While Google remains a dominant force in the search market, the rise of chatbots and AI-powered conversational platforms does poses some potential threats to this dominance.
Direct Answers: Chatbots, especially those used by businesses on their websites or in their apps, can provide immediate and direct answers to customer queries. This bypasses the need for a user to search for an answer on Google, which could reduce overall search volume.
Personalised Experience: Chatbots can provide a more personalized experience than a traditional search engine, by providing contextual and customized responses based on user behavior and preferences. This could make chatbots a more appealing option for obtaining information or performing certain tasks.
Ecosystem Lock-In: Major tech companies like Facebook and Amazon are deploying chatbots within their own ecosystems to keep users engaged and reduce their reliance on Google. For example, a user might ask a chatbot in Facebook Messenger for information rather than Googling it.
Voice Search: With the rise of voice-activated virtual assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana, more searches are being done through these platforms – and not all of them use Google as their primary search engine.
From an SEO perspective, these trends could have several implications:
Changes in Keyword Strategy: If chatbots and voice assistants become a primary method of searching, businesses may need to adjust their keyword strategies to target more natural language queries and long-tail keywords.
Importance of Chatbot Optimisation: If chatbots become a major platform for finding and accessing content, businesses may need to consider how to optimise their chatbots to ensure they provide accurate, relevant, and helpful responses.
Shifts in Traffic Sources: If users are getting answers directly from chatbots or voice assistants, this could potentially reduce traffic to websites from traditional search engines. This could impact SEO strategies, which often focus on driving traffic from search engine results pages.
After seeing the demo from Google IO, I was convinced SEO was dead. Its just AI and paid ads. For a lot of queries, SEO is dead and been so for a while. Queries like what is my IP, don't result in a click most of the time as Google just serves up the answer.
With LLMs, these instant answers will dominate big chunks of the keywords. Song lyrics sites are probably dead, review sites that can easily be digested are, lots of websites are redundant with LLMs.
Bing's GPT4 Integration
I was chatting with a buddy of mine and there are a class of queries that might actually benefit from LLMs and SEO. Queries like where to buy a wedding cake. A LLM can tell you all about wedding cakes and maybe can includes ads but the Bing currently searches its index and returns sites.
For example, Where can I buy a wedding cake in Limerick?
That type of result should drive more traffic than Google's ad bloated SERPs.
(I did some SEO for The Chic Cake Boutique so it paid off a little already!)
Bing is querying it's index and providing the results. Being in the top 3 is essential. It always has been but even more important now. If Google was going to do something like that, traffic could possibly increase as the AI could disintermediate many sites that took traffic, think Booking.com and hotels. You can imagine, Hotels in Limerick, it could run a search and just remove all the aggregators from the suggestions.
SEO is dead for a lot of queries but for some, it might end up being better depending on the interface Google ends up adopting. The era of 10 blue links is well and truly coming to an end. If your SEO provider doesn't understand this, then get another one.
Ben has a BEng (Hons) in Computer Science and 20 years of experience in online marketing, specialising in SEO, lead generation and affiliate marketing. After spending over a decade as an igaming affiliate, he has decided to concentrate on GA4 training and SEO Audits.