Terms Of The SERP

A new search engine results page (SERP) is coming, and it will require a new advertising model. Some expect that to happen in 2024.

When it comes to changes this year, “the waning power of the search engine results page might loom largest,” Brian Morrissey, founder of The Rebooting newsletter, said in a podcast. He referred to changes affected by artificial intelligence (AI).

Some believe the future role of media and platforms will be to channel narrow interests to people so that they can learn about something specific. I have heard this more than once. Historically, this has been the role of search engines, but it’s not clear whether the “workhorses” of yesterday will continue to drive that information in the future.

For example, Morrissey gets information from TikTok and X, which I’m not sure is a good thing. Perhaps something else is needed.



Morrissey and Troy Young, the former global president of Hearst Magazines, in a podcast this week discussed the next SERP and the promise of syndication -- something reminiscent of the portal era.

“The end of the SERP is now and we can start to see what the new SERP looks like,” Morrissey said, referring to artificial intelligence. “You’re seeing it with OpenAI. You’re definitely seeing it with Perplexity. You’re seeing it with Bing. And I suspect soon, you’ll see it with Apple.”

Apple is a little different because it includes distribution, because of the device in a person’s pocket and because they own the iOS, plus the SERP.  

Morrissey described Perplexity as the connection between the search index and large language model (LLM). He said someone can ask Perplexity, which is a subscription service, anything current and it will go out and find it on the web, grab the index, interpret with the LLM and deliver a text-based response with images.

It will show three or four sources at the top. He said it is something those searching might see on Google if it was less dependent on blue links and more dependent on an LLM.

This could become the way Apple to compete with Google without having to pay the company billions, the two agreed.

Google, Microsoft and others do not seem to have a clear picture what the new SERP will look like.

Analysts are attempting to determine what the monetization model will look like, Morrissey said. He predicted that competition will reduce traffic to Google, but through the LLM take a bigger share of the experience, from shopping to maps to travel. Experiences will create a new advertising model to monetize the shift, he said.

Advantages supporting Google’s business come from semiconductor chips to YouTube, but the one place where they make 60% of their revenue is the SERP. And Morrissey predicts it will go through a period of disruption in 2024.

Happy holidays from my home to yours. The picture above was generated by Microsoft Designer, supported by artificial intelligence and a few choice words to create the image.

Designer has many functions. One is to create images described with text prompts.

See you back here on Tuesday.

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