AI, Search and SEO - Shattering SEO Norms and Embracing Fragmentation
Imagine a world where search engines are not just a gateway to information, but also your personal AI assistant. A world where AI-driven search engines like Google Bard, Bing AI, and Perplexity.ai not only provide you with the usual blue links but also offer an AI chat option. These AI chat options transform search engines into powerful backends for assistants, capable of understanding your queries and providing comprehensive answers. This shift in search dynamics is just one way AI is transforming the landscape of search engine optimization (SEO).
Additionally, there are AI chatbots like GPT-4 and Claude, which offer horizontal chat experiences. These chatbots are designed to answer questions about any subject, although they may occasionally provide incorrect information. While horizontal chatbots broaden the scope of search capabilities, there is an emerging trend of vertical AI chatbots. These specialized chatbots are trained on private data sources, such as Bloomberg AI chat, which is trained on financial data, or Microsoft's BioGPT, which is trained on biomedical literature. These vertical chatbots cater to specific industries and provide highly specialized insights.
In this AI-driven search landscape, the traditional approaches to SEO, such as churning out content and building backlinks, will no longer hold the same importance. The dominance of AI-driven search engines will push blue links further down the page, as users increasingly prefer the convenience of AI assistants. Instead of clicking through multiple links, users rely on AI assistants to summarize the information from the first ten links and present it to them. If the AI assistant does a good job, users may never need to click on blue links, resulting in reduced traffic for websites.
Furthermore, AI chatbots like GPT-4 and Claude, with their vast knowledge and ability to generate responses, can provide users with extensive information without relying on traditional search engines. While these chatbots receive updates periodically, they do not require the same frequency of updates as search engines. To establish visibility and credibility in this AI-driven environment, brands will need to be seen as influential references within the data sources used by these large language models to compile answers. Building a strong brand presence and being recognized by these models will become crucial for effective SEO.
Another significant transformation lies in the rise of vertical chatbots. These specialized chatbots are designed to cater to niche datasets, providing users with highly specific information. For example, many users have already utilized Zapier's Interface product to create chatbots tailored to their unique data sources. This proliferation of vertical chatbots will fragment the search experience, eliminating the notion of a single search provider dominating the market, as we have witnessed with Google.
The future of SEO in the age of AI is far from traditional. With AI-driven search engines becoming backend assistants and AI chatbots providing comprehensive answers, the focus on creating content and building backlinks will diminish. Instead, brands will need to establish themselves as influential references within the data sources used by AI models. Additionally, the growth of vertical chatbots will further fragment the search landscape, diversifying the means through which users access information. As AI continues to evolve, it is essential for businesses to adapt their SEO strategies to the changing dynamics of search and embrace the opportunities presented by this AI-powered future.