In response to Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, ChatGPT, Google unveiled its own chatbot Bard for search on February 6, 2023. Alphabet Inc., the Google parent company, had its shares slide as much as 9 percent during regular trading, and the company lost $100 billion in market value after its new chatbot shared inaccurate information in a promotional video and a company event failed to impress.
The major drop in the stock price is obviously a concern. The issue remains that people who perform searches on Google, Bing, or even ask ChatGPT certain questions will not always receive the answers they are seeking.
The increase in AI technology means that many people are going to need to begin making adjustments. It is important to first understand how AI tools impact marketers.
The impact of AI on performance marketers
The major benefit of tools like ChatGPT or Ubersuggest AI writer is that they allow people to write content much faster. It is possible for some people to instantly whip up entire pieces of material in a matter of minutes.
While much of the content that these tools will provide is not perfect, it can at least be a good start to creating a solid piece. AI tools can indeed play a major role in helping a person save time, but proper use of these tools is still going to require some human intervention.
Many AI tools can still contain grammatical errors, so an editor will be necessary for ensuring that all copy is clean. When it comes to writing blogs, there will have to be a way for an author to incorporate the elements that search engines are looking for.
Evolution of AI
AI saw a flourishing period between 1957 and 1974, when computers became capable of storing more information and also became faster, cheaper, and more accessible. John Hopfield and David Rumelhart popularized “deep learning” techniques which allowed computers to learn using experience in the 1980s.
Apple introduced Siri, the intelligent personal assistant on October 14, 2011. Amazon Alexa, is the virtual assistant technology bought by Amazon in 2013 and first used in the Amazon Echo smart speaker and the Echo Dot, Echo Studio and Amazon Tap speakers.
Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant all worked by allowing people to ask questions and the systems would provide answers based on knowledge in their databases. This not only allowed people to get answers to simple questions, but also ask AI tools to perform certain tasks.
None of the AI tools allowed you to ask the assistants to write you a blog post though. ChatGPT has proven to be such a breakthrough because it not only gathers data by crawling the internet, but it can also dissect data and give people more complex solutions.
The result now is that the aforementioned tools of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are now going to have to work much harder to deliver unique solutions to people’s problems. Older AI tools are now going to need to evolve to catch up to what newer systems are offering.
Search is here to stay
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), people have always had a tendency to overreact to recent developments and act as though the end is near. People should not be thinking that the advancement of AI is going to lead to the end of Google.
When Alexa was originally introduced, there were many concerns about how the technology was going to impact SEO because more people would now be able to get answers to their questions without clicking on various websites. The belief was that this would be a significant trouble for marketers.
Consider this 2016 Forbes headline: “Why Siri, Alexa And Cortana Will Destroy SEO.” In actuality, none of the new technologies are destroying the value of search although the technologies are certainly proving to be useful.
The Google Knowledge Graph provides relevant information in an infobox beside search results and allows users to see answers in a glance. The information covered by Google’s Knowledge Graph tripled in size within seven months and Google reported it held 70 billion facts and answered “roughly one-third” of the 100 billion monthly searches by 2016, but this reached 500 billion facts on 5 billion entities in 2020.
The truth is that both have actually resulted in less clicks to websites. According to SEMRush, 25.6 percent of desktop and 17.3 percent of mobile get no clicks.
SEMRush Google Search click-through rates (CTRs) for desktops show 25.6 percent result in zero clicks, 17.9 percent are Google keywords, 9.7 percent are Google clicks, 45.1 percent are organic clicks, and 1.8 percent are paid clicks. On mobile, the figures were 17.3 percent resulting in zero clicks, 29.3 percent being Google keywords, 10.3 percent being Google clicks, 43.1 percent being organic clicks, and 0.02 percent being paid clicks.
There is no getting around the fact that zero-click searches have existed for a long time and will continue to be around for the considerable future. The aspect that is not being examined as closely is the fact that Google has been sending more traffic to the open web every single year.
Danny Sullivan from Google stated that Google Search sends billions of clicks to websites every day, and it is sending more traffic to the open web every year since Google was first created. Google has driven more traffic to websites than it did in the previous year or any other time, even with zero-click searches going up 65 percent.
Tools like Bard and ChatGPT can definitely help people answer questions they are searching for. There is always the risk that people using these technologies are not as likely to click on a website, as was the case with the Google Knowledge Graph.
It is important to remember that queries Bard could answer are more informational keywords. As a result, the keywords are less transactional.
Transactional keywords are less likely to generate direct sales, but they could potentially help with branding. This is similar to what Google did with the knowledge graph in 2012.
All of this is to say that people cannot ignore the number of new opportunities. Voice search now means that voice commerce may command as much as $19.4 billion in revenue while still growing at a rapid pace.
Focus on quality over quantity
When we talk about performing searches on Google, it can be very telling when you ask people how often they actually go beyond the first page of results. Ubersuggest data shows less than 1.1 percent of people are clicking past the first 30 organic results on Google.
This means that when websites use ChatGPT to create a large amount of content, it will not be easy to rank that content. People can certainly target more keywords, but quality content with backlinks is what will ultimately rank highest.
It is important to know that search engines are adept at drowning out noise. A search for “auto insurance” garners 1.3 billion results, “credit cards” gets more than 2 billion results, and longtail terms such as “how to optimize your site for Google” gets you 685 million results.
Ranking highly among all these results means that companies need to elevate above the surrounding noise. Content needs to be compelling enough for people to link to it and share it, otherwise it will not rank well.
New AI tools are only going to make it easier for people to create content. Creating content is only one part of the problem, however, as your content needs to include relevant material and solid information that will make it more popular.
Many AI tools are now dissecting all of the content they currently have indexed then and creating new content based on the old content. The result is that the content often lacks the uniqueness and freshness that people want because nobody wants to read regurgitated content.
The content that many AI writers are producing can be off in several cases. It is the same reason that Google’s stock tanked, as people were not satisfied with the answers Bard provided.
All of this is nothing new because there are many inaccurate results that rank in search, and search engines have often improved upon this over time to help people expect the same with the AI results. This is also why platforms prefer to rank and showcase content from well-known brands because they are less likely to produce fake news or inaccurate information.
People will ultimately learn which search engines and sources of AI content to trust the most because it’s not just about getting a solution to your question, but also about getting the right solution and an accurate one. People should expect Google and Bing to improve upon the results their AI systems provide over time and also expect users to use the sources that they trust the most.
You should not worry too much about AI and how it is going to tank your SEO traffic or reduce your revenue. Chances are that it will not do any such thing for the majority of the websites out there.
You also should not worry about more competition due to people creating content through AI. Content creation is not as important as promoting content.
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