The short answer is: no, it’s not. But it’s not quite the same either.
If traditional SEO was the easter egg in your favorite Marvel movie—the kind that leads you to clues about plots and sequels, then SEO in 2023 is the chicken that’s hatched out of the egg—it’s got legs, claws, and a mind of its own.
So why question SEO mortality in the first place? The answer is that super archvillain—yes, that one, who’s been keeping businesses and marketers like me awake at night-ChatGPT. If people get the answers they need from AI tools and LLMs like ChatGPT, then what is the point of SEO? In other words, what good is SEO is there is no SE?
And that brings us to our first, major point. Search engines are not going anywhere.
Think about it, search engines contain content that is relevant to the last second. ChatGPT doesn’t know a thing that happened after 2021, or whatever data set it was trained with. A Redditor posted a thread where he asked Google’s Bard about whether it was the best place to learn, and its answer, dear readers, was to tell him that it was not aware of a Google product named Bard and that he might be confusing it with something else.
I’m not even getting into the fact that while ChatGPT is a great starting point, it gets stuff wrong. A lot. All the time. ChatGPT needs fact-checkers more than the nightly news presenters we all love to hate. Here again, search engines will only ever show you links with their sources. Then it is up to you and your human discretion to determine what is credible and what isn’t.
So, back to SEO. There has been a lot of speculation around the role of SEO in the content marketing space. But, as I hope you are now convinced, brands will continue to advertise heavily and overwhelmingly based on the rules and algorithms of search engines, and therefore SEO is here to stay.
It’s not SEO, it’s you
For marketers who are not seeing the results they want from their SEO strategies, I’m sorry to say, the problem is not with SEO. If a brand sees SEO as a competition—a way to trick the algorithm into ranking their content highly, it’s not a strategy that will work. Instead, marketers need to evolve with SEO trends and work with search engines rather than against them. SEO plays a key role in handling the massive volume of content generated every day. And if you remove SEO from the loop, your content would get completely lost in the vast amount of information available online.
So, retrain yourself to move beyond keyword-stuffed, slim content that is choc-a-bloc with affiliate links. Instead, figure out how you can create high-quality (rather than high volume) content that genuinely attempts to answer searchers’ questions. Yes, backlinks are important, so make sure your content is full of in-depth research, original thoughts, compelling visuals and more, so that people naturally use you as a citation source.
The rise of AEO
A new optimization tool, answer engine optimization (AEO) is on the horizon. AEO primarily focuses on content optimization for search queries in order to appear as featured snippets in search engine result pages, and it’s something we’ve all relied on during those 2-second urgent searches while on a client call!
AEO makes creators optimize content for specific user requirements and needs. To become “answer optimized”, businesses must anticipate possible customer queries and be ready with the required answers. Smart content creators and marketers will integrate both the latest SEO and AEO practices to generate highly effective results.
If you’ve read this far and noticed a common thread between these developments, it is this: user convenience, ease, and value are all that search engines care about. If your SEO (or AEO) practices are designed around adding meaningful value to readers, you have nothing to fear.
Embrace the power of SEO and AEO to drive meaningful value for your readers. Netscribes’ Content Marketing services can help you stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of search engine optimization. To maximize your content potential with an effective SEO strategy and AEO for your brand, contact us today.
Based on insights by Shalini Dasgupta, Manager, Integrated Content Solutions