There has been much chatter in the SEO world about ChatGPT/Bing and the introduction of Google Bard and its impact on our universe... And it certainly is an interesting turn of events.
As a Google-ite - spending my life following core update algorithms changes and trying to implement best practice SEO for the websites I create, I think many practitioners are guilty of dropping the ball when it comes to keeping an eye on Bing.
And we might be forgiven when you consider that 93.37% of all searches globally currently happen on Google - with Bing coming in second place at 2.81% and generally used by the older audience (where historically it was pre-installed on the devices they purchased)
Having signed up for early access to Bard, I finally received my invite to 'give it a whirl' and initially I wasn't overwhelmed with it's response. I follow two key leaders in the SEO space - SearchEngine Land and Marie Haynes Consulting and this sentiment seems to be one very much reflected in the SEO community. With SearchEngine Land reporting the first outcome in early BARD - Google’s AI chatbot - "lacking sources, hallucinating [and] giving bad SEO advice":
[A hallucination is where the tool has a 'knowledge gap' and so makes something up rather than - as with ChatGPT - searching the web for appropriate information]
But with a Friday afternoon to research more into Bing/ChatGPT, I picked up the newsletter from Marie Haynes Consulting March 24, 2023 all around this topic and I ventured on to Bing.com to give its new AI a whirl.
Not being a fan of Bing, I was - I admit - very impressed with the ChatGPT, particularly in comparison with my initial foray into using Bard and after asking it a few random questions, I decided to give the whole "Write me an article" (rather than a poem) thing a bash and asked it to "write me an article about the future of search and ai"
And watched as it started to type me a reply - with sources from today! - and further suggestions for more article content or quotes. Although I note that it returned to me 8 sources but uses just 3 in the copy - so presumably, maybe the computer is hoping for some human intervention for this article ;) :
Since the same query on Bard gave me three options - I re-tried the query again with Bing and I felt the second attempt was more interesting, insightful and better use of language ... Here's what it wrote:
AI can already analyze data at a rate that humans can’t, so it’s only a matter of time until it starts to dominate SEO strategies. The SEO industry is always in a state of flux. Some of the prominent ways in which AI tools have proven their effectiveness are SEO keyword research, content creation, traffic and site growth analysis, voice search, and SEO workflows. These applications have made it evident that the future of SEO is in Artificial Intelligence.
As for search engines themselves, Google has been making a pitch for years that the future of search is a conversation. It demoed two “ground-breaking” AI systems — LaMDA and MUM — that it hopes, one day, to integrate into all its products. These systems will aid search engines to understand human’s natural language by identifying meaning associated with every query.
The future of AI is primed to transform the way we live our lives. AI enables an unprecedented ability to analyse enormous data sets and computationally discover complex relationships and patterns. AI, augmenting human intelligence, is primed to transform the way we work and live our lives.
It certainly seemed to rate itself! So I asked Bard to do the same, and it gave me 3 versions to choose from. [See below] however, none of which were sourced and the wording of the content was quite repetitive.
Whilst I can't say I'm impressed with the writing style of either, ChatGPT did at least try to incorporate language, but - obviously as it's a computer - both read a little bit like a first year college student trying to have a stab at writing an essay. One that lacks thoughtful language, flow, story and a balanced argument! However, at least with Bing's version you were given useful sources for you to actually go and research yourself. So I won't be using it to create my blogs just yet!!
So what will happen?
It will be interesting to see how this pans out. The market chatter is that ChatGPT is far more advanced and I note that Marie Haynes in her newsletter, insightfully questions whether:
But whilst it's early days, there's no doubt that the future of search will include using AI in some way - although it likely develop and change from how it appears now as the technology is refined and becomes more sophisticated. Further, it will also require a change in people's behaviours - but we know with time and technology (look at Zoom over Covid) that this can/will happen, and when it does search engine optimization (and its practitioners) will have to adapt to a new model.
Finally, whilst perhaps pipped to the post by Microsoft Bing incorporating ChatGPT first - which looks at the moment to be more advanced technology - Google has been using machine learning since 2015 (rank brain) and more recently in it's updates;
BERT (in 2019) where it taught its bots to better understand the context of the words in search queries;
and MUM (2021) - which "not only understands language, but also generates it and is trained across 75 different languages" the purpose being to find you the 'best' result based on your query and translate it if necessary;
and you are probably familiar (if you use Android) with it's suggested for you news items.
All of which suggest that they will continue in the race to develop the most intelligent search functionality and maintain their market position and share.
It will be interesting to watch events unfold as AI technology and consumer behaviours merge.
_ _ _
For your interest:
The first Bing article and sources were:
The future of search and AI is exciting! As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more sophisticated, search engine optimization will have to adapt. AI can already analyze data at a rate that humans can’t, so it’s only a matter of time until it starts to dominate SEO strategies¹.
AI will aid search engines to understand the human’s natural language by identifying meaning associated with every query. Starting Search with voice is becoming a significant percentage of web search requests².
The popular adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is applicable to the search marketing industry. The rise of Visual Search is another trend that is expected to grow in the future².
Some of the prominent ways in which AI tools have proven their effectiveness are SEO keyword research, content creation, traffic and site growth analysis, voice search, and SEO workflows. These applications have made it evident that the future of SEO is in Artificial Intelligence¹.
Finally, with the emergence of AI-powered search engines like Neeva, Perplexity AI, and others, the future of internet search is brighter than ever. These search engines are soon becoming game changers in the world of internet search due to their innovative algorithms, personalized results, and emphasis on privacy⁶.
Bing ChatGPT Sources:
(1) Conversation with Bing, How AI will change the future of search engine optimization. Accessed 31/03/2023.
(2) The Future of Search with Artificial Intelligence - Artefact. Accessed 31/03/2023.
(3) Best AI-Powered Search Engines: Maybe Better Than Google. Accessed 31/03/2023.
(4) Generative AI Will Enhance — not Erase — Customer Service Jobs. Accessed 31/03/2023.
(5) AI-fueled search gives more power to the bad guys | CSO Online. Accessed 31/03/2023.
(6) How Marketers Can Leverage AI In Search Engines - forbes.com. Accessed 31/03/2023.
(7) 7 problems facing Bing, Bard, and the future of AI search. Accessed 31/03/2023.
(8) Google outlines future of its search engine | Financial Times. Accessed 31/03/2023.
And the BARD generated 'articles' were:
The future of search and AI - Draft one
The future of search is artificial intelligence. AI is already being used to improve the accuracy and relevance of search results, and it is likely to continue to play a major role in the future of search.
One of the most important ways that AI is being used in search is to understand natural language. AI can now understand the meaning of complex queries and can provide more relevant results. For example, if you search for "what is the best way to cook a steak," AI can understand that you are looking for a recipe and can provide you with a list of recipes that match your query.
AI is also being used to personalize search results. AI can now track your search history and can provide you with results that are more relevant to your interests. For example, if you have been searching for information about cooking, AI can provide you with more cooking-related results in the future.
In addition to improving the accuracy and relevance of search results, AI is also being used to improve the overall user experience. AI can now provide you with more personalized results, can help you find information more quickly, and can even help you with tasks such as making reservations or buying products.
The future of search is bright, and AI is likely to play a major role in shaping that future. AI is making search more accurate, more relevant, and more personalized, and it is likely to continue to do so in the years to come.
Here are some specific examples of how AI is being used in search today:
Natural language processing (NLP) is being used to understand the meaning of search queries and to provide more relevant results.
Personalization is being used to tailor search results to individual users' interests.
Recommendations are being used to suggest additional content that users might be interested in.
Visual search is being used to allow users to search for images and videos.
Voice search is being used to allow users to search for information using voice commands.
These are just a few examples of how AI is being used in search today. As AI continues to develop, it is likely that we will see even more innovative and user-friendly ways of using AI.
The future of search and AI - Draft two
The future of search and AI is a topic that has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years. As AI technology continues to develop, it is clear that it will have a significant impact on the way that we search for information.
One of the most significant changes that we can expect to see in the future of search is the development of more personalized search results. AI-powered search engines will be able to better understand our individual needs and preferences, and they will be able to provide us with results that are more relevant to our interests.
Another change that we can expect to see is the development of more natural language processing capabilities. AI-powered search engines will be able to understand our natural language queries, and they will be able to provide us with results that are more accurate and relevant.
In addition to these changes, we can also expect to see the development of new search features that are powered by AI. For example, AI-powered search engines will be able to provide us with real-time updates on search results, and they will be able to provide us with more personalized recommendations.
Overall, the future of search and AI looks very promising. AI technology is poised to revolutionize the way that we search for information, and it is likely to have a significant impact on our lives in the years to come.
Here are some specific examples of how AI is already being used to improve search:
AI is used to improve the accuracy of search results by understanding the context of a query and the user's intent.
AI is used to personalize search results by understanding the user's interests and preferences.
AI is used to provide real-time updates on search results by monitoring the latest news and information.
AI is used to provide personalized recommendations by understanding the user's past behaviour.
These are just a few examples of how AI is already being used to improve search. As AI technology continues to develop, we can expect to see even more innovative and user-friendly search experiences.
The future of search and AI - Draft 3
The future of search is AI. As AI technology continues to develop, search engines will become more and more sophisticated at understanding and responding to user queries. This will lead to a number of changes in the way we use search, including:
More personalized results: AI will be able to tailor search results to each individual user's interests and needs. This will mean that users will no longer have to wade through a sea of irrelevant results to find what they're looking for.
More natural language processing: AI will be able to understand natural language queries better than ever before. This will make it easier for users to ask complex questions and get the information they need.
More proactive results: AI will be able to anticipate what users are looking for and provide them with results before they even ask for them. This will make search a more efficient and user-friendly experience.
Overall, the future of search is looking very bright thanks to AI. Search engines will become more and more capable of understanding and responding to user queries, making it easier for users to find the information they need.
Here are some specific examples of how AI is already being used to improve search results:
Natural language processing: AI is used to understand the meaning of natural language queries, which allows search engines to return more relevant results. For example, if you search for "how to make a cake," Google will return results that include recipes, videos, and articles on how to make a cake.
Personalization: AI is used to personalize search results for each individual user. This is done by taking into account factors such as the user's search history, location, and interests. For example, if you have been searching for information about travel, Google will show you more results about travel when you search for "flights."
Proactivity: AI is used to anticipate what users are looking for and provide them with results before they even ask for them. This is done by using machine learning to identify patterns in user behavior. For example, if you have been searching for information about a particular product, Google may show you an ad for that product when you are browsing other websites.
As AI technology continues to develop, search engines will become even more powerful and user-friendly. This will have a profound impact on the way we access information and the way we interact with the world around us.