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This article is a part of our AI overview series, and like the others, it was created with the help of ChatGPT 🙂
As generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology continues to advance and will most likely have a significant impact on the marketing profession landscape, professionals start to examine the potential implications on the future of search engine optimization (SEO).
Today’s SEO practices are built to optimize search engine results. But, anyone who’s been using Chat-GPT lately can easily start to realize how it may soon replace search engines altogether.
It is not unlikely that in the very near future we will stop using “regular” search engines and will move to ask AI-based chatbots specific questions. We’ll enjoy comprehensive answers tailored to our questions – not just pointers to where we may find the answers we are looking for, but the actual answers… This saves loads of time and search-frustration.
Some early adopters have already moved away from Google search to this form of online research.
While it is difficult to predict exactly how OpenAI or similar solutions will impact the field of SEO, it is obvious that when the mass will no longer use today’s search engines, the SEO game will change.
Today, most articles discuss the potential impact of AI on optimizing and increasing the efficiency of SEO as we know it. Some examples include the use of AI to generate high-quality, unique content for websites, the optimization of the language and formatting of AI-generated content for search engines, and the analysis and optimization of the language used in website meta tags and descriptions.
But, if, for example, Chat-GPT will become the next popular arena to run online research, Reducing the use of search engines, will there even be a need to continue investing in SEO?
Will Generative-AI replace search engines?
I thought, why not ask the bot this question… here’s the (debatable if you ask me) answer:
“It is possible that Chat-GPT or other AI-powered chat systems could become popular platforms for online research in the future, but it is unlikely that they would completely replace search engines as a primary source of information. While chat-based systems like Chat-GPT can be a convenient and efficient way to access information, they have some limitations that make them less suitable for certain types of research.
For example, chat-based systems are typically limited to providing information that is specific to a particular question or topic, whereas search engines allow users to browse a wide range of information on many different topics. In addition, chat-based systems may not be able to provide as much depth and detail as search engines, which can be a disadvantage for more complex or in-depth research.
Therefore, it is likely that search engines will continue to play a major role in online research, even if chat-based systems like Chat-GPT become more popular. As a result, the practice of SEO will likely continue to be important for businesses and organizations that want to improve the visibility and accessibility of their online content.”
Well, is that really the case? A few thoughts:
- Limitations? AI only gets better and its ability to learn and optimize itself has no limits. Many of the limitations that exist today will be removed in the near future.
- AI will always lean on data that exists on the Internet, but I believe that as it is much more friendly than search engines, it will attract more and more users that will prefer this form of research on search. After all you can ask the chat to help you find specific resources, benchmarks, images or anything that comes to mind. Right, as the bot says: “chat-based systems are typically limited to providing information that is specific to a particular question or topic”, but is it a limitation? I am not at all sure. We, humans, are limited when it comes to time and attention span. We don’t need endless results, we just want the right ones. Why should I use search results and spend hours digging in trying to understand the market value of a real-estate asset, based on its characteristics, when I can just ask the bot. Why would I spend more time filtering the results based on multiple options, when I can just ask the chat?
- Depth and details? It’s true that today the chat doesn’t always go deep enough, but you could always ask it to provide the best resource that completes the picture, or the newest one, or the one that is most reliable… you will still be able to skip the search engine and save loads of time…
How is generative AI empowering SEO today?
As I said, today generative AI is (still) empowering current SEO practices in several ways:
- Generative AI is already used to help create good-quality, unique website content more efficiently. This helps improve the search rankings of websites
- Generative AI could be used to optimize the structure and formatting of content for search engines, by analyzing the language and formatting used by high-ranking websites in a particular niche and automatically applying those techniques to new content. You can even ask the AI to optimize the content for SEO.
- Generative AI could be used to add meta titles and descriptions, and to analyze and optimize the language used in websites’ meta tags and descriptions, which are important factors in search ranking algorithms.
- Generative AI could be used to generate much more natural and optimized automated responses to common customer queries, which could help improve the user experience and potentially lead to higher search rankings.
How will AI eventually turn SEO into ARO?
What will happen when search engines will no longer be at the forefront of the Internet? Will SEO pros move to optimize (and manipulate) answers provided by AI? If yes, what strategies will be used?
In this scenario, SEO professionals may need to adapt their strategies to optimize the data generated by AI engines in order to improve the appearance of businesses in answers to people’s queries. This could involve optimizing the language and formatting of the data that will be consumed by the AI engine, as well as ensuring that the data is relevant and useful to users.
But, the industry will first need to crack (at least to some extent) how the AI systems decide on the text in the results. If you ask an AI system to name a specific SaaS tool, Cat food, Statistics, or whatever, what makes it choose the data it provides over other similar data out there? This is a key to future AI results optimization (ARO instead of SEO)
Is SEO becoming redundant? Some concrete examples
Again, I turned to ask the bot. I got a very polite but valuable answer. Here it is:
It is difficult to predict exactly which search engine optimization (SEO) practices will become redundant if people move to use chatbots like me to run queries. However, it is likely that some traditional SEO practices will become less important as chatbots become more widely used. For example:
- Keyword optimization: In traditional SEO, it is important to optimize the language and formatting of website content for specific keywords and phrases in order to improve the search rankings of the site. With chatbots, the focus may shift away from keywords and more towards providing high-quality, relevant responses to user queries.
- Link building: In traditional SEO, link building involves obtaining links from other websites to a target website in order to improve the search rankings of the target site. With chatbots, the focus may shift away from links and more towards providing a good user experience and delivering useful and relevant information to users.
- Technical SEO: Traditional SEO often involves optimizing the technical aspects of a website, such as the structure and formatting of the site’s code, in order to improve its search rankings. With chatbots, the focus may shift away from technical optimization and more towards providing a good user experience and delivering useful and relevant information to users.
As you can see, while it admits that some strategies such as keyword optimization, link building, or technical SEO will not be needed (as done today), it doesn’t reveal what exactly will replace them, other than repeating the mantra of “keep user experience and deliver quality, useful and relevant information”.
Well, you can’t expect it to spill the beans and hint at how it is built. Bugger.
So, what’s the deal with generative AI and the future of SEO? Well, it’s tough to say for sure how things will shake out, but it’s definitely possible that as chatbots and other AI-powered systems become more popular, traditional SEO strategies might start to feel a bit outdated.
But hey, while these AI systems might have some limitations, search engines are still going to be around in the near future, continuing to be an important tool for finding information online.
Also, who doesn’t love a good chatbot? As the AI world continues to evolve, it’ll be up to SEO pros to stay on top of the latest developments and be ready to adapt their strategies as needed.
Einav Laviv is a tech and startup marketing exec. with 20 years of experience, and a Co-Founder at G2Mteam, which supports Israeli startups with full-stack global marketing services since 2014. She lives, breathes, and loves deep tech & data driven marketing