Will This Replace SEO?

Last week, as we were watching the snow fall and wind chills plunge to the -20s, my wife got an urge to make miso soup.

She went to Google, typed in “miso soup recipe” and, as Google does, it gave her a crap ton of results.

Some “card” results at the top. “Regular” organic results below. Plus some “People also ask” and videos thrown in for good measure.

She clicked one link that looked promising. But after scrolling through a long article to get to the actual recipe, she saw it included clam juice.

Yuck! No thanks!

So she clicked the back button and tried her luck with another search result.

This one also had a long ass article about miso soup. It went on about miso soup’s history, what is miso soup, how to store it, photos, videos, tips and reviews, and a boatload of other info.

(Cuz this is what Google forces us all to do to win the SEO game and land that coveted spot at the top of the rankings.)

Oh, and the recipe site was plastered with ads for Disney+, Google, and McDonald’s (cuz what’s better with miso soup than a Big Mac and fries?!).

Finally, buried within all the junk to make Google happy – and make the site money – was the recipe for miso soup.

Frustrated, I decided to try my luck with ChatGPT.

I entered, “I’d like a recipe for making miso soup.”

In about 15 seconds, ChatGPT gave us everything we needed.

The ingredients.

The instructions.

And even a note on tweaks to the recipe to make it more to our liking.

You know what it didn’t give us?

A doctoral thesis about miso, photos, videos, other largely irrelevant info… or ads for Big Macs.

Yeah, I think Google’s days of being our primary portal to the Internet are in trouble.

I do believe ChatGPT and its relatives will take an increasing amount of search share away from Google…

… But the impact will be more on research, informational type searches.

At least initially.

Searches with commercial intent will be harder for chat bots to handle.

Prompt ChatGPT with things like:

  • Top dentists near me
  • Best deals on air fryers
  • Samsung 65” 4K UHD TV reviews

… and ChatGPT gives the equivalent of the bemused, annoyed, eye-rolling, shoulder-shrugging response I get when I ask my teens, well, almost anything 😉

But as these chat bots evolve, that’s likely going to change. It’s not hard to see a day when we will rely more on chat bots to help us decide what to buy and who to buy it from.  

And it has me wondering if, before long, businesses will have to start doing “AI Engine Optimization” along with (or instead of) Search Engine Optimization.

I mean, the chat bots will need some way to organize the prioritize the info they serve up.

And you KNOW humans gonna human. There’ll be a race to figure out how to game AI’s algorithms to get your point of view, company, products, services, ideas, etc., incorporated into chat bots’ responses.

AEO. AI Engine Optimization.

You heard it here first. (I think… I’ll have to ask ChatGPT if anyone else has coined the phrase yet.) Anyhoo…

… Listen, this isn’t an “SEO is dead” article. SEO is still super important and one of the best ways to get quality traffic to your site.

But this is an article looking forward because things are changing… fast!

ChatGPT and its ilk aren’t quite ready for primetime. They still make crap up and give out alarmingly bad info. But the technology is only getting better.

And it WILL steal searches away from search engines.

What does that mean for our search habits, small businesses, and society at large?

I don’t know, but it brings up a number of interesting questions…

… How will AI chat bots prioritize the info they serve up in answers to our questions?

… Will it work in a similar way to the search algorithms or work in a very different way?

… Will more people still prefer using search engines so they can do some research instead of defaulting to what a chat bot decides is the best result/answer for them?

… How will advertising get incorporated into the chat bots?

I don’t have a crystal ball.

But there are a lot of interesting questions to ponder as all this evolves. And likely evolves quicker than any of us think.

But here’s one thing I do know…

… some things won’t change, specifically when it comes to marketing.

  • Human nature
  • The time-tested fundamentals of salesmanship and direct response marketing
  • The importance of understanding your audience’s needs, wants, desires, problems, hopes, fears and more
  • The importance of being able to craft compelling offers
  • The importance of building a community of people who know, like and trust you

This is why we spend a lot of time on the fundamentals of marketing here at The Marketing Advocate.

Yes, things are changing on the Internet… whether it’s AI chat bots, TikTok, the metaverse, NFTs or whatever the hottest tech of the day is.

But here’s the thing, tech has always been changing… direct mail, faxes, TV, radio, etc.

The way to best prepare for all these changes is the same way it’s always been…

… focus on the fundamentals… on the things that won’t change.

Because when you get those right, you’re in a much stronger position to handle whatever Google or AI chat bots may throw your way.

Share this article
Adam K
Adam K

Adam has been fascinated with online marketing, particularly PPC, since 2004 and opened his own PPC management company in 2006. Over the years he's written extensively about Google AdWords and online marketing on his own sites as well as partnered with/written for Perry Marshall, Ryan Deiss of DigitalMarketer.com and Neil Patel.