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SEO and AI
In the midst of what looks to be a grand transition away from traditional search engines and toward something more generative AI-oriented (and which at the moment is an awkward hybrid of both), some people are asking why we have the web we have, today, and how it might change as the incentives and priorities of the search world change.
More specifically, SEO (search engine optimization) has in many ways determined what people write, how, and for what audiences, because optimizing one’s work to be legible and authoritative to the web-crawling bots that determine what shows up when people search for different keywords has in large part determined which companies win, which writers have their work seen, and which ads placed on which websites perform well—what does the online world look like when the concept of SEO either changes or is replaced by something else?
And while we’re on the subject: who’s to blame for all the inadequacies of today’s web? Is it Google (and other such services), or is it the people and businesses that have invested so heavily in gaming the system?
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