When we published Your Average Potential Client Probably Couldn’t Care Less About AI in late July, the ChatGPT craze had been going strong for about six months. Let’s just say a lot has already changed in the past 4 months. After a brief lull after which the article was written, the popularity of the terms “artificial intelligence,” “ai,” and “chatgpt” rose in en force:

With ChatGPT, there’s a clear correlation. That’s most apparent in the surveys we did then and now and the stark differences in sentiment about these topics:

Some TL;DR findings in this article:

  • In only about five months, there may be double the number of people who are familiar with ChatGPT and using AI to generate content.
  • In the same time period, as many as five times more people may use ChatGPT to ask questions related to finding local services
  • Even though people consider the value and legitimacy of reviews online, they may trust the results of AI comparable to these reviews at this point in time

To recap the findings from the last survey, we asked the following questions and will compare them to a survey conducted only four months after:

On a scale of 1-10, how much do you believe Artificial Intelligence (AI) has improved Google Search

Average Number: 5.07 (July 2023)
Average Number: 5.76 (December 2023)

Back in July, the response to this question was nearly completely neutral. Now, there has been a slight uptick when presented with the question.

Please answer only “Yes” or “No” – Have you heard of ChatGPT?

(July 2023)

Yes: 22%
No: 78%

(December 2023)

Yes: 43%
No: 57%

Difference for “Yes”: 81.39%

One of the most staggering changes (and not even the most – wait until the next question) is the huge jump in the number of people familiar with ChatGPT. In July, the number was right around one out of five people. It would be safe to say that the number will be one out of two in just another month or two. More on those observations later.

Please answer only “Yes” or “No.” – Have you used ChatGPT to ask for information on a local service?

(July 2023)

Yes: 12%
No: 88%

(December 2023)

Yes: 40%
No: 60%

Difference for “Yes”: 500%

This was a question I posed without giving much consideration to the outcome. I was surprised even in July to learn that 12% of people have used ChatGPT to look up information as they would on a typical search engine.

Because I already had a baseline to start with, the next part was discovering that, somehow, that number had risen to 40%. This means there are queries in ChatGPT along the lines of “What is the best X for Y in my area” or “Please give me a list of Xs for Y in (insert city).” This is truly an interesting evolution of uses, especially when the results for such inquiries have an indiscernible and potentially uncredible source.

On a scale of 1-10, how much do you believe advancements in AI will affect Google search results in the next 2 years?

Average Number: 7.04 (July 2023)
Average Number: 7.60 (December 2023)

Difference: 7.6%

This number has only a slight uptick – perhaps because the search results of a search engine are managed more so by the search engine itself, not the influence of AI. I would say I would have to agree that while AI may affect the information contained within the search results, AI itself would not necessary manipulate the SERP results provided by the search query.

On a scale of 1-10, do you feel that AI is being used to create content on websites more than usual nowadays?

Average Number: 6.47 (July 2023)

Average Number: 8.27 (December 2023)

Difference: 27.8%

Without a doubt, another interesting development in such a short time span (again, we’re only talking about five months here) is that the average respondent agreed much more with the possibility that AI/ChatGPT is being employed more on websites. In July, this was still a firm “mostly yes,” but 8.27 is extremely high for a 1-10 range from respondents. What’s even more interesting is the fact that while consumers are strongly agreeing in their speculations about ChatGPT supplementation of content on websites (and even professional websites), they still have no real plans of forgoing textual content on websites.

On a scale 1-10, how much do you feel that Google search results provide the best answers to your questions (compared to the engines like Bing, Yahoo, etc.)?

Average Response: 8.23

In this response, the average respondent still believes Google is the dominant search engine relative to Bing, Yahoo, etc. DuckDuckGo still hasn’t made much of an impact over the past few years and is mostly relevant to devout technophiles.

A few other responses as well, that don’t need much elaboration.

On a scale 1-10, how much do you feel that Google has allowed for websites to pay for results that you see in 2023 compared to 2022?

Average Response: 7.85

On a scale 1-10, do you feel like you’ll be LESS likely to trust information that you see on Google in 2024?

Average Response: 5.78

On a scale 0.0-5.0 (decimals included), what is the minimum rating a professional business should have to seem like they are a quality business?

Average Response: 4.00 

What is the minimum number of reviews a professional business should have to seem like they are a quality business? Answer as a number.

Average Response: 72 Reviews

On a scale 1-10, how much do you agree with the following statement: “I would trust AI to recommend a local service to me more than reviews I see from people I do not know online”?

Average Response: 5.02

This final response was also surprising to me, considering that it is almost a perfectly neutral response after aggregating the numbers of over 150 participants. There seems to me to be an overemphasis on the capabilities and takes/opinions of AI up to this point, especially for a local service (when we think of local services, perhaps we default to salons and oil changes, and I could have specified professional services).

With so many people in these surveys claiming to need reviews—and a significant number of reviews at that (72 in this survey, which is still a good amount higher than the 40-50 indicated in many previous surveys)—it is surprising to see that using AI to suggest a local service could be as valuable and reliable as the culmination of 72 reviews from people. Then again, are people becoming privy to fake or paid reviews as well? There’s always something to think about at every turn.

The ascent of using ChatGPT and other AI tools for more than web copy has completely hit its stride at this point. Moving on from simple blog topics, ChatGPT can now take LSAT tests and generate AI pictures of amateur woodworking fanatics making grandiose carvings in Redwoods. It will be an interesting 2024 for SEOs cracking the code on the information AI tools extrapolate when providing founded claims about the best provider for local and professional services.