SEO is DEAD (Do THIS Instead!)

Make the most of your last dance, SEOs, because you’ve got about a year at best…

Why is SEO (search engine optimization) dead?

Because with iPhone Voice Control and ChatGPT4+ (with a few well-chosen plugins) I am getting mind blowing search results that are 1000X more satisfying than anything Google or DuckDuckGo SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) were giving me.

Without needing to type a word and without needing to visit a SERP!

Example: I entered this search into ChatGPT4 using voice control, 100% hands free. Note that I didn’t enunciate very clearly and Voice Control got a couple of words wrong. Didn’t matter! ChatGPT still figured out what I was asking and delivered a top-notch answer:

seo question for chatgpt

I followed up with asking how to reduce the spam score and look – a perfect 10 step plan:

seo-question follow up

How much more useful was that than a SERP page? Miles better!

Better + Faster + Easier = So Much Win!

ChatGPT4+ was the best $24 per month I have ever spent in my life. (Runner up, Canva Pro – if you haven’t explored it, you need to, because it is spectacular!)

SERPs Are History. It’s Over

It suddenly hit me yesterday that for a very large subset of queries I now have no reason to type a search into Google.

Why would I?

That is a seismic shift from the “days of wonder” when Google first existed and you could “ask it anything”.

I’m having that “wow” reaction all over again – and that level of excitement is a signal for a monumental disruption.

Why on Earth would you wade through Google’s ads (now often covering 100% of the SERP above the fold!) and then have to go to a random website (of all things! ugh!) that you DGAF about and scroll through even more crap to hunt for the answer you want??

(And then probably hit the back button and repeat the process three times!)

For research queries, ChatGPT4 doesn’t need to send you to a website. It gives you complete, nuanced answers in seconds that blow Google’s out of the water.

With the Webpilot, Link Reader and either ScholarAI or Wolfram ChatGPT plugins enabled I can tap into all the research I need. (Next level plugin combo by the way!)

Here’s an amazing example of the power of this combo:

It gets even better: If I add the words “use unique wording” or “rewrite the above response using unique wording” in my query……

I can literally copy paste the result into a text file and publish it. Boom!

(Note that images Wolfram provides are probably not copyright free. Always check, and definitely don’t swipe any copyrighted content.)

And this is just the beginning:

It will not be long before ChatGPT4 or some other similar form of AI search is embedded directly into all browsers, right there in the search bar.

And when that happens, SERPs as we know them are finished, gone, toast.

You will get the answers to all your questions without ever needing to scan an annoying results page.

Within a year or two, you might even be able to install and run a large language model (LLM) locally on your own machine, with a full GUI, only tapping into the web when you need to.

It won’t be long before ChatGPT responses automatically include related links – or instantly recognize the type of queries where you already know where you want to go and are just looking for the URL.

With a few added words you can ask it to do all of those things.

The whole (frankly rather ridiculous) era of creating websites to catch Google traffic… it’s OVER.

But building websites to catch an AUDIENCE?

No, that’s not over. That’s ready to begin.

The Winners Shall Be Those Who Build Audiences (Not Websites)

Yes, Google built a website. But more importantly – they built an audience that goes back for more, day after day.

Not only with the search engine, but by creating a suite of free tools that blew away the paid tools of the competition.

Facebook built an audience. They are explicit about this. Zuck said (paraphrasing) There’s no point even monetizing a platform until it has a billion subscribers. Easy for him to say – but he gets it: The one who “has the eyeballs” is the one who wins.

Get the audience and the money will follow.

The same applies for any other entrepreneur. If you have an audience (you don’t even need a website!) you can put stuff in front of potentially millions of people at the touch of a button.

That’s incredibly powerful. And to achieve it?

Your goal is simply to build something that a large number of people will love.

Something that they will be glad they discovered. Something that is so cool, that it converts a visitor into a subscriber.

That’s it!

Simple – but not easy!

The Problem With Social Media

To begin with, in audience building, it’s vital to “use what you’ve got” – which for most people means building a huge audience “under the umbrella” of the major platforms.

That’s enough to make you rich: I invested $5,000 in Facebook ads in 2013 and turned it into an audience that generated 7 figures in revenue (and still makes me money on auto pilot every day!)

But there’s a very big catch.

You can ONLY play, if you play their game their way.

They could turn the lights out any time they want. And they sometimes do. Bans happen.

If you lose the ability to reach your audience, your income is wrecked overnight.

They have even been known to gang up on people they don’t like and nuke ’em – across the board.

Nobody (outside of the legal powers, of course) should ever have that much power to shut down your business, simply because they don’t like you.

But they get away with it, because you either agree to the T&C or you can’t play.

Do you really want a business built on that? It’s not ideal, is it!

Robust vs. Ephemeral Audiences

This is a vital concept to understand. A social media audience can be super valuable, but it has some critical factors that are completely outside your control.

The first, as already mentioned, is that they could turn the lights out any time they want.

The second is that they control your distribution. Even if you play by all the rules – they decide which of your posts get seen and which don’t. They will (notoriously) choke your reach – so that they can sell it back to you!!

So when you take a step back and consider all of the above: They literally have their finger on the off switch for your business, in a building far, far away – where they have 100% control and you have zero.

Think about that.

True story: I once saw a business with 89 employees bankrupted overnight by a sudden change in Facebook reach.

In the early days, Facebook was giving reach and traffic out like free candy. (And the Candyman always has an ulterior motive!)

That particular business rode the Facebook gravy train and their hyper-accelerated growth clearly made them think they were something special. So they scaled up and went from a grass roots home biz to a media business, with a big office and all the works.

But there was a fatal problem.

They were almost entirely dependent on Facebook for their traffic. They didn’t bother trying to pull their ephemeral audience into a more robust audience.


The hyper growth cycle of a Facebook fan page doesn’t last for ever. And when the algorithm drops you – it does it suddenly, like the proverbial hot rock.

One day, their reach just dropped 50% overnight.

Game Over.

Down they went like the Titanic! Literally closed their doors, sent the entire staff home, unplugged the server, cut the phone off, set up a bot reply to their creditors (I was one of them, you dirtbags!) and made a sharp exit.

Don’t be them.

The Race To The Bottom

The other factor here is that the algorithms are even more hyper-attuned than ever to only serve the most intensely engaging content – and bury the rest mercilessly.

It doesn’t have to even be good content. It just has to hook. Sadly.

You can have a huge audience on TikTok, but if your content doesn’t hook, most of your followers won’t see it.

This video explains the process beautifully:

You see what I meant now? You are forced to “play their game, their way.”

If you don’t contribute to their business model (of helping them turn the poor viewers into addicts)… then down you go.

That’s not to say that socials can’t catapult you from broke to rich inside of two years. They can.

But just understand the game, so that you can play to win.

And winning means playing the long game – which in turn means understanding the life cycle of a platform.

Use all the main socials to kickstart growth, because with high value content you can grow an audience fast – but constantly be aware that you need to be pulling your “ephemeral” social media audience into a more reliable long-term format.

Think deeply about the long game. Robust Audiences are going to be your #1 key to online wealth in the 21st century.

The Gold Is Still In The List

The most robust long game platform for an audience is email. Yep. Old school gold, like your Dad’s vinyl collection.

Email marketing is far from dead – it’s exploding! It’s predicted to have a monumental CAGR of 17% in the years up to 2032. Thats flippin’ HUGE.

If you have an email list, Google or FB, or any of them other punks cannot turn the lights out. No shadow bans. No Google slaps. No algorithm BS.

No ridiculous keyword density optimization. Write your email the way you want and structure your landing page the way you want!

Your audience will determine your page quality. Not Google, thank you very much!

With Systeme (no affiliation), you can host unlimited email subscribers for $97 per month (2,000 for free) – and you get an open rate of maybe 15% to 30%. Which is spectacular compared to Facebook’s pathetic 0.1% reach.

Utilize a high quality free offer (make it better than the competition’s for-sale products for the win) with a simple, optimized squeeze page, and you can catch a mountain of subs.

You can then promote to them over and over again.

Post your useful, interesting, entertaining and otherwise valuable free content from your website daily, on an automated cycle – and catch enough traffic and ad revenue to pay the bills.

Then when you do a product launch or an affiliate promo… you are in fields of gold.


Next best (and free) is Telegram, due to the unique architecture of their messenger. There is no curated newsfeed but channels (“one to many”) are positioned within the messenger itself – meaning that channel messages get the same visibility ratio as regular “one to one” DMs. KEY factor!! I am getting approx 50% “eyeballs” (sometimes over 100%) on my posts in Telegram and around 40% of my subs have notifications enabled globally, which means they get a popup whenever I post.

Sending thousands of people a Telegram DM with a notification at the touch of a button, no interference from algorithms or “rankings”. On a 100% free platform? I’ll take that!

Compare with a Facebook post to an “old audience” of 2 million, that might now only get 5k-10k views.

Telegram is poised to start CRUSHING the big platforms. It already has 800M users and is growing faster than many people realize.

Telegram channels don’t have the viral algorithm-driven growth characteristics of FB, Insta reels, etc (so you need a strong freebie offer and tons of value) but its reach is phenomenal – and your followers can share your posts to either their own channels or to DMs.

With slamming headlines you can get insane visibility. Try the “star” emoji or a short, direct question! Top Telegram posts on the biggest channels are getting 50k views within 5 minutes of going live. You better have dedicated hosting when you get into that league!

“Direct Traffic”: Bookmarks And Toolbars

Browser bookmarks are another kind of “audience” that many webmasters don’t consider.

If your website is the kind that people know they will want to refer to again and again, it will get bookmarked.

And if it makes it into a bookmark or toolbar on the browsers of millions of people, you don’t need to rank for anything ever again!

How could you create something that people would want to keep right there on their browser for instant access?

Answer THAT! 🙂

And yes, ChatGPT can write code in multiple languages. You don’t even need to write code! Cogs turning yet? 😉

“Links For Traffic” Are Not The Same As “Links For Link Juice”

Screw SEO. I’m super over it. All that hassle for a measly few thousand (if you are lucky) visitors per day… it’s doomed.

Building links for traffic and for viral sharing though? That’s another story. Definitely do that!

If you can build the kind of resource that thousands or millions of people share organically? Those are the kind of resources you want to be building all day. That’s where the sweet spot is.

It’s the same as it always was, in business: Create more value than the competition. Know your audience. Know their desires, wants and needs. Create things that address those needs. Do it better than the others, put it in front of them and win them over!

Page Indexing Won’t Die

ChatGPT4’s LinkReader plugin performs a Google search, but of course does not deliver SERPs to the searcher, but skips through them to fetch answers directly from websites. So there is still some value in having pages rank – however if SERPs themselves have no value, it upends Google’s profit model:

Who’s spamming who?? It’s all ads above the fold! No organic results!!

The ads that displayed on the SERP were a key revenue driver for search engine companies – and it doesn’t serve their interests fo you to bypass them and pull directly from the websites.

So it’s not that search is dead in itself – because people will still have a need and a desire to visit websites. Web crawlers and page indexing will still happen – but SERPs will become redundant.

WebPilot on the other hand can search any user-provided URL, pulling data directly from the page. I put this to the test:

webpilot test search

How amazing is that??

It’s over. If Google takes the drastic step of blocking bot queries from ChatGPT plugins, people will just configure the plugin to use a different search engine.

Search, Itself, Will Not Die

When people think of search engines, they usually think of Google, Bing, Baidu, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo and the rest.

They don’t remember that most websites include a search engine. Pinterest, Youtube, Facebook and even this blog have a search engine!

Virtually everyone uses searches and will continue to do so – and platform-specific searches are conducted because the viewer likes the platform they are on and desires to find results from within that platform and content format.

So Youtube SEO, Pinterest SEO and the like won’t go away. And you can still build a business off the back of ranking for results in those engines alone.

Keyword optimizing your Pins and your YT videos will help for sure – but engagement still holds the strongest cards and your traffic on those sites is predominantly driven by audience response.

The Value Equation

How will OpenAI monetize ChatGPT? Their “burn rate” (the amount of investor funding they are spending to stay afloat and grow the user base) has been estimated at $3M per month.

That’s 150,000 paid subscribers at $20 per month. That doesn’t actually seem that much of a challenge, considering that it was reported to have reached 180 million subscribers by August 2023.

If they start offering ads, or sponsored link placements within the AI’s answers, then the service becomes less valuable and more annoying as “natural” results become more like “payola”.

Such is the “price of free”. The man has to get paid: Do you want ads, or a monthly subscription?

Pretty much all the big companies essentially run a “bait and switch”. The service is free and incredibly valuable to begin with; then it either morphs into a “freemium” subscription model with tiered access to the most valuable features, or it becomes choked with ads.

During the growth phase, the service is deliberately undermonetized so as to build the audience. Then they turn up the heat – until (typically) they squeeze all the value out of it.

At this point, it’s ripe for disruption by someone who can come along and offer you a better free product, with less spam in your face.

And then the cycle repeats. This is what is happening right now, with ChatGPT > Google.

The winners are still those who offer spectacular value in both the free and the premium / ad enabled tiers.

And the same goes for you. It’s all a value equation and always will be.

Hope this post got you thinking! Catch you soon,

Alex Ashwood.