Published on October 20, 2023, 2:09 pm
Generative AI: The Potential Death Knell for the SEO Industry
In today’s digital era, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a crucial tool for websites, news outlets, and blogs to attract attention and drive traffic. Companies have invested billions of dollars in SEO strategies to ensure that their content appears at the top of search engine results. However, the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI) poses a potential threat to this industry.
Generative AI tools, such as Google’s Bard, Microsoft’s Bing AI, Baidu’s ERNIE, and DuckDuckGo’s DuckAssist, promise to revolutionize the way we search the internet. Instead of presenting users with a list of links based on their keywords or questions, generative AI provides direct text-based answers. For instance, if you’re planning a trip to Destin, Florida, typing “Create a three-day itinerary for a visitor” into Bing AI will generate a detailed itinerary without having to click through various sources.
As the quality of AI-generated answers continues to improve over time, users will have less incentive to browse through search results. They can save time and effort by relying on these AI responses. This paradigm shift in online searching could render traditional SEO strategies obsolete.
However, there are challenges that need addressing before generative AI can dominate the search landscape. Many of these initiatives are still experimental and limited in availability. Generative AI has also been criticized for providing incorrect or plagiarized information. Building trust and gaining user loyalty will be essential for its success.
Despite these hurdles, it is safe to assume that with ongoing research and advancements in generative AI models, it will eventually transform online search as we know it. This leads us to question the future of the SEO industry.
The SEO industry generated an astounding $68.1 billion globally in 2022 and was projected to reach $129.6 billion by 2030 before generative AI emerged as a potential disruptor. With users bypassing sponsored and editorial result listings in favor of AI-generated answers, the revenues of SEO consultants, search engine marketers, and even search engines themselves will be adversely impacted.
Large search engine companies like Google and Microsoft, with multiple revenue streams, will likely find ways to offset these losses. However, the smaller SEO marketers and consultants who heavily rely on search engines may find themselves unnecessary in the new AI-driven landscape.
Although the SEO industry is not expected to fade away immediately, its future is uncertain. As generative AI models become more sophisticated and trustworthy, companies may question the need for traditional SEO strategies that are no longer effective in garnering user attention. Without a doubt, the rise of generative AI poses a significant threat to the SEO industry.
In conclusion, generative AI has the potential to revolutionize online search by providing direct answers without the need to navigate through multiple links. While there are challenges that must be overcome before it fully dominates the search ecosystem, it is only a matter of time before this technology becomes more refined and widely adopted. As a result, the SEO industry may face obsolescence in the near future.