About three months ago, the now wildly popular chatbot ChatGPT was launched. The chatbot is used for a variety of purposes, including writing code, creating marketing strategies, and generating content. What makes this new technology special is the natural way you have conversations with it. For example, you can provide ChatGPT with information that is then incorporated into its response. Those who have used it themselves will see on the one hand the potential of this application of AI and on the other hand the potential threat to Google and other search engines.
Google and Microsoft both have their own strategies for integrating AI into their search engines. Google announced the rollout of “Bard” in early February, but is conservative compared to their peers in launching their AI integration. This is partly to avoid jeopardizing revenue from Google Ads. In contrast, Microsoft has been investing billions in the company behind ChatGPT since 2019 and recently announced that it will integrate ChatGPT-4 into their search engine Bing. Bing, which globally holds only a few percent of the market, is thus showing that it does respond to the latest innovations in the industry.
It is still speculation as to what Bard will look like in practice. It is likely that for short searches, such as “Learn to Play Piano vs. Guitar,” the search results will remain the same. For longer and thus more complex searches, such as the one shown in the image on the left, Bard may become more impactful. Google’s algorithm will determine which search can be answered with a “simple” result and which requires a more in-depth result.
With the rise of AI technology, users are expected to search more in question form and also more specifically. For both paid and organic results, it will become more important to look at the user’s search intent. This may involve adapting content.
In addition, we assume that integrating Bard will cause organic results to appear even lower on the page, presumably resulting in fewer clicks. There is a chance that a user will already find their answer through Bard, resulting in an increase in so-called zero-clicks. A consequence of this is that websites receive less organic traffic.
What effect Bard will have on paid results is equally unclear at this time. We don’t know exactly how the new feature will be incorporated into the interface, but expectations are as follows:
The rise of AI technology is on the eve of a fundamental change in the way we gather information. Thanks to ChatGPT, it is possible to get complex questions answered in no time. This is a lot faster and easier than Google it yourself, where you have to search through a maze of information.
At the same time, there are numerous drawbacks as well. Information is still factually incorrect too often, as this article from TechCrunch illustrates. The chances of plagiarism are higher, as source references are missing or simply incorrect. Either way, one thing is certain: this development is going to have a major impact on the way we search for information. It forces us to think thoroughly about the future of search: should we look for alternative ways to reach our target audience? Will other platforms, such as TikTok or YouTube, become more popular and more suitable for this purpose?
We will continue to monitor these developments closely and share update posts like this one.
Download this article here (pdf).