Around minute 30 of this week’s Google I/O 23 keynote, Aparna Pappu, VP and GM speaks for Google Workspacecasually launched a Google Docs doc as part of her presentation on how AI as an employee comes to Documents, slides And leaves (Love the fact that it’s called Duet, a bit more poetic than Microsoft’s Copilot).
The first, ironically, is one for the job description (one of the most popular use cases, she joked). For a split second when the help me to write When the box appears, you’ll see text that says “A blog post about fashion in a whimsical tone.” Blink and you might miss it.
As a content producer, that was the pinnacle of Google I/O 23 for me, realizing that Google is now so comfortable with AI-generated content that it is actively promoting the production of copy within its own online services to potential audiences more than two billion users. (Where will it stop? Will it appear as a “help me produce” prompt on YouTube one day? Who knows).
Although not (yet) one of the best website builders, Google Sites may inherit the help me write feature sooner rather than later. others like wix And Hostinger Website Builder have already included it in their features, but Google’s unique position as a content producer and SERP Gatekeeper makes it even more worrying for publishers worldwide.
Search Engine Optimization: The End?
Google’s search-generative experience, where answers are created by Google’s AI and inserted at the top of the search engine’s search results page, is sure to catch the attention of the SEO community, as it again pushes organic results down the page, and it will also have a long-lasting impact on publishers of all sizes.
I would call it the “footering” of SERPs as it limits content producers to something that could essentially turn into footnotes at the bottom of the page (similar to what we see on Wikipedia pages). Maybe everything was planned and ChatGPT was the perfect excuse for Google to roll it out once and for all; we will never know.
Coming back to AI-produced content, what now looks like a seal of approval from Google means that in a few months there could be a surge in machine-generated content, legitimate or not, content that is not only cheaper to produce but also cheaper are not easily distinguishable from human-made content.
Reducing production costs to essentially a fraction of a dollar and eliminating the complexity of creating content (regardless of subject matter or length) will fundamentally change the dynamics of online publishing.
Unless, of course, Google excludes content created by its own AI engine, but I wouldn’t count on that. This may encourage publishers of all sizes to adopt AI-produced content at scale, which in turn will push SEO of any kind to place scalability and automation at the heart of their workflows best SEO tools accessible.
But the more Google moves traditional organic content further down the page, the less valuable those positions become, which in turn could impact sales and make SEO obsolete (why SEO if you were just vying for footnote positions). Of course, we can’t rule out Google’s ability to curate, condense, concatenate, and refine existing content to create Wikipedia-like meta-content.
And that’s a final step before Google’s ultimate goal for continued, long-term growth: the ability to include affiliate links in AI-generated content at the top of the SERP page. Performance marketing is worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually, and AI could be just what Google needs to grab a bigger slice of this lucrative market.