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AI Search Engine Secrets

Charles Willcock

by Charles Willcock 12th June 2023

Using an AI search engine is more like asking a friend for help. They are expecting a short sentence. Below are some tips on how to construct a clear and concise sentence (prompt) to generate a useful answer. Use natural language, start with open questions, and use more questions to refine the answers. This article then goes on to look at the significant implications for website owners and why they should be proactive and address comments brought up by AI search engines. The alternative will be a reduction in traffic leading to less revenue.

1 Be Specific: If you ask a vague question, you may get a vague answer. My late father would say; “ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer”. Thinking of a pet dog? The more details you provide, the better the model can give you what you’re looking for. Instead of “tell me about all dog breeds,” ask What are the different breeds of small dogs suitable for a small home? AI is expecting a short question but not 2 or 3 keywords. Search was formally like snap. The children’s game. AI now seeks to understand your question providing you phrase your question correctly. Known is the AI world as creating the correct “prompt”.
If you are a small business owner chances are you do not service the world. You probably service your own country perhaps working within a specific geographic area. Example if you are a florist travelling 15 minutes from your shop to perform a delivery probably makes sense. Travelling an hour to deliver a bouquet chances are will not be profitable
Tell people what you do but also include geographical references on your website pages.
2State Your Intent: If there’s a specific purpose for your question, state it in the prompt. For example, instead of asking “explain quantum physics” you could say “I’m helping my thirteen year old son with his science homework. Could you explain quantum physics in a simple way?” Provide background to your prompt (question). What level of answer do you want?
Who is your website content / service aimed at experts or novices? It might make sense to have content on your website which gives an overview, and then a more technical explanation for those who want to go in to more depth. This will clearly depend on the message you are trying to convey
Adding Schema code to your website will help search engines understand your pages. You will not want several websites aimed at different audiences but simple summary overview Then lower down the page A deeper dive for those looking for a more technical explanation.
3Use Correct Spelling and Grammar: Hard to argue against. Note many searches are now initiated with a voice command.
Hard to argue against but also include alternatives. Voice search is gaining in popularity and variations of your company name can help.
If you are called Doulton but Google hears that as Dalton – a page called Dalton with a site map and search box can help you capture “communication errors”.
4Direct the Output Format: If you want the answer in a specific format, state it in your question.
  1. Do you want a list
  2. Paragraph
  3. 500 word essay
  4. 5000 words
Bear in mind how much do you want to read?!
Paragraphs are popular in University essays Lists work better on websites. Whenever possible use a list.
Having your list coded correctly will help search engines pick them up.
5Ask Follow-Up Questions: Some Ai search engines expect you to ask follow up questions. Thankfully they will remember your first question.
Some FAQs might make sense for when things do not go perfect.
Some people want short pages but that could reduce traffic. FAQs which answer more questions might help visitors and your content come up on search results.
6Experiment with Different Phrasings: The secret of using Google etc. is knowing how to formulate the “right” question to get the right answer. Theoretically AI should make it easier to ask the right prompt but it might take several goes to get there.
Can one page on your website answer all your potential visitors’ questions? For many products unlikely – Segmenting your market makes most sense.
Sometimes people will say oh we will just be duplicating our content, but in reality only you and your competitors will read every word on your website. A potential customer typically will read a few pages before getting in touch or looking elsewhere. As a rule of thumb the longer someone stays on your website the more likely they are to get in touch. (Not always, if you need an emergency plumber you are going to ring the first number you see!)
7Prompt for Fact-Checking: If you’re looking for reliable information, you can ask the model to provide sources or to fact-check information. For example, “Can you fact-check the answer served up?”
Most people are experts in something – do not be shy tell the world that you are an expert with 20+ years’ experience. Publish some details on your about page and / or a page about yourself.
Back those claims up with links to Twitter.com and your profile Facebook.com and your company page LinkedIn and your page. I.e. enable people to fact check you. Provide people with some authority about you. Ideally if you are asked to speak to a group of people a good introduction from the person hosting the event will prime the audience about what you are about to say.
8Answers date: It is not unusual to discover websites with old information.
Example – The rules of golf are updated from time to time. It is not unknown to be directed to a website which provides and outdated rule as an answer rather than the up to date rule.
This also applies to YouTube videos and how to content. Keep content up to date to increase authority and expertise.

Here is the formula for a perfect prompt.

  • [Context]
  • + [Specific Information]
  • + [Intent/Goal]
  • + [Response Format (if needed)]

= Perfect Prompt

Google has many search features which very few people know about, not because they’re secrets but few people have bothered to learn how to get the most out of its search options.
There is a good chance that it will take users several years to learn how to use AI powered search but that should be no excuse for not getting organised now. When Google first started indexing the web they had no idea how they would make money to fund the cost of the servers. Today advertising pays for the huge data warehouses, it is hard to see any other alternative formula for the new start up search engines emerging.

Why AI Will Change Search – Which Is Why Websites Need To Be AI Ready…

Perplexity.ai is one AI powered search engine which has caught my eye.

Bard.google.com is not available to everyone but Perplexity.ai is and they have an app for your phone.

One test to apply to a search engine is to view what it has indexed. Why not start with your own website?

site:website-doctor.com if you put site: and a domain in the Google search box it will show you all the pages it has indexed.

You can do the same in bing.com

Do the same with Perplexity and review the results.

Perplexity does not list all the pages but you can read what it has listed.

If your reaction it to look for the contact page on Perplexity to contact the Perplexity developers pause and think. There are literally more than 1 billion domain names registered which amount to perhaps 200 million active websites. If your website is not indexed to your satisfaction then I would suggest adding more content.

Using Perplexity is like asking a friend for help on a decision.

There is an app for your phone for either Apple or Android which with the voice search option makes it feel very natural.

The answer comes back with links you can click. Bard.google.com does have some links but less and not as well presented as the Perplexity answers.

Is AI A Business Threat Or Opportunity?

Is the glass half full or half empty?

If your website optimised to do well in Google etc. then chances are AI will not be a threat but in 2023 many websites are not optimised to do well in Google.

Many are missing schema markup code.

More complex layouts maybe missing breadcrumbs which have become important.

AI search engines often show perfectly reasonable follow-up questions.

Having FAQs which anticipate follow-up questions can put your website in a better position. Historically websites typically did not have follow up style questions and answers.

Trying to control the narrative by providing your answers makes more sense than leaving it to other sites, or possibly for an AI search engine to literally fill in any gaps itself.

Example Prompt :- I am looking to buy a Rob North Triples motorbike

Answer…If you are looking to buy a Rob North Triples motorbike, there are several options available. Here are some search results that may be helpful:
Rob North Triples: This website is owned by Les & Denise Whiston trading as Trident MCS, manufacturer of the Rob North Trident & Rocket Three Racer. They have a full price list, new products, services, and a gallery of photographs showing their new workshop and a range of bikes already completed. You can contact them by clicking the contact button at the top of the page or telephone 01902 661 609

Perplexity in the desktop version generated a paragraph of text.

Then below that were three follow-up questions, generated by the search engine which come across as relevant.

+ What is the price range for Rob North Triples motorbikes?
+ What is the history of Rob North Triples and its founder?
+ What factors affect the price of a Rob North Triples motorbike?

Clicking on a question in Perplexity opens it up and the list keeps growing

+ What are some other vintage motorbikes similar to Rob North Triples?
+ What factors affect the price of a Rob North Triples motorbike?

Clearly this is a chance to create content which can address these types of questions.

Tips On Using Perplexity AI

This video showcases using Perplexity.ai to generate results.

The source of results can be refined from All to specific sections of the internet.

Examples of the different sources Perplexity searches through to generate a result.

2023 Will Be The Year AI Truly Becomes Mainstream

Google was far from being the first search engine, the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders, tried to sell their search idea to a number of companies, including Yahoo, Excite, and Infoseek. But no deal was struck.

In a recent presentation Google employees mentioned AI more than 400 times 2023 / 2024 will be the year that AI arrives in search in a big way. Microsoft Bing sees this as its opportunity to get more visitors to use Bing. Changes are likely to be rapid in how search results are presented going forward, with the winners being those search companies who create the best user experience.

In 2022 $50billion was poured in to AI start-ups. Obviously not all into Search but it clear that an earthquake is coming and those who prepare will be better placed in the future than those who ignore these opportunities.

Do not be left behind, why not get in touch for a review on how your website could move forward. Call 0121 458 2665 / 07980 656 787 or use our contact form.