SEO is Here to Stay: Why AI Can’t Replace Search Engines

Everybody’s hearing buzz spread around lately about large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and their potential to change how we see search. Some even say that LLMs would be the death of SEO. But we disagree.

Here’s why:

  • LLMs limit choice. Search is all about having choice and LLM can offer a few options but they are limited. If LLM had too many options, it would become another search engine- but with a limited scope.
  • Voice search has limitations. Voice assistants are considered convenient for simple queries but they struggle with complex searches. Imagine planning for a trip with the help of an LLM. Refining your search is easier with a visual interface.
  • Search is about user control. People like getting options and search engines provide just that. It is the digital equivalent of a supermarket shelf. We want to be able to choose from the products of different brands. Even with personalisation, AI can’t replicate the desire of humans to control and explore.
  • Search engines offer more than ten links. Search results aren’t just limited to the first page. People might not scroll down to the bottom every time, but the option still exists. If ten links were all that we needed, google wouldn’t offer more.

So, while AI-based LLMs seem interesting, they won’t be able to replace search engines. However, there is a strong possibility for a hybrid approach, like Google’s SearcH Graph Engine (SGE) which provides the best of both worlds: quick answers with user choice.

And that’s where SEO comes in.

SEO for the New Age

SEO is more important than ever with the changing search landscape. The focus is shifting towards a more holistic approach if we consider user intent, context, and the overall user experience.

Here’s how SEO is adapting:

  • AI-powered tools are providing deeper insights into user behavior and content performance.
  • SEO professionals are creating more targeted content that resonates with their audience.
  • Mid-funnel SEO strategies are becoming a priority, focusing on users who are already interested in a product or service.

The Future of SEO

The search channel, whether powered in a traditional way by blue links or by AI, will always exist. And SEO professionals who use AI will be the ones to stay ahead of the curve.

AI is the future of search, but as a complement, not a replacement.