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12th February 2023 - Chris Regan

AI Search Engine Integration

Google and Microsoft announced significant changes to their search platforms earlier this week. They will look to integrate the latest AI technology into their search engines to generate better user results.

You’ve probably already heard of ChatGPT, which is an artificially intelligent chatbot which can answer any question you may have. The same technology is now being integrated into our search engines.

Google Alter's E-A-T Guidelines

What are the changes?

With the new changes, asking the search engine a question will generate an AI response to answer that question in the simplest form possible. It will still return a list of web pages that it sees as relevant to the search query, but with the AI result taking prominence, these results will likely see a drop in click-through rate, impacting traffic.

Chat

This new integration will also allow you to chat with the search engine in a natural conversation. This is a huge breakthrough for search, as you don’t need to constantly add to your search query to get the answers you want.

Microsoft Bing AI integration

So far, it appears Microsoft has managed to get the jump on Google regarding AI integration. They’ve invested heavily in a company called OpenAI which is most well known for producing ChatGPT and Dall-E 2 but are highly regarded as the front runners in AI technology.

The partnership with OpenAI allows them to integrate the market-leading technology directly into their search engines (Bing) and web browser (Edge).

How does it work?

From Microsoft’s presentation, we can see how they plan to integrate AI into Bing. The new AI-generated response appears on the right-hand side, with the standard web results still taking prominence on the left. It’s unclear how this will look on mobile until it’s released.

Microsoft also has AI integrated into their web browser Microsoft Edge. This will allow users to use the AI whilst browsing the web, this will allow users to generate social media posts, convert metrics or code, explain complicated information in a simplified way and much more. If Microsoft can get the uptake in this, it could see a huge decline in search queries.

Google’s AI integration

Google announced the day after Microsoft that they are rolling out Google Bard. From the early screenshots, Bard will work like a rich snippet above all search results.

Whilst this may seem a little underwhelming compared to Bing, it may be worth noting it is a simple solution, for now, to get into the market that can be evolved.

What can it do?

This is the most exciting part, AI uses the internet to generate a response to any question you may have. You’ve probably seen the capabilities of ChatGPT, but interacting this into search gives endless possibilities.

Here are some of our favourites;

Why are they doing this?

Microsoft says over 10 billion searches daily, over half of which go unanswered. AI integration will solve this problem by quickly answering complex questions directly in the search engine.

It’s also with noting the user experience of the current search engines. More often than not, asking a simple question results in 2000 words of page filler needed to rank a webpage making it difficult to find the answer you want.

Artificial intelligence can generate answers from multiple sources, now allowing you to ask search engines questions you never thought possible.

What effect will this have on SEO?

The impact of artificial intelligence integrating into search engines is still unknown. We can only make predictions on how we feel this will shape the future of SEO.

From what we have seen up to now, we believe the impact will be different, depending on the search intent of the query. The biggest change will be to informational search intent queries. If AI has answered questions in the simplest form possible, it isn't easy to see a future for informational content on a website.

It’s still worth noting that informational content is the best possible way to demonstrate E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) to the search engines, and the AI will need to learn to generate their response from websites publishing informational content, but how can we justify investing in it for our clients if the pages generate no traffic?

We’ll follow this closely to understand the impact, and once we have more information, we can adjust our processes to adapt.

Final Thoughts

At the heart of these new changes, it’s about using the latest technologies to provide a better user experience across the web. This is something that we welcome and are excited to see.

I think it’s also time to pay close attention to the usage of our search engines and web browsers again. For years, many haven’t taken Microsoft Bing or Microsoft Edge seriously, but it looks like Microsoft finally has a superior product to Google. Google still has a firm grip on market share, and by the time Microsoft closed that gap, it could have evolved its product. However, it’s worth watching the stats to see what the users are doing.

References

Google Bard Official Annoucement

AI-Powerered Microsoft Bing Official Annoucement

Chris Regan

About the Author

Chris Regan

Chris is the Managing Director and Founder of Arriba. With a degree in web development and over 10-years of experience in the SEO industry, Chris is an expert in all aspects of user-experience and technical SEO.

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