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Internal Linking Guide: Actionable Tips, Strategies, and Tools

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internal linking guide actionable tips strategies and tools

Internal links are a crucial part of a successful SEO strategy.

Small but mighty, simple yet complex, internal links help navigate users through your digital content and give search engine crawlers information about how your website works.

Internal links are found on almost every page on the internet. You’re probably already using them, even if you don’t know it. (Hint: there’s a few included in this intro,)

If you want to optimize your content for SEO, you need to understand how internal links work, where to place them, and why they matter.

In this post, we’ll dive into internal linking and cover best practices.

What Is Internal Linking?

Internal links are links from one page to another within a single domain.

These are different from external links, which point to pages on a different website.

Every website with more than one page should be connected through internal linking.

Think of your website’s home page. In the top navigation, you likely have a menu that links to other internal pages. This could be your About, Shop, and Contact pages.

This internal linking structure is essential for SEO because it establishes a site architecture and improves your link equity.

Having multiple web pages attached to a singular domain improves your chances of being ranked by allowing search engine crawlers to index more content.

Internal linking is a simple issue of site design and architecture, and the search engines expect it. All websites have a design and architecture that keeps them structured logically, such as this common silo model.

internal linking - silo model site map

Of course, site architecture and structuring can get far more complex.

internal linking guide - site architecture example

But as long as you have a strong internal linking structure, your website will be crawled, indexed, and ranked by search engines.

Internal linking is also an important part of your user experience, as it allows users to uncover related information or find what they are looking for, which improves dwell time.

5 Reasons Internal Linking Is Good for SEO

Internal linking is one of SEO’s most valuable weapons.

Why? Because it works.

Google’s machine-learning algorithm has come a long way since the early days of SEO. Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to game the system.

As advanced as the algorithm is, there are still simple changes that will give you an immediate boost in SEO without gaming the search engines.

Internal linking is one of them. It’s not a trick or a gimmick, and it’s certainly not hard to do.

Here are some of the benefits.

1. Helps Google Index Your Site

Google’s crawler follows link paths throughout the internet to find and index websites.

If your website has strong internal linking, the Google crawler has an easier time finding new content you publish.

google crawler moving through internal links on website

Google’s bots regularly crawl the web for fresh content. If your content is woven together with multiple internal links, crawling happens a lot faster.

As a result, your content will get indexed faster, too.

Improved crawling and indexing can boost your SEO.

2. Increases Backlink-Earning Potential of Deep Content Pages

Take a look at where most of your website’s backlinks are coming from. You’ll probably see a lot of links that send users to your homepage.

When you compare the homepage backlinks to deep page backlinks, this is what you usually see:

internal linking start page and deep page

Unfortunately, too many home page backlinks are bad for SEO. We call this over-optimizing, and it should be avoided.

What you want to see is the pie chart reversed. The majority of your external links should point at deep internal pages, not your home page. That’s because the homepage doesn’t generally include the type of detailed information users search for.

When a website doesn’t actively publish and promote new content, its link profile looks like this:

internal linking structure ranking

Most of the links on the website go to social profiles or standard pages such as “About” or “Contact.”

This provides very little SEO value to the site.

If you create a strong internal linking structure, you can boost the link juice earning potential of the internal pages, by creating clear click paths and indexation throughout the website.

Why? Because you are increasing the overall crawl priority throughout the site with better distribution of your links.

3. Internal Linking Spreads the Strength of the Site to Internal Pages

When your website receives a link to the homepage, some of the link value is passed on to internal pages.

This is often referred to as “link juice.”

internal linking guide - link juice

If Page 1 then links to Page 2, the “link juice” flows from Page 1 to Page 2, helping it rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP).

The more tightly-knit a website’s structure (through internal linking), the better the overall site will perform in search.

4. Internal Linking with Optimized Anchor Text Is Good for SEO

An internal link is a simple string of HTML that links one website page to another. It looks like this:

<A HREF = “http://www.example.com/internalpage“> an article on cat food </A>

When you create an internal link with anchor text, as opposed to with an image or navigational text, however, the value of the internal link goes up.

Anchor text improves the value of the link by adding keywords and content to the linking process. Google isn’t just looking at an A HREF tag. They are also looking at the anchor text that is part of that link.

The days of keyword stuffing anchor texts are long gone. But, there is value in optimizing your internal anchor text.

Anchor text that flows well with the overall content, versus over-optimized anchor text, is best.

5. It Provides Value to Your Users

This is the most important point of all. Internal linking is an SEO technique, yes. But, it’s more than that.

Ultimately, internal linking is useful for users.

Think about it this way: When you’re researching a topic, do you check one source or multiple?

Do you enjoy exploring other content that reinforces your understanding of the topic?

Maybe, you just like the writing style of the article you’re reading and want to read more work by the same author.

Internal linking on a site increases the value of each piece of content by backing up claims and leading the user to related information.

While it may not drive conversions directly, internal linking does have a place within the marketing funnel—carrying people to a target destination.

As an added bonus, you can help readers stay on your site longer and increase their trust in you by using internal linking.

SEO is about user optimization, not just technical tweaks and sneaky tricks.

Even if you don’t care about the technical value of internal linking, at least do it for your users.

Internal Linking Best Practices

Now, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. How do you do internal linking? What’s the best method for creating the biggest value with links?

There are two things you need in place first:

  1. Written content on the site: Even if you have a single article, that’s okay. That’s your starting place. If you don’t have any written content but want to create some, check out our The Ultimate Guide to Writing Epic Content.
  2. Continually writing new content for the site: Getting into a regular publishing schedule is important for internal linking to be effective.

Okay, let’s get into it.

Link to and From Content-Heavy Pages

The best internal links are those that connect one article to another. This creates a strong internal linking structure deep within the site.

If you have good site architecture, you’ll have enough links to the site’s main pages, such as the homepage, About page, Contact page, etc.

You don’t need more links to these pages.

Obviously, if you’re trying to drive conversions using a squeeze page or sales page and the opportunity is right, link to it.

For the most part, I recommend creating links in and among long-form articles. This automatically spreads your internal linking naturally.

Create Text Links Using Anchor Text

What kind of internal links work best?

It’s simple: Links with descriptive anchor text.

What do we mean by descriptive anchor text?

You’re familiar with anchor text, right? An anchor text is the word or words that link to another page. They typically appear as blue text to the reader.

This is anchor text.

Your internal links should use anchor text, but not just any anchor text will do. Include phrases that describe what the target link is about.

Here are some examples of strong anchor text:

If you wanted to link to an article about the 10 most important SEO techniques, you could do it this way:

Here are a few important SEO techniques you should be using.

If you wanted to link to an article about Google Hummingbird, you could do it this way:

Google’s algorithm has been updated with new machine learning capabilities.

Each of those examples is associating the subject of the link with relevant phrases. The first anchor text contains “10 most important SEO techniques,” which is the subject matter of the article you’re linking to. The second anchor text has the phrase, “Google’s algorithm has been updated,” and the linked article contains information about Google, Hummingbird, algorithms, and updates.

Here are three things not to do with your internal linking:

  1. Do not try to create an exact match between the anchor text and the link target. This technique, known as “exact match anchor text” has been associated with SEO penalties via the Penguin update. Today’s search engines are sensitive to the regular use of exact match anchor text because it wouldn’t frequently happen in regular content. It appears unnatural because it is.
  2. Do not use phrases like “click here.” This adds no value. Anchor text needs to be related to the linked page in some way.
  3. Do not link more than one sentence. An entire hyperlinked paragraph is unsightly and makes for a poor user experience. Just stick to a few words or a phrase when using anchor text to point to an internal link.

Add an Appropriate Number of Links Per Page

When you write a new piece of content, you should include five or more links to old articles. This is really important to your internal linking strategy and how the search engines review and rank your content.

Why?

Websites have a “freshness value” that Google detects and uses as part of its ranking algorithm.

According to Cyrus Shepard, “links from fresh sites [or pages] pass fresh value.”

two web pages show fresh internal linking

Pinging old pages with a new link helps to boost its likelihood of increasing rank in the SERPs. In the eyes of the search engines, readers who follow your internal links are actually “refreshing” your older content by showing it’s still relevant.

However, be careful not to over-stuff your content with links.

According to Moz, search engine crawlers have a limit of 150 links per page. After that, they stop spidering.

Overstuffing your page with links could negatively impact your SEO.

Be sure to link, but don’t overdo it. This will help both the search crawlers and your user experience.

Update Old Articles With New Internal Links

You’ll get the most power from internal linking if you combine it with another SEO technique—updating old content.

When you update old content, Google’s crawler sees it again, indexes it again, and may increase its ranking in the SERPs.

We always recommend updating your old articles regularly. Here is a good process to follow on your old blog articles:

  • Add a new paragraph of content at the beginning, explaining your updates.
  • Add several new paragraphs throughout, adding additional or updated information.
  • Remove or replace outdated stats or information.
  • Add several new internal links to content you’ve recently created.
  • Add links in places where it’s logical and value-added.

Remember, internal linking isn’t only about linking new content to older content. It’s also about circling back to older content and creating internal links that connect to your newer work.

You’re accomplishing two things by doing this.

  1. It updates old content, which improves its ranking value.
  2. It creates an internal link between an old established page on the site and a new not-so-established page.

Add Links Where It Makes Sense

Now that you’ve learned so much about internal linking, you’re probably wondering where you should put your internal links?

It’s tempting to get lazy and throw them in at the end of an article: “For more awesome content, click here!”

Don’t do that, please. Or at least, don’t do just that.

Instead, look for areas in the content where the subject matter overlaps. These are logical points of connection to create an internal link. For example, you can add links to define complex terms or explain a related topic.

Think of internal links as a reference point that improves the experience of the reader.

Only Add Dofollow Links

Don’t add a nofollow tag to your internal links. Nofollow links do not have any impact on the search engine rankings of the destination site.

On top of that, Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across nofollow links. It won’t even crawl them.

While some data from Ahrefs has shown nofollow links can be useful when used externally, there is no reason to use them in your internal linking strategy.

Link to High Converting Pages

Do you have pages on your website that convert visitors more than other pages?

If so, link to these pages.

Some articles in our blog have super high conversion rates. The content is compelling, and the CTAs are so powerful that users convert in droves.

We always make sure to link internally to these pages.

This is where internal linking has more than just SEO value. It can have revenue value, too. The more visitors you can drive to a high-converting page, the more conversions you’ll have.

Take Site Navigation and Information Architecture Into Consideration

Site navigation and internal linking go hand in hand.

Internal links define site architecture and hierarchy by creating funnels that direct users through your website.

Ultimately, this is an important part of your UX/UI and will impact how long people stay on your web pages and how often they come back.

When building an internal linking strategy, consider the most important content on your site and how you’re promoting it.

If you have a piece of cornerstone content that you want more eyes on, point more internal links to it.

Create Lots of Content

The best way to have a healthy internal linking structure is to have lots of internal pages.

When you create lots of content, you’ll have lots of linkable content. The more links to the more places, the better your internal linking strategy will be.

Remember, simply having a lot of web pages doesn’t equal a robust internal linking strategy.

While internal links are essential to your website navigation, repeatedly linking to your homepage won’t move the needle on your SEO score.

Instead, consider writing a blog or creating landing pages that house resourceful content.

Whatever your strategy, do it well and do it often.

Internal Linking Practices to Avoid

Now that you know how to use internal linking correctly, let’s review some of the practices to avoid.

Adding too many links to your content can be detrimental to your score. Remember, Google does not crawl pages that have more than 150 links. It’s also important to note that your header, footer, and menu links are included in your on-page link count.

Don’t overdo it!

Keyword stuffing in anchor text is another internal linking practice to avoid. This black hat tactic was popular in the past, as SEO’s thought it would improve their chances of ranking.

These days, sophisticated search algorithms penalize keyword stuffing in anchor text. So, don’t do it.

Using internal links in header text should also be avoided. Links in headers signal spam to Google crawlers and can negatively impact your SEO.

Finally, be sure to check all of your internal links before posting them. Broken links don’t spread any link juice and signal to Google that your website is low quality.

Internal Linking FAQs

How many internal links should I include per post?

There’s no set number, but 5-10 for every 2,000 words is a good best practice. Remember, Google won’t crawl pages with more than ~150 links, so be careful about overstuffing your content.

Should I add internal links to my pages with more or less traffic?

According to Databox, internal links can spread link juice from low-traffic web pages to high-traffic ones. That being said, it’s also important to point as many links as possible to your cornerstone content so it benefits from increased traffic.

What is an example of internal linking?

Are internal links backlinks?

No, internal links stay within your website domain, they do not come from an external source. Backlinks are external links that point to your domain.

Summary of Internal Linking Guide

Internal linking is a core part of a solid SEO strategy. When done right, it enhances the user experience and can help you rank higher in the SERPs.

While internal links are part of any strong website design, it’s important to find ways to include internal links in your content to ensure you’re getting the most out of your content. Make sure to use optimized (but not over-optimized) anchor tags, and add internal links that provide users with more information about a topic they’re interested in.

What internal linking practices have you found to be the most effective?

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Google Search Leak: Conflicting Signals, Unanswered Questions

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Google Search Leak: Conflicting Signals, Unanswered Questions

An apparent leak of Google Search API documentation has sparked intense debate within the SEO community, with some claiming it proves Google’s dishonesty and others urging caution in interpreting the information.

As the industry grapples with the allegations, a balanced examination of Google’s statements and the perspectives of SEO experts is crucial to understanding the whole picture.

Leaked Documents Vs. Google’s Public Statements

Over the years, Google has consistently maintained that specific ranking signals, such as click data and user engagement metrics, aren’t used directly in its search algorithms.

In public statements and interviews, Google representatives have emphasized the importance of relevance, quality, and user experience while denying the use of specific metrics like click-through rates or bounce rates as ranking-related factors.

However, the leaked API documentation appears to contradict these statements.

It contains references to features like “goodClicks,” “badClicks,” “lastLongestClicks,” impressions, and unicorn clicks, tied to systems called Navboost and Glue, which Google VP Pandu Nayak confirmed in DOJ testimony are parts of Google’s ranking systems.

The documentation also alleges that Google calculates several metrics using Chrome browser data on individual pages and entire domains, suggesting the full clickstream of Chrome users is being leveraged to influence search rankings.

This contradicts past Google statements that Chrome data isn’t used for organic searches.

The Leak’s Origins & Authenticity

Erfan Azimi, CEO of digital marketing agency EA Eagle Digital, alleges he obtained the documents and shared them with Rand Fishkin and Mike King.

Azimi claims to have spoken with ex-Google Search employees who confirmed the authenticity of the information but declined to go on record due to the situation’s sensitivity.

While the leak’s origins remain somewhat ambiguous, several ex-Googlers who reviewed the documents have stated they appear legitimate.

Fishkin states:

“A critical next step in the process was verifying the authenticity of the API Content Warehouse documents. So, I reached out to some ex-Googler friends, shared the leaked docs, and asked for their thoughts.”

Three ex-Googlers responded, with one stating, “It has all the hallmarks of an internal Google API.”

However, without direct confirmation from Google, the authenticity of the leaked information is still debatable. Google has not yet publicly commented on the leak.

It’s important to note that, according to Fishkin’s article, none of the ex-Googlers confirmed that the leaked data was from Google Search. Only that it appears to have originated from within Google.

Industry Perspectives & Analysis

Many in the SEO community have long suspected that Google’s public statements don’t tell the whole story. The leaked API documentation has only fueled these suspicions.

Fishkin and King argue that if the information is accurate, it could have significant implications for SEO strategies and website search optimization.

Key takeaways from their analysis include:

  • Navboost and the use of clicks, CTR, long vs. Short clicks, and user data from Chrome appear to be among Google’s most powerful ranking signals.
  • Google employs safelists for sensitive topics like COVID-19, elections, and travel to control what sites appear.
  • Google uses Quality Rater feedback and ratings in its ranking systems, not just as a training set.
  • Click data influences how Google weights links for ranking purposes.
  • Classic ranking factors like PageRank and anchor text are losing influence compared to more user-centric signals.
  • Building a brand and generating search demand is more critical than ever for SEO success.

However, just because something is mentioned in API documentation doesn’t mean it’s being used to rank search results.

Other industry experts urge caution when interpreting the leaked documents.

They point out that Google may use the information for testing purposes or apply it only to specific search verticals rather than use it as active ranking signals.

There are also open questions about how much weight these signals carry compared to other ranking factors. The leak doesn’t provide the full context or algorithm details.

Unanswered Questions & Future Implications

As the SEO community continues to analyze the leaked documents, many questions still need to be answered.

Without official confirmation from Google, the authenticity and context of the information are still a matter of debate.

Key open questions include:

  • How much of this documented data is actively used to rank search results?
  • What is the relative weighting and importance of these signals compared to other ranking factors?
  • How have Google’s systems and use of this data evolved?
  • Will Google change its public messaging and be more transparent about using behavioral data?

As the debate surrounding the leak continues, it’s wise to approach the information with a balanced, objective mindset.

Unquestioningly accepting the leak as gospel truth or completely dismissing it are both shortsighted reactions. The reality likely lies somewhere in between.

Potential Implications For SEO Strategies and Website Optimization

It would be highly inadvisable to act on information shared from this supposed ‘leak’ without confirming whether it’s an actual Google search document.

Further, even if the content originates from search, the information is a year old and could have changed. Any insights derived from the leaked documentation should not be considered actionable now.

With that in mind, while the full implications remain unknown, here’s what we can glean from the leaked information.

1. Emphasis On User Engagement Metrics

If click data and user engagement metrics are direct ranking factors, as the leaked documents suggest, it could place greater emphasis on optimizing for these metrics.

This means crafting compelling titles and meta descriptions to increase click-through rates, ensuring fast page loads and intuitive navigation to reduce bounces, and strategically linking to keep users engaged on your site.

Driving traffic through other channels like social media and email can also help generate positive engagement signals.

However, it’s important to note that optimizing for user engagement shouldn’t come at the expense of creating reader-focused content. Gaming engagement metrics are unlikely to be a sustainable, long-term strategy.

Google has consistently emphasized the importance of quality and relevance in its public statements, and based on the leaked information, this will likely remain a key focus. Engagement optimization should support and enhance quality content, not replace it.

2. Potential Changes To Link-Building Strategies

The leaked documents contain information about how Google treats different types of links and their impact on search rankings.

This includes details about the use of anchor text, the classification of links into different quality tiers based on traffic to the linking page, and the potential for links to be ignored or demoted based on various spam factors.

If this information is accurate, it could influence how SEO professionals approach link building and the types of links they prioritize.

Links that drive real click-throughs may carry more weight than links on rarely visited pages.

The fundamentals of good link building still apply—create link-worthy content, build genuine relationships, and seek natural, editorially placed links that drive qualified referral traffic.

The leaked information doesn’t change this core approach but offers some additional nuance to be aware of.

3. Increased Focus On Brand Building and Driving Search Demand

The leaked documents suggest that Google uses brand-related signals and offline popularity as ranking factors. This could include metrics like brand mentions, searches for the brand name, and overall brand authority.

As a result, SEO strategies may emphasize building brand awareness and authority through both online and offline channels.

Tactics could include:

  • Securing brand mentions and links from authoritative media sources.
  • Investing in traditional PR, advertising, and sponsorships to increase brand awareness.
  • Encouraging branded searches through other marketing channels.
  • Optimizing for higher search volumes for your brand vs. unbranded keywords.
  • Building engaged social media communities around your brand.
  • Establishing thought leadership through original research, data, and industry contributions.

The idea is to make your brand synonymous with your niche and build an audience that seeks you out directly. The more people search for and engage with your brand, the stronger those brand signals may become in Google’s systems.

4. Adaptation To Vertical-Specific Ranking Factors

Some leaked information suggests that Google may use different ranking factors or algorithms for specific search verticals, such as news, local search, travel, or e-commerce.

If this is the case, SEO strategies may need to adapt to each vertical’s unique ranking signals and user intents.

For example, local search optimization may focus more heavily on factors like Google My Business listings, local reviews, and location-specific content.

Travel SEO could emphasize collecting reviews, optimizing images, and directly providing booking/pricing information on your site.

News SEO requires focusing on timely, newsworthy content and optimized article structure.

While the core principles of search optimization still apply, understanding your particular vertical’s nuances, based on the leaked information and real-world testing, can give you a competitive advantage.

The leaks suggest a vertical-specific approach to SEO could give you an advantage.

Conclusion

The Google API documentation leak has created a vigorous discussion about Google’s ranking systems.

As the SEO community continues to analyze and debate the leaked information, it’s important to remember a few key things:

  1. The information isn’t fully verified and lacks context. Drawing definitive conclusions at this stage is premature.
  2. Google’s ranking algorithms are complex and constantly evolving. Even if entirely accurate, this leak only represents a snapshot in time.
  3. The fundamentals of good SEO – creating high-quality, relevant, user-centric content and promoting it effectively – still apply regardless of the specific ranking factors at play.
  4. Real-world testing and results should always precede theorizing based on incomplete information.

What To Do Next

As an SEO professional, the best course of action is to stay informed about the leak.

Because details about the document remain unknown, it’s not a good idea to consider any takeaways actionable.

Most importantly, remember that chasing algorithms is a losing battle.

The only winning strategy in SEO is to make your website the best result for your message and audience. That’s Google’s endgame, and that’s where your focus should be, regardless of what any particular leaked document suggests.



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Google’s AI Overviews Shake Up Ecommerce Search Visibility

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Google's AI Overviews Shake Up Ecommerce Search Visibility

An analysis of 25,000 ecommerce queries by Bartosz Góralewicz, founder of Onely, reveals the impact of Google’s AI overviews on search visibility for online retailers.

The study found that 16% of eCommerce queries now return an AI overview in search results, accounting for 13% of total search volume in this sector.

Notably, 80% of the sources listed in these AI overviews do not rank organically for the original query.

“Ranking #1-3 gives you only an 8% chance of being a source in AI overviews,” Góralewicz stated.

Shift Toward “Accelerated” Product Experiences

International SEO consultant Aleyda Solis analyzed the disconnect between traditional organic ranking and inclusion in AI overviews.

According to Solis, for product-related queries, Google is prioritizing an “accelerated” approach over summarizing currently ranking pages.

She commented Góralewicz’ findings, stating:

“… rather than providing high level summaries of what’s already ranked organically below, what Google does with e-commerce is “accelerate” the experience by already showcasing what the user would get next.”

Solis explains that for queries where Google previously ranked category pages, reviews, and buying guides, it’s now bypassing this level of results with AI overviews.

Assessing AI Overview Traffic Impact

To help retailers evaluate their exposure, Solis has shared a spreadsheet that analyzes the potential traffic impact of AI overviews.

As Góralewicz notes, this could be an initial rollout, speculating that “Google will expand AI overviews for high-cost queries when enabling ads” based on data showing they are currently excluded for high cost-per-click keywords.

An in-depth report across ecommerce and publishing is expected soon from Góralewicz and Onely, with additional insights into this search trend.

Why SEJ Cares

AI overviews represent a shift in how search visibility is achieved for ecommerce websites.

With most overviews currently pulling product data from non-ranking sources, the traditional connection between organic rankings and search traffic is being disrupted.

Retailers may need to adapt their SEO strategies for this new search environment.

How This Can Benefit You

While unsettling for established brands, AI overviews create new opportunities for retailers to gain visibility without competing for the most commercially valuable keywords.

Ecommerce sites can potentially circumvent traditional ranking barriers by optimizing product data and detail pages for Google’s “accelerated” product displays.

The detailed assessment framework provided by Solis enables merchants to audit their exposure and prioritize optimization needs accordingly.


FAQ

What are the key findings from the analysis of AI overviews & ecommerce queries?

Góralewicz’s analysis of 25,000 ecommerce queries found:

  • 16% of ecommerce queries now return an AI overview in the search results.
  • 80% of the sources listed in these AI overviews do not rank organically for the original query.
  • Ranking positions #1-3 only provides an 8% chance of being a source in AI overviews.

These insights reveal significant shifts in how ecommerce sites need to approach search visibility.

Why are AI overviews pulling product data from non-ranking sources, and what does this mean for retailers?

Google’s AI overviews prioritize “accelerated” experiences over summarizing currently ranked pages for product-related queries.

This shift focuses on showcasing directly what users seek instead of traditional organic results.

For retailers, this means:

  • A need to optimize product pages beyond traditional SEO practices, catering to the data requirements of AI overviews.
  • Opportunities to gain visibility without necessarily holding top organic rankings.
  • Potential to bypass traditional ranking barriers by focusing on enhanced product data integration.

Retailers must adapt quickly to remain competitive in this evolving search environment.

What practical steps can retailers take to evaluate and improve their search visibility in light of AI overview disruptions?

Retailers can take several practical steps to evaluate and improve their search visibility:

  • Utilize the spreadsheet provided by Aleyda Solis to assess the potential traffic impact of AI overviews.
  • Optimize product and detail pages to align with the data and presentation style preferred by AI overviews.
  • Continuously monitor changes and updates to AI overviews, adapting strategies based on new data and trends.

These steps can help retailers navigate the impact of AI overviews and maintain or improve their search visibility.


Featured Image: Marco Lazzarini/Shutterstock



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Google’s AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

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Google's AI Overviews Go Viral, Draw Mainstream Media Scrutiny

Google’s rollout of AI-generated overviews in US search results is taking a disastrous turn, with mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, BBC, and CNBC reporting on numerous inaccuracies and bizarre responses.

On social media, users are sharing endless examples of the feature’s nonsensical and sometimes dangerous output.

From recommending non-toxic glue on pizza to suggesting that eating rocks provides nutritional benefits, the blunders would be amusing if they weren’t so alarming.

Mainstream Media Coverage

As reported by The New York Times, Google’s AI overviews struggle with basic facts, claiming that Barack Obama was the first Muslim president of the United States and stating that Andrew Jackson graduated from college in 2005.

These errors undermine trust in Google’s search engine, which more than two billion people rely on for authoritative information worldwide.

Manual Removal & System Refinements

As reported by The Verge, Google is now scrambling to remove the bizarre AI-generated responses and improve its systems manually.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that the company is taking “swift action” to remove problematic responses and using the examples to refine its AI overview feature.

Google’s Rush To AI Integration

The flawed rollout of AI overviews isn’t an isolated incident for Google.

As CNBC notes in its report, Google made several missteps in a rush to integrate AI into its products.

In February, Google was forced to pause its Gemini chatbot after it generated inaccurate images of historical figures and refused to depict white people in most instances.

Before that, the company’s Bard chatbot faced ridicule for sharing incorrect information about outer space, leading to a $100 billion drop in Google’s market value.

Despite these setbacks, industry experts cited by The New York Times suggest that Google has little choice but to continue advancing AI integration to remain competitive.

However, the challenges of taming large language models, which ingest false information and satirical posts, are now more apparent.

The Debate Over AI In Search

The controversy surrounding AI overviews adds fuel to the debate over the risks and limitations of AI.

While the technology holds potential, these missteps remind everyone that more testing is needed before unleashing it on the public.

The BBC notes that Google’s rivals face similar backlash over their attempts to cram more AI tools into their consumer-facing products.

The UK’s data watchdog is investigating Microsoft after it announced a feature that would take continuous screenshots of users’ online activity.

At the same time, actress Scarlett Johansson criticized OpenAI for using a voice likened to her own without permission.

What This Means For Websites & SEO Professionals

Mainstream media coverage of Google’s erroneous AI overviews brings the issue of declining search quality to public attention.

As the company works to address inaccuracies, the incident serves as a cautionary tale for the entire industry.

Important takeaway: Prioritize responsible use of AI technology to ensure the benefits outweigh its risks.



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