AI Will Kill SEO, the Text Web, and Wisdom Pipelines

People will just ask AI instead of searching the web

I’ve spent over two decades interacting with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in some regard. From my first site in 1999 to late last year, I regularly had to think about my website and how it appeared in search engines.

That time is about gone for me, and I think it is for others as well.

AI vs. the web

I don’t think a lot of people realize how bad AI is for SEO. Actually, it’s worse than SEO. SEO is just collateral damage.

AI is bad for web content creators. At least those that write text.


Because AI consumes text and absorbs it into its soul. Once an LLM has read the wisdom from something, you can just ask the LLM. Not only do you not have to read the original, but the LLM version is better because it can flex.

Why search when you can just ask instead?

You can ask the LLM for a one-sentence version of the description. Or a full page overview of it.

Somewhere on the web there is a perfect description—that someone wrote—of the first day of the Battle of the Bulge. Actually probably quite a few people have decent ones.

But do you really want to go spelunking for that? Wading through ads? Clicking multiple links only to find you don’t like how they explained it, or that they don’t write well?

MacGPT: How I answer most questions today

I don’t even use my own website anymore

I knew this was going to be an issue back in November when I realized I don’t need to search my own site anymore.

I’ve spent 24 years writing really good tutorials on technical topics, like tcpdump, and vim, and many others. And I used to use them constantly?

What’s the flag for finding NTP traffic in Tcpdump? Before I’d go to my site and search. Now I just do cmd-; to call up MacGPT and ask the question.

It just gives me the answer.

No browser. No URL. No reading a page. Just the answer. Instantly.

Space for creators

There is still lots of room for creators. Video is hot. And it’ll take time for new ideas to be absorbed by LLMs, so people who have lots of content will still have followings.

But LLMs will get better and faster at parsing new content. So that gap will close within a number of years.

Ultimately the best defense for a creator is the combination of value and entertainment. If you’re getting not just information, but also perspective, and also humor or something else—that’s what will keep you the safest as a creator.

AI just becomes your assistant

Answers always available

Before too long it won’t be ChatGPT anymore. It won’t be some amorphous “AI” that’s giving you these answers.

It’ll be your own personal assistant, which is of course, powered by AI.

You’ll just ask it things with your voice, or with text, on your mobile platform, and it’ll give you the answer directly.

It has access to all the AIs it needs. It can read whatever website it needs. It does whatever it has to in order to find you the best answer.

Bottom line

In short, the old way of doing things was to write down wisdom on webpages. And people who wanted wisdom would find those webpages via SEO and then read them.

That’s super primitive compared to what’s about to happen.

Now the AIs will just read everything for you, and you’ll ask them.

AI will kill SEO, and text-based wisdom on the internet that isn’t LLM-generated.

A remaining question

But that leaves the question: what does the pipeline look like for creating new wisdom? Someone has to write it down somewhere for the LLMs to consume, right?

And why would anyone be incentivized to create that wisdom if nobody is going to read it directly? And if it’s just going to be consumed, anonymously, into the big brain of the collective AIs of the world?

This is a problem.