The world of search strategy changes rapidly. With the launch of Google in 1998, online search engines revolutionized the way people discovered information. To this day, search engines continue to be powerful filters, enabling users to quickly access relevant data. They scan millions of websites, index every page they find, and provide answers based on searched keywords and phrases…but even the most powerful search engines have their limits.
Search agencies know the importance of optimizing websites and social channels for search, but it’s impossible to publish content that answers every question a user might ever ask. Search agencies have also discovered that people are attempting to use search engines to answer overly complex questions, with discouraging results. Because search engines are set up to find websites, offer quick facts, and return data that has already been published online, they are not equipped to handle many of the more complicated questions that users pose. In fact, more than half of all search queries go unanswered.
To solve this problem, new technology is constantly being developed to make online searching more effective. Voice search was once heralded as the next big tech breakthrough, but research shows that voice search often frustrates users by returning poor results or asking users to repeat themselves multiple times. So how can marketers determine which tech developments are all hype and which are here to stay? Here are two developments that aren’t going anywhere:
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Despite its controversy and some bugs that still need to be worked out, the use of AI is becoming increasingly common. Consumers and businesses alike are relying on publicly available generative AI software like ChatGPT to reimagine what search can do. Artificial intelligence can gather and analyze vast amounts of data in a fraction of the time, which leads experts to believe that AI is permanently transforming the way we search for information. Whereas traditional search combs available online data to provide answers, generative AI creates new content based on existing data. By combining generative AI capabilities with search, we can remove the guesswork from searching and instead help consumers find relevant answers and insights much more quickly.
2. Human Intelligence
While some companies are ready to dive headfirst into completely AI-driven processes, search agencies caution against relying on technology alone when designing your brand’s search strategy. Even updated generative AI systems have limitations and can return incorrect information. To truly leverage the power of AI, you need to balance it with human intelligence and double check for accuracy. Marketers also need to be cautious when using artificial intelligence because large search engines like Bing and Google are learning to identify and rank AI-generated content lower on SERP. As a result, businesses and search will become increasingly focused on human stories, testimonials, life experiences, and helpfulness. By continuing to develop high-quality, unique content, your brand can keep moving up in the SERP ranks and building trust with consumers.
The Newest Developments in Search
The future of search strategy is clearly a fusion of artificial intelligence and human intelligence. To expand upon this fusion of technology and human experience, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon are implementing artificial intelligence services capable of comprehending and answering more complicated questions. Users can ask AI chatbots to give more specific answers, narrow results based on specific criteria, or expand upon data to get even more detailed answers. This developing search technology would allow users to find answers to even the most complex questions.
To give you a quick, concise overview of the rapidly evolving nature of search and how the changes to Google’s ranking evaluations could influence your company’s web content, (amp) put together a list of the top developments that search agencies—and your brand—should watch for in the Search/AI space:
1. Bing Chat
Microsoft users still have the option of using the Bing.com search engine for quick queries, but in February 2023 the tech giant introduced a new, robust, AI-powered chat feature that can deliver more in-depth responses to complex and multi-part searches. Bing Chat is larger and is trained to provide more updated data. The AI search engine is even rumored to outperform OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Bing Chat can help users clarify search questions and gather more in-depth information, as well as offer webpage summaries, create social media posts, and provide new suggestions. While a few strange responses from the chatbot in the first months after the rollout caused some public concern and led to safety-based user restrictions, you can be sure Microsoft will be tweaking their tool, not abandoning it.
2. Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE)
Early this year, Google launched its own AI chatbot called Bard, and followed up in May 2023 by launching its Search Generative Experience, or SGE. While SGE is still only available to select users in the U.S., the new search option is promising. So far, we know that AI-generated answers to queries will appear boxed in above search results and will cite source websites in case users want to dig deeper. SGE relies on generative AI to answer complicated questions and provide more relevant answers, as well as offering users the opportunity to explore new topics, ask follow-up questions, and find new perspectives. Google will continue to monitor feedback and performance of SGE over time to improve the user experience.
3. OpenAI’s ChatGPT
Developed by OpenAI and released in November 2022, ChatGPT is the most familiar iteration of artificial intelligence and is already used daily by many younger consumers. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot that functions as an alternative to search engines and can answer everything from “How to I write a cover letter?” to “How do I decline a friend’s bachelorette party invitation?” to “Will I get caught using ChatGPT?” While other chatbots can provide consistent, efficient communication and handle FAQs, ChatGPT can synthesize long-form, sophisticated answers across multiple industries and subject matters.
4. Google E-E-A-T
In December 2022, Google introduced a new metric—"Experience”—into its search rankings. For many years, Google has used real people (called Quality Raters) to help evaluate the quality of its search results based on a page’s demonstrated E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The addition of the second “E,” or “Double-E-A-T,” will assign greater value to human experiences and knowledge than to AI-generated content when determining search rankings. The new Experience category increases the need for accuracy and truthfulness in the YMYL (“Your Money or Your Life”) space, which includes topics like news, finance, and medicine, and urges creators to take a more honest approach to content creation.
Search strategy is evolving extremely fast. Even as influencers try out and report back about new tech, algorithm updates, and search features, the data frequently becomes outdated within a matter of days.
As AI-powered search continues to rapidly evolve the digital landscape, the fusion of artificial intelligence with authentic human insight will become more valued than ever. At (amp), we live and breathe search strategy. We know that now is the time to carefully examine and adjust your company’s search to make sure you’re reaping the benefits of technological and human insights. If you need expert guidance to revamp your search strategy, (amp) offers optimized, transparent performance marketing that consistently reaches, resonates with, and engages your target audience. Get started today by reaching out to the (amp) team today.