A Marketer’s Guide to AI-Powered Search

a marketer's guide to AI-powered search

*The AI landscape is rapidly changing. We will update this blog as developments arise.

The start of 2023 has been an AI whirlwind. Both Microsoft and Google announced plans to integrate their respective search engines with AI language models. Microsoft was the first to launch its AI-powered search engine, positioning Bing as an "AI-powered answer engine".

These advancements in AI technology and updates to search engines will have major impacts on how people search, and on how marketers can leverage SEO and AI tools to enhance their marketing efforts.

Let's break down these AI-powered search updates and examine how to leverage AI for marketing.

AI is changing the way we search

Google and Microsoft are changing the way we search. Between Microsoft's Prometheus Model and Google's Bard, AI is making strides. Microsoft already took a major leap by integrating Bing with an updated version of ChatGPT. Google hasn't yet integrated Bard into its search functionality, so for the first time in a long time, Google is a step behind Microsoft.

In a press conference announcing Bing’s AI integration, Microsoft shared some interesting facts about how people currently search that position AI as a solution:

  • There are 10 billion search queries a day, but Microsoft estimates that half of them go unanswered because people are using search in ways it was never originally intended to.
  • 40% of queries result in someone clicking back
  • Most searches are 3 keywords or less
  • 50,0000 people’s searches go unanswered

These statistics present an opportunity for AI to improve the search experience – and with Google’s plans to integrate search with Bard, it’s clear that the AI push is gaining momentum. But what exactly does it mean for AI to be integrated with search, and how will it impact marketers?

Get to know the new Bing

As of right now, we can only examine Bing's integration with the Prometheus Model since Google hasn't yet implemented AI into its search functionality.

Home page changes

Bing’s AI power comes with a brand-new homepage that matches the search engine's futuristic updates.

Bing home

By prompting users to “ask anything”, Bing opens up the door for limitless possibilities of AI search uses, encouraging users to get creative. It also gives helpful example prompts to ease users into the idea of searching with AI.

Bing AI prompts

SERPs changes

Traditional results remain on the left while the chat feature has set up shop on the right side of the page.

Bing Search Results

This setup makes it easy for users to switch over to using the chat function if their traditional search didn’t bring up what they were looking for. The layout promotes a fluid search experience where both tools can be easily accessed.

Other helpful integrations

Microsoft is integrating its AI features throughout the Edge browser to make it easy to rely on AI capabilities while using other applications. The Edge Sidebar lets you chat or compose, giving you the ability to write emails, get summarized versions of page content, or even write content for LinkedIn in a specific tone. It’s an extremely powerful tool that marketers can use throughout their browsing experience.

Edge Sidebar AI integration

The impact of AI-powered search on SEO

Search engines work well for navigational and informational queries, but for complex queries, some answers miss the mark. AI has the potential to compensate for traditional search shortcomings — but how could that impact current SEO practices?

There probably won’t be major changes to how companies try to get content ranked, but there are a few big updates we should point out that will impact SEO.

  1. Cited sources in chat responses: AI search functionality best answers conversational, complex queries by compiling information from the internet and from training data. Currently, Bing’s AI cites its sources in its responses, presenting a small opportunity for companies to see traffic from chat links. This is good news for sites currently ranking for Bing's Q&A or Google's featured snippets since those are the queries that this will likely take traffic from, but this will be an extremely competitive area. Content will have to be extremely relevant to the query to get mentioned.
  2. Answering one-off questions: With Bing’s ability to provide “real-time” answers, people can turn to the chat function to answer quick one-off questions, which may pull some traffic from traditional results.
  3. Traditional search is here to stay: Bing has made it easy to flip back and forth between the AI chat function and the traditional search bar, so traditional SEO methods will remain important to ranking.
  4. Slight changes in traffic: There will likely be a decrease in traffic for content that covers conversational queries as users ask those questions in chat, but for informational and navigational queries, traffic should follow normal trends.
  5. AI core search ranking improvements: Bing is applying AI to improve the relevancy of its core search ranking to improve search result relevancy. This will hopefully make for a better search experience and allow SEOs to rank for specific queries easier.

There will likely be many more changes to search as AI progresses, but as people adjust to having the option to use AI in search, search engines will work to make it as seamless as possible to keep users happy. People will still need search to fact-check AI, conduct their own research, and get answers to navigational and informational queries, so traditional SEO practices will remain important. Continuing to create helpful, relevant content that appeals to both people and search engines is the best response to these AI updates.

The impact of AI-powered search on advertising

Advertising is already being impacted by AI. Microsoft has noted that they’re using this new AI technology to improve the relevancy of ads that show up for search queries, which is a win for both advertisers and searchers.

But where will ads show up on the new Bing, and eventually, in Google’s AI-powered search?

As of right now, search ads will still be featured on the traditional SERPs. As for ads getting displayed in the AI chat, according to Search Engine Land, “in some cases you can see relevant ads directly within the AI result when you hover over the answers.” If the AI chatbot does a good enough job of answering the initial query, users might not be incentivized to click an ad, which could be a potential obstacle for advertisers.

AI will continue to improve its ability to match advertisements with relevant queries, meaning content should show up at the right time. Advertisers will get better visibility and improved targeting.

How marketers can leverage AI

While the advancements to search engines are a pretty big achievement, AI in itself is an impressive, useful tool for marketers. Here are a few ideas for how to use AI to enhance your marketing efforts:

Advertise on Bing

Many marketers have shied away from advertising on Bing, instead turning to Google to run search and display ads.

With Bing’s AI integration, we can plan on an influx of users, at least at first, to see what all of the hype is about. And with improved targeting courtesy of AI, ads will hopefully perform better. It might be worth considering including Bing in your advertising budget in the coming months.

Draft content

While AI isn't perfect (it's answered questions incorrectly and formed biased responses - just look at the fallout from Bard's extremely public wrong answer), marketers can use it to create quick drafts of content. Things like blog post outlines, event briefs, workflows, reports, and even social media content. Bing’s AI is even more advanced than ChatGPT, offering more knowledgeable, humanlike responses.

Content will still need a human touch to add personal experiences and a "human" element to it that AI will always be missing. Relying on AI to create full blog posts and other pieces of content at this point is a mistake and won't add much value to your users, so instead use it as a tool to help you tackle your daily processes.

ChatGPT social copy

Although this social post draft that ChatGPT created gets the job done, it's impersonal and could use some tweaking to make it more specific to the new hire and the company.  AI is a tool that requires human creativity and critical thinking to maximize its output.

Generate content ideas

AI is a great brainstorming tool. You can use it as a sounding board by bouncing around ideas or asking it to generate a list of topics for new blog posts. You could even ask it to generate keyword ideas for a topic. Just make sure to think critically about the responses before actually using them — you know your audience better than a chatbot does.

Generate and correct code

If you’re a developer looking for some shortcuts, try using AI to check, correct, and write code. You probably shouldn’t rely on AI alone as people have reported mistakes in its coding, but it’s a great tool for getting quick explanations for sections of code and can potentially save developers time.

Explain difficult concepts in digestible ways

AI can help break down complicated ideas or take lots of information and generate a summary. This is great for learning in general, but you could also ask it questions about your target audience, industry, and competitors to conduct market research.

You can even request your answer in a specific format, like having the chatbot answer in a formal tone or explain something as if you're a 3-year-old.

ChatGPT formal tone

Integrate with other applications or websites

OpenAI has made it easy to integrate its AI technology into other applications like WhatsApp, Office, and more. You can even integrate it into your own website using the API and set up advanced chatbots to help with e-commerce or customer service.

Some applications have already created their own shortcuts to adding AI to their platforms. OpenAI offers a variety of AI solutions, so if you're interested, you can find what's most useful to you.

Answer customer FAQs

Use AI to generate responses to your customers’ FAQs, saving you time on platforms like social media, a space that now requires some level of customer service.

Data analysis

AI language models can help break down data into digestible parts. They can even pull out trends and outliers to help you better understand the data. Bing makes it possible to execute this process straight from the Microsoft Edge browser. It can even compile the summarized data and organize it in a more useful way, like as a table, without you having to leave the comfort of your browser.

Strengthen your digital presence with Perrill

In this new era of AI-powered internet use, thinking critically will be your best asset. These AI tools can be very helpful and fun to play around with, but knowing when and how to use them is important to producing quality content.

Perrill is a digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO, marketing, and website design and development. We've got our finger on the pulse and can power your business to win online. If you're ready to upgrade your digital marketing strategy to grow your online presence, reach out.

Written by

Grace Hallen

Grace Hallen is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Perrill. Her passion for communication and crafting engaging content led her to Perrill’s marketing team. She loves flexing her creative muscles and finding clever ways to reach readers. In her free time, you can find Grace playing trivia at local breweries, exploring the Twin Cities or getting lost in a good book.


Grace Hallen

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Feb 27, 2023