AI optimization will change SEO. But if you focus on marketing and long-term gains, your work will not be in vain.
David: Dave, you sent over an article about SEO is dead, and we shouldn’t waste our time. So, do you want to add any comments to this? I’ve just shared the article in the chat.
Dave: Yeah. If I remember right, it was basically the guy talking about, instead of doing search engine optimization, doing AI optimization.
Dave: And so, I just wanted to know the expert, Curious Ants guru’s opinion.
David: I’m sorry. Did I laugh out loud?
Dave: Yeah, because clients look at us as SEO experts, and they’re going to be asking us, too, right?
Dave: It’s always important to know because AI is affecting everything. And so, it’s really important for us to know or at least have an opinion on where it’s going.
David: Yeah. So, my first impression was clickbait, and he really didn’t say anything. Right? Second of all, yeah, we’re going to have a, what’s the term when major industry shifts?
Dave: Paradigm shift or whatever? Talk about that.
David: The idea is, yeah, things are definitely going to change. Basically, the change is what we may see, and he brought this point up in the article that when you have a learned language answer, you don’t need to look at the ten blue links. So, where is SEO when we’re no longer going for the ten blue links?
Dave: Yeah. And that Google is now going to have their page where you’ll have some stuff displayed, and then you can type in and get your answers right there and all that right.
David: So… The word was just on the tip of my tongue. I’m going to shout it out randomly in the middle of this. So, yes, there’s going to be a change, but I’ve been around SEO long enough, and you’ve heard me preach this idea many times. We’re not about tricking. We’re about marketing. We’re about the long play. We’re not about quick, immediate gains. So, if we’re trying to trick the algorithm that produces learned language models, well, it’s just the same old stuff where we’re like, okay, so what’s the secret? So, now it works for a week, and then suddenly, it figures it out and doesn’t work. Instead, if we just do good marketing, we’re going to be fine. So, a couple of notes. Number one, rank hasn’t existed for a long time, right? And I’m pushing us not to worry about rank. I don’t report rank to clients. I refuse to report rank to clients because the search results have been personalized. Google even says it is not an algorithm. There are several algorithms. There are several ranking algorithms. So, it’s like. Rank for what? Where? That’s not SEO anymore. It hasn’t been SEO for quite a while. So, if you’re worried about rank, well, yeah, SEO is gone. Because why would you go and follow through with the ten blue links if your question is answered? So, if you’re worried about ranking, yeah, you should be worried. But if you’re doing a long play, which is taking the time to talk on my website about things that my customers are searching for and providing clear answers, using the language that they’re using themselves, then the learned language model might be using us as the source. Because all this really is, this is not really AI. This is not really an intelligent computer. This is a new way of displaying information that sounds like a human. That’s really all it is. So, it’s got to pull this information. So, for one, now, despite all the rumors, despite all the people selling the products, and despite what Google says, now is not the time to use AI content. AI content will eventually be an echo chamber if the learned language models are now using AI-generated content to fill the learned language model. So that’s an echo chamber. Google, Bing, and ChatGPT, they don’t want that. So, if you take the time to actually write content that is useful and helpful and insightful and new, i.e., the helpful content update that just rolled out, right? Hello? This whole new update came if your content is just basically regurgitating everything everybody else says; hello, that’s what LLMs do, then it’s no longer valuable. So, if we’ve taken the long road and tried to write insightful new stuff all this time, and we continue to do that, we will eventually, even if this transition happens, we will be the source of information. They will cite us as the source. That’ll be the new SEO – being cited as a source for these learned language models. So, when someone says, what kind of widget does my factory need? And we have an article about how to choose the right widget for your factory; well, the LLM will use us as the source. Now, Bing cites sources. Right? Bard is toying with source citation. So, for SEO, we want source citations. And I think that there’s all these lawsuits going on right now because you just plagiarized me if you don’t give me as a source. Right? Sarah Silverman is suing because they just stole her content without citation, and that’s illegal. And so that brings up the second concept, which is this is not going to happen quickly. There’s going to be a whole lot of case law, a whole lot of legal stuff figured out here. Privacy issues. Copyright rules. This is all going to change. So, this isn’t going to happen. I’d say it won’t happen in the next year, at least. There isn’t a lot to figure out. But if you’ve ever used them, you know they are far from perfect.
Dave: Oh yeah.
David: So, I will do just some tests on Bing, which I prefer Bing to Google’s Bard, and be like, wait, that’s just simply not true. In fact, the more I know about a subject, the more I realize it’s absolutely not true. Then, the ten blue links will be helpful. Right? But again, back to when it will eventually be good enough or better. So, then, what does SEO become? Well, SEO becomes being cited as the source and the answer to the question. And so, how will we measure that? Because, again, we start everything with measurement. Right? If we can’t measure it, it doesn’t work. Then, we’re taking traffic from the sources. If we’re cited as a source, a credible source, Bard, or whatever saying that this is the answer, people are going to want more information. And the Bard will give us the citation, and that’s where we’ll measure the traffic. And then, we’ll be able to say, oh, our SEO is working because these sources are quoting us. Right? We’ll do the same thing. Traffic is not at the end of the world, not the end of the process. We want traffic that generates leads. So, we will see what queries we show up for what pages get cited, double down on those, and try to get those to convert better and get people to come to our conversion pages. And so that’s really all we’re doing these days. It’s the same thing. It’s just a different way of displaying the information. So, I’m not ready to say SEO is quite dead. It’s going to be very different, but if we’re doing it the right way now, we will be fine. If we’re cutting corners now and we’re producing the same old crap everybody else has, and we’re using our own learned language models to generate content on our website, eventually that, just like always, cutting corners will eventually get cut and will no longer work. It might work now. But if we have the long-term philosophy that we’re not trying to play the game, we’re just trying to do good marketing, then, okay, we don’t have as much to worry about.
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