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Generative Engine Optimisation (GEO): A Complete Guide to Ranking in Google’s SGE/AI Overview

Generative Engine Optimisation (GEO) is essential for ranking in Google’s new AI Overviews. Focus on creating high-quality, topic-driven content to stay ahead.



A plain blue background with a neumorphism style search bar


If you want to learn more about the new world of Generative Engine Optimisation (GEO)

What the heck is Generative Engine Optimisation (GEO), you ask? You’ve come to the right place. Below we run through a few things you need to know if you want to dominate Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) and AI Overviews.


Let’s explore how you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure your content continues to rank.


What is GEO?

Generative Engine Optimisation (GEO) is the evolution of SEO, designed to cater to AI-driven search results. To rank well in this environment, you need to adapt your strategies to meet the needs of these AI models


What are AI Overviews?

AI Overviews are AI-generated summaries that appear on Google’s search results page. These summaries provide unique, detailed answers to queries, drawing information from various sources. The goal is to give users comprehensive answers without needing to click through lots of links. 


History of AI Overviews

In efforts to enhance user experience Google has been integrating AI into search. Initially, Google introduced featured snippets and knowledge panels to provide quick answers. With the advent of large language models (LLMs) like PaLM2 and MUM, Google has taken this a step further. It has created AI Overviews that compile and present information more effectively. AI Overviews have attracted a lot of attention for their funny and dangerous responses to searchers queries. 


Anatomy of an AI Overview


An annotated example of an AI overview with different areas highlighted. Summary is highlighted in red, suggested sites in green and dropdown in blue


An AI Overview result typically includes:

  1. AI-Generated Summary: A concise answer to the user's query, generated by drawing on information from top-ranking pages.

  2. Suggested Sites: Here it provides a few options on some top sites related to the users search.

  3. Dropdown Source Attribution: Dropdown options provide citations from authoritative websites to ensure credibility.


It can sometimes also include:

Related Questions: Additional questions and answers that provide more context or address related topics.

Multimedia: such as images, videos, and infographics to enhance understanding and engagement.


The Rise of AI Engines as Search Tools

AI engines like ChatGPT have revolutionised the way people search. These tools use natural language processing to understand and generate human-like responses. This has made them invaluable for quick information retrieval and complex query resolution. ChatGPT, for instance, can simulate conversations, and provide detailed explanations, positioning AI engines as powerful search assistants.


As AI continues to evolve, its role in search is set to expand, offering users more efficient ways to find information.


How to Rank in AI Overviews: 14 Key Strategies for GEO Success


  1. Embrace Topic Targeting Forget about keywords. Think topics. Google’s AI annotates pages with a “centrepiece annotation”, identifying the core topic of your content. Focus on comprehensive, topic-driven content to enhance your page’s semantic understanding.

  2. EEAT: Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness Ensure your content reflects high EEAT standards. Authoritative and trustworthy content is more likely to be featured in AI Overviews. Regularly update your content with accurate information, and always cite credible sources.

  3. Optimise for Voice Search Voice search will make up an increasingly bigger proportion of searches than ever before. Structure your content to match natural, conversational queries. Use long-tail keywords and include FAQs to address common voice queries.

  4. Prioritise Simple, Readable Information This is a big one. AI thrives on clear and concise information. Use short sentences, simple answers, and get to the point quickly. Start with a full summary at the top of your page to ensure users (and AI) get the gist of the content immediately.

  5. High-Quality Content is King Content quality is non-negotiable. Conduct thorough research, write engaging and informative content, and update it regularly. Use compelling headlines and user feedback to continuously improve.

  6. Leverage Structured Data Structured data helps AI understand your content contextually. Use Schema Markup and JSON-LD format to highlight key elements. Validate your structured data with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

  7. Use Citations and References Boost your content’s credibility by citing authoritative sources. Use inline citations and create a references section. Link to original search and update citations regularly to maintain relevance.

  8. Integrate Multimedia & Repurposing Make your content engaging and AI-friendly with high-quality images, videos, and infographics. Optimise these elements with alt text, captions and descriptions. This will increase your chances of being displayed when it presents multimedia answers.

  9. Monitor and Adapt Use analytics tools like Google Analytics to track your performance. Monitor your search rankings and user behaviour. Stay updated with the latest SEO and AI trends (check our blog!) and be ready to adapt your strategies accordingly.

  10. Monitor Branded Searches Keep an eye on AI summaries for your brand. Engage with your audience on platforms like Reddit and Quora to manage your reputation and gather positive reviews. Create a branded subreddit to foster community engagement and monitor what people are saying about your brand.

  11. Focus on Mid-Funnel Content Target the mid-funnel stage where users are looking for specific information. This approach is more likely to convert and align with the AI’s focus on detailed, informative content. Create content that addresses specific questions and provides in-depth answers.

  12. Optimise for Zero-Click Searches AI Overviews are increasing zero-click searches, where users get answers directly on the search results page. Ensure your content is optimised to be featured in these summaries. Provide clear, concise answers to common questions and use structured data to help AI understand your content.

  13. Ensure Crawlability and Indexability Make sure sure your web pages are easily crawled and indexed by Google. Avoid technical issues like blocked robots.txt files, noindex tags, and 4XX errors. Use tools like Semrush’s Site Audit to identify and fix these problems. Proper site structure and internal linking also play a crucial role in ensuring all your pages are discoverable by search engines.

  14. Provide Human Overviews First Give your users information sooner. Write your own AI Overviews and Google will pick up on these. Put yourself in your searchers head, what do they actually want to know? Write that.


TL;DR

Mastering GEO is about more than just SEO tweaks. It’s about taking a holistic approach to content creation, technical optimization, and user engagement. Stay informed, be adaptable, and focus on creating high-quality, topic-driven content. With these strategies, you’ll be well-equipped to rank high in Google’s SGE and AI Overviews.


Get in touch if you’d like any help with future-proofing your business for the rise of AI generative search.

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