ChatGPT – it has passed the US medical licensing exam, and the Bar and MBA exams (with a few hiccups, of course) and has made history for the fastest-growing consumer application with over 100 million users asking it questions already. Every now and then, a technological breakthrough comes along that gets users engrossed around the world. Mid journey AI was the last that made quite a buzz. Almost overnight, users had their Picasso moment, and now, ChatGPT has been the rage and talk of the town. The common denominator? Artificial Intelligence.
A product of OpenAI, ChatGPT 3.5 is a large language model trained on 175 billion parameters and 500+ GB of text. Having scraped online text till 2021 (remember the date!), the specialty of ChatGPT is the nature of its response to queries – impressively human-like. ChatGPT understands searchers’ intent, and can even predict the next words or sentences.
Of course, trained using the conversations from community forums and Reinforcement Learning with Human Feedback (no shortage of that with 100+ million users now), it has mastered the art of responding to questions in a conversational format to a certain precision – almost like you’re debating with a human.
But the big question is, how does this effect or impact industries and businesses and the Digital Marketing and SEO ecosystem? And we dare say it, Google!
Impact of ChatGPT on the Digital Marketing & SEO ecosystem, Industries and Businesses
Knowing quite well that’s its currently a playground for professionals and students as of now, the prospect of how this consumer application gets drilled into the life of businesses and professions is intriguing. With that it in mind, it’s important to see how ChatGPT will impact the digital acquisition funnel – Discovery, Experience, and Conversion phases of the customer journey.
• Discovery phase:
Content and SEO is no doubt the spine of brands and let’s start with Google’s stance on autogenerated content. According to John Muller, “Autogenerated content is against the webmaster guidelines” and this has been part of the guidelines for a while now. So, if Google catches your website using autogenerated content, will it be flagged? Recent sources say that Google will only flag auto-generated content that is spammy. How they are going pinpoint that with ChatGPT content? We’ll leave that up to them.
Let’s dive into how ChatGPT offers the potential for creating content and SEO strategies.
Content, FAQs and SEO
Not only can you ask it to write a blog by offering it cues, but you can also formulate keywords on a topic for research and analysis, generate titles and FAQs, and translate languages, email templates, and product copies.
While this can help you create a strategy and understand search intent, it still requires human intervention to ensure accuracy, originality, and brand taste. On the other hand, sole dependence on creating content from ChatGPT runs the risk of your content being flagged.
Talking advanced SEO, you could also generate robot.txt files, and with regard to entity optimization, it can create basic schema code. However, you’d need a system to put this together and create a nested schema architecture for your content for best results and of course, there’s the maintenance aspect of schema that a chatbot can’t help you with.
On the other hand, SEO is all about performance metrics and those without a technical background can collate analytical reports using match regex formulas, compile spreadsheet formulas, fetch data for APIs and coding, and so on. But this too comes with errors and requires expert supervision for implementation. This means it can improve the efficiency of businesses, but not replace expertise.
ChatGPT has impressed with respect to understanding search intent but since it’s in its infancy state as a beta, not connected to the internet, no geolocation, and data till 2021, it falls short against Google in offering a localized and personalized experience. An example, I asked ChatGPT to give me suggestions for the best burger in town. Its response:
We know the impact Google has with regard to taking customers to local businesses. So, the question now banks on the type of searches, which takes us to the next phase of the customer journey – Experience.
• Experience Phase:
When it comes to informational searches, ChatGPT rules the roost with offering concise and almost precise answers to questions – saving the effort of users scrolling through links to find the best answer. As far as personalized experiences and localization such as ‘Near-me’ sort of questions and the variety of answer types (rich results), Google still holds the reins – period.
As already mentioned, with no geo location, ChatGPT falls short when it comes to personalization, currently. That said, it has the potential to be a game changer and it could even be integrated in websites especially in the Ecommerce and Travel segments to offer hyper-personalized content to a brand’s audience.
With regard to language translation, its integration with tools/platforms is going to boost a business’s reach into a globalized audience. In seconds, ChatGPT can translate text to a language of choice. Especially in the travel industry, this is going to prove pivotal for top platforms offering a personalized experience for travelers across the globe.
However, with both industries, currently, there’s a huge gap with ChatGPT. Products in the E-commerce market are constantly shuffling which will require constant input to the chatbot but in the case of the Travel industry, the need goes deeper. ChatGPT offers past information (till 2021), whereas information to travelers on the day such as hotel bookings, flights, reservations, etc., is of prime importance.
Looking to the future, experts in the travel industry are keen to see if ChatGPT with integration can expand its horizons to the point of personalizing itineraries and experiences for travelers. It’s possible. In fact, check out the travel planner app ‘Roam Around’ for a cool ChatGPT integration example in the travel segment.
• Conversion Phase:
Chatbots and messaging
In this phase of the customer journey, ChatGPT holds the trump card with its sophistication in answering questions and offering answers with human precision is astounding.
While some experts seem excited at the opportunities of human-like conversations and real-time language translation, some were unperturbed, as the use of AI in chatbots has been mainstream for them for years now.
According to Rajesh Naidu, senior vice president and chief architect, Expedia Group, “in just a few years, our platform has powered over 29 million virtual conversations, which saved more than eight million hours in agent time, allowing travelers to resolve issues faster with self-service.“
Needless to say, with business integration, ChatGPT will certainly make inroads for businesses across market segments when dealing with customer support via chatbots and messaging, and is a certain foot-in-the-door for it to cement itself in the everyday lives of people and businesses – just as Google has done.
That said, it’s time to turn our focus to the search engine giant that’s the focus of all digital marketing and SEO efforts and see how they compare.
Google Vs. ChatGPT
Credit to ChatGPT for having spurred online debates on whether this spells the end of the search giant. Debates and statements aside, we’ve got to look at this competition fact for fact.
Google is no stranger to the adoption of Artificial Intelligence to better understand a searcher’s intent to offer the most relevant answer. Their AI-first algorithm LAMDA is well trained in dialogue as well, but its combination of algorithms helps the search engine move past just text to what we call as multi-search. Whether it’s text, image, video, or voice, Google has a Knowledge Graph of entities to map all these together and offer a relevant answer irrespective of the search type.
A swift reply to ChatGPT, Google has launched their very own chatbot called ‘Bard’.
Experts are predicting the near future of the amalgamation of search engines and chatbots to offer users the best possible online experience. In fact, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, has already confirmed the search engine giant’s exploration of the possibilities just before he announced their very own chatbot ‘Bard’.
He said, “In terms of Search too, now that we can integrate more direct LLM-type experiences in Search, I think it will help us expand and serve new types of use cases, generative use cases. And so, I see this as a chance to rethink and re-imagine and drive Search to solve more use cases for our users.“
What should businesses do?
We recommend that interested businesses use AI in a collaborative context. For example, you could make your content creation and SEO process more efficient, help you to build your segmented emails, etc.
If the potential of AI-generated content interests you, you are not alone. Many companies including Milestone have been using AI to make processes a lot more seamless and remove redundant processes.
Speed to market is key and we’ve implemented AI in our products to drive the visibility of businesses on search in no time. By automating key SEO requirements within our CMS, having the AI generation of FAQs using URLs or search terms, meta titles and descriptions for blogs, auto-population of schema for pages with similar content (FAQs, product pages, etc.), AI/ML trained chatbot for customer support, our products have adopted AI for a while now. After all, it’s meant to drive efficiency, not limit opportunities.