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With Google recently announcing the new era of search – where generative AI is now being incorporated, to provide users with increasingly people-first results – it’s left lots of digital marketers wondering what this means for them.

It’s no doubt an exciting time to be in the industry, but it can be an unsettling one too. Big changes such as these will make agencies more valuable and essential than ever before – provided they utilise AI and learn how to integrate it into each of their services.

We caught up with key experts across the business to reveal their thoughts on what the change in search will bring, and how they’ll be incorporating these changes into their ways of working.

SEO thoughts

This update is likely only going to impact informational and long-tail queries. The purpose of the chat-like interface from Google is to encourage more conversational search, and compete with the likes of ChatGPT and its integration into Bing. Therefore, the majority of queries that will be impacted are likely to be heavily long-tail and information-led, such as the example in the announcement “what’s better for a family with kids under 3 and a dog, Bryce Canyon or Arches”.

This isn’t the kind of query that we’d be optimising for in our SEO work, and it’s highly unlikely that Google will roll this out for commercial-intent queries, as it would present a poor UX.

Users will still interact with Google the same way as they do now. People use Google to find things, be it information, inspiration, or somewhere they can buy a product, and that isn’t going to change.

Google making this technological advancement isn’t going to change the way that people interact with its search engine. There will always be a market for the things that our clients sell, or the information that our clients want to put out into the world.

Content thoughts

Creating high-quality and engaging content has never been more important. This is something we’ve always put into practice, but for any brand wanting their content to be featured in the generated searches, it’s going to become more important than ever that all informational copy is useful, and accurately answers the questions that users are asking.

A change in c3’s approach to content writing isn’t needed (yet). With the above in mind, while our strategies are formulated for SEO, with keyword research supporting the overall organic strategy, our content is already written with user experience in mind (something that Google has long promoted), so we need to continue with this.

People-first content is going to become more important though, as AI is going to source these articles when generating conversational answers.

It’ll be interesting to see how the SERPs begin to look once an individual begins engaging with the AI and in follow-up conversation. On paper, the results should become tailored to the user, but we’ll monitor what it looks like in practice once we have access.

PR thoughts

Replication of TikTok search could be key. Whilst we include expert commentary within our campaigns, we could see this being turned into video content instead, whereby experts share their top tips in video form across social media, which is then shared with the journalist to use within their articles if they wish.

Utilising unique expertise from a personal or expert point of view will become even more apparent. Now more than ever, PR teams need to make sure they’re utilising their content teams across on-site content, to make sure that everything being put out provides valuable expertise and insights. Depending on the story, including real-life case studies within any on-site content could be explored – for example, if we’re working on a travel campaign that reveals 10 of the best locations, you could get case studies from influencers who’ve visited these destinations, to give their honest opinions.

Paid thoughts

There will always be paid ads. 80% of Google’s $279 billion in revenue last year came from ads. The last thing Google will want to do is impact that revenue in any way. Google even showed them in the live demo at the top still!

Understanding how Google’s AI tools work is going to be more important ever. From tools like PMAX, to broad keywords and responsive search ads, it’s likely these will have a better chance of appearing in the SGE, as there will be new ad formats to fill.

If you want to find out more about how AI could impact the future of digital marketing, how we’re approaching this with our clients, and how we can help you, just get in touch with us for a chat.