SEO in the AI Age: Navigating New Search Trends

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SEO in the AI Age Navigating New Search Trends

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, the rules of visibility are being rewritten. The rise of AI, particularly Large Language Models (LLMs) like ChatGPT, is transforming the way brands appear in search results.

At the same time, user behavior is shifting dramatically, with video content becoming the preferred medium for information consumption. As if these changes weren’t enough, the advent of generative AI promises to revolutionize search engines as we know them.

Are you prepared for these seismic shifts? Is your brand ready to navigate the new terrain of AI-driven search and changing user behavior?

In this article, we’ll explore the challenges and opportunities these changes present, and how your brand can adapt and thrive in this brave new world.

From making your brand visible in LLMs to understanding the changing search behavior and embracing the future of generative AI, we’ll delve into the strategies that will keep your brand relevant in the AI era.

The future of search is here. Let’s dive in.

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1. Navigating the AI Era: Making Your Brand Visible in Large Language Models

How can I ensure my brand appears in the results of Large Language Models (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, Bing, or Google’s Bard? How can my products or services be suggested by these AI systems?

Ever since the launch of ChatGPT in 2022, I’ve been pondering this question: How can I make my brand visible within ChatGPT’s results?

ChatGPT, developed using LLM, essentially learns from a vast dataset to acquire new functions and capabilities. To put it another way, your brand needs to have a digital presence and be packaged in a format that AI can read, analyze, and understand.

With the introduction of newer versions of ChatGPT, like GPT-4, which can use external plugins to crawl live data, we’ve noticed that the results are often dominated by major players.

In other words, ChatGPT’s search results seem biased, giving priority to popular players in their respective industries. For new companies and providers, you’re essentially invisible because ChatGPT’s dataset timeline stops at 2021.

chatgpt screenshot best android brand

If you’ve been in the search engine optimization (SEO) field long enough, you’ll know that structured data is crucial.

It’s additional information included on your website that allows search engines like Google to better understand your page, thereby displaying more relevant results to users.

This has been a highly effective strategy for securing a spot on Google’s first page of results. Google’s ‘featured snippet‘ can answer user queries without requiring a click into the page for the answer.

From a user’s perspective, this is highly convenient. However, for brand owners, this so-called ‘rank zero’ result can reduce organic traffic from search results.

Since the introduction of ChatGPT and other new AI services, more and more users are moving away from Google because they can get more precise answers directly from ChatGPT.

What I’m trying to say is, even if users prefer to use ChatGPT or other LLM tools, the data still needs to be crawled from somewhere. If your brand is invisible in the digital world, it’s as if your business doesn’t exist at all.

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2. The Evolution of Search Behavior

Before the era of ChatGPT, the world was enthralled by the explosive growth and trend of short video content. It all started with TikTok, followed by Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and more platforms shifting their focus to video-oriented content.

Compared to text and images, video has always been the preferred choice for content consumption on social media platforms, and its popularity continues to grow.

It’s now commonplace to use TikTok to discover the best food, travel locations, and recommended tourist spots by watching the most liked, rated, shared, or commented videos.

tiktok screenshot when search best food in penang

The previous method of referring to Google, reading travel blogs, reviews, and other text-oriented sources is becoming less popular. Users, of course, love authentic videos as they offer a more immersive experience right from their smartphones.

Similarly, we’re witnessing a significant shift in search behavior, which is evolving at a remarkable speed.

In Malaysia, for instance, if you’re targeting younger Chinese communities, they’re using Xiao Hong Shu (XHS) as their primary social media platform to find food, product reviews, travel locations, and a wealth of other information.

screenshot xiao hong shu

It’s clear that changes in search behavior are reshaping our lives in ways unlike before.

If you still believe that focusing on one platform or a few channels is sufficient for your marketing, the truth is your brand needs to be where your users are, or you risk missing opportunities.

The question is, with changing search behavior and evolving user preferences, is your business still stuck in the status quo? What transformations or changes have you implemented in the post-pandemic era? Are you still operating as before?

I urge you to reflect on these questions honestly and deeply.

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3. The Future of Search: Embracing Generative AI

To be frank, many of our current practices may become obsolete or less important once generative AI technology is fully integrated into search engines.

We’ve already seen announcements and demos from Google and Microsoft’s Bing. As this technology is still new and evolving daily, no one can accurately predict the future of search.

google search generative ai

As more people start to use conversational AI tools like ChatGPT, one thing is certain: the conversational feature is here to stay and will become more sophisticated as it’s built into search engines.

Every change signals a new opportunity. As we rely on search engines as a major channel for people to discover our brand, it’s crucial that we understand their roadmap, especially towards generative AI within search.

However, if you stay ahead of the curve and keep up with the latest trends, you’ll reap the benefits of being an early adopter and may even discover new ways to utilize the latest technology.

I predict the future of search will involve more automation, simplicity, and integration with multiple platforms at once. Essentially, we’re getting closer to obtaining the perfect answer we want.

For example, if we want to buy a product, we could simply type or voice our request into a search engine, and then proceed with the payment within the same platform.

This raises another question: will OpenAI enable a paid ads feature to allow businesses to appear in ChatGPT? I honestly don’t have the answer.

What will be the next model, structure, or workflow of generative AI’s role in search? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: it will continue to evolve.

beyond conventional ai

Beyond Conventional SEO: Adapting to AI and Evolving User Behavior

In conclusion, the digital landscape is undergoing a transformation. The rise of AI, particularly LLMs like ChatGPT, is changing how brands appear in search results.

User behavior is also shifting, with a growing preference for video content. And with the advent of generative AI, the future of search engines is set to change dramatically.

As we navigate these changes, it’s crucial to ask ourselves:

  • Is our brand adapting to these new realities?
  • Are we prepared for the shift in user behavior and the rise of AI in search?
  • Are we ready to embrace the opportunities that these changes present?

The future of search is here, and it’s time for us to evolve with it.

Let’s seize the opportunity to adapt, innovate, and thrive in this brave new world of AI-driven search.

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