Google this week announced a new, experimental feature which marks a radical change to its search algorithm that has the potential to upend search advertising and the way small businesses approach search engine optimisation (SEO). Instead of returning a list of websites relevant to the search, the top of the search results will soon feature an AI-generated response designed to answer the user’s question.
Here’s how it works:
- You type a question into the Google search bar.
- Google AI Search uses its artificial intelligence to generate a text-based answer.
- The answer is displayed alongside traditional search results.
Google AI Search is still under development, but Google claims it has the potential to be a powerful tool for finding information online. For example, you could use it to:
- Get answers to complex questions that would be difficult to find with traditional search.
- Learn about new topics in a more engaging way.
- Find information that is not easily accessible through traditional search results.
The announcement sent ripples of excitement throughout the tech industry, but it’s also raising concerns. While the move is aimed at providing a more efficient and accurate search experience for users, this shift could have a significant impact on businesses who rely on paid search advertising and organic traffic to drive customers to their websites and could now struggle to compete for attention in results.
One of the main criticisms of this new system is that legitimate websites and their links could get pushed so far down the page they will be buried and not be seen by users. With AI-generated answers dominating the top of the page, there is a risk that users may not scroll down to see other search results, even if they are more relevant to their query.
With the new AI system it seems that businesses will no longer be able to rely on traditional SEO strategies to boost their ranking in search results. They may need to adapt their SEO strategies to ensure they remain visible to users. This could involve investing in creating content that better aligns with AI-generated responses. It remains to be seen how this will impact businesses, but it’s clear that the new AI-powered search has the potential to upend the current search engine landscape.
According to Google, the new AI-powered search system is still in the testing phase and there is no official launch date yet. However, industry experts predict that it could be rolled out in the coming months, so businesses and marketers should start preparing for the potential impact on their search engine rankings as soon as possible.