2023 seems to be the year of AI. We have seen AI writers, voice, and art generators. Conversational search chatbots like Bing AI and Bard (Google’s answer to ChatGPT) are the latest addition to the list.

Now that they are here to stay, a question arises: how will they change search and how will SEO professionals and webmasters adapt?

1. Google’s Dominance Will Be Threatened Even More

  • ChatGPT already forced Google to declare code red and fast-track its AI projects.
  • Microsoft has taken the lead in AI search by launching Bing AI before Google’s Bard.
  • But, these are not the only threats Google faces.
  • If the search moves from the 10 blue links to a talking bot, there is no reason to be tied into a search engine.
  • With conversational AIs that have read the entire internet, what’s stopping Whatsapp from launching a search bot right in its chat box?
  • Can’t Instagram provide a ChatGPT-like search bot inside the app itself?
  • What about Spotify? Ask an AI to suggest the right tracks for your mood and go a step further by having a conversation with it about the genre, similar tracks, a tune stuck in your head, etc.

2. Rise of True “Personalized” Search

  • Google and Bing’s results are also personalized according to your past searches and several other factors like location.
  • But, to the searcher, this personalization and data tracking is essentially a black box.
  • You may be able to choose what data is collected but you never really know how your data will be used by the algo to tune your search results.
  • With the advent of AI search assistants like Bard, there will be scope to teach the AI your likes and your trusted sources.
  • Search engines like you.com and Neeva AI are already enabling users to choose sources they trust, to upvote certain sites which they would like to see more in results, etc.
You. Ai
  • It remains to be seen whether Google and Microsoft will follow suit and give users more direct control over what they want to see in their searches.
  • I call this true personalization because here users directly control the kind of results they want to see.
  • Rather than giving up their personal data and leaving it to the AI to “predict” what they will like, users can tell the AI directly the kind of sites they prefer for a particular niche.

3. Personal Brand Will Drive Clicks

  • With the advent of AI chatbots, search results will become even more de-personalized.
  • ChatGPT, Bard, Bing AI, etc are all prone to inaccuracies.
  • AI search assistants will summarize results and cite sources to increase credibility.
  • Portraying E-A-T signals will become more critical to be listed as a source.
  • When jumping from the faceless AI to deep reading mode, people will prefer clicking sources that have a real person behind them.
  • Social media presence and following will become more important.

4. Creators Will Lose Ownership and Traffic

  • AIs like ChatGPT and Bard are trained on crawled web data.
  • In their attempt to give searchers “direct answers”, these AIs will paraphrase content from multiple blogs.
  • These blogs will lose clicks as the user search journey will end on the first page.
  • This already happens with featured snippets and People Also Ask.
  • Content creators will be forced to chase more and more long-tail keywords.
  • In time, the AI will summarize answers to these long-tail queries as well.
  • Email lists, social media followers, and site communities will become paramount to get steady traffic.

5. Aggregator Sites Will Rise & Smaller Affiliates Lose

  • These are sites like TripAdvisor, IMDb, ranked, etc.
  • Such sites list a large breadth of information on a single page.
  • For shallow queries, an AI might gravitate toward such sites for sources.
  • For example, searches like best travel destinations in Europe, best horror movies, and best electric vehicles, etc can be directly answered by AI on the search page itself.
  • This will be extended to all kinds of “best” lists like best ai writing tools, best videomaking apps, etc.

As an example, here’s a result for “Best productivity apps”:

  • An AI only has to scrape the data once and aggregate the rankings from multiple sources. Then it can give better answers than individual sites.
  • Again, the AI will copy content and kill traffic to original sources.

Over to You

Now I want to know what you think: what will be the future of search? Do you see AI helping creators?

Or, will it kill small businesses and small blogs?

Let me know in the comments!

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