AI Pushes SEO to Social and More
Google’s “new perspectives” in AI-driven search could emphasize content beyond branded websites to include social influencers and more.
A May 10, 2023, announcement from Google featured the company’s new AI-powered search. The examples addressed shopping and buying intent queries, noting that Google would tap its shopping graph with over 35 billion product listings. While this shopping-related announcement drew much attention from the ecommerce community, a second point is clear: search engine optimization is changing.
“When you search for something that might benefit from the experiences of others, you may see a Perspectives filter appear at the top of search results,” wrote Google Search product manager Lauren Clack. “Tap the filter, and you’ll exclusively see long- and short-form videos, images, and written posts that people have shared on discussion boards, Q&A sites, and social media platforms.”
Put another way, “You can no longer put SEO in a silo,” stated Krista Doyle, the SEO manager for Jasper, the AI writing company.
Not Dead but Different
The generative AI evolution in search should impact strategies across ecommerce — retail, DTC, B2B. The main impact could be a shift from keyword-centric rankings to a more holistic approach that prioritizes relevance and user intent — i.e., answer engine optimization — combined with broad content strategies.
Answer Engine Optimization
AEO seeks to help a site rank on platforms that answer queries, such as voice-activated assistants, AI chats, virtual assistants, and now generative AI search.
For instance, ChatGPT communicates with users in a dialog. It’s popular owing to its ability to comprehend human questions. As such, websites that optimize for ChatGPT tend to focus on natural language queries instead of keywords or specific entities. It’s similar to optimizing for voice search.
Thus AEO isn’t new but a shift.
AEO tactics should be effective in the era of generative AI search, at least initially.
Hence SEO managers will likely collaborate with their influencer marketing colleagues to hire TikTokers and their ilk to produce “new perspective” content.
But SEO managers could eventually assert their own influence and create content on social platforms that drive AI search.
Regardless, creator-like social content could become key to content marketing and SEO.
“Reduced traffic doesn’t necessarily mean reduced returns if the traffic converts,” Doyle continued. “While traditional conversion rate optimization efforts focus more on big money pages and sign-up flows, we’ll see many SEOs and content marketers start to use CRO tactics to ensure their content is performing and readers are taking the intended action.”