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Toronto blogger warns of 'seismic shift' in SEO amid AI advancements

As text-generative artificial intelligence programs like ChatGPT change the tide of web surfing, one Toronto blogger warns of a “seismic shift” in search engine optimization.

“Most small bloggers like myself rely on traffic revenue,” environmental journalist and blogger Candice Batista told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday. “People come to my website, I have third-party advertising on my website, I spend a lot of time researching and writing these articles. So without traffic, it affects my income directly.”

She added that the problem extends to all websites that use affiliate marketing.

“If you type in a search query into Google right now, it gives you a whole bunch of answers. Typically you get a few ads, then you get a ‘people also ask,’ maybe there’s some definitions pulled from specific websites. And then you get the search engine results, which is all the other websites.”

This, she says, is soon to change.

Google’s new generative AI program, which is not yet released in Canada, is intended to enhance the searching capabilities of browsers. It organizes and synthesizes information at the top of the web page, offering brief summaries of blogs and articles that align with a given search. Batista says this offers a problem with directing traffic to specific sites, which can affect numerous industries that depend on readerships and ad revenue.

“If you’re a person looking up how to make a smoked brisket, and they’ve already given you all the answers, what would be the incentive for you to then click on one of those websites?” she said.

“It’s a very uncertain time right now.”

Aside from the SEO changes that can affect the business model of online industries, such as blogging or content creation, she added that there’s a larger threat towards the spread of unverified information.

“I can typically put out three blogs, four blogs a week,” she explained. “That’s because they’re highly researched. They’re fact-checked. I do my due diligence. AI does not do that, unfortunately.”

Batista said that a higher volume of released content can also lead to a spike in misinformation. This is a result of AI blasting out simplified summaries of articles that require nuance and context.

She added, “If you have 20 bloggers in the same niche all generating very similar articles using AI, now you have a saturated market of similar articles.”

Recognizing the various opportunities this evolving tech can provide, Batista said, “It’s the smartest and dumbest thing humans have done.”

To learn more about Batista’s take on how AI will change the way we browse, watch the video above. Top Stories


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