How will AI searches impact positions on organic SEO?

How will AI searches impact positions on organic SEO?

Organic SEO positioning will be impacted by people using AI searches outside and within search engines.  The impact will be negative for most but positive for those who plan ahead.

Summary of everything on this page

  1. AI searches are a threat to Google Ads revenues for Google.
  2. Google will take action to keep people on their platform.
  3. That action will push organic positioning down.
  4. Businesses will be forced into paying for Google Ads.

The AI threat to ‘Google it’

The term ‘Google it’ is bred into all of us and, apart from the other search engines, there’s been little other choice to find answers to what we need.

Until AI came along.

Whatever the flavour of AI (ChatGPT, Gemini, Perplexity etc.), people are starting to discover that they can get more accurate results from AI requests than they can from Google.

AI, in its current form (as at early 2024), presents a huge threat to Google because Google heavily relies on revenues from sponsored links (Google Ads).

Without Google Ads revenues, Google doesn’t have a viable business.

People who ‘AI it’ instead of ‘Google it’ are people that have no need to spend time in the Google search and so provide no potential financial value to Google.

This leaves Google with a choice:

  1. Hope that people won’t use AI systems as much as they could (and so keep going using Google to search, including clicking on the sponsored ads).
  2. Make their search experience better so that people continue to ‘Google it’ and stay on the Google platform.

How AI searches will impact on organic SEO positioning

In this video I show how woefully inadequate Google currently is when people are searching for something very specific, and how the changes that Google makes will have a significant negative impact on the organic search positioning of businesses (who start seeing declines in business and so are forced into paying for Google Ads) …

Precision searching via AI

Currently, web searchers have to go through a painful process when looking for something specific, clicking through multiple search results that takes their time to find what they need.

The search engines have been weak and complacent for so many years and AI is here to shake them up, although that shake up will result in organic SEO casualties for those businesses who don’t plan ahead.

In the video I show how a Google search for this search phrase produces irrelevant results: can you give me some residential conveyancing solicitors in dover, kent, who have clear pricing (what it will cost) showing on their websites.

The video then shows how the same search in Gemini produces what I needed – only websites that had fees showing in their websites.

As a potential buyer of such a service I can very quickly choose from a small range of options and I haven’t needed to go to Google.

I haven’t needed to click on any sponsored ads within Google.

I haven’t needed to browse through numerous websites in the organic search results.

What Google is likely to do

This is speculation but it’s clear Google has to present a better search experience for its users.

It needs to allow people to type something more specific into the search area and also refine afterwards if the results aren’t quite what they wanted.

It needs to include its own Gemini AI functionality into the main search, which will stop people from using separate AI systems.

It will likely also ensure that an AI type search within Google also refines the types of Google Ads that are presented to people, so that those ads get presented as part of the results.

I can’t say for sure but I’d expect Google to merge ‘paid’ ads in with the other results it provides, with maybe just a small reference to the fact that the ads are sponsored.

There are many ways Google could play it – as above, where the ads are integrated with the results of what the AI search produces or directly below the AI search results.

Where things get more interesting is how Google treat the rest of the organic search results …

If someone has searched for something very specific and Google AI has given it’s best shot at results, it’s effectively saying: “you don’t actually need to look at anything else in the organic results because we’ve given you the best outcome you could expect here”.

That gives Google an excuse to force all the other organic results down even further, to the point where they may not even feature until someone has scrolled a lot more than currently.

From a business perspective, this makes sense to Google who would be able to give searchers much more precise results, sprinkled with paid ads.

So what would appear next underneath those?

It’s probably going to be (not necessarily in this order):

  1. Videos
  2. Local map listings
  3. Related searches

THEN organic search results

The threat (and opportunity) for so many businesses

In the video I suggest that you spend some time with Gemini, ChatGPT, Perplexity etc. and put yourself in the shoes of someone who is looking for what you offer, and who has been specific about what they want.

People don’t have time to search for ‘red widgets’ and for then to waste time looking through lots of websites.

Instead, they will search AI (or AI within search engines) for something like:

I am looking for UK businesses who sell red widgets and who have pricing clearly shown on their pages and also have some testimonials or case studies from customers who have specifically bought red widgets.

The savvy businesses will be those who use AI now to get a shock at who else appears in the results … and then starts to focus on strengthening their website content so that they start to appear in AI searches.

The head-in-the-sand businesses will be those panicking when their levels of business drop off (especially when Google introduce a more intelligent search) because their organic search positioning is no longer productive for them.   Of course, those businesses will blame their SEO people but the clever SEO people will have already been advising them that this is coming and that they need to invest more time and budget into safeguarding their future sales.

Those that do take this seriously can substantially benefit from being more visible than they ever have been before, via AI-type searches.

Those that don’t take it seriously will be playing catch-up and will have no choice but to play into Google’s hands and pay for Google Ads.

Please feel free to comment on this page