t do it. When you have a good reason then you create the content and if you have a category that you need to scale up then leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence because that will help you scale.
Should Marketing agencies disclose to clients that they are using AI to assist with content creation?
It’s up to them. I don’t care either way. When it hits their hands and/or hits their website, they will not be able to tell if it’s human or AI because it is touched by both. At least at our agency, it is.
I don’t think you should have to. Here is an interesting question, you can plead the fifth on this one. Should marketing companies charge less for creating AI-assisted content?
No. We have a very drawn-out process for content where sure we leverage AI throughout the process but, there is the staging of the content. There is the production of the content. There is the outline of the content and there is the editing of the content. Then there is the Manager’s review of the content and only then can it be seen by one of the search partners. Then they have to approve it. Do they know whether it’s partially assisted by Artificial Intelligence? Of course, they don’t. Because it sounds extremely vibrant.
Are there any areas where you would like to see AI make more of an impact on content creation?
I think we discussed a little bit with sales letter as well as the depth and breadth of different industries. For example, you log onto ESPN and you look at the snippet of text between these NBA finals that are coming up and they are telling you, Hey, this team is favored and they are trying to come back from a recent loss, or whatever the subject matter might be. And that is 100% AI-generated. The thing is, it’s crap, it’s garbage. They have to do it at such a scale that they don’t have the human capital and the human resource to review it. And also it happens in real-time in a lot of cases. It does require very good copywriters, and I would love to see it expanded in those aforementioned areas. Which will be different matters as well as different types of copies. It’s good at some things. But it’s very crappy at most.
Do you think that for instance, you mentioned something that triggered a thought for me. Do you think that someone still has to have an understanding? For instance, a lot of people outsource content writing overseas, and I don’t know how they write the content. Whether they are using spinners or they may be using AI. So what I am going to ask is, do you think that AI is going to leverage the playing field between English speaking and non-English speaking? English is not the native language but they still understand it or they are proficient at it as their second language. Do you think that is going to leverage the playing field?
That is a very loaded question but my short answer would be yes, because of additional applications. Let us say they are bi-lingual, it is not their native language but they have a system to teach them called Grammarly. And all these other applications help us make a piece of content that is highly technical and make it readable by a twelve-year-old. I do, I think that. Honestly, it is great not just from a marketing agency point of view, what I am saying is expenses, it is great for them to be able to generate high quality and high caliber content that packs a punch and it is just as good as if you or I wrote it.
What advice would you give to other agencies looking to use AI to support their content writers and creators?
First, I don’t know, I am still learning and I’ll also say I still have a lot to learn from other agencies. With that said regarding AI, my only suggestion is don’t kick it to the curb because you are one of those folks that are true to form on the quote-unquote up and up. I would recommend they take a look at it, because you can build your system, you don’t have to use Jasper. Open AI is Open AI for a reason. You can build your stuff and not just content. You can build an Artificial intelligence to tell you how to structure a website. It is not difficult using their APIs. It is very simple.
So open AI is open-source AI?
Correct. Their name defines who they are and that, from what I understand, the majority of these AI content writers use.
Amazing. I was going to ask what your one takeaway would be from this episode, but I think you can add anything if you want but to me, that’s the perfect takeaway. For every agency owner to give it a chance.
Yes. Just give it a chance and see what you think and you don’t have to take any of them off the shelf and use it yourself. Just look at open AI because that company has built something that is Artificial Intelligence. What’s funny about it is that there are only a few companies in this world that have Artificial Intelligence. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of people saying AI because it’s a buzzword. Most of it is just machine learning. Which is, hey don’t get me wrong it is important, but overarching. There are only a few that have true Artificial intelligence and Open AI is one of them.
So, even Musk is a founder of Open AI?
I had no idea.
He is a genius. The richest man in the world cause he is one of the smartest.
Some people think he is an Alien.
Some people do.
I just think he is one of the most unique people to be born in the last hundred years.
Yes. He thinks not just a year ahead, he thinks fifty years ahead. He thinks a hundred years ahead. Which makes him who he is.
That is like the late Steve Jobs. He was designing the iPhone, three, or five years before the mobile networks were even capable of supporting it because he had that vision. It has been an absolute pleasure having you here on the show. How can our listeners connect with you online?
They can go to searchbloom.com, that may be the best way. LinkedIn of course you can find me there.
Are you on Twitter, personally?
I am not huge on Social Media. I have had to remove that from my life a little bit because it gets too noisy and I already have plenty of noise. But overarching, our website is the best place to hit us up.
Searchbloom.com and on LinkedIn?
I’ll make sure to put your link in the show description notes. It’s been a pleasure having you here. Thanks again. I enjoyed talking to you and maybe we can have you back again to talk about another subject in the future?
Likewise. Thanks, Matt. I appreciate it.
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