February 13, 2023 ↘︎

AI platforms and their impact on Google search

The way we search for information has changed dramatically over the past few decades. From using desktop computers and typing keywords into a search bar, to using voice search and mobile devices, the way we search for information has evolved.

This evolution has been driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the development of AI-powered platforms like ChatGPT and Google Bard. These platforms have the potential to completely revolutionize the way we search for information and the landscape of search engines.

The evolution of search engines

The first search engines appeared in the early 1990s, and they were designed to index and organize web pages on the internet. The early search engines relied on keyword matching and used simple algorithms to rank search results. Over time, search engines evolved to use more complex algorithms that could understand the context and meaning behind the words used in a search query. This led to the creation of more advanced search engines, like Google, which was designed to deliver more relevant search results.

Today, Google is the dominant search engine, with a market share of over 90% in many countries. Google’s success is due in part to its ability to provide high-quality and relevant search results to its users. This has been achieved through the use of complex algorithms that take into account a wide range of factors, including the relevance and quality of the content, the popularity of the website, and the user’s search history.

The rise of AI-powered platforms

AI-powered platforms are leading a new era in the evolution of search engines. These platforms use advanced machine learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the intent behind a search query and deliver results that are more relevant and personalised to the user.

One of the key advantages of AI-powered platforms is their ability to understand natural language. This means that users can ask questions and make requests more conversationally, and the platform can understand the meaning behind the words and deliver relevant results. For example, a user can ask, “What is the weather like in Paris today?” and the AI-powered platform will understand the request and deliver the relevant information.

Another advantage of AI-powered platforms is their ability to personalise search results. These platforms can use data from a user’s search history, location, and other factors to deliver results that are more relevant to the user’s needs and interests. This means that users are more likely to find the information they are looking for and are less likely to get lost in a sea of irrelevant search results.

The impact of AI-powered platforms on Google Search

These AI-powered platforms are likely to have a significant impact on Google Search, and it may even challenge its dominance in the search engine market.

Microsoft has made a multi-billion dollar investment in ChatGPT’s developer OpenAI. On February 8th 2023, Microsoft gave a surprise AI event where it performed a live demo of its AI-powered Bing search engine. Microsoft has also committed to embedding ChatGPT directly within its Office 365 products.

Seemingly caught off-guard, Google posted a demo on Twitter of its own AI chatbot, Bard. However, things didn’t go exactly as planned as there was a factual error in the answer posted. This seemingly minor error resulted in Google’s parent company, Alphabet, losing 8%, or US$100 billion, in market value.

Not putting all its eggs in one basket, Google has also invested US$400m in AI startup Anthropic, headed by ex-ChatGPT researchers, which is developing a ChatGPT competitor.

Some ways in which AI-powered platforms may impact Google Search:

  • Improved search results: One of the biggest advantages of AI-powered platforms is their ability to deliver more relevant and personalised search results. This means that users are more likely to find the information they are looking for, and they are less likely to be presented with irrelevant search results. This will put pressure on Google to improve its search results, as users are likely to switch to alternative platforms if they are not satisfied with the results they receive from Google.
  • Increased competition: As more companies invest in developing their AI-powered platforms, pressure will be put on Google to maintain its dominance in the market and continue to innovate to remain competitive.
  • Changes to advertising: New platforms have the potential to change the way that advertising is delivered on search engines. By using personalisation and natural language processing, these platforms can deliver more relevant and targeted advertising to users. This will likely lead to changes in the way that advertising is purchased and delivered on search engines, and it may impact the revenue of traditional search engines like Google.
  • Improved user experience: One of the biggest benefits of AI-powered platforms is the improved user experience they offer. By delivering more relevant and personalised results, it becomes easier and faster for users to find the information they are looking for. This will likely lead to increased user engagement and higher levels of satisfaction with search engines.

Marketers need to adapt their search strategy

As the shift towards conversational internet searches continues to grow, marketers need to adapt their approach to search campaigns. With the increasing use of smart speakers and AI-powered virtual assistants, the way people search for information is changing.

To effectively plan and measure search campaigns in this new landscape, marketers need to consider a few key factors:

Keyword research: Traditional keyword research may no longer be enough as conversational search queries tend to be longer and more natural language-based. Marketers should consider including phrases and questions that people might use when talking to their smart speaker or virtual assistant.

Content optimization: Content optimization should be focused on providing clear and concise answers to the questions and queries that people are likely to ask. This means ensuring that the information on a website is structured and easily accessible, with a clear hierarchy and organization of information.

Measuring success: To measure the success of search campaigns in a conversational search environment, marketers will need to look beyond traditional metrics like search engine rankings and clicks. Instead, they should focus on metrics that measure the overall user experience, such as time on site, page views, and engagement with specific content.

Voice search optimization: Optimizing for voice search requires a different approach compared to traditional text-based search. Voice search results are often pulled from featured snippets and answer boxes, which require concise and straightforward answers.

Conclusion

The rise of AI-powered platforms like ChatGPT and Google Bard is likely to have a significant impact on the future of search engines. These platforms have the potential to deliver more relevant and personalised results, and they are likely to increase competition in the search engine market. However, they also offer the opportunity to improve the user experience and make it easier and faster for users to find the information they are looking for. As these platforms continue to evolve, they will change the landscape of search engines.

While these AI-powered platforms are likely to pose a challenge to traditional search engines like the Google search we know today, it is also likely to bring new opportunities and benefits to both users and businesses. By embracing AI and its potential to deliver improved search results and personalisation, companies like Google can stay ahead of the curve and maintain their dominance in the search engine market.

Marketers will need to take a more comprehensive and user-focused approach to search campaigns. By considering the specific needs and behaviour of users, and by focusing on providing the most relevant and helpful information possible, marketers can effectively plan and measure their search campaigns in this new environment.

If you need support reporting on your search or other campaign metrics, contact Digital Balance today.

The content and advice contained in this post may be out of date. Last updated on February 13, 2023.
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