SEO in an AI-powered Search World

March 14, 2023 • Arlene Wszalek, EVP, Strategy & Innovation and Ardalan Salam, VP, Data & Technology

As AI becomes more prevalent across search engines, websites must be optimized accordingly. AI-friendly content increases brand visibility and discoverability. Not having AI-optimized web content will do the opposite.

Current State of Search Engines

Today, 97% of mobile users use AI-powered voice assistants. More than 4 billion devices already work on AI-powered voice assistants. Bing and Google regularly incorporate new AI-based features into their search technology and result pages. This started the initial shift towards AI-based search as results had to be more and more relevant and useful. The evolution of this, so far, can be distilled down to two things: NLP & Semantic Search.

  • What is NLP (Natural Language Processing)?
    Natural language processing (NLP) is a technology that allows search engines, like Bing and Google, to understand and respond to user queries in a more natural and relevant way.

  • What is Semantic Search?
    NLP enabled the rise of semantic search. Semantic search which is a type of AI search that focuses on the user's intent and context rather than just keywords. This allows users to be able to search using more conversational language, complex questions, or even voice commands, and expect to get accurate and personalized results (for example, Google Home & Rich Snippets).

How Bing AI Search Works

Bing's new search engine uses a variety of AI technologies to deliver more personalized and accurate search results. Microsoft has built this on top of their Prometheus AI Model, a collection of tools that let Bing interact with the OpenAI model. Prometheus uses Bing and GPT to find the best, most relevant, answer for user's queries. Microsoft calls this the "Bing Orchestrator."


Google Introduces Bard in Response to ChatGPT

Google announced its response to ChatGPT, an AI named Bard, which uses technology similar ChatGPT. Bard is currently being presented as a product that will enhance conversational search.


Future of SEO and the Role of AI

The future of SEO will be led by AI, and it's expected to play an even more important role in shaping the search industry. As AI technologies continue to evolve and grow within search engines, websites will require more advanced and sophisticated optimizations in order to keep up.

Yet surveys suggest fewer than 1 in 4 websites are optimized for AI-powered search.

How to Optimize for AI Search

What does this mean for brands? Optimizing for AI-assisted search means providing high-quality, well-structured content optimized for both human users and AI-supported search engines.

AGM approaches SEO audits for our clients' websites in three ways: contentstructure, and metadata. Here are specific things we look for and optimize:

  1. Content Optimization:
    • Ensure websites use clear and concise language, avoiding overly technical or jargon-filled language which AI-powered search engines might not understand.
    • Make sure content is well-structured with headings, subheadings, and bulleted lists (like this one). This helps AI-powered search engines identify key topics and concepts.
    • Use natural language processing (NLP) techniques  to ensure content is optimized for the way people actually search and speak, rather than relying on "keyword stuffing."
    • Semantic closeness is a key driver in how AI "learns." Search engines use algorithms to analyze web content and determine how close it is, semantically speaking, to the search query.
  2. Structure Optimization:
    • Websites need a clear and intuitive navigation structure, which makes it easy for AI-powered search engines to crawl and understand.
    • Faster-loading sites perform better in AI-assisted search rankings, so load times must be optimized.
    • Use structured data across as many pages and as much content as possible to help AI search engines understand the context of the information presented on a page.
  3. Metadata Optimization:
    • Website metadata, including page titles, meta descriptions, and alt tags, must be complete and must accurately reflect the content of each page.
    • Descriptive and relevant keywords in metadata help AI-powered search engines understand website content.
    • However, duplicate metadata confuses AI-powered search engines and leads to lower rankings.

Ensuring our client websites are regularly optimized for both human and AI-assisted search is another example of how we're deploying Augmented Collective Intelligence across our services and solutions. Have a question for us about it? Get in touch here.

Share on: