Why Google And Bing’s Embrace Of Generative AI Is Disrupting The SEO Industry
The advent of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT, which are being developed by tech giants like Google and Microsoft, is set to revolutionize online search. It is expected to provide users with instant answers to their queries by combing through the entire internet, rather than having to wade through a sea of URLs. However, there are some concerns over the rise of AI-fueled search engines, such as the lack of transparency over where information comes from, the potential for “hallucinated” answers, and copyright issues. One other consequence is that this technology may spell the end of the $68 billion search engine optimization (SEO) industry.
For the past 25 years or so, websites, news outlets, blogs, and many others with a URL that wanted to get attention have used SEO to “convince” search engines to share their content as high as possible in the results they provide to readers. This has helped drive traffic to their sites and has also spawned an industry of consultants and marketers who advise on how best to do that. But the growing use of generative AI will likely make all of that obsolete.
More: AI Trends
When someone searches for information online, they are presented with a list of links, both organic and paid, based on the keywords or questions they type in. Content providers use various search engine marketing strategies, such as SEO, paid placements, and banner displays, to attract the user’s attention. However, with generative AI, users will get a text result in the form of an answer, bypassing all the sponsored and editorial result listings.
This will have an adverse impact on the revenues of SEO consultants, search engine marketers consultants, and ultimately, the bottom line of search engines themselves. For example, the SEO industry generated $68.1 billion globally in 2022, and was expected to reach $129.6 billion by 2030. Similarly, approximately 58% of Google’s 2022 revenues —or almost $162.5 billion—came from Google Ads, which provides some of these services. Thus, the emergence of generative AI may render the SEO industry obsolete, and the search engine marketing strategies used by content providers useless.