Unveiling the Future of Search
Something monumental happened today.
Something that we all knew was coming. It was only a matter of time.
Google has unveiled its new search engine experience.
In short, they’ve integrated AI into search, and the initial rollout is taking place in the US as a beta trial before a broader launch.
While loads of people were saying Google is dead when ChatGPT first came on the scene, we said:
“Just you wait!”
What we actually said was: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cp6YOtfNRCU/
Here’s the 1:30 unveiling promo video:
A New Search Dimension
What this means is that Google’s search engine of the last 10 years is undergoing the biggest transformation in a decade.
The AI functionality now sits at the very top of the search engine, above the search listings.
But it doesn’t stop at simple chat function.
This beast integrates:
- Shopping results and merchant product feeds
- Google Business Profile / Maps listings
- YouTube results
- … and probably a ton more capabilities yet to be seen!
- Other Google products, probably more relevant for logged in users such as Google Home, browsing history and other related things in your life which Google has its tentacles in
All of this is designed to provide you with a super personalised and relevant, enriching experience and more precise answers to your queries.
It’s a learning system that refines its results based on your questions, continually enhancing its relevance with context carried through like chatGPT.
Which brings you to the inevitable discussion:
The elephant in the room – Is SEO dead?
In the wake of this announcement, you will hear debate around the future of SEO.
Is SEO dead?
The short answer is no. SEO is not dead, but it’s definitely going to change in ways yet to be seen.
✔️ Search listings still exist under the AI answer box and people will still browse them
✔️ The AI function will be used extensively, reducing click through rate to websites and changing search behaviour, especially for certain topics and types of search
✔️ Despite potential decreases, there will still be ample opportunities to drive traffic from search
Let’s delve a little deeper.
The Continuing Role of Content and SEO
Google has reassured us of their commitment to sending traffic to websites.
The above quote doesn’t mean paid ads either. They go on to mention paid ads separately:
There’s more commercial reasoning as to why they want to keep content creators incentivised to keep creating content.
The AI relies on a continual stream of fresh content to stay relevant and producing a high quality experience.
If content creators are not incentivised to produce new material, the AI will start to lack up-to-date information to compile accurate, current responses.
To prevent a decline in quality over time, a constant influx of fresh content is essential.
SEO’s Relevance in the New Era
Despite AI’s central role, search listings are still there, and lots of people will still browse them.
You’ll still want your site to appear in these listings, which means SEO remains relevant.
To achieve visibility, you need to:
- Create fresh, high-quality, and relevant content aligned with your SEO strategy
- Grow your topical authority and EEAT
- There’s a ‘perspectives’ tab in the new Search.
- They added the Experience to E-E-A-T recently. As in they want humans to talk about their actual experiences with X (places, products, services etc).
- That’s something an AI can’t do so expect them to push more of this first hand experience content from people (which is also the type of content people will crave along with unique and different human perspectives)
- Implement digital PR strategies to build trust, generate links and greater awareness
- Rank for your target keywords and those related to your content at all stages of the customer journey
All of these best practice SEO principles will remain valid, even if organic search traffic is expected to drop.
When people do scroll to check out the website listings, you want to be there.
Not only that, the next frontier to conquer is likely to be featured in the AI responses.
Having a strong brand, in part from solid execution of your brand content strategy, at all stages of the customer journey with SEO best practices throughout and stellar content, should go a long way to achieving this.
That being said, there will be huge shifts in behaviour and this will be a learning experience for everyone as things evolve.
Be sure to follow us on social and subscribe to our newsletter to stay ahead of the changes and learn what’s working now and next.
Branding and Audience Engagement
Building brand awareness will be more vital than ever. When people use the AI, you want them to be mentioning your brand in the consideration set.
Likewise, when they browse website listings, which may be a lot faster if they already have an answer from AI, you want them to click your site and having brand recognition will help to ensure they do.
That brings us on to click through rate.
As people skim website listings, it will become more important to have an attention grabbing meta title to make them click through to the website.
NOT clickbait where the page doesn’t deliver on the title. That will hurt you. You need to deliver on the title to ensure high engagement when they click through. Great SEO signals to Google! 🙂
You probably noticed YouTube videos and shorts appear in the new Search promo.
As if you needed another reason that creating content for YouTube was a good idea… but if you want more traffic from Search in this new world, you should be creating YouTube videos for the best chance to feature in the AI responses.
Ideal situation is you have your website content, product listings (if ecomm) and YouTube videos all feature for maximum exposure and touchpoints.
Embracing the New Search Experience
So, what do you need to do now in this new era of search?
We’ll let you know any changes as things evolve, but for now:
- Continue to create high-quality content
- Implement and maintain strong SEO strategies
- Build and engage your audience
- Grow your brand awareness
- Get going or ramp up YouTube content
- Make sure your product feed and Merchant Center is in great shape if ecomm
- Generate positive reviews
- Make sure your Google Business Profile is up to date and fully complete
Any questions just reach out but we’ll share more thoughts as things develop.