Google’s search dominance is at an existential crossroads at the moment.

I remember before google, we had yahoo which attempted to manually categorize the internet according to its general taxonomy. It was human curated, so naturally, it could not scale. Back then, the internet was so small, they would highlight a “new site of the day” and it would be a random page about someone’s historical or culinary interests. Back then, it was a novelty to be able to put text and images on a digital page for the world to see. People were just starting to realize, “hey, maybe i can take orders for my business on this internet thing”. The next logical question was – But how would the world see my page?

Search engines were popping up like altavista, lycos, askjeeves, etc… But none of them got it right until google. They had a clever algorithm and they were able to scale as the internet grew. They offered free services like browser-based email. I’m not exactly sure when they realized how to monetize, probably when they hired Eric Schmidt, but once they did, there was no looking back and google had officially become a verb.

low poly bee feeding on nectar

SEO, search engine optimization, became a fast-growing industry as companies consulted on how to help get your business website to the top of google’s organic search results. People started deciphering the algorithm that was constantly refined and tuned. They realized faster loading pages ranked better. They realized pages with 1st party and 3rd party links back to them did better. They realized page URLs with relevant human-understandable text did better. And so on.. And these are just basic strategies. SEO became an indispensable part of web content architecture and design.

These days we are starting to see people replace google search with various AI models - chatgpt, bard, pi, perplexity, etc.. there are just so many. I’m sure they all want to be the next “google”. In my brief experience tho, sometimes I google for a specific reason and I don’t want an engine to find the most relevant pages, and summarize and present the most common, banal answer to what I’m asking. Sometimes, I’m looking for a product to buy, sometimes it’s a video tutorial, sometimes I actually find what I want on the second page of google results! I don’t yet see the current state of LLM’s completely taking over google search.

I liken the LLM’s to bees' honey. It is produced by the worker bee consuming nectar and pollen and magically producing honey for us to consume. Am I a bit of a strange bird in that sometimes I might want raw nectar instead of the honey? Maybe the next step is for these LLM’s to do a better job of recognizing MY intent about what I’m searching for, or what goal I am trying to accomplish. Give me my nectar page! Not this sweet honey summary!

I recently suggested in an internal forum that SEO may become LLMEO. But maybe instead of an E, it should be an A for attribution? Maybe I should start a business called LLMAO Consulting? Who’s with me? Want to start the next wave of SEO/LLMAO strategy development? Want to work for a company with the coolest name ever? :D