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Microsoft “Edge”​ Google in the AI search race; Guidance given on ranking AI content; tag SEO latest; Best ads of the week and more

The AI race is truly on between Microsoft and Google. Has a stumble by Google given Bing the “Edge”?

Welcome to this week’s Digital Discovery.

Each week we cover the latest developments and everything you need to know in the world of digital marketing.

This week we cover:

  • Microsoft announce AI-powered Bing and Edge
  • Bard mistake: Google’s AI announcement advert error leads to Alphabet shares drop
  • Google gives guidance on AI generated content
  • John Mueller comments on header tags again
  • Twitter to share ad revenue with creators
  • YouTube launch Cost-Per-Hour Masthead ads on homepage

Plus we look at some of the best ads discovered this week and look ahead at key content dates coming up next week.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this newsletter and follow me on LinkedIn.

Ok, let’s dive into this week’s update…

Microsoft announce AI-powered Bing and Edge

After weeks of speculation, Microsoft have officially announced the integration of ChatGPT into its Bing search engine and Edge web browser.

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Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, said “AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all – search… we’re launching Bing and Edge powered by AI copilot and chat, to help people get more from search and the web.”

Microsoft claim that from 10 billion daily searches, roughly half of them go unanswered due to their complexity. They argue traditional search is great for finding websites but falls short for complex queries such as “My anniversary is coming up in September, help me plan a trip somewhere fun in Europe, leaving from London.” – until now.

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Using learnings from OpenAI’s ChatGPT and GPT-3.5 – Bing uses a powerful language model to provide searches with a more capable and accurate experience.

The new Bing is now available for a limited preview on desktop to everyone. Prompts are provided by Bing for users to try complex searches and experience the AI response. The integration is great. Situated on the right hand side of the results page, users can choose between exploring traditional results or reading the compiled guidance from AI.

My previous issues with Chat GPT were the lack of source information. But this has been handled expertly in Bing with citations and links available to explore further.

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There is also a ‘chat mode’ which is currently only available to people with access to the ‘new Bing’. You can join the waitlist and jump ahead in the queue by setting Microsoft Defaults on your PC and by downloading the Bing app – clever from Microsoft.

Integrating the new AI capabilities into the Edge browser is another stroke of genius. Using a sidebar, people can use the AI technology alongside any current webpage without the need to navigate back to Bing. The sidebar AI can help users summarise a current webpage, offers a chat feature to gather more information, and can even help create content, such as a LinkedIn post, by giving it a few prompts to get started.

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Check out the test drive of the new Bing by Search Engine Land, or better yet, head over to Bing.com now to test the new search experience for yourself.

 

Bard mistake: Google’s AI announcement advert error leads to Alphabet shares drop

The AI race is on.

Just one day before Microsoft’s official announcement on bringing AI integration into search, Google unveiled their own conversational AI called Bard.

Rather embarrassingly however, the launch of Bard showcased the chatbot giving the wrong answer to the question “what new discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope can I tell my 9 year old about?”

The mistake alongside an underwhelming presentation about the company’s AI deployment plans caused worry amongst investors that Google is losing its edge to Microsoft.

The apparent rushed rollout of AI technology caused Alphabet shares to drop as much as 9%. The BBC reported the loss as $100bn.

What is Bard?

Mistakes aside,

Google’s Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications). LaMDA was unveiled by Google two years ago.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the soft launch of Bard would be available to “trusted testers” before being more publicly available in the coming weeks.

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Many people took to Twitter to highlight issues with attribution, citation and the appalling name “Bard”. Which doesn’t seem to be a problem with Microsoft’s technology.

This week, it’s Microsoft 1, Google 0.

 

Google gives guidance on AI generated content

On Wednesday, Google finally provided some much-needed guidance on AI-generated content and its effect on rankings.

In short, Google does not care who – or what – writes your content, as long as that content is written to help people and not to manipulate the search results.

Google said, “Our focus on the quality of content, rather than how content is produced, is a useful guide that has helped us deliver reliable, high quality results to users for years.”

When Google says its focus is on quality of content, they are referring to E-E-A-T. Meaning, that regardless of whether you use AI generated content. It needs to be helpful content that demonstrates experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

 

ADS OF THE WEEK

One Fair Exchange in the Greatest Story Ever Worn | Fair Exchange | Levi’s

Workday Big Game Spot: Rock Star

John Mueller comments on header tags again

A topic of hot debate in the SEO industry is whether H1s are still an important ranking signal. It was always considered one of the most important places to put your keywords.

However, there have been several instances where John Mueller has dismissed their importance:

H1 tags are not critical (2019)

Multiple H1s won’t get in the way of SEO

Google will not penalise multiple H1 attributes

Despite the claims, some SEOs have still insisted that H1s do matter, for example:

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In a Twitter thread last week, John Mueller shared that having one H1 tag and a good heading tag hierarchy is best practice for both Google and accessibility.

John said, “Header hierarchy is not just useful to Google, it’s also important for accessibility”.

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Personally, for something that is so simply to get right, I’d always ensure that content on a page follows a logical heading hierarchy. It’s just not worth taking the chance by being lazy with these tags. It’s also very satisfying to keep them neat.

Twitter to share ad revenue with creators

Elon Musk, owner and CEO of Twitter, announced that starting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators. The new policy applies only to ads that appear in a creator’s reply threads.

YouTube launch Cost-Per-Hour Masthead ads on homepage

With its new Cost-Per-Hour Masthead, YouTube is giving brands and advertisers the ability to buy its most visible placement during the hour(s) leading up to, during or after priority moments such as a sports game or movie release.

Read more: https://blog.google/products/ads-commerce/own-youtubes-main-page/

Ad specs: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/9709826

KEY CONTENT DATES THIS MONTH

Month Long

LGBT History Month (UK)

Febraury

  • 01 January 2023: New Year’s Day
  • 02 February 2023: Groundhog Day, Time to Talk Day, World Wetlands Day
  • 03 February 2023: Golden Retriever Day
  • 04 February 2023: World Cancer Day, Six Nations Rugby (4th Feb to 18th Mar) Begins
  • 05 February 2023: World Nutella Day, Yorkshire Pudding Day
  • 06 February 2023: National Sickie Day, Children’s Mental Health Week Begins
  • 07 February 2023: Send a Card to a Friend Day, Safer Internet Day
  • 09 February 2023: National Pizza Day
  • 10 February 2023: World Pulses Day, Welsh Language Music Day
  • 11 February 2023: International Day of Women and Girls in Science, National Inventors’ Day, The BRIT Awards
  • 12 February 2023: Super Bowl LVII
  • 13 February 2023: Galentine’s Day, World Radio Day
  • 14 February 2023: Valentine’s Day, Library Lovers’ Day
  • 15 February 2023: Singles’ Awareness Day
  • 17 February 2023: Random Acts of Kindness Day, Care Day, London Fashion Week (17th-21st) Begins
  • 19 February 2023: BAFTAs
  • 20 February 2023: Love Your Pet Day, World Day of Social Justice, Family Day
  • 21 February 2023: Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day), International Mother Language Day
  • 22 February 2023: Ash Wednesday, World Thinking Day
  • 23 February 2023: Digital Learning Day
  • 24 February 2023: World Bartender Day
  • 27 February 2023: National Strawberry Day, World NGO Day
  • 28 February 2023: Rare Disease Day

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter and found it useful.

Please follow me and subscribe to my Digital Discovery newsletter. I’ll be posting each week about the digital marketing stories that matter.

See you next week.

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