Will AI be the End of SEO?

With the cataclysmic rise in the use of AI to answer questions and create content, will AI be the end of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as we know it?

I've been reading and watching some videos about how Google intends to use AI to auto-generate a detailed answer to a search query and place it right slap bang at the very top of page #1 of the SERPs.

end of seoI have to wonder if this might just spell the impending death of not only SEO but of websites altogether.

If you have websites/blogs and you rely on organic traffic for an income, you should read this, absorb it, understand it and know what's coming!

Search Engines

Think about it. What is the purpose of a search engine like Google?

The short answer is to return a list of relevant pages that its algorithm places as the best fit to answer a user's query according to the keywords used in the search.

People with the right knowledge write those web pages and publish them on their websites. Google finds them (eventually) and indexes them and then places them somewhere in the search index. It uses certain criteria to rank each page according to its authority, or Page Rank.

We all remember that little green line that told us what page rank our websites and their inner pages had. Then G took it away, but it didn't take away page rank.

It just kept that knowledge to itself and over the years released numerous algo updates that it either told us about or not, designed to improve and streamline the way each page is ranked in the index for its keywords.

Search Engine Optimization

All OK so far. From this, the SEO industry grew up because it became highly profitable to have your page ranked #1 or as high up the first page as possible.

For a web page, occupying the top place on the first page provided the most traffic. That equalled access to the most potential buyers of whetever product or service that page was promoting. That equated to more buyers, more commissions and more $$$!

The rest of the long, meandering story of websites, optimizing them and ranking them, you all know.

TLDR; Website owners/bloggers make money, product vendors make money, SEOs make money, we all make money!

Google Takes Back its Real Estate

Back in the day, a page of organic web page listings on each page of google was a relatively clean look and a good user experience, because it was easy to see the 10 web pages to choose from and there were a few ads in a block at the top and off to the right side of the page.

Essentially, most of the real estate of a search engine results page (SERP) was taken up by the 10 organic website list.

It was that clean look that gave Google the advantage over the ad-ridden, messy and difficult to read pages on Yahoo, the then #1 search engine... and how Google took away its throne!

Remember that? Google obviously doesn't.

Lately, the whole system of ranking pages has taken a heavy beating by Google introducing its E-E-A-T (Experience-Expertise-Authority-Trustworthiness) system for content (which for the most part is absolute bollocks IMO). When I see the likes of big sites like Forbes dominating a bunch of search terms in widely different niches, I kinda feel there's a rat or two in the system.

However, even worse than that is the way G is taking back its real estate and now displays multiple blocks of product ads throughout the organic listings for product review and most related "buyer" keywords. It's fast becoming a complete bloody mess.

This effectively relegates most websites because the general public wants "simple" and it's way simpler to click one of those boxes with a product they like the look of than to click a website and read all about it before buying.

But that's not what's going to murder SEO. It is a big thorn in our side, but not a fatal blow.

AI Answers Your Question

That final, death strike will come when Google rolls out its AI "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions."

Um, you'd have to be an old bugger like to me to get that reference...!

Why, you ask? People still want to read product reviews/comparisons before they buy, don't they?

Sure, some do. I know I do, that's for sure. But to be honest, I believe that most really don't.

If a user types in "what is the best portable AC for my bedroom" and Google's AI gives it a definitive answer right there without the user needing to scroll down a list of websites and click one they think might give them the best answer, why would they even bother?

They have their answer right there before their eyes! And it will probably be a pretty good one, considering that AI learns by reading all the well written, factual and accurate web content that Google keeps telling is is soooo important.

Of course, it's bloody important. We're teaching AI to take away our livelihoods FFS!

So now ranking a web page won't matter. Only a few diehards will bother to read them. Most people won't go past the AI answer.

And if there's a link in that answer to the recommended product on one of G's favoured stores (cough.. ahemazon...) that's where they'll go to buy it and you can be sure there's a deal whereby G gets paid a commission (likely better than the pathetic ~3% affiliates are grudgingly palmed off with, by the way).

So that's the death knell sounded for websites/blogs. What about SEO?

Well, if traffic to websites is going to drop through the floor, even for the #1 ranked web page in any buyer-intent search, what's the point in being #1?

For that matter, what's the point in paying an SEO $1500 a month to be #1, yet be subordinate to the big AI answer above you (never mind all the ads above you as well)?

See where this is going?

Well, it's not going anywhere now. It's died a death. Just like SEO.

The End.


Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2023 in Making Money Online | 0 Comments

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