Did AI Just Kill SEO?

Did AI Just Kill SEO?

Aaron Olson 3 min

Google’s latest update to its search engine may have put the final nail in the coffin for SEO. Now, instead of providing a list of links to company or publication sites, the first thing you see after searching on Google are results generated by AI.

Google says the new feature will “help you better learn and make sense of information on the web.”

Here’s an example of Google’s Generative AI search using the term: Nearbound.

Generative AI search results now replace links on Google search.

For those who gain access to the new AI search feature, the top ½ of the page is taken up by a clean AI-written answer to your query. Rather than showing links to articles as the primary content, AI gets the spotlight.

Can AI fix the problem of data overwhelm?

Google aims to fix the problem brought on by what we call the infocalypse. No human can stay abreast of all the data out there, but perhaps AI can. AI can provide answers quickly. And people are turning to AI as a way to sift through endless information. 

A Harvard Business Review survey found that nearly ¾ of business leaders feel positive about the role that AI will play in the future. Consumers are welcoming AI, too. A recent poll showed that 85% of consumers are very interested in AI.

The problem with too much data

In recent years, search engines have been becoming less useful to consumers. Over 40% of Gen Z consumers now use TikTok as their main place for search results, and the numbers are growing. 

As more and more people attempt to game SEO, the quality of content has decreased. The sheer volume of data has become impossible to sift through. Spam-driven nonsense appears at the top of the search results on any given Google search.

How this will impact SEO

Traditional search results, flawed as they may be, at least provide a transparent source. With the AI’s summary, it’s hard to know where the information is coming from.

And SEO, for all its weaknesses, was a known and understood system. Companies invest time and money in understanding the algorithms and adapting to them. Now, with AI-generated results, the process becomes opaque. 

It’s one thing for an AI to sift through vast amounts of data, but it’s another thing to decide what’s relevant and what’s not.

Many B2B companies have tailored their online strategies around SEO optimization. But a shift towards more trusted sources of information means less focus on businesses cranking out lengthy articles optimized for SEO. 

The shift to more authentic search results

From a trust perspective, AI is late to the game. A major shift has already occurred in the marketplace. Consumers are moving away from Google searches and leaning on influencers they trust.

Social media is difficult to game because it often involves an influencer showing one’s face on camera. You can pay a virtual assistant to write keyword-stuffed articles, but you can’t pay a virtual assistant to go live on-camera to build relationships with an audience.

Instead, we’ll likely see more companies favoring unique points of view generated from influencers their customers already have confidence in. 

A move towards a less overwhelming internet

For those of us overwhelmed by the insane amount of data on the internet, an AI-generated summary is a welcome relief. It’s like having a smart assistant that reads through everything and gives you the gist. 

No more sifting through irrelevant or spammy links.

Google’s latest update also signals a shift in the economy. Consumers were once concerned with getting enough data to make informed decisions. Now, consumers have so much data that they need someone (or something) to help sort the results.

Perhaps B2B will stop cranking out the incessant SEO-optimized articles and focus on building trust and influence in the market through relevant content their customers can trust.

Aaron Olson 3 min

Did AI Just Kill SEO?

Google's new AI search may have changed the game for SEO.

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