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Why the Best SEOs Will Embrace AI, Not Fear It

With all the noise around the newest AI integrations with search engines recently, it's brought up some valid discussion on how this will impact the future of online content creation. What will withstand the storm. What will be replaced? Here are some of my thoughts
Updated February 18, 2023
a robot holding a pencil going up an escalator of other robots holding a pencil. photorealistic but simple environment photo in 4k
a robot holding a pencil going up an escalator of other robots holding a pencil. photorealistic but simple environment photo in 4k

It's been a wild ride over the last 2 weeks. Bing introduced ChatGPT to their search engines and began to terrorize Google. As a response, Google introduced BARD – their version of an AI searching assistant. Funnily enough, the ad that showed off BARD had a factual mistake in it which resulted Alphabet's stock plummeting 9% in a matter of hours (nearly three times the 50-day moving average... lol).

Besides all the drama, a serious question came up turned SEO Twitter into panic mode: is this the end of SEOs? If Google remains as the dominating search engine and implements BARD similarly to how they've shown it off (not attributing answers to certain websites), how will content creators continue to get traffic to their sites, ultimately enabling them to produce more content?

The short answer is – I don't really know. It would be a shame if Google demonetized itself, right? In 2022, Google made 224 billion dollars from ad spend alone – accounting to 80% of their total revenue for the year. If BARD doesn't display attributions to the pages it scrapes its answers from (unlike the new perplexity.ai answering platform), then why would publishers want to keep creating content?

Perplexity.ai results

Well it's clear that Google announced BARD as a knee-jerk reaction to Bing's announcement (threatening to replace Google as the next generation of the search engine). But it's quite funny to hear Bing being spoken about as an actual threat to Google when they're still not quite there yet:

Obviously both of these companies have massive investment into the AI search engine game at this point, but it's clear the road is still very bumpy ahead. On top of all of these announcements, the Google Search Central team just announced that appropriate AI-produced content is actually allowed now!

Appropriate use of AI or automation is not against our guidelines. This means that it is not used to generate content primarily to manipulate search rankings, which is against our spam policies.

https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2023/02/google-search-and-ai-content

A weird transition from the confusion just a couple weeks back and talks about how Google will eventually find AI-written sites & completely wipe them off the search map. It still comes down to the same principles they've mentioned for years now: quality content. You could have terrible content written by a human & amazing content written by a robot. For now it seems like if writing is high-quality, answers the readers intent, and has an authoritative presence in the field – it'll be good.

So what about SEO? Are Google search results just going to become a bunch of decent AI writing coming out from newsworthy sources? And is Google not going to credit sites at all when they release their own AI-answered snippets? I don't think so.

AI will still never be able to fully replace human creativity that comes with personal brands. In the next few years I'm sure we'll have customized AI bots that can create 80% of a post in the tone of the brand releasing the writing & have a human quality assurance checker fill in the gaps.

Those who think AI will eventually replace the need for their niche websites are probably right though, it will. The real value of searches are almost exclusively going to become the reviews, opinions, and key takes on existing content. The harder the content is to replicate, the safer your chances are for the next takeover. People thought voice transcription would replace content, then thought video content would replace SEO, but we're still here.

The most valuable content creators are going to remain viable. This is kind of what Google's goal is, filtering out the fluff from search results. It's been way too long now where spammy, low-quality websites have dominated certain markets – and it's slowly going to start going away.

On another note, we don't even know what's going to happen. I mean, the CEO of OpenAI himself even stated that we have no way of figuring out the intricate details of what the AI revolution is going to include & disrupt.

The Unique Skills and Qualities of SEOs

The best SEO writers understand human behavior and psychology better than a robot does. What works? What writing it going to get people to stay on my page and have them wanting more?

It's actually a really simple concept – it's just hard to replicate. You won't be able to easily recreate this experience on a mass scale with what AI we currently have access to.

SEO's also foster the ability to think outside the box and come up with unique solutions. They have updated knowledge of industry trends and best practices, and the ways of communicating this across their platforms.

The best SEO's are going to combine AI with their professional knowledge. Leveraging AI-writing platforms that are non-intrusive & can "bump" text when a writer is stuck in a rut. Use this & have AI generate the boilerplate content that it can do better than you – and you've got yourself a new solution. I stopped using Jasper to write blog copy about a month ago because it can't replicate what I know about my specific niche. It's an assistant – people need to realize this.

It's a great tool, but has a specific use-case. If it works for you, amazing! If not, keep doing what you're doing. It often seems like those who create the most sustainable brands and businesses don't let the shiny object syndrome get to them. They just do what works, consistently. A great example of this is my great friend Alex of CyberLeads. He doesn't listen to the noise, he just works harder than his competition and remains consistent.

SEO's that just keep writing about what they know about while maybe using some tools to reduce brain fog during their process, are going to be the ones that weather the storm the best.

I have a hard time believing Google will demonetize itself by not including citations to AI snippets. If it does, I'll just move to video content (until the next big thing comes along).

We have a long storm ahead of us, and the rest of this year is going to be really really interesting. Who know's what will happen. For now, I'll just keep writing ✏️

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Written by Justin Gluska
Justin is the founder of Gold Penguin, a business technology blog that helps people start, grow, and scale their business using AI. The world is changing and he believes it's best to make use of the new technology that is starting to change the world. If it can help you make more money or save you time, he'll write about it!
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