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AI Answers vs. Results: The Impending Search Engine Apocalypse

AI and the future of search engine marketing and someone's finger

Not so quietly, there appears to be some serious changes in the realm of Internet search. The incorporation of AI in search engines is being rapidly developed, and the king of search engines, Google, recently announced its new search engine strategies at its annual Google I/O conference. Through their Gemini app, Google will integrate AI as part of its search strategies, and users will enjoy a multimodal search powered by AI that provides much more than a list of relevant websites. The AI-curated results may likely give users what they want without the need to search any further. As a result, the inclusion of AI and the future of search engine marketing could be at an important crossroads.

two phones, AI and the future of search engine marketing
What do AI and the future of search engine marketing have in common? Impending change!

(It’s perilous to program AI with biases–read why in this Bold story.)

Change is never easy, but for many businesses that rely on search engine marketing and search rankings, the use of AI in search engines could be devastating. After investing heavily in SEO content and related strategies, AI summaries could suddenly eliminate the need to visit such sites. Not only would this result in significant declines in site traffic but also undermine ad revenues for these companies. In addition, the ability of AI to collect snippets of information from these same sites to create summaries remains controversial. That’s particularly true when content is taken verbatim from a site and included in a search result. This is why the impact of AI and the future of search engine marketing appears to be in flux.

Google’s New Search Engine Strategy

At Google’s annual developers’ conference, the company introduced its new search tool that would include AI assistance. Under the title, “Search Generative Experience,” Google will provide AI-generated multi-paragraph responses to search queries. In essence, these responses will scan the web and relevant sites to answer queries in a comprehensive yet concise manner. Rather than queries generating only a relevant ranked list of websites, answers will be compiled for immediate viewing. For many Internet searchers, such content will likely be adequate to satisfy their needs. If so, AI and the future of search engine marketing will shift. If users become increasingly used to having AI in search engines, companies will need to rethink their marketing strategies.

The platform that Google will be using is its own Gemini app, which operates on an Astra framework. This platform provides a multimodal-powered search response in text after examining up to a million units of data sources. And it can do so at lightning speeds offering incredibly comprehensive answers. It can even utilize image analysis as well to help with these query responses. As a result, it’s evident that AI in search engines will be a game changer for Google and for businesses. The inclusion of AI and the future of search marketing will need to adapt accordingly as a result. Rather than focusing on SEO content alone, sites will need to be more creative in luring users to their site based on AI results. And since no one knows how Google or anyone else’s AI systems work, this will naturally be challenging.

someone using an AI to search
AI-curated search results are fine, but what if you made your living doing SEO-related things?

The Impact on Search Engine Marketing

Even before Google announced its new use of AI in search engines, analysts were already forecasting shifts. Predictions suggest that website traffic generated from current search engines will decline by at least 25% by 2026. This is how fast the impact of AI in search engines could be. For content creators and publishers, this would mean a tremendous drop in revenues that are currently enjoyed from web traffic. It is estimated that such a decline in search would result in a $2 billion loss overall. And for sites that rely on search heavily, the effects would be even greater. Some could lose over two-thirds of their current site visitors within a couple of years. The inclusion of AI and the future of search engine marketing will inevitably shift as a result of these figures.

For marketers, new skills and strategies will need to be developed. Advances in AI and the future of search engine marketing will demand dynamic reactions. The use of AI in search engines can be compared to the shift of queries from PCs to mobile devices in past years. New search terms appeared then, such as places “near me.” The same will occur as users become accustomed to AI in search engines. They will provide increased degrees of context regarding their queries because AI can handle it. Therefore, marketers will have to consider these changes in targeting their ideal consumer. And search engine list rankings will no longer have as much value. New marketing efforts, whether AI-related or not, will be essential.

Caveats and Concerns of AI in Search

someone holding an AI in search engines
AI in search engines means curated results… and no need for ads.

As with other uses of AI, AI in search engines isn’t without faults. In some complex Internet query results, false statements have been noted. Likewise, there is concern that AI used in this capacity could generate increased spam and disinformation. There are also significant issues being debated in terms of copyright protections and plagiarism. AI summaries to web queries often seemingly “cut and paste” large segments of content from sites. Since this is done without consent, lawsuits over copyright violations may well result. This might slow down the effects of AI and the future of search engine marketing changes. But in all likelihood, as AI becomes increasingly better and these issues resolved, Internet search will change.

(Copyright law and generative AI are fighting a pitched battle–find out why in this Bold story.)

Of course, Google is not the only one exploring the use of AI in search engines. Microsoft and others are as well. OpenAI is not currently investing heavily in this but may in the future. And social media companies including Meta are infusing its platforms with AI also. In essence, AI is soon going to be quite pervasive. And it will inherently disrupt the status quo in the process. Search engine AI and the future of search engine marketing will therefore evolve significantly in coming years. And Internet search as we know it now will quickly be forgotten.


Generative AI and Higher Education Are the Perfect Match–Read How in this Bold Story!

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