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2026 Forecast: The Key Drivers Behind a 25% Drop in Online Searches

Online Search Decline 2026 Change Drivers

Classic search engine volume, which encompasses searches conducted on browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Bing.

As per a report from Gartner, the search engine volume is projected to decrease by 25% by 2026 due to the rise of AI chatbots and other virtual agents in the search marketing sector.

The report quoted Alan Antin, Vice President Analyst at Gartner, emphasizing the importance of organic and paid search for tech marketers aiming to achieve awareness and demand generation goals. GenAI solutions are increasingly serving as alternative answer engines, taking over user queries that used to be handled by traditional search engines. Companies will need to reconsider their marketing channels strategy as GenAI becomes increasingly integrated into all areas of the enterprise.

How this change could impact the search engine market?

According to the report, GenAI has the ability to reduce the cost of creating content. However, the latest technology could affect aspects such as keyword strategy and website domain authority scoring.

Yet, in order to diminish the significance of AI-generated content, search engine algorithms will increasingly prioritize the quality of content. The report highlights that the utility and quality of content are crucial for achieving success in organic search results.

According to the report, companies need to focus more on watermarking and other methods to verify high-value content. Government regulations worldwide are now enforcing accountability on companies by mandating the identification of marketing content assets generated by AI. This authentication system is anticipated to influence how search engines will present digital content.

Businesses should prioritize creating distinctive content that provides value to both current and potential customers. The content should keep showcasing search quality-rater elements like expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness,” Antin emphasized.


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