What Marketing Managers Should Know About AI Search

Digital Transformation

  • Published on April 24, 2024
  • Last Updated on May 8, 2024
What Marketing Managers Should Know About AI Search-alt

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    Should you worry about AI search? It really depends on how you look at it.

    AI has been a part of Google Search for nearly its entire history. However, AI is about to take a big leap forward with Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE), which creates AI summaries above traditional search results. 

    Google started testing SGE a year ago and recently entered a new phase of testing SGE beyond users who opted into the Google Labs beta test.

    If you love better quality search and innovation, the future is about to be very exciting. But if you are a marketing manager concerned about search position for your organization, there are a few things you should know about the major changes coming to search.

    SGE Replaces Rich Results

    Google’s SGE is an AI-powered experience similar to ChatGPT where Google writes summaries to answer users’ questions. Instead of showing traditional results or a “rich” result like a map pack or a featured snippet, AI will write a summary on the topic.

    A search result for "who is the owner of techark". The top result reads, "In 2012, CEO Pratik Kothari made his dream a reality and TechArk Solutions was formed. Since then, with a strong desire to consistently deliver to our clients, we have led with a strong culture built around our core values of Integrity, Innovation, and Quality.


    Even if you don’t know the terminology, you are familiar with Google’s rich results. These are the parts of search pages that provide more in-depth information than traditional rankings.

    The main difference between SGE’s AI summaries and these rich results is that the AI content is original writing automatically generated by Google, whereas rich results are pulled directly from the traditional search results.

    Unlike the featured snippet, which pulls results from the top webpage, SGE is original to Google with links to sources from around the web directly embedded in the summary.

    Turning Web Searches into Conversations

    If SGE results seem like ChatGPT, it’s because they are by design. SGE was a direct response to ChatGPT and its sister product from Microsoft, Copilot (originally called Bing chat).

    Like ChatGPT, Copilot allows you to ask follow-up questions and get personalized responses from an AI.

    A user chats with Bing's Copilot AI, asking it 'who are the top web design companies in norfolk virginia' Copilot displays TechArk among its results and links to its pages.

    SGE likewise provides a small textbox below its AI-generated summary where you can ask a follow-up instead of returning to the main search bar.

    How Will this Affect Website Traffic?

    We have yet to see a definitive guide about the impact on web traffic. And that’s because for Google, which owns more than 91% of all web search traffic, the AI search product is still undergoing testing.

    Most scenarios are pointing to traffic declines, particularly for what Search Engine Journal calls “shallow topics.” SEJ conducted a study of the potential impact and found a wide variance of potential decreases—between 18 and 64%.

    In other words, we expect decreases. We just don’t know how much.

    Should I Still do SEO Even with AI Search?

    As we tell many prospective clients, SEO (and any organic digital marketing tactic) is a long-term strategy for long-term goals, even without AI. On average, it takes about several months of SEO work to see significant impact. The value of SEO in an AI search experience is credibility. Google has always prioritized putting the best content at the top of the search results. Now it is embedding the best sources in its own content.

    Read more: SEO: Get Web Traffic to Increase Your Revenue

    What will the reward be? What Search Engine Journal calls “qualified clicks.”

    While overall site traffic may decrease with SGE, the traffic that your site receives may be of higher quality. Users will be more interested and more likely to take an action valuable to your business on your website. Google is essentially weeding out less qualified traffic through its AI summaries.

    “AI search is different,” writes Roger Montti. “But different is not the same thing as worse.

    Learn more: Can One-Time SEO Get me a Featured Snippet on Google?

    What Can I Do to Prepare for AI Search?

    Since last year, Google has made five major core updates to its algorithm, all of which are aimed at devaluing spammy content. Now, more than ever, your website will have to provide value to the user in order to rank.

    Here are some tips we’d recommend to stay ahead of SGE:

    • Get rid of “content bloat” – When we build websites, one of the first things we do is identify which content to keep, and which to get rid of. You can do this even without rebuilding your site. The best tool to do this is your Google Analytics account. By taking inventory of the pageviews, you can see which content is the least valuable and redirect it.
    • Ensure your site is fast – Mobile site speed is crucial to rank, and a poor on-page experience will prevent you from getting in AI summaries. Get an audit of your site’s technical issues and work with an agency who can fix your WordPress website.
    • Start writing for other sites – If you have connections in your community, start writing content about your field of expertise and ensure you get a mention of your brand with a link back to your site. At TechArk, we write for a variety of styles and outlets to generate these backlinks, which act as citations that validate your website’s authority.
    • Find a niche and stick to it – To capture more traffic, the best avenue for writing blogs is picking a primary topic and writing high-quality content about that topic. These blogs and articles are what Google will begin to cite in its AI summaries.


    Learn More about AI Search

    Schedule a consultation with our experts today to learn more about how SEO can keep your business ahead in the world of AI search experiences.