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Diving Deeper: Assembly’s POV on the Future of ChatGPT for Paid and Organic Search

Assembly leaders explore how ChatGPT might affect organic and paid search

Diving Deeper: Assembly’s POV on the Future of ChatGPT for Paid and Organic Search

In a recent article, Assembly leaders provided insights on ChatGPT, its applications, and what excites them most about this new technology. Today, we’re diving a click deeper to explore just how this AI tool might affect organic and paid search.  

But first, let’s review:  

\ What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a free artificial intelligence tool released in late 2022 by a company named OpenAI. It’s made to take natural language inputs (like a question) and produce a relevant, human-like response such as a topical summary, an article or even code.  

ChatGPT's ability to "understand" human language and organize a useful response is exactly the kind of AI that has powered Google search for the past few years.   The primary difference (other than that Google’s search AI has had years of training) is that the Google API  takes their "understanding" of a human’s question and combines it with signals like the person’s search history, device and locality to return an answer as search results that use varied, useful formats like organic rankings, shopping results, map pack results and image carousels.

\ How could ChatGPT impact organic search (SEO)?

Most people immediately think about using ChatGPT to write articles and blog posts that will help their site rank in the search engines. While ChatGPT can put together decent, readable copy, it’s important to first note that using automation tools to develop content has always been against Google’s webmaster guidelines. Given recent talk about ChatGPT implementing a cryptographic “watermark” hidden inside the text, we have a good feeling ChatGPT generated content will be easy for search engines to sniff out and demote in importance.    

Beyond a general warning of “you’ll get caught”, another reason why ChatGPT cannot be used by itself to author copy is because it doesn’t have any data in its system newer than 2021. While it can write very authoritatively about topics, it can also convey outdated or outright wrong answers.  

The best way to think about ChatGPT in terms of content is:  

  • Use it to generate topical ideas for content or establish the major sections (headers) for a piece of content
  • Use it to draft content that you will then edit
  • Use it to organize a list of keywords into semantic groups to inform your copywriting
  • Organize your copy into a different format like a FAQ  

The technical application of ChatGPT  is  exciting to Assembly because it can help with day-to-day SEO operations like:

  • Generating and applying schema and extensible markup language (XML) for Advertiser’s sitemap
  • Generating regular expressions that can be used to craft Google custom reports or redirects
  • Generating Excel (XLS) formulas to help with data analysis

\ How could ChatGPT impact paid search (SEM)?

Search engines are already developing their own AI tools with similar ChatGPT capabilities, For example, Google recently announced Bard. Whether it’s ChatGPT or a similar AI tool, here are three things we expect:

  • Improved linguistic match to broader match types.  Google’s broad match update is already working light years beyond what old broad match could do and Assembly expects this to continue for broad match and the development of more responsive campaign types like Performance Max.
  • Better AI generated ad copy and creative for responsive ad units.  While auto-generated ad copy and creative is already a capability, the outputs are often not deemed brand safe when the copy doesn’t appear natural. Assembly is optimistic that automated language opportunities will be a positive outcome of this developing technology.
  • The biggest potential impact for advertisers will be if, how, and when the improved AI capabilities shift consumer behavior and how search engines respond to maintain their paid real estate offering. Engines are not incentivized to constrain their ad opportunities, but that only works with a captive audience.  As consumer behavior shifts, the tools Assembly uses in paid search (e.g., campaign formats, match types, etc.) will shift to capture that user and their interests.

\ What impact will Bing’s addition of ChatGPT have on that search engine?

Microsoft is reported to be considering adding ChatGPT to their Bing search engine and to their Office suite. Bing could quickly get as good (or better?) than Google at understanding what people really need and want when they search. With this insight, Bing can provide higher quality, relevant responses in the form of direct answers or a selection of relevant citations (search results). ChatGPT would not improve Bing’s ability to crawl the web and collect websites’ data, but it would improve the search engine’s ability to understand a query and choose the best content or web pages to serve as a response.

\ You should

Tried and true strategies still have a place in search. A willingness to find new opportunities to learn and adapt with the changing marketplace is necessary to maintain, growth and stay ahead of the competition.

  • Create an OpenAI account and give the tool a try! If all else, it’s fascinating to see the capacity the system has for understanding questions and giving human-like responses
  • Get beyond the idea that “ChatGPT can write my copy”. Use it instead to draft content that you will then edit
  • Start thinking of ChatGPT as a tool that can improve technical and content production operations like idea generation or data analysis
  • Consider ChatGPT as a source for inspiration on the kinds of discussions happening around your vertical, products or services. Then use that to explore new content ideas for your site, copywriting or keyword strategy
  • Test into AI supported match types and campaign developments in paid search. Dedicated test budgets and iterative methodologies are crucial to unlock future growth