Since ChatGPT took the world by storm in late 2022, we’ve seen the technology integrated into Microsoft’s Bing search engine, with similar products coming from both Google and Facebook. It’s clear that big tech companies believe the impact of these tools will be truly transformative.
Also, all of these technology companies important part Revenue from ads shown when users perform searches. Millions of small businesses also rely on technology to direct potential customers to their websites through the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
If generative AI changes the way we use the internet, those business models will change dramatically. And everyone wants to make sure they’re involved in what happens next.
So what does this mean for small businesses that rely on search engine traffic to direct potential customers to their websites? How will change affect the arcane art of SEO?
The main difference between how chatbots and search engines provide answers is that chatbots tell you directly what you need to know, whereas search engines display a page of results known as a search engine results page (SERP). is to display
Many businesses of all sizes, from global media companies to local handymen, rely on search engines to drive traffic to their sites. This could be because you paid for ads to be shown to searchers using certain terms, or because search engines have determined that your business page has information relevant to your potential customers.
This is no longer the case with how generative AI chatbots work today, as all information is provided directly to the user and there is no need to visit separate pages to find the answer.
The first impact of this is to significantly increase the number of “no-click” searches where users get answers without taking any other action. At first glance, this is great for users, but not so great for businesses.
The problem, as annoying as it can be at times, is that advertising underpins the Internet as we know it today. Companies create content and make it available online, often at no cost to us. This allows you to build an audience that may one day become your customers, or get paid for showing ads on your own site. It also provides the revenue that big technology companies need to develop services like search and make them available for free.
At this time it is unknown how this will play out. If chatbot providers (Google, Microsoft, etc.) take the route of charging users to use their services, all revenue goes to the chatbot provider, greatly reducing incentives for companies to create online content.
Providers, on the other hand, may adopt a model where businesses pay to include information or links to pages in their chatbot output. In that case, it is inevitable that results will be biased toward providing information that companies want to see.
What impact will this have on SEO?
SEO means optimizing the keywords used on a page in order to encourage search engines to list that page in the SERPs.
Generative AI has a lot to do with this. First, it excels at creating SEO content. Anyone can use it to create content (or edit existing content) that is more attractive to search engines.
This can have a democratizing effect on content creation, as businesses (and individuals) no longer need SEO expertise.
However, as anyone who has used generative AI knows, generative AI is great at creating boilerplate content, but not necessarily with original ideas or new thinking. there is no. In the short term, there could be an explosion of low-value content that just rehashes old ideas.
Inevitably, the search engines themselves will also adapt. Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. all use their own advanced AI, and their main goal is to make the AI useful to users and return truly relevant and helpful results.
As an example of this, it is speculated that Google will tweak its ranking algorithm to focus on: information acquisition. This means that pages that contain new information may rank higher, while pages that simply rehash or regurgitate information from elsewhere may get penalized. Masu.
Another potential result is that businesses may have to rely on fewer page visits from search engines, so visitors who actually arrive spend more time on the site and convert to customers. The fact is that you may have to work harder to be more likely to do so. Strategies designed to tackle this may include improving the richness of a company’s content ecosystem to drive repeat visits and increase conversion rates.
Another important point to consider is that the widespread migration from search engines to generative chatbots can also pose trust issues. Search engines usually make it easy to see where the information you’re being directed to comes from. Chatbots (most famously ChatGPT), on the other hand, often have very opaque sources of information, which makes it more difficult to decide whether you can trust the information they provide.
The future of search
All these considerations taken together, in the context of the projected shift in consumer behavior where the use of search engines replaces the use of chatbots, marks the biggest shift in how we find information since the invention of internet search. It means that there is a possibility that
With the advent of mass-produced AI-generated content, out-of-page SEO elements may become more important. These are metrics like the number of backlinks your content has, or social signals like how often your content is shared on social media.
Meanwhile, search engine providers are likely to continue looking for ways to monetize chatbot results in the same way they monetized search engine results in the early days of the internet.
First, this will be a form of hybrid search, as seen in ChatGPT’s integration into Microsoft’s Bing search engine. This allows us to provide regular search results (sponsored and organic) along with a chat interface when you need answers to specific questions.
In the long term, I think we will likely see a more integrated user experience. For example, we may be accustomed to generative chat results that provide a list of links to relevant details as part of the natural language response.
After all, it was the monetization of Internet searches that truly drove the mass commercialization of the Internet, and Google is often credited with developing the PageRank algorithm.
Clearly, as with anything with AI, there are ethical issues that need to be considered. The extent to which biased chatbot output is tolerated, knowing that both service providers and content creators need to be profitable, is a question that society will have to resolve in the near future.
One thing is certain: if your business is built on the ability to drive visitors to your site, you can’t afford to ignore the changes generative AI brings. Search and her ability to understand how the SEO landscape is changing has long been an essential skill for businesses, but now more important than ever.