Within this complex digital marketing landscape, one of the most recent additions impacting SEO – from an AI standpoint – is Google's Bard and the Search Generative Experience (SGE).
Although still in the experimental phase, Google's SGE integrates a conversational robot, Bard associated with PaLM2, into Google Search. This integration has changed search engine results pages (SERPs), with long queries displaying AI-powered snapshots above the standard search results. Large Language Models, like ChatGPT, have limitations in processing real-time data due to their fixed model. However, Google's SGE and BingChat have effectively bridged this gap, reducing instances of 'recency failure' and providing more up-to-date information, particularly in certain verticals.
These changes not only impact the way people formulate their queries but also influence the structure of SERPs. Consequently, SEO practices must adapt to these evolving dynamics.
At its core, SEO has always been about improving the user experience. Technical SEO remains essential for every web page, as shortcuts in user experience can put a page at a disadvantage compared to its competitors. In a search environment where the main answer displayed holds significant importance, the pressure to ensure accuracy is immense. Search engines, like Google, can prioritise Core Web Vitals and other signals – such as review data – as they contribute to building trust in a web page.
There has been a lot of discussion about leveraging the power of generative AI systems like ChatGPT, BingChat and SGE to optimise SEO strategies. This extends beyond content generation to include tasks such as identifying relevant keywords, analysing competitor websites, optimising links, code and HTML tags, and assessing performance. While some of this information can be readily obtained with well-formed prompts, it is crucial for SEO professionals to go beyond surface-level data and verify the accuracy and relevance of the insights. Building trust in a business requires thorough analysis and a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information.
Searcher behaviour has also undergone significant changes in the era of generative AI search. Queries can be categorised into three distinct flavours: simple, complex and generative.
Simple queries seek concise information, while complex queries involve multiple factors. Generative queries, on the other hand, are open-ended and require conversational robots to act as personal advisors. Users now expect search engines to not only answer their questions but also solve their problems. As a result, businesses must be prepared to address a wide range of questions, including traditional 'who', 'what', 'where', and 'when', as well as 'why' and 'how'. The ability to provide comprehensive answers and solutions is crucial in this evolving landscape.