SEO

Generative AI in search: What search marketers should prepare for

One of the fastest developing and potentially essential shifts in search marketing is artificial intelligence (AI), specifically generative AI. 

Generative AI is poised to change the nature of the search engine results page (SERP). Thus, strategies for managing digital marketing campaigns must also evolve. 

We see it now with the new Bing, powered by ChatGPT, and Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE). 

Here are a few potential changes that search marketers should prepare for. 

Increased time spent on search results pages

Looking ahead, we can predict that users will become more comfortable engaging with AI-generated content and chat threads. 

In the future, users may spend more time on the SERP within Google or Bing, engaging in entire conversations with AI-driven chats. 

SGE will revolutionize how users navigate topics within the search engine and make the search experience more efficient. 

Less website traffic from informational queries 

Over time, user behavior will evolve to spend more time researching via SGE. As a result, users may visit fewer websites for information they can acquire from AI-driven chat. 

Marketers may find that website traffic decreases for top-funnel queries related to research. 

This shift in user behavior can concern marketers relying on website traffic to drive leads and conversions. However, it also presents an opportunity to adapt and embrace new strategies. 

By incorporating AI-driven chat into your campaigns, you can provide personalized and immediate assistance to users, building trust and loyalty. 

Additionally, you can use data from these interactions to improve your content and better serve your audience’s needs. 

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Higher quality traffic for action-based search queries 

The phenomenon of individuals staying on the SERP to conduct research can present opportunities for digital marketers. 

Users can gather more information and gain deeper insights when conversing directly with AI-driven chatbots or virtual assistants on the search results page. 

By asking clarifying questions and receiving relevant responses, users can become more informed about the products, services, or topics they are researching. 

This enhanced consumer research process can advance users further in their purchase decision-making journey without navigating multiple websites and articles. 

This streamlined experience can be advantageous for digital marketers. 

It enables us to deliver valuable and persuasive content directly within the search results, influencing users’ decisions and potentially increasing conversion rates.

The prospect of declining website traffic is scary. However, the silver lining is that when someone arrives at your website, they are likely informed and ready to engage. 

Varying impact across verticals on SERPs

It is important to note that the impact of SGE will vary across verticals on SERPs. 

Companies like Google and Microsoft, providing AI-driven content, will ensure that their content adheres to strict editorial and regulatory guidelines. 

Specific verticals will be more sensitive to AI-driven content. Queries related to sensitive content will be more scrutinized and may not even appear within SERPs at all. 

Verticals that may see less impact from SGE include: 

  • Healthcare and medical advice
  • Legal and financial services
  • News and journalism
  • Education and academic research
  • Public safety and emergency services

By implementing strict editorial guidelines, search engines must deliver users trustworthy and authoritative AI-generated information. 

This involves algorithmic evaluation, content moderation, and partnerships with reputable sources to vet and verify the content that appears in search results. 

These efforts aim to minimize misinformation, spam, or low-quality content that could negatively impact user experiences.

Preparing for AI’s impact on digital marketing strategies

The impact of artificial intelligence on search marketing is undeniable, and it will continue to influence the industry in significant ways. 

AI-generated search results can potentially revolutionize the SERPs and digital marketing strategies. 

Let’s all keep in mind that digital marketing seems to change daily. But that’s always been the case for this industry. Marketers who have been running campaigns for over a few years know that. 

Rapid changes in our industry may cause stress and anxiety. Tactics and strategies evolve.

However, there is a great deal of opportunity for us to discover new ways to connect with our target audiences and unlock growth for our business.

Dig deeper: 3 key trends impacting search marketing today

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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About the author

Joseph Kerschbaum

Joseph Kerschbaum is Senior Vice President of Search & Growth Labs for 3Q/DEPT. During his 20 years of experience in digital marketing, Joseph has worked with businesses of every size from SMBs to enterprise-scale. Joseph has been a regular speaker at digital marketing conferences for over a decade. Joseph is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land. He is co-author of the Wiley/Sybex book, “Pay-Per-Click SEM: One Hour a Day,” which was published long enough ago to be outdated but that is a good thing because SEM is such a dynamic industry.

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