This is the first blog I have ever started and put any content into. It is self hosted. I could have gone down the road of creating my own platform using react or something else and spending a hundred+ hours shaving that yak, but really I felt it would be wiser to just start writing.
I will use generative AI for ‘color’ content like pictures and icons due to factors like cost and time, but I don’t intend to use AI for anything else at all other than possibly helping me sort through ideas or summarizing pertinent information from overly long articles. There’s little point in calling this a ‘blog’ if real people aren’t writing about and sharing their real opinions and experience here.
If you look around right now, it seems generative AI is all the rage. There is a growing pool of people now out there who:
- Don’t want to do the real work of creating 100% original content and really just care about end results. (yes you can put me in this group when it comes to images – sorry)
- Believe they can ‘get rich quick’ by clicking a button and spitting out thousands of blog posts and blog sites quickly.
- Want to be able to boost their productivity to the point where they are superhuman and can do more than anyone else in their niche to ‘win’.
- Don’t want to be left behind the tooling curve and feel like they will fail in any future endeavor unless they keep up with the latest tech.
Lets think about what generative AI can do right now and what this could mean for web content and organically generated search traffic going forward:
Right now, generative AI can:
- Write about any topic
- Create any picture or digital art based on anything you can come up with
- Perform data analysis tasks if given a data source and an explanation of how to parse the data
- Write code based on a given prompt, or follow you as you write code to make suggestions to save time on coding projects
- Create music in a similar way it creates text or images
- Create simple videos
- Text to speech generation
- Translate from any language to another
- Chatbots and other business tools
- With plugins and some additional work it can attempt to perform tasks all on its own
- Keep you up at night, worrying about whether or not your job will be lost to AI at some point in the future…
Lets take a look at the web for a second. Websites are what? Text. Images. Sometimes videos or music and sounds. Sometimes websites are dynamic and interactive, like web applications. All of these things can and will be created using generative AI. The use of generative AI to save time creating these things will increase exponentially over time. More and more web based content will be content that was either fully or partially created by generative AI. Some or much of it may also be coming from only the top two or three tools in use, with lesser-used tools having a much smaller share of the market.
The tools that will be used to generate this huge overabundance of web content have a fixed training set of data, or at least they won’t change that much day to day. Can AI generate accurate content that is not based on anything created in the past on the web that wasn’t included in it’s training data? Of course not. It can ‘guess’ and tends to fill in gaps in its knowledge (often by making things up out of thin air), but there are limits. The content generated by the same or similar input question to the AI will always be based on what it has already been trained on, which is content that was already created in the past, generally online.
What will happen when the web gets filled up to the brim with millions more websites and blogs created from content that is simply an AI rehash of the content already out there? What does this mean for search and, specifically Google? Will people decide NOT to create the thousandth article on ‘this years best weight loss technique you need to know’ simply because it has been done to death already? Not when they can click a button and have it write itself. The supply of cheaply created, ‘not new to this world’ content and ideas will dramatically increase. Search results in Google and other engines will start to show results so similar to one another that the end user experience of searching for something will become frustrating and negative (much worse than it may be now). Nobody wants to see the same ideas and solutions over and over rehashed in a hundred different ways and a hundred different languages on a hundred different websites. Nobody.
Enter Google. Google earned over 162 Billion dollars in 2022 in business revenue related to Google search and advertising. Eyeballs are a huge business. Google has an entire division of people devoted to making sure that Google stays on top of the search market by making sure that the end user search experience is useful to people searching for information online. Some folks might argue that they have done a poor job of this in the last few years and that they are too focused on driving ads instead of providing quality search results, but that is a topic for another conversation.
What will Google do when they start to notice that search results are being flooded with AI generated content? They will change their ranking model to adjust for this. How would they potentially do this? My guess is by using AI or some other method to decide how ‘alike’ one page’s content is to another based on the underlying ideas, and not including similar content pages in search results. This would mean that you could no longer rank on google search by creating content that was too similar or had no new ideas compared to content that was already ranked on google search. AI generated content for the web would suddenly fall out of favor and become useless for organic search traffic (though I’m certain that content creators will still keep making videos about getting rich quick from AI generated content until the cows come home).
What’s the takeaway here? Do your own thing. Create new content. Add to the conversation, don’t just rehash it. It may or may not ‘pay off’ if that’s your goal but I can assure you it will be more enjoyable in the end.