The sacrificial altar of SEO will crumble

Tailoring website content to attract the attention of, well, Google has been part of the business of running a business since September 5, 1998. Now SEO optimization is an industry-unto-itself with tools, companies, free-lancers, periodicals and podcasts. At its zenith in 2021, SEO accounted for 26% of marketing or SEO-related searches.

The problem is, Google doesn’t think, see, hear or feel like a human. It’s an AI (machine learning algorithm, really, but who says that anymore). In fact, it was an AI back when AI destroying the world was sci-fi, not news. Google’s LLM is so old that when it was sued for copyright infringement, Netflix came in the mail. (Not a joke.)

But, one thing hasn’t changed in all this time. SEO requires sacrifice. Writing for the machine is a choice done at the expense of humanity. What is sacrificed, byte by byte, is Charm. Culture. Ethos. In essence, long-run brand value is sacrificed for short-run attention.

In 2023, we saw the very bottom of the abyss in “Thai food near me.” There’s a growing trend where businesses, for the attention of the machines, blot-out the very core of “brand value.” They select legal names like “Best Burger Walkable” and place it on their signs so the search engines will shine favor on their brand. This is the “AAAA Bail Bonds” of the post yellow-pages era. From that depth, there’s nothing left to sacrifice on the altar of SEO.

The share of SEO searches has already dropped from 26% in 2021 to 21% in 2023. Hopefully, by seeing the very end of the SEO journey, more companies will take less steps in that direction. That path leads to “Best Beer” brand beer and “Best Family SUV.” Make: Best, Model: Family SUV. We hope more companies will choose to optimize for people and let the search engine catch-up.

Source: Google Trends
♰Google was founded September 4th, 1998.

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