With a Google search often forming one of the first steps towards discovery, connection and relationship between brands and their customers, changes to how Google Search is shaped can have major impacts on our online marketing and sales channels. In 2023, Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to revolutionise how we seek, discover and utilise information, with a notable example taking shape and capturing attention in the form of AI-powered Google Search.
SEO is a multifaceted process, including on-page and off-page optimisation across a range of factors to support higher web page ranks for specific search terms and user intent. These continued changes have direct implications to SEO managers and practitioners who must continue to navigate their implications as they look to strategically position their content for their target audience, ensuring their investment in content delivers meaningful results within a wider customer journey.
By tracking how these changes progress, we can look to the future of SEO, developing tools and strategic approaches that enable us to work with these progressive iterations, not against them.
The role of AI in search algorithms
While AI may be capturing a wave of consumer and business attention in 2023, AI has fuelled the engine of search machines for years. With new changes to the way this AI operates and new capabilities in its arsenal, however, rapid-fire changes are at foot that have direct impacts on consumer search experiences.
In a recent article for Forbes, How AI will revolutionise the future of SEO, Alex Bider writes, ‘the foundation of search engines like Google relies on sophisticated algorithms that crawl and index webpages, and then rank them based on their relevance and authority.
AI-powered algorithms have the potential to vastly improve these processes, making search results more accurate, personalised and efficient.’
Bider goes on to note that continued AI integration can provide a range of benefits to traditional SEO functions, including:
Enhanced accuracy in the understanding of user queries, resulting in better search outcomes
Automated keyword research and content optimisation, including the semantic relationships between keywords, noting search trends and predicting user behaviour
Providing analysis of user behaviour data during website visits, including suggestions for personalised content or the use of AI-powered chatbots
While these AI-fuelled functionalities may not come as a surprise to those who’ve been monitoring advancements in AI capabilities, Google’s continued search developments offer further insights about the future of AI Google searches. In May 2023, Google invited the first set of test users to experience its new Search Generative Experience, writing, ‘with new generative AI capabilities in Search, we’re now taking more of the work out of searching, so you’ll be able to understand a topic faster, uncover new viewpoints and insights, and get things done more easily.’
Its generative AI search examples demonstrate AI-powered snapshots of key information to queries, with associated links that allow the user to deep dive with more ease. This search mode also carries context forward, supporting users with more continuity of search results related to their overall search intent.
With so much of Google’s search capabilities focused on shopping intent, it’s no surprise that their generative AI in Search is also designed to help users buy products with more ease. When users search for a product, they receive a quick AI-powered snapshot of key factors to consider in their purchasing decision, as well as products that may suit their needs. With product descriptions, reviews, ratings, prices and product images all in a single search result, Google’s Shopping Graph is combined with this evolving generative AI shopping experience.
Google’s Labs team also noted that they continued to remain committed to driving traffic to relevant sites across the internet, and that Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots within Generative Search result pages.
How businesses can prioritise their SEO-specific marketing efforts
Whether you’re an optimist or a cynic when it comes to the world of evolving technologies, there’s no denying that these changes to search engine functionalities require strategic responses.
Some of the potential implications of Google’s generative AI, as well as those of its competitors, include:
- Changes to how content is generated, optimised, and understood by search engines. As SEO professionals, the value of unique, high-quality and value-adding content is more important than ever, with a clear comprehension of user intent leading the way in the push to maintain search visibility.
- Increased risks of duplication and plagiarism. As search engines continue to penalise duplicate content, SEO teams need to prioritise originality.
- A continued emphasis on adaptive strategies. As AI becomes more heavily used in all forms of content generation, algorithms are continually shifting their algorithms to adapt their ability to detect and differentiate. A continued emphasis within SEO strategies on aligning with these changes is necessary to protect content visibility.
- Enhanced keyword strategy requirements. These changes mean that SEO professionals may stand to enhance the value of their content by focusing on a broader approach to topics, concepts, and search intent, utilising more of an awareness of search query context in how content is developed.
- Increased personalisation capacities. As AI continues to enable richer personalised search experiences, this presents an opportunity for SEO teams to leverage personalisation techniques, ensuring content is optimised in a world of highly personalised search results and query outcomes.
The rapid pace of AI advancements can make it feel like you’re playing a game of never-ending catch-up – but by taking a strategic, long-term approach to the evolving content and search engine landscape, you can continue to utilise value-adding original content in building meaningful relationships with your consumer base.
At RealClicks, our emphasis on data-driven services and genuine value means we’re taking a grounded, iterative approach to evolving SEO needs. Our content strategies continue to evolve in step with AI changes, ensuring our clients’ messages remain front and centre for their audiences.
If you’re looking for a content strategist who’ll bring personal investment to the delivery of meaningful and real results, our team’s ready to support your SEO journey – no matter the changes AI-fuelled search brings our way!