OpenAI launched AI chatbot, ChatGPT version 3.5, at the end of November 2022, impressing users worldwide. This was closely followed by Google hosting a launch event for their own new AI chatbot called Bard which, at the time, received a lacklustre response in comparison.
Microsoft had already invested $10 billion in OpenAI and, in early 2023, announced that their Bing search engine would be running on a new OpenAI large language model with the launch of Bing Chat, powered by ChatGPT version 4.
These developments in machine learning will drastically alter SEO – and the wider world in ways that may be hard to predict. Our SEO team has been testing them on a wide range of technical tasks, so that we can ensure the highest quality, most cost-efficient service for the brands we work with.
Our key findings
We put these three tools through their paces with a range of both technical SEO and content tasks. Our key findings were:
- For validating structured data, Bard performed best – though each of the tools failed in suggesting correct fixes for the code that passed Google’s rich results.
- For categorising keywords, Bard was very fast and accurate, ChatGPT was also similarly accurate but slower, and Bing Chat failed to correctly grasp the concept of the prompt.
- Bard and ChatGPT were able to fairly accurately estimate potential organic transactions lost due to a website outage, though Bing overestimated this by 10x.
- When asked to recommend the key SEO elements to include on an e-commerce page, both ChatGPT and Bing Chat outperformed Bard – which actually suggested building backlinks. OK, Google!
The current frontrunner
Each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses, but after its shaky start, we found that Bard was the most accurate, fast, and effective tool, for a range of SEO tasks.
A key limitation of ChatGPT, of course, is its inability to access the internet, instead using a fixed timeframe of historical data.
Since our initial testing phase, Bard:
- Has improved at mathematical tasks and coding questions
- Is powered by Google’s next generation language model, PaLM 2
- Provides more precise local results
- Has a new export action to Google Sheets
- Will soon allow users to include images in prompts – and Google Lens will work to help make sense of what’s being shown
These are exciting times in SEO and we’ll continue to test and use each of the chatbots as their functionality evolves, ensuring we’re a step ahead for the brands we work with. Get in touch if you’d like to speak with one of our experts.