ChatGPT Search Engines: What They Do and How to Optimize Your Site for Them

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Madison Zoey Vettorino
Madison Zoey Vettorino



Thanks to ChatGPT search, users looking for answers no longer rely on only search engines to yield the results they're looking for. While that's exciting for users, as the chatbots provide an opportunity to garner information more conversationally, it also can be equally anxiety-inducing for website owners that have invested heavily in search engine optimization (SEO).

chatgpt search: image shows person with megaphone and a laptop with broken gears on the screen

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If you have questions about how ChatGPT search engines work, how they can impact your site traffic, and what it means for the future of website optimization, you're not alone. In this post, we'll answer all those questions — and more — so you can work out a game plan for how ChatGPT search will impact your site.

What does ChatGPT search do?

You may have already used ChatGPT search, so you know what it does. Or perhaps you haven't given it a go yet because you're unclear on how to use it best. Regardless of where you're at with your ChatGPT search journey, here's what you need to know.

In short, ChatGPT search enables users to bypass search engines such as Google and head directly to the tool where they can have a conversation with the chatbot and ask questions rather than rely on keyword-based searches as we have in the past.

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    Why is learning more about ChatGPT search important?

    Not only is learning how to optimize for ChatGPT search important, but it's also crucial to learn more about how it will impact other facets of your SEO strategy, such as how you approach ranking on the search engine results pages (SERPs). According to Bianca Anderson, SEO Strategist & Digital Marketing Manager at HubSpot, "It's no secret that chatGPT has been one of the main catalysts to a lot of the recent changes major monoliths like Google are making to their search engine experiences. As the use of AI models like ChatGPT becomes more and more commonplace, searchers are going to start expecting personalized experiences as the standard on the web. In tandem, scaling content has never been easier.

    An OK piece of content can be drafted, reviewed, and published in a much more expedited timeline with the aid of AI. This means that quality is going to be a major differentiator when looking at optimization efforts in this landscape."

    How ChatGPT Search Engines Could Impact Traffic

    According to Bianca D'Agostino, Sr. Marketing Manager & SEO Strategist at HubSpot, it's still too early to determine exactly how ChatGPT search engines could impact traffic. However, because ChatGPT search serves conversational, easy-to-digest answers to users, the tools will likely influence your site traffic.

    "AI platforms like ChatGPT are evolving at a really fast pace right now, so it's tricky to predict how this one in particular will impact traffic," says D'Agostino. "But at a high level, tools like ChatGPT will allow for immediate, streamlined, customized responses to people's queries -- this is definitely a threat to traffic. When you can have answers to complex problems served right to you, you're less likely to navigate deeper to find 'alternative solutions.'"

    Additionally, due to the widespread adaption of ChatGPT search, Google is evolving the SERPs in response. The company is currently experimenting with Search Generative Experience (SGE), which will also revolutionize how users find your site.

    According to Anderson, this will have a tremendous impact on site traffic. "An observable trend of declining click-through rates (CTRs) across all industries has been ongoing for the last decade, and it will only continue," she says.

    Anderson adds, "Google is always striving for a better user experience, and their latest search generative experience (SGE) inspired by chatGPT is a prime example of that. Basically, Google wants users to find all the information they need right on the search engine results pages (SERPs) without clicking through to a website.

    This means that, as a content creator, it's going to be more important than ever to get your content in those top two or three SERP positions and/or nab a hyperlink in the coveted SGE snippet. It's all about making that first impression count since users are going to be less likely to venture beyond those top positions."

    How to Optimize or Prepare Your Site for ChatGPT Search

    Now that you know how ChatGPT search engines could impact traffic, let's dive into how to optimize or prepare your site for ChatGPT search. Here are three main tips we recommend.

    Lean into the resources you have available.

    "For SEOs/digital content creators looking for specifics on what high-quality content entails, leaning into Google's official documentation on its approach to E-E-A-T is a great way to ground your strategy," says Anderson. "I think that specifically focusing on those first two components of experience and expertise is going to be really crucial.

    The technical and on-page elements of SEO are always going to be evergreen and essential, but empowering your content writers to begin showing how they have experience or expertise in something can help content perform better in a sea of AI-scaled content."

    Prioritize personalization and accuracy.

    Another way to prepare your website for the impact of ChatGPT search is to ensure that you prioritize personalization and accuracy with all content you're creating. According to D'Agostino, "Content on all platforms (websites and beyond) will need to be more personalized, valuable, and (above all) accurate than ever! User experiences for those that do navigate on-page will need to be seamless, efficient, and value-driven."

    She adds, "By creating content that is personalized, valuable, and accurate, you'll have a better chance at being cited. Optimizing your content for quality, performance, and value will help you succeed in this new search landscape."

    Stay optimistic.

    Whether you're concerned about the impact of ChatGPT search itself or how its adaption will impact Google's SERPs, the best thing you can do is stay positive. A new search landscape means an opportunity for your business to cement itself as a leader in your industry.

    According to Anderson, "I think above all else, site creators should be excited about the shift that the SERPs are currently undergoing. These changes in how Google values its content mean that users are going to have a better and more useful search experience overall and that the bar for 'quality' content has been raised. Approaching this change with a certain level of optimism and readiness will help you tackle needed strategy revamps with the right mindset!"

    As AI-powered tools become increasingly commonplace everywhere, from search engines to in your customer relationship management (CRM) software (like ChatSpot!), approaching it with a sense of positivity is crucial to success.

    Start optimizing your site for ChatGPT search today.

    Instead of waiting to see the impacts of ChatGPT search on your website traffic, begin optimizing today to get a head start on your strategy for this new age of the search landscape.

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