May 26, 2023 | Article | by Ed Stephenson | Search Engine Optimization
Google Makes Move on AI and Search
Since ChatGPT increased in popularity in late 2022, major search engines have been working to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) features into conversational chat and search results including Bing’s recent updates to their AI Chat interface.
Despite the significant attention ChatGPT and Bing have garnered as of late, Google still maintains the majority of share in visits among search engines. Recently, Google I/O announced a number of major updates to give a glimpse into how AI will play a role in the search landscape moving forward.
Bard was introduced as Google’s conversational chat interface to compete with ChatGPT and Bing Chat. It uses Google’s latest large language model technology, PaLM 2. The new model will allow Bard to:
- Generate and debug code in over 20 programming languages
- Produce and interpret images, data tables, and charts
- Integrate content into Google Docs and Google Maps
- Cite sources for information and take questions into Google Search
Google also removed the waitlist to access Bard, opening it to 180 countries in English, Japanese, and Korean.
Google Search Experience Updates
Google also announced upcoming updates to the search results with Search Generative Experience (SGE). With SGE, a panel will appear at the top of search results incorporating a combination of relevant information, articles, and follow-up options to drive the user journey. Features of SGE will include:
Topic Snapshots: Provide overviews of topics with links to additional sources and other search features relevant to the search such as maps and business profiles.
Conversational Mode: Allows users to begin with more detailed searches and follow up with additional questions. As their search evolves, the results will also change to reflect the conversation.
Vertical Overviews: Provides comprehensive overviews of products in shopping searches using descriptions, reviews, and pricing from the Google Shopping Graph.
Perspectives: Promotes user generated content to answer searches from forums including Reddit and Quora as well as videos from YouTube Shorts and TikTok.
Google also announced that search advertisements will continue to be a part of the new Search Generative Experience, appearing at the top of and within the generated experience results where relevant.
As search engines continue to introduce generative AI features, content publishers will want to take note of the effects that they could have on the search landscape:
- Search behavior will evolve from keyword driven searches to more detailed prompts that are personalized to the user.
- Optimizing content for keywords may no longer be sufficient as SGE will accumulate information from various sources. Focus on showing expertise around topics relevant to your site
- Traffic for high-level informational searches may see declines as generated answers become more detailed. Sites that benefit from traffic for these terms may need to revisit the searches they are appearing for and determine where they can provide additional value through their content.