Is This the End? The Looming Question Over SEO’s Future in the Age of Advanced LLMs

written by Tony Ruiz
On Nov 27, 2023

For years, the chant of ‘SEO is dead‘ echoed like an old myth in the digital world. I never gave it much thought… until now 😟

With these words, let’s delve into a topic that’s gaining unprecedented momentum in the digital marketing realm. The rapid advancements in Language Learning Models (LLMs) like GPT-4 are not just a technological leap; they’re reshaping how we interact with the digital world. But the looming question remains: Is this the end of traditional SEO as we know it?

From Keywords to Conversations: The New Search Paradigm

The evolution in search behavior is more than just a trend; it’s a paradigm shift. Traditionally, savvy SEO experts wielded complex search footprints like

"how to" "tutorial" "python" -html -css 

to drill down into Google’s vast data repository. But let’s face it – the average user doesn’t search this way. They’re not delving into the nuances of search operators and advanced queries. Instead, they’re asking straightforward, conversational questions like “How can I learn Python?”

This shift underscores a critical point: Google, in its essence, is not inherently user-friendly for those seeking comprehensive, detailed answers to specific queries.

It presents a list of websites, leaving the user to sift through each one, evaluating the relevance, accuracy, and completeness of the information.

This process can be daunting and inefficient for the average user, who may not have the expertise or patience to navigate through potentially irrelevant or partial information.

In contrast, when posed with the same question, modern AI systems like LLMs offer a strikingly different experience.

Their responses are not just a list of links, but detailed, concrete, and tailored answers that directly address the user’s intent.

This capability to provide a more precise and personalised response is where AI systems outshine traditional search engines. It’s this aspect of AI that makes it more appealing and useful to the general public, who may lack SEO expertise, for finding comprehensive and relevant information for their unique queries.

As we witness this shift from keyword-based searches to conversational queries, it becomes clear that the traditional SEO model faces a significant challenge. How does Google adapt to this new landscape where users expect and prefer the kind of detailed, personalised responses that AI systems are uniquely equipped to provide? The answer to this question could redefine the future of search.

Google vs. AI: A Battle for Relevance

The contrast between Google’s list of websites and AI’s detailed, tailored responses is stark. Google’s dilemma is clear:

How can Google compete?

Sure, it could enhance its snippets or leverage its database more effectively. But here’s where Google hits a wall – its lifeblood is advertising. If Google starts providing direct answers, where does it leave room for ads? This is the crux of the matter.

Google’s Advertising Quandary

Is This the End? The Looming Question Over SEO's Future in the Age of Advanced LLMs

Google thrives on advertiser dollars. It needs us to click through to those third-party sites to display ads and farm AD revenue. If it begins to answer queries directly in search results, the Click-Through Rate (CTR) could plummet.

How does Google balance the need to provide direct answers while maintaining its ad revenue?

It’s a tightrope walk, one that could determine the future of search.

The Twilight of Traditional SEO?

So, here we stand at what might be the dawn of a new era in online search.

Google, once the undisputed titan of the SEO age, now seems to be wandering, zombie-like, into an uncertain future. Are we witnessing the twilight of traditional SEO? Time will tell, but one thing is certain: change is inevitable. What do you think will be the outcome? Let me know in the comments section below!! 👀👇

Both Google and SEO must evolve or risk becoming obsolete in this paradigm shift.

Tony Ruiz

Tony Ruiz

Mastered complex sauces in the kitchen, but found a natural talent for digital strategy. Former chef turned proud CEO of Traffic Roosters 🐓



  1. Paul A.

    Hey Tony, great article! how do you envision the future role of SEO? Will it become more about understanding AI behaviors rather than optimizing for search engines?

    • Tony Ruiz

      Hey Paul!! thanks for reaching out and engaging with the article!! 😁

      You’ve touched on a critical point, and I appreciate your perspective. In the evolving landscape where AI, specially advanced LLMs, is becoming increasingly dominant in how search queries are handled, the traditional concept of SEO as we know it could indeed face obsolescenc. It’s not just about adaptation anymore; it’s about a fundamental shift in the digital ecosystem.

      In this future scenario, where AI directly answers queries with high precision and personalisation, the traditional role of SEO – optimising content to rank higher in search engine results – may no longer be relevant.

      As AI becomes more sophisticated in understanding and responding to user intent, the intermediary layer of SEO could be removed entirely. This means that the practices we’ve long associated with SEO, such as keyword optimisation, link building, and even content creation with the intent of ranking in search engines, might become relics of the past.

      It’s a stark realisation, akin to many historical instances where technological advancements have rendered certain services or practices obsolete. The key takeaway here is the potential for a complete dissolution of SEO as an industry and practice, much like how many other services have disappeared in the face of advancing technology.

      This perspective opens up a broader conversation about the nature of technological evolution and its impact on industries, especially in digital marketing. As professionals, it prompts us to rethink our roles and adapt to a landscape where AI is not just a tool, but possibly the central player in how information is accessed and consumed.

  2. Marco F.

    so, considering big G reliance on advertising revenue, what innovative strategies could it adopt to stay relevant and competitive in the face of advanced LLMs like GPT-4 which provide direct and personalized answers?

    • Tony Ruiz

      hey there Marco, thanks for your great question!

      You’re spot-on in highlighting Google’s big challenge here, Google’s traditional ad-based model does need a serious rethink.

      Here’s my vvsion:

      Redefining the Search Experience: Google’s future could be about enhancing the search experience. This means integrating AI to make searches not just about finding links, but providing direct, comprehensive answers. Think of an AI-powered Google that doesn’t just list recipes but offers personalised cooking tips based on your diet or past searches.

      Revolutionising Ad Formats: The old banner ad won’t cut it anymore. Google could innovate with ads that are more conversational and interactive, thanks to AI. Imagine asking Google about camping gear and getting a personalised recommendation from an outdoor brand, right within your search conversation.

      Imagine a future where Google knows your dietary preferences and needs in detail. You upload your diet orfood preferences to your Google profile, and each time you search for a recipe, you get not just personalised results, but also a conversational guide from Google. It suggests not only the perfect recipe but also specific products for cooking it (ads), creating a fully integrated and personalised search experience. This revolutionises how we interact with online searches and opens up a new realm of advertising possibilities for Google, where ads feel less like promotions and more like advice from a knowledgeable friend

      Expanding Beyond Search: Google’s got to look at where else it can be useful. For instance, local business searches, shopping, and food recipes are areas ripe for AI integration. Google can excel in these domains by providing more than just information – maybe even direct booking or purchasing options within the search itself, which will be conversational.

      AI-Driven Content Creation and Curation: Here’s a big one – Google could use AI to curate or even create content that’s super relevant to individual users. Its not just about finding the best article on a topic anymore; it’s about getting a personalised briefing or summary that’s tailored just for you.

      basically, “big G’s” future lies in being more than a search engine; it’s about becoming an integral part of the user’s daily life through AI-driven personalisation and convenience. This way, they can stay relevant and competitive, even as the nature of search and information consumption evolves.

      Hope that sheds some light on the subject!!!


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