How does AI impact online discovery and search engines?

Search engines are dead. At least as we know them today. Bing Chat and conversational search is superior, and this is an opportunity for experts and professionals to be sourced in AI-powered queries.

The reason is simple. AI tools can create self-generating content, art, and audio clips but still require fresh inputs. Inputs from human experience, citizen reporting, and original points of view.

I’ve used Microsoft Bing Chat almost exclusively in the last 30 days and have stopped using search engines for the most part. I had already abandoned Google for its low search quality in favor of DuckDuckGo, but now I rarely use either. This is the future.

Why conversational search is better

OpenAI‘s GPT3 blew minds, and GPT4’s advancement was unfathomable to most marketers and creators. Bing Chat, powered by GPT4, has demonstrated incredible capability in its ability to find, reason, and compile complicated information. Google’s Bard product is a capable tool as well. After using them for a few minutes, it should be obvious to any user single-line search box engines are done.

This transition makes sense if you think about it. Conversational search is natural. We’re wired to ask questions, explore answers, and ask follow-up questions. It’s unnatural to perfectly phrase a query into a small box on the first try—or for advanced search engine users, using operators and quoted search. After awkwardly deciding the proper phrase to use for your search, of course, you must comb through irrelevant results with coin-flip accuracy. All of these contain a full exposé and detailed history you must scroll through to find the answer you were searching for.

Conversational search is better because it properly mimics how people communicate. If you asked your friend how to toast bread, he wouldn’t go into a full speech on the history of grain and flour.

And here’s the great news. As I mentioned above, the transition to conversational search is better for experts and creators like you.

How AI helps creators and experts

Experts and creators have become frustrated with how search engines function today. Rightfully so. They post expert insight to the web, as instructed by marketing or SEO folks, but that content is never found by search engines. And of course, no one reads it.

Instead, an SEO troll finds it, copies it, and games how search engines function to outrank them for their own idea. This is called the Skyscraper technique, and it’s just one of many equally dirty methods such as this.

It’s extremely frustrating. But thankfully, that era is over. Here’s why:

AI effectively does the same thing as online copiers in seconds. And it’s far better. When a query is asked, it finds the best sources of information and compiles them to serve up an answer in natural language.

AI tools don’t provide set answers or point to previously indexed pages by rank. Instead, these tools effectively problem-solve and present unique answers using sources in real time. To demonstrate, I like to ask it to estimate how much someone would pay in gas tax per year. See below.

Bing’s AI search tool in action

This means AI has no use for writers who scrape, copy, and repurpose content. Going forward, writers who compile existing information on the web to build pieces will become irrelevant. What content is relevant, then? The kind of content that fuels AI to begin with. Fresh inputs.

AI needs fresh inputs and data to source its queries. AI can’t go into the field and provide new inputs (at least not yet.) To win the new Bing Chat and Bard query race, you need to be the source of inputs by asking what can’t AI do?

What AI can’t do:

  • AI can’t go ask a cancer researcher at Johns Hopkins about a new therapy in final-stage testing.
  • AI can’t go to the front lines of the Ukraine-Russia war and ask a soldier about his experience.
  • AI can’t interview a new startup founder on a new product she invented.
  • AI can’t corner a politician and ask tough questions.
  • AI can’t explain a new manufacturing method that will lower the cost of consumer technology.
  • AI can’t relay the crowd’s reaction when Brad Paisley stage dove into the crowd.

AI needs fresh, quality inputs to source. Fresh quality inputs don’t come from SEO or web folks, plagiarizing mountains of content and backlink spamming the internet.

Quality inputs come from experts, citizen reporters, and professionals that have unique uncopyable insights.

How to be sourced in Bing Chat and Bard queries

To have Bing Chat and Bard source your web page in answers to queries, driving traffic to your website, publish quality inputs as often as possible. Inputs include podcast interviews, videos, research, original reporting, relevant photos, and unique points of view. These are the inputs AI needs to function.

And what of the plagiarizers? Because AI only derives value from fresh, original sources, it will rank accordingly. (I imagine there will be a shared database, like SORBS, of AI-generated content. Anything tagged as AI-generated will not rank. Similar to a norefer tag.)

To win the new AI source and discovery race, provide unique fresh inputs as often as possible. Create a WordPress site at a domain you control to benefit from inbound traffic. With conversational search, you have the advantage.

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