Is AI going to kill off Search-Engine-Optimisation?

By Mark Jones

February 24, 2024


I've recently emerged from an 8-week (not my planned 2 weeks!) dark SEO rabbit hole whilst working on the Collab365 Academy website. This experience got me pondering:

Is SEO still worthwhile when no one will use Google anymore?

Let's compare two ways to find a recipe for Steak Diane as I really fancy making one this weekend:

Example 1: Searching Google

This is an absolute rigmarole. You're bombarded with 10-page memoirs about Aunt Bertha's trip to Paris in 1962 before finally finding the recipe wedged between ads for steak knives and French lessons. And that's if you're lucky enough to avoid the recipe blogs clearly written by hungry unicorns whose only cooking experience is grazing rainbows. Not exactly brilliant if you're Hank Marvin.

Example 2: Asking ChatGPT

ChatGPT neatly serves up the recipe straightaway. No waffle, no ads, no demands to like and subscribe before cooking. Just the facts so you can get on with dinner. ChatGPT is clearly the Einstein here while Google is more of a Mr Bean.

So if AI assistants take over, two key questions come to mind:

  1. What happens to websites relying on Google traffic to earn revenue?
  2. If the number of websites drops (because they get no traffic) or they block AI from "stealing their content", how will AI stay relevant with limited content to learn from?

Let's explore a few possibilities:

Walled Garden Websites

Some sites may start requiring paid subscriptions, locking out the riffraff. While the content quality may improve, overall information access could worsen. Though on the bright side, at least there'd be less annoying pop-ups asking if you'd like to claim a free TV.

Blockchain Licensing

Blockchain technology could facilitate automatic compensation for websites when their content is used by AI. This could encourage the creation of top-notch recipes without having to pretend you've found the secret to weight loss. Take a look at projects like "Fetch AI".

AI-Enhanced User Experiences

Websites may integrate AI to offer personalized, interactive features beyond a standard AI assistant. Imagine a cooking site that knows you burn everything and gently suggests turning down the heat when you tell it your progress.

Decentralized Knowledge for AI

New decentralized platforms could aggregate community-sourced data for AI training. This would help ensure AI has sufficient fresh, diverse content to learn from - no relying on the same bland recipes repeated indefinitely.

Ethical AI Content Sourcing

AI companies may have to reveal data sources and ensure content creators are properly credited. This could build trust between AI developers and creators, enabling fruitful collaborations. Again, the blockchain could help here!

Hybrid Search Engines

Bing is already trying to combine AI summaries with links to full webpages. So you'd get a concise recipe from the AI, with the option to click through for more details. Google already does similar with it's rich snippets, but how often do you visit the actual website?

AI Fact Checkers

Services may emerge to verify the accuracy of online content, distinguishing quality human-created information from questionable AI-generated content. Useful for debating whether to trust that recipe for chocolate-chip sardine cupcakes.

The bottom line is the internet is evolving rapidly, with upsides and downsides. While SEO may diminish in importance, the core goal remains providing valuable information to users. How we pay content creators in the future is going to be very interesting, but maybe AI / crypto-enabled platforms like Limewire (yes! it's back) are the answer?

By embracing innovation and collaboration, we can shape an online world where delightful recipes and information are abundant. Of course, whether I'll ever cook anything more appetizing than a baked bean sandwich is another matter entirely!

Mark Jones

About Mark Jones

My goal is to help 1000 Microsoft experts have more freedom by selling their skills, working from wherever they choose.

To achieve this, I want to help educate via these sites:

👉 Collab365 Summits - Massive virtual conferences for Microsoft products
👉 Collab365 Today - Aggregation site for the best community blogs
👉 Collab365 Community - Huge blog site including plenty of Microsoft content

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