The blogging model has remained a fixture of the Internet economy for decades. If you want traffic, then you have to write and publish blogs. And now, this tool called ChatGPT has shown up and is poised to change how we create, distribute, and discover content forever.
Here’s how I generally see ChatGPT changing the blogging business.
In The Short-Term
Right now, it makes a ton of sense to use ChatGPT to quicken or grow your SEO content. This content has long been a loss-leader of the blogging game, putting an outsized amount of time on long, keyword-dense articles that rank highly on Google.
Because SEO content tends to be formulaic, it lends itself to help from generative AI.
As far as I can tell, this level of AI can produce fantastic texts at least 95% of the time. If I had to put a price tag, I’d say they’re the equivalent of 5-6-cents-per-word writers.
If you care about the quality of your content, then no, you can’t use it to create a hands-off fully-automated operation. Not any more than you’d trust a human writer off a marketplace. – Anne
Given that you can generate 1,000+ word articles that are mostly coherent and effective in seconds, we’ll see a barrage of new niché sites and personal brand blogs emerge.
It’s worthwhile to experiment with automating some of your blog writing with ChatGPT today; otherwise, you’ll be forced to outsource all of your generative AI work in the future.
In The Mid-Term
Content pollution is perhaps the biggest unintended outcome of Generative AI. The speed and scale at which we can publish new content to the Internet are really going to put content discovery algorithms to the test. Google Search, especially.
So far, the official Google position, as expressed by John Mueller [Google Search Lead], is that you should not include ai-generated content in your websites. – Anne
OpenAI has been working on a way to cryptographically watermark all of its AI-generated text to be able to flag AI content anywhere on the web. However, there isn’t yet a system that cannot be bypassed with just a little bit of human intervention. This means that there likely isn’t a great system in Google today for limiting AI-generated content pollution.
I think that will [Google will] have to change [its stance] at some point. Google wants to provide the best search results for people. That means they should favor the best quality content.
I can’t see how Google will penalize high-quality AI content. It will go against their core mission and won’t make sense. – Anne
Nonetheless, the mid-term impact that web publishers will battle with most is the increased competition that ChatGPT brings about.
In The Long-Term
There’s a chance that the business of being a web publisher will cease to exist or at least be a lot less lucrative. What I mean is that in the long-term, ChatGPT (and its resulting impacts) may diminish Google’s need for bloggers, media sites, etc., to create and provide content Google Search can parse.
Why? Well, there’s a growing realization that ChatGPT often provides better answers than Google Search:
What you’ll notice in ChatGPT’s response is that there are no links to other people’s blogs or websites, which means web publishers don’t get any traffic. There’s no extra critical thinking needed, which means searchers get their answers without bouncing between web pages.
ChatGPT could replace Google Search, theoretically, in the foreseeable future. It’s a new relationship with search. One where you ask a question and get one AI-curated response. But as long as that curated response is based on facts/opinions shared in the top search result content, then what’s the need for a long list of search results?
Whether ChatGPT becomes the new Internet search interface or Google creates one of its own, there’s a high likelihood that Internet search will change to something more like ChatGPT – where AI consumes search results and crafts answers to your questions. Thus, eliminating the web publishers, bloggers, and media sites from the Search Interface altogether.
This is how I (and many others) see ChatGPT impacting web publishers long-term, by impacting Google Search first.