Episode 11 | September 26th, 2023

Search Generative AI - Learn As You Search and Browse

A2O Digital discusses Search Generative AI and its capabilities. Search Generative AI is now taking more of the work out of searching to help us understand a topic faster, and uncover new insights quickly. This has supercharged search and will continue to improve in the future. This episode will cover our take on what's to come with the future of SEO and these new AI features.

Tim 00:18

Hello, my name is Tim Coleman, and I'm your host today. I'm also the managing partner of A2O Digital, a full service digital marketing agency working exclusively with home service businesses. With me today is my partner and co host, Doug Bencsko. In today's episode, we will be covering Search Generative AI in Google. Doug, welcome.

Doug 00:40

Hi Tim. Thanks for having me.

Tim 00:42

Yeah. So Doug, you know, we we've been talking a lot about AI and how it's going to affect marketing and using in different ways and, you know, like, as a business owner, and somebody who's been in the advertising game for a lot of your life, what, what kind of impact do you think AI is going to have on search?

Doug 01:07

So, yeah and I know Tim, we've had this conversation pretty recently, and so I'll probably repeat some of the things obviously, to you. But, you know, if you asked me that question, a couple months ago, I would have probably said, I don't know, I'm not so sure. I am not so sure. Like, that might be the answer. I would say honestly, over the last few months, I have been, I don't know where to use studying it. But I just have like, interest in them. And the more that I look into it, the more that I read, the more that I watch, I can maybe look on YouTube watching a podcast or, or somebody else talking about AI and where it's going. And the more that I that I engage myself in this conversation, the more convinced I am of how big this is going to be. And three months ago, it was wasn't really on my radar screen, really. And I'll give you some of the the reasons why I'm convinced that this is going to be like, I'll say life changing to, not just to search marketing, it's gonna be life changing for the world, the world is going to change dramatically. And, Tim, I said this to you. You know, A Second Opinion, or A2O Digital, as we're now known, we started as you know, our name was A Second Opinion. We were a Yellow Page marketing agency. And back in the year, like the late 1990s, everything was dominated by the yellow pages. If you were a home service business, and you wanted your phone to ring, right, you went to the Yellow Pages. And if you knew how to do the Yellow Pages properly, you would dominate telephone calls. And you could, we were able back in the 1990s, to lay out ads in a certain fashion, that when you did it, when you when you did it the right way, your phone started ringing the day those books hit the street, you could start your business up, have no reputation at all, know nothing about whatever you're getting involved in. But you could look like a pro. And people are gonna call you because you look like the Pro. You look like the guy that was that knew what he was doing. And the phones would ring off the hook. And the people that sold Yellow Pages. They knew it. And they would raise your price every single year 3,4,5, 7%, 8% like per year, they kept raising the prices and they were the king of advertising. They knew it. And they could raise their prices. That's the way the world worked in the 90s. And I know a lot of people are watching maybe the podcasts will remember those days. And if you didn't know what you were doing in the Yellow Pages, you didn't have your phones ing and there were some people said Yellow Pages don't work for me because they didn't know what they were doing. Yeah, if you knew how to dominate it, you could dominate it. And I'm not going to go further down that road about how to dominate Yellow Pages because it's kind of irrelevant. But I remember when the internet first started, I was showed, oh this is going to dominate the world everybody in the world is going to be on the internet. And you're not even going to like every this is going to run businesses. And the first time somebody showed me the internet was a came in, and they were not dialed up. And I had to sit there and I waited. And slowly, but surely the screen was drawn and, there was a website there. And I'm going like, this isn't gonna dominate the world. You're like, and the people at the Yellow Pages that printed the Yellow Pages, they laughed, they laughed, they said "We're the Yellow Pages, we're not going out of business." Because I looked at it and I said, they're right. They're not going out of business. Well, by about maybe the early 2000s it didn't too long, right? Early 2000s, things started to change that thing called broadband came along, right? Where your internet was always on, you didn't have to wait for that dial up that was so slow. And things started to change in the internet developed. And obviously, here we are today in 2023. And if you're a small business, and you want to make your phones ring. Yeah. But as in yellow pages, Yellow Pages are dinosaurs, they're extinct. They're gone, right? When I say gone, there still are people that have print books, but you and I know, most people know that if you want to, you want to run a business, you better understand how to do your internet marketing, to better start to understand certain things. And that a feeling that I got when I first saw the internet and taught was going to dominate this. And I laughed in my own brain, right? And thought it was a joke. Well, here we are, in 2023. And what's going on in my brain right now is if we don't figure out and understand where the world's going, where we're going to be like the we're going to be just like Yellow Pages. I think the change from the Yellow Pages to the internet took, let's just say for argument's sake 10 years. Youc ould argue to 23 years because we're in 2023 Right now, but let's just say it took 10 years, I think Artificial Intelligence is going to have a bigger impact in the internet, or let's say this as big an impact as the internet. But it's going to happen even faster. If it took 10 years for the Internet to become really significant. If it took 10 years, AI is gonna change the world in less than half that time. That's where my brain is at today. And the more I look and read and understand what's going on, the more I'm convinced of it. And that's why I was having that conversation with you, Tim, about like, as a digital marketing agency, we have to figure out how we stay on the front end of this. And I know you realize that now too. I mean, we're like we're on the same page here. And I guess, this podcast that we're doing right now is trying to, like help people understand that this is real. This is real, this is really going to change the world.

Tim 08:55

It started, you know, we had this conversation. I think it was early this week. And I think by Tuesday or Wednesday, I got an invitation for Google's experimental Generative AI. And it's part of my everyday search results. So something that took 10 years in the Yellow Pages. I feel like it's going to, yeah, it's already, it's here. It's experimental and it's they call it Google Labs, but it's here.

Doug 09:26

Yeah. So Tim, here's something to think about. Right? Google realizes this too, right? That's why they're they're doing this Google Labs or whatever you called it, right. So here's something really to ponder. Remember, like I said, the Yellow Pages laughed and the the, and today they're all dinosaurs and they're extinct. Think about this for a second. This is going to this is gonna maybe blow your mind and I'm not saying it's gonna happen. But it's gonna blow your mind what I'm going to say, is this going to put Google out of business? Think about that for a second, think about that. Google being put out of business? Now, I don't think that's going to happen. I'm not going to tell you because Google is not going to allow it to happen. Google's going to figure out how they're going to be, like try to dominate this side of the business. The Yellow Pages didn't have a solution. Google will come up with solutions. The question is, will they will they lead this? Or will they trail this? They're already trailing. The first big AI thing that happened was chat GPT, right?

Tim 10:31

Yeah and that's, believe it or not, that's been almost a year now. Right. That was last December chat GPT was launched almost a year already, that's how fast time is going too.

Doug 10:40

Yeah. And, and there are probably a lot of people that have listened to this podcast, and they're gonna go, what's that?

Tim 10:48

Some business owners may not be familiar with chat GPT yet.

Doug 10:51

Yep. Yeah, they won't even know what it is. And so here's what I will tell you, if you want to go to start to understand some of this stuff. Go and type that into your search engine, find out and start playing with that. All right and you're going to be amazed, you're going to be amazed at what you see. And, so there's probably going to be I don't know, five key players in the AI industry that are going to lead this. And chat GPT is a Microsoft product, right? It was developed by Microsoft?

Tim 11:37

No, they're partnered with Microsoft but not developed by.

Doug 11:40

Okay, all right, yeah. But I know that they're working in conjunction with Microsoft, right. And, you know, Microsoft, and Bing had been competing against Google. And, you know, so they're all this is connected. But so you could say, Microsoft, their search engine, like has been second fiddle to Google for many, many, many years now, right. And they have been on the forefront of this artificial intelligence stuff. And like what Google is going to do, and how fast they're going to do, it is going to determine their fate. Right? Whether they survive, I truly do believe Google is going to survive, and they may, they may be the best at all this, I'm not trying to predict that. What I'm saying is that if Google didn't do it, they'd be put out of business. Because when you start understanding where the world's going it's, it's scary. It's exciting in a lot of ways, but it's also scary. It's also scary, right? And, like, I believe, especially when I start hearing about this, people won't go online and type in Google and say, find me a plumber, find me a garage door company. All right. And by the way, like, I'm a garage door company and Precision Garage Door, right? I own the, you know, the franchise's in New York metropolitan area. And we're like, we live and die off of search marketing, this is what drives our business. And it scares me to not be on the forefront, and figuring out where the world's going. And this is, like, everybody's going to be walking around with a phone in the very near future. And you won't go into Google and say, Google find me this or Google give me an answer to that and then it does its search and you read the information, you're gonna have your phone, just, it's going to be like a personal assistant to you. That, that will, will give you all the information that you ever want, and you will start to, like trust this personal assistant. Like it was, like this authority that you have just like, I go to it for everything. I ask it everything. "Hey, should I have a hamburger today for lunch? Or should I have pizza?" Right? And the phone's gonna tell you? Well, you better eat pizza because you had a hamburger yesterday and your calories and blip. Like, this is gonna be crazy stuff. You're gonna be going to a personal assistant. And that personal assistant is going to talk to you. Yeah, and it's gonna be on your phone. And eventually, you know, it's, it's gonna get even crazier than that. But these personal assistants are going to tell you which garage or company to use, which and why Google may not even be involved that that personal assistant, is part of the Microsoft thing. And that's your personal assistant, you're going to do what that that tells you to do you better figure we better figure this out the world. This is where the world's going.

Tim 15:16

For sure. Yeah. You're talking about Google Doug and how important Google thinks it is. And when will it start impacting people? Well, I'm going to tell you, that it started impacting you on Wednesday. And I'll show you in talking exactly about how I got the invitation to join this Search Generative AI on Wednesday morning, and I was just doing a search for earbuds actually. And, you know, Google normally with a product search like that would first and foremost, offered to show me ads, of course, right, because that's what they're in the business of, they think AI is so important that they put that at the top, and I search for ear buds, and it came up and first it tells me that these results are experimental, it tells me generative AI is experimental info quality may vary. And then it says when choosing earbuds you can consider the following, right. And it starts going into sound quality, comfort, design and fit battery life, it got into a little bit of noise cancellation. And the stuff was general, you know, genuinely useful in me beginning to explore purchasing earbuds right? So what actually provided me information. And Google obviously thought it was so important that I put it up above the edge of things AI, it better get the AI out, and because you know, you can just tell Google's attitude, a little bit about it. So when I saw this, I was like, Oh, so now obviously, you know, we do digital marketing for home service businesses and garage door. So now I do a search for garage door repair. Now normally, if I do a search for garage door repair, the top of the search results, I'm gonna find your business, because we do a pretty good job, right? So I got you at the top of the results here and what's called the Google Local Service ad, right? And you're the first business that comes up and I can see all your reviews and all this type of stuff. And then there's then there's then there's a PPC ad. And you're the top PPC ad and then you're the top ad in Google Maps. That's called the Google Local Search ad, right. So we know what we're doing so we're dominating the results. And that's the way we like it, right? And then all of a sudden, I do a search, you say, well, maybe AI is going to affect you. Well, let me tell you something. Yeah, you're right. So now I typed garage door repair. And I'm on my phone here. And by the way, Google will not offer you to use AI on on your account if you are a Google workspace user. So it has to be a personal account. And so so my, my my personal account, whenever I do searches, now, I get generative AI. So now I do this and it says, I just typed in garage door repair. I did not tell it my town or anything. We know Google knows my location, though. So it says Garage Door Repair Services and Rockaway Township. That's the town I live in. Right. So Google knows that. And it's telling me we're going to include, you know, garage door suppliers, service establishments and other businesses. Okay, garage door suppliers. So where's that pulling from? That's pulling from when we set up your Google Business Profile, Google asks us what category of business you're in and we tell you our garage door supplier. That's why Google saying that. And then it starts pulling results, Diamond garage door repair, Experts, garage doors, Durable doors, Morris County. Now, there's no ads. In a result that you are previously dominating you're absent. So do you think you think it behooves us to start learning about this?

Doug 19:38

No, no, no. I don't think that's important.

Tim 19:42

Yeah, so? You askwhen is AI going to start affecting you, I'll tell you the exact date was September 13, 2023. And just so folks know the results that are coming up, the results are being shown for a local business in Google, so it's alright, you did a product search, we got very different results, we do a local search. And we can see the results here are being pulled from Google Business Profiles, what was previously called Google Maps or however you want to Google Local, however you want to call it. And you can see it's Diamond Garage Door Repairs, Experts Garage Doors, Durable Door. If you compare that to my Google, my normal Google results or my Google results, absent AI you can see, those are exactly the same Garage door repair, Diamond Garage Door Repair, Expert garage doors, Durable door, so the results are exactly the same. And Google pulls, the reviews from there, and then it gives a snippet of information to the user. So it's saying, again, it's going to pull a cat or he's going to say, it says experts garage doors, it tells me the star rating tells me how many reviews tells me the category repeats the category again and kind of sentence one, garage door supplier and service establishment that some say fix their garage door opener, and then I can pull down and get more information, right. So Google is doing in this case, the category plus a snippet from a review. Same thing with the next one difference here, Google's now going to include the town in this snippet of information, because this town is different from the zip code I searched in. So now it's garage door supplier in Denville. And then it goes on the subcategory Denville, the town and then a snippet from a review. Here, again, you got the garage, the category, the town, snippet from a review, and it's pulled all of that information from GBP. And in each case, there's an image. And the image is also pulled from GBP. I thought this might have been pulled from the website. But in each case that I looked at, and I've only looked at a limited number of these so far, but each case, it was the first image that was uploaded to the GBP. So if you think about already how to optimize for Google Local AI right now, it is very similar to how you would optimize your Google Business Profile. And if there's an image that you really want to make sure is associated with your business in Google AI, you know, try and make that the first image associated with your GBP account as well. So that's kind of if you wanted to change that image, you'd have to go in there and figure out how to do that you might have to delete all the images and re upload another one or something like that. But we haven't tried to do that yet. But we're going to start working on this soon. Obviously, we can, we could see where these results are coming from but again, like, what's Google's attitude is, AI is coming first. It's my query, and then it is AI, do not pass go do not show $200 worth of ads. Like it is straight to AI. So what's Google's attitude about AI right now?

Doug 23:21

Yeah, so Tim you know, this probably could be scaring the bejesus out of a lot of people right now, right? Because, right. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna give you like, this. This is, this is concerning. And it is scary. I get it. Yeah. But it's much scarier than even what you're showing here. Because I will tell you this, right? Google isn't money isn't the money business, they want to make money. Right. And they're going to like, if you notice, like, I can guarantee you they're, they're not making any money off that first listing there Diamond garage door, correct. They're not making any money off of this. This is an experiment, they're running experiments right now themselves. They're not this is not going to stay like this very long. They're, they're learning they're figuring out their strategy. And, you know, if you pay money to Google, Google's going to going to, you know, make us a you go out to the front of that thing. Somehow, there's gonna be money tied to it. So this is scary, right? But they're going to still collect your tolls and the search is going to be different. The thing that really freaks me out what happens if Google is like, an on entity because like, and there's there's other people that are AI assistants on people's phones, they're not even going to see Google's result. Like there's just a lot of stuff here that's going on much more, than we can talk about in a you know, half hour podcast or whatever. But the world is changing. It's changing. And what I'll say to you is your digital marketing agency better understand this and better be working with it right now. What is that game plan for that agency? And you know, it is very it's a very interesting topic.

Tim 25:23

Yeah. And the evolution is you're right, it started with Yellow Pages, you had to know how to optimize Yellow Pages, then you had to optimize your website and all that. Then mobile came along, you had to learn to optimize for mobile. And as of Wednesday, and you could argue even further back since, you know, with Bing and chat GPT getting together earlier this year. But with Google, it started and for me, it was September 13th. Like I need, I started to have to understand how AI in Google was going to start impacting the results of our customers. We have to know how to optimize for AI right now. It's not tomorrow. It's it's, it's right now.

Doug 26:09

It's today. Yep. It's today. It's actually yesterday.

Tim 26:12

Yeah, that's right. It's right. It's exactly right. So we wanted to get together, we we had this conversation this week. So I wanted to get together with you, Doug, talk about this a little bit, and share with our folks listening to this podcast, like, what it kind of looks like I tried to describe it as best I could, if you get the invite from Google, again, you have to be in a personal Google account, you have to be signed into a personal Google account, then Google will offer you the invite, if you get it, click on it. And the first step is to start to get these generative AI results in your own searches. See how you find them helpful. And then we can start to study them for our customers and how they're going to impact all of the searches that are done in the industries of folks we represent.

Doug 27:03

Yeah, you know Tim, I think it was very, very relevant topic. You know, I would, I wish, I wish that we had 1000s of viewers right now that we could help. You know, what I want to have accomplished here, for this podcast for people is, I think this is a topic that we're going to need to talk about on a regular basis. Because it's going to keep changing really rapidly. And, you know, so stay tuned, like, you know, come back, you'll you'll find out what we're talking about interesting stuff for home search, you know, businesses for, you know, for home service business, I should say, and how I found and this is a, this is going to be a place where you're going to be able to hopefully keep up with some of the stuff that's going on.

Tim 28:03

Yeah, stay tuned, we're gonna be talking a lot about AI. You can you can see it's here and it's going to impact. It's going to impact every part of the home service business, every part. Yep. Yeah. All right. Well, thank you for joining me today, Doug. I appreciate it. If you've liked today's episode, please like and subscribe to our podcast and and we'll see you next time.

Doug 28:28

Tim, thank you, and I'm looking forward to talking further with you.

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