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How to make sure your website stays relevant with the rise of ChatGPT

While ChatGPT is bringing a lot of changes into the world of work, education and technology, website managers are having to contend with the challenges it is causing for them.

More and more people turning to the AI tool to help them find information quickly means fewer visits to websites that people would have historically gone to when researching a topic or simply looking for an answer to a question.

Not only does this present a problem for website managers – and a need to pivot and find ways to keep their website relevant – but relying on ChatGPT for information could also be quite problematic.

What is ChatGPT?

In case you’ve managed to miss all the hype about it, ChatGPT is described as a natural language processing tool that’s driven by AI technology.

It can assist the user with various tasks, answer questions and help them complete jobs like composing emails, code and even essays.

Created by OpenAI, which is an AI and research company, ChatGPT launched on 30 November 2022 and is currently completely open to use free of charge as it’s in its research and feedback-collection phase.

How it’s impacting search engines and websites

Just like when any business is faced with new competition, the rise of ChatGPT has given search engines like Google and websites a new challenge to contend with.

ChatGPT’s traffic doubled in February of this year and searches for the chatbot have stayed high ever since, according to an analyst writing for AI Business. This said, as of 1 March 2023, Google search revenues had remained stable but ChatGPT’s potential definitely presents traditional search engines with issues.

Since it launched last year, search engines have started ramping up their efforts to stay relevant and compete. The question for many people is – is ChatGPT going to severely disrupt the search engine industry?

There is one key difference between traditional search engines and ChatGPT. If you ask search engines a question, it will return with a number of webpages and you may need to click through several to find your answer. ChatGPT, on the other hand, gives you a summarized answer to your question immediately, eliminating the need to search through multiple websites and therefore speeding up your search.

While there are still a number of problems associated with ChatGPT, it’s also desirable for the way it interacts with you. While using a traditional search engine involves possibly having to wade through a lot of information, ChatGPT works a bit like an instant messaging app, giving you answers quickly and directly, and removing a lot of work on the user’s end.

What are the dangers of ChatGPT?

There are still a number of concerns around ChatGPT, especially given how new it is. Firstly, the chatbot is only trained on data available up until the end of 2021, so if you try to ask it about anything from the start of 2022 and beyond it will apologise and say it doesn’t have the answer. If it ever wants to compete with the likes of Google’s search engine, it will have to correct this.

Secondly, and perhaps most worryingly, ChatGPT will sometimes give inaccurate information. OpenAI even admits that is one of its shortcomings on a blog on its website, so it understands this problem needs to be tackled, but for now, anyone using ChatGPT for information should do so with caution.

Finally, search engines and websites have more credibility attached to them. If you’re looking for some figures on climate change, for example, you can be pretty certain that heading to the Greenpeace website will provide you with accurate answers. If you put the same question into ChatGPT, you won’t know where the information is from and that immediately makes it less trustworthy, given how much fake and inaccurate information finds its way onto the internet.

How to keep your website relevant

Websites should learn about the positives of ChatGPT and work out how they too can offer some of these, as well as capitalising on the negatives of the chatbot and showing users how they can avoid this by coming to the website instead.

Here’s a few actions websites can take right now:

  • Keep webpages short, sharp and to-the-point – one of the attractions of ChatGPT is how quickly and easily it gives you information. Users are much more likely to visit websites where they know they can find information quickly.
  • Be image and video-led – ChatGPT cannot currently provide visuals, so ensure you’re using lots on your website to offer something different, especially if your website is instructional and could benefit from images.
  • Keep information accurate and up-to-date – this sounds like an obvious one but make sure everything you include on your website is water-tight. With the current unreliability of ChatGPT’s information, users will turn to websites for more fail-safe answers. Update your website regularly and share the latest industry news via blogs, social media and newsletters.

So, while the rise of ChatGPT may seem daunting, it could actually be a real opportunity for website managers to have an overhaul of their site and make key changes to help keep the website relevant.


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