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Google Bard: AI Chat will be in Google very soon. Our industry is about to change. Episode 273 – light version

Bard, an AI chat dialogue which is similar to ChatGPT is coming very soon to Google Search. We all need to be paying close attention to Bard.

As I see it, there are two ways that Google’s introduction of Bard can play out:

  1. It’s bad. It’s inaccurate. People hate it. Most (but not all) skip past the Bard generated answer and look for websites to engage with.
  2. It’s good. People find it helpful and engage with it more and more. Many websites still get visitors, but nowhere near as many.

In either scenario, the way we engage with websites is likely to change.

In this light version of newsletter I’ve shared the important news. There is much more in the full version including my theories on why Bard is going to change the world in dramatic ways.

In the full version

  • My full article explaining Bard and its implications. This includes my thoughts on Google using the Knowledge Vault to make Bard extremely accurate.
  • Interesting SERP changes
  • More on the Yandex leak
  • I’m starting to report more on news regarding the creator economy
  • The most interesting and helpful news on AI I can find
  • A few threads to help you use ChatGPT better

Join the free version

You’ll get an email from me once a week with a link to this newsletter.

Become a paid member

Same email, plus also I email you as soon as I hear of a Google update happening. And you get a LOT more of my teachings and musings.

What we know about Bard so far

Bard is Google’s AI chat dialogue system that seeks to “combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of [Google’s] large language models.”

Bard is a big deal. 

Screenshots from Google’s demo show Bard taking up the space we are used to seeing a Featured snippet in:

The big concern is that it does not appear that Google is sourcing websites in these answers, although the websites below the answer may possibly be used in it.

Compare Bing’s demo:

The way I see it, there are two ways we can look at Bard:

1) It is another silly AI tool that many will find inaccurate and not use.

2) It is a helpful AI tool that lots of people will use. (more likely)

Either way, Bard is going to steal traffic from many websites.


Here are more of my thoughts. I share a fair bit here about some thoughts I have about the knowledge vault. These will make more sense once you read the rest of newsletter (especially my article at the end in which I share my thoughts on the knowledge vault, LaMDA and Sparrow:

Also this Twitter Space discussion may be helpful, although this was recorded before Google’s Paris announcement:

I have many thoughts on Bard. This is incredibly important for us to pay attention to. In the paid version, I have included an article I am holding off on publishing publicly just now. I want to articulate a few points more clearly first.

New guidance from Google on using AI generated content

Google has written a blog post to explain what we should know about using AI to help us with content creation.

Essentially it comes down to this:

Use whatever you want to create content, including AI. What matters is the quality of the product that is produced.

If you use AI in generating content you should read the entirety of this article.

It is perfectly fine to use AI in your content creation efforts as long as your end product demonstrates E-E-A-T and is helpful to people. However, Google does not recommend you list AI as the author of your content.

Bing revealed ChatGPT demos and they are exciting

Barry Schwartz has a great recap of Bing’s event. Bing will soon start offering searchers a tab they can use to chat, powered by ChatGPT:

They give an example of someone chatting with Bing, asking about planning a trip.Bing AI chat

Users can also dialogue back and forth with the AI.

Barry said that Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella spoke about how blown away he was by the ChatGPT technology, saying that it can solve so many problems. 

This was interesting:

Promethus is an open source system developed at SoundCloud which includes components for data collection, storage, querying, alerting and visualization. I think it’s very interesting that this was developed by SoundCloud…my podcast is hosted on SoundCloud. According to ChatGPT, it is possible that much of GPT3’s training set included text from SoundCloud podcasts.

In the AI dialogue on Bing, you will see annotations showing which websites were used as sources for the answer:


Google’s screenshots do not show sources. I discuss this further in the article at the end of this episode.

Lots of sites have traffic losses from Google

I have not thoroughly investigated recent losses seen by sites yet, but I can tell you that many sites are seeing losses.

My guess is that we are seeing the helpful content system adapt and learn.

If your traffic is down, here is what I recommend:

  • Look for keywords that you used to rank well.
  • Look at sites that Google elevated. Or, if you don’t have access to a historical rank checker (I use Ahrefs for this most times), just look at pages that rank well.
  • Compare them against yours in the eyes of everything listed in Google’s guidance on creating helpful content. Not everything may apply, but look for areas where you could potentially improve.
  • Most importantly, based on the many pages I have analyzed so far:
    • Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has come to this page looking to get information quickly
    • Compare how the pages that rank above you now do a better job than you at quickly fulfilling the searcher’s immediate need

However, if your traffic is down and you have a website that you fear may be replaced by Bard generated answers, you may be fighting a losing battle.

My advice here is to lean into the changes that are happening in our industry. An incredible number of opportunities are going to open up.  I cannot promise this, but I would like to soon do some group calls where we just brainstorm together on how we can best adapt.

More sites losing featured snippets

We have been talking about this for the past few episodes. My apologies but with all that happened with Google this week I have not been able to dig further into this issue. I think it’s related to what I said above – Google is prepping the index so that only the most helpful content remains. With that said, I have heard cases of people regaining featured snippets after making improvements.

Good E-A-T advice here



Helpful for Local Businesses

Case study on optimizing for cost keywords

No more emojis in business names

Do not skimp on content quality

Potential impact of Bard on local search

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Marie's News

Tool, book and course

I’m actually putting a hold on all of this until we see what happens with Bard. I may jump right to the workbooks that help people recover and improve site quality. I think Bard is going to change how I give my advice though. If you have submitted your site, I will reach out to you at some point. Not just yet unfortunately.


I did a live video podcast this week. I should hopefully get it up (on Soundcloud…haha…soon).


I’m opening up more strategy calls, but the price is quite high and I have limited availability. If you have emailed me, my apologies but I am quite behind on emails. I will probably work through these this weekend. Again, I hope to open up group zoom calls soon for all paying newsletter subscribers to join.

I would like to do some group zoom calls to discuss what is happening over the next few weeks, but don’t have concrete details on that yet.

If you need SEO consulting, here are a few options:

  • Sign up for my waiting list when I start doing site reviews again.
  • Contact me for a recommendation to a professional. (Please know I’m only in email 1-2 times per week now so there may be a bit of a delay in my response.)
  • Add your site to the list for me to use as I test my tool. You’ll be amongst the first to get a link to test it once it’s ready.

This is potentially a historic time.

Or, we may just see the introduction of some annoying AI generated featured snippets. We will see!


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