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Is Google Bard The SEO Killer?

Google Bard (1) header image
Google Bard (1) header image

On Feb 6th, 2023, Google confirmed the upcoming launch of Google Bard, their new AI conversation and answer model, and their response to the threat posed to them by ChatGPT.

The new AI-powered model will be integrated into search results, marking yet another evolution and revolution in the development of search.

With the context of Bing’s upcoming GPT 4 integration, it’s no wonder Google has felt the pressure to advance its own AI integration timeline significantly.

This will undoubtedly mark another significant milestone in the development of SEO, and the ramifications and changes needed will only become apparent in the coming weeks, months, and years as we settle into a world of more overt AI integration with search results.

Looking for the TL:DR? Skip ahead to our takeaways and handy summary graphic.


What Is Google Bard?

Google Bard is a development upon Google’s LaMDA large-level language model.

Google’s “Deepmind” department (their in-house lab dedicated to AI development) has been working on Bard for some time, with a chatbot named “Sparrow” originally rumored to be preparing for imminent release. This has been coupled with a lightened version of their LaMDA language model to create a powerful but computationally lightweight competitor to ChatGPT.


Bard will be a conversational AI that, importantly for SEOs, will also have direct integration into Google’s search results.


How Does It Differ From ChatGPT?

The fundamental difference between Bard and ChatGPT is the data sources they can draw from.

ChatGPT is trained on a specific data set limited to a certain point in 2021. This means it cannot currently comment on recent or current trends and developments.

Bard will have a continually updating data set trained on Google’s available data. While ChatGPTs data can, of course, be updated, this will give Bard an immense headstart out of the gate as its responses can be more timely and relevant.

The language models used also differ, with ChatGPT currently using GPT 3.5 and Bard using Google’s LaMDA model. Again, these can be updated over time, and for now, it’s not clear that either one is definitively better than the other but Google certainly has the muscle to back up its moves:


With that said, the LaMDA model has been available to play around with for a while and has generated some, err, mixed results (check out Joe’s thread here to see some of the interesting responses he got to his prompts):


Google has been keen to stress, however, the fact it is highly experimental at this stage, and neither LaMDA nor Bard is currently the finished product. Bard, in fact, is only available to “trusted testers” currently, with the public launch set to come in the “near future”.

What Does It Mean For SEO?

AI integration into search results will, of course, mean big changes for the world of SEO.

Google’s launch screenshots set the SEO world abuzz when it became clear the AI-generated auto answer did not contain any attribution.

A smartphone displaying a search result about learning piano or guitar, part of Google's AI response in their new Bard service

This has driven fears of a continued move to zero-click results pages, with potentially catastrophic effects on website’s CTRs and organic traffic.

In light of these possible changes, there is increased buzz around the concept of AEO vs SEO.


AEO, or Answer Engine Optimization, is what some are heralding as the next step in the world of SEO.

The concept is not a new one, but it is taking on new significance with Google’s AI integration and Bing’s move to include OpenAI’s work within their results. Yes, Bing is an important factor here, especially given the somewhat muted response to Google’s latest launch.

The answer may well be that Bard doesn’t kill SEO, but rather creates its own new Google Bard SEO, or AEO as we may soon call it!

Keen-eyed observers didn’t need to read the stars to spot the fact that Bard actually provided an incorrect answer in Google’s own advert. This had a profound effect on Google’s shares, sending them spiraling down and showing AI perhaps isn’t quite ready to take over the world just yet.

Google’s keynote Live In Paris event as a whole actually garnered a less than enthusiastic response leaving many rather underwhelmed after what was meant to be a series of revolutionary new announcements:


Where Next For SEO and Search?

There’s no arguing that both Google Bard and Bing’s ChatGPT developments will have a profound effect on SEO and may even fundamentally change the way we interact with search. Updates like Transformative Generative AI announced at Google I/O show that SERPs and even the nature of search answers will continue to evolve and adapt.

While Google Bard is a significant step forward, it’s certainly not flawless. It won’t change SEO overnight, instead, it will be part of the continual evolution and revolution within SEO.

Google Bard's pros and cons infographic, highlighting it as an accessible ChatGPT alternative with SERP integration and LaMDA

Bard has the potential to be great, but it’s not there yet.

We’re not quite in the revolution yet, and the same principles still apply. Generating high-quality, well-researched, and authoritative content aligned with Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines remains the most foolproof way to attain good performance in the SERPs, especially as the way users engage with the results could change significantly.

Google’s lack of attribution remains a concern for the practice of generating click-throughs to webpages, but only time will tell how Bard vs ChatGPT will pan out and how much the trend of AEO vs SEO will develop.

We’ll continue to post about AI in SEO and the exciting new opportunities and challenges this presents.

Daniel Trick
Daniel Trick

Head of Content

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