Google’s recent announcement about their AI-powered search engine has set the marketing world abuzz. With the introduction of AI-generated answers directly within search results, the landscape of SEO and paid advertising is undergoing significant changes. Following Google’s Marketing Live event, we now have a clearer picture of how these changes will affect marketers.

If you missed the events, here’s a quick rundown: Google is now incorporating AI-generated responses to specific questions within their search results. For example, a query like “What’s better for a family with kids under 3 and a dog, Bryce Canyon or Arches?” will yield detailed, AI-generated responses tailored to the query.

But it doesn’t stop there. Transactional searches are also being transformed. A search for “good bike for a 5-mile commute with hills” will now produce highly specific results. Users can refine these results further by adding more criteria, such as color or type, without restarting their search.

The Impact on SEO

Most SEOs are understandably concerned. The immediate reaction is that this will reduce organic traffic. And while it’s true that some traffic will be lost, the overall experience for Google users will improve, likely increasing Google’s overall traffic. According to Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison for Search at Google, Google Search continues to send more traffic to the open web every year, despite numerous changes.

Historically, Google has integrated more direct answers into search results—such as weather forecasts or stock quotes—without completely diminishing the role of organic traffic. This trend will continue with AI integration. With this in mind, SEO Agencies have continued to optimise both landing pages and blogs to cater to these questions and reach featured snippets. However, with the introduction of AI responses and generative AI, could we be witnessing the beginning of the downfall of featured snippets?

One crucial point is Google’s financial incentive. With $32.78 billion in annual revenue from ads on network sites, Google cannot afford to cut off SEO-driven traffic entirely. Many publishers rely on organic traffic to sustain their ad revenue. Cutting off this traffic would severely impact Google’s income, making it unlikely that they will eliminate SEO-driven traffic.

However, some publishers, especially those relying on affiliate marketing, may see a decline in revenue. For instance, affiliate sites listing “the best toaster ovens” could suffer as AI provides more direct answers. Similarly, searches for “cheap flights” might directly display flight options instead of directing users to other search engines like Kayak.

The Impact on Paid Ads

The integration of AI into search results will also affect paid ads. Although some transactional keywords might be impacted, Google is experimenting with integrating search and shopping ads into AI-generated responses. This means that paid ads will remain a significant part of the search experience.

For example, queries like “good bike for a 5-mile commute with hills” will include relevant ads within the AI responses. This integration could potentially increase conversion rates, as the AI provides more tailored and specific results, aligning well with the long-tail keywords marketers target.

Google’s experimentation with new ad formats within the AI-powered search environment suggests that advertisers will still find valuable opportunities. The AI’s ability to generate specific, high-quality responses can enhance the relevance and effectiveness of paid ads.

Google’s new AI search engine primarily disrupts long-tail keyword searches rather than head terms. Our data from Ubersuggest shows that extremely long-tail phrases (8+ words) make up less than 11.6% of queries, and 72% of these are non-transactional. Therefore, the overall impact on traffic may be less significant than feared.

In the long run, these changes are likely to enhance the user experience, driving more people to use Google for detailed, specific queries. This should benefit marketers by increasing conversions from both organic and paid results.

Marketers must adapt to these changes, focusing on providing high-quality products and services and building strong brands. An omnichannel approach, leveraging SEO, paid ads, social media, email marketing, CRO, and content marketing, will be essential for growth.

In summary, don’t worry too much about these changes. They are designed to improve user experience, which in turn, benefits marketers. Adaptation and a comprehensive marketing strategy will ensure continued success in this evolving landscape.

For more insight on how you can get of the curve with your online marketing, contact the number one SEO agency In Essex, today. Our team are ready and waiting to help you achieve your online goals!