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Top 42 Tips To Master A Combined Art

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Top 42 Tips To Master A Combined Art

True digital success – for search engine rankings, user experience, and the brand overall, whether personal or business – occurs when the art of SEO and the art of writing are combined.

The best SEO writing comes from the perfect blend of:

  • Topical knowledge/expertise.
  • Deep knowledge of writing well
  • SEO best practices.

SEO is a must for any online writing, especially from a keyword perspective, and correctly mapping those keywords to pages/posts.

Readers can recognize an authoritative voice immediately, and a fake voice even quicker.

Whether you want conversions, brand awareness, or something else, your writing needs to have authority (and authenticity).

With that said, here are the top 42 writing tips for any content writer within any type of company, from billion-dollar software designers to local pest control companies.

The focus weighs more towards the art of writing itself, which will naturally lead to the creation of quality content that search engines demand.

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Writing for SEO: The Essentials

1. Think Keywords First

Your writing must be found before you’ll have any impact on your target audience. This is why keyword research should always come before any research or actual writing.

This keyword research will massively influence your research, also, because you’ll discover other ways your target audience is searching for your topic.

No matter how intelligent they become, search engine algorithms can’t recognize the best voice in a piece of writing. But if keywords are there, you have the opportunity to be heard.

New to keywords? Check out this beginner’s guide to keyword research.

2. Approach Keyword Research Like An Art

There are thousands of keyword research articles available. Research, discover, and test what works best for you.

Such as…

Make this process cyclical. I build content calendars out in three-month segments, performing fresh keyword research at the beginning of every cycle.

Industries change, and new keywords trend quicker than you’d guess.

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3. Study The Competition For Keywords

There are many tools available to help you find competitor keywords.

Warning: Only take keywords – don’t study the actual writing of your competitors. Once you do that, you sound like them and struggle to create anything original. Create an original voice and you’ll be heard.

4. Target 1 Or 2 Keywords For Each Page Or Blog (Except Homepage)

Always focus on broader terms for your main “parent” pages and longer terms for the “child” pages below.

Targeting searcher intent first, volume second will help you get into the mindset of what your target customer wants.

5. Use Keywords Where They Matter Most

Use your keyword in the following (prioritized of importance) to send search engines strong signals of the content’s intent:

  • Title tag.
  • Internal links within content.
  • Alt attribute of image.
  • Headline tags (always have an H1!).
  • Meta description.

6. Use Bold & Bullet Points Wherever Possible

Google pays attention to these, including when awarding featured snippets.

Make sure to use target keywords in bold and bullet points when possible.

7. The Title Tag: Still The Most Powerful Element

Make sure your target keyword is part of the title tag, ideally toward the front.

Also, remember that title tags should be about 60 characters, so put as much time into this as your actual content creation.

For the homepage title tag, target three of the most important keywords that describe the business/website.

Always think about storytelling. Keep it simple. Speak the language of your target audience. And write to influence that click-through.

8. Add Related Keywords

Don’t simply stuff keywords in after doing the writing.

If you’re well prepared with keyword research, have the list of topically related keywords at hand as you write.

If you are staying on topic, you will insert related keywords naturally.

9. Use Your Target Keyword In Your Meta Description

Google says it doesn’t use the meta description as a ranking factor.

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However, if someone is searching for that target keyword or phrase, those words will be bold.

Bolding attracts the eyes – and might entice a searcher to click rather than scroll by.

Also, write your meta description like ad copy. The goal is to excite the audience to further influence a click-through (your title tag should be the first influencer, immediately backed by your meta description).

Writing For SEO: Craft & Routine

10. Write. Rewrite. Then Rewrite Again. Until It’s Right.

It’s all about routine and process.

As William Zinsser says in, “Writing to Learn:”

“Only by repeated applications of the process – writing and rewriting and pruning and shaping – can we hammer out clear and simple product.”

11. Outline And Plan

It’s much easier for a mind to think (and a search engine to read) in chunks, and actually see those chunks coherently.

Most minds naturally want to write in a stream of consciousness style like Jack Kerouac – but this isn’t novel writing. Most of us are writing for a business, to further that business’s success.

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Organize headlines (for SEO with keywords!) and fill in the gaps.

Sometimes those headlines are more important than the words beneath. Make those headlines scream thoughts, and the words shout to support those screams.

12. Write Sentence By Sentence

Set up Word or Google Docs in landscape mode for the first draft, and write sentence by sentence.

Don’t write any paragraphs until you do your first rounds of edits.

I learned this tip from Charles Euchner, author of “The Elements of Writing.”

Single-line sentences keep the mind fresh. They’ll help corral thoughts as you begin editing.

Think short for every sentence – like a 140-character tweet – and embrace short and concise writing.

13. Write Daily

A muscle grows when it has input combined with correlating relaxing points.

Your mind works that same way; embrace it.

Again, write daily to work out the writing muscles, followed by some relaxing.

Never stop the growth of writing muscles.

14. Shut Your Wi-fi Off

This tip comes from Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek.”

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This simple practice keeps focus in place and prevents the mind from answering anything outside of your focus.

Distractions move a mood. Make those distractions non-existent.

15. Got Questions? Ask Your Digital Assistant

The Wi-fi may be off, but sometimes you need immediate answers to questions that will nag you. Some can’t work without answering questions.

The solution is simple: ask Alexa, Siri, or your Google Assistant.

I keep an Amazon Echo Dot next to my desk and use it for quick research.

I have an Echo Show, but it doesn’t belong in the office where it can quickly jack your focus due to the video factor. That one remains downstairs, out of the office.

16. Read All You Can

Especially read the writers who simplify everything.

People may not love Hunter S. Thompson due to his politics or mad lifestyle, but his prose is crisp and simple. I read “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” in one sitting.

(And not once, but maybe 10 times when I needed a push into something I couldn’t possibly finish and needed a mind breath.)

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If you’re business-minded, Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth” is a one-sitting read, too. It’s simple and informative.

17. Stop Waiting For Inspiration

It’s useless.

There’s no such thing as inspiration unless you like to talk about writing instead of actually doing it.

True writers write every day and make it a lifestyle that helps develop the “art.” Practice makes stuff happen and takes discipline.

Words simply flow better and easier after practice and discipline. Nothing happens without the simplicity of practice.

18. Read The Essentials

For traditional writing, read William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well.” Don’t just read it once. Reread it once a year.

For the digital age of “short” writing that makes an impact, read Roy Peter Clark’s “How to Write Short.”

Don’t stop there. Read “The Essential Don Murray: Lessons from America’s Greatest Writing Teacher” and “Ernest Hemingway On Writing.”

19. Try Writing In Longhand

This article is based on notes I took while flying over the Atlantic Ocean en route to Valencia, Spain.

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Flying is a great time for thinking and using longhand. Plus, it keeps your mind off the snoring passenger next to you.

Write in longhand in cabs, buses, middle of meetings, etc. Try it, and revisit those notes before you get to work typing.

20. Write About What You Love

To truly master the craft of the written word, embrace writing that makes you happy – regardless if it’ll make you money. The more you write, the better you’ll become.

Short writing provides inspiration (regardless of how absurd it feels or reads sometimes!).

21. Ask Questions Daily

Friends, family, wife, children, whoever. Continually ask questions.

The more you learn, the more you can provide readers (possible prospects in business), regardless of your industry.

Questions are the highlights of learning. Let people talk.

Think 80/20 – let others talk 80% of the time as you listen, and you can talk the other 20% of the time.

Your readers will thank you one day.

22. Know Your Audience & Write For Them

Remember to keep your voice and style the same.

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That’s how to set yourself apart from the zillions of other content writers out there.

23. Work Better Under Deadline?

For some people, the pressure of a deadline forces the creativity out of you.

If this is true for you, have project managers bump up your due dates.

I do this with my teams, sometimes by as far ahead as four weeks.

24. Build Your Work Around Questions

Always ask, “What’s the problem and how do I clearly provide a solution?”

It’s just as important to ask, “Will readers care?”

This helps keep your voice trustworthy and authoritative, keeping search engines and readers happy.

25. Split Long Projects Into Short Tasks

Write all headlines first (remember to use target keywords in them), and fill in each portion.

This works just as well whether you’re writing a 2,500-word piece on the craft of writing, or a 750-piece for a client discussing the technical aspects of a product.

26. Always Have An Ending in Mind

Knowing where your content is leading will keep your writing focus sharp, and will help you more often achieve the ultimate goal of most online writing – a conversion.

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27. Check Your Spelling & Grammar

Misspell a name and the article immediately loses credibility.

Craft your content with sloppy grammar, and the reader doubts your authority.

After you’ve checked for spelling and grammar errors, check again.

28. Aim For Credibility

Without credibility, you’ll lose any chance of capturing an audience’s attention.

Situations get worse if you spread false facts.

Take added time for research and fact-checking.

29. Edit With The 10-Second Rule In Mind

This goes for every single paragraph, especially for the first paragraph and meta description.

You want to immediately grab the reader’s attention — and keep it.

Is the article worthy of additional conversation? If so, and you have proper CTAs, this can help move readers one step closer to conversion.

Writing for SEO: Form

30. Write Strong Sentences & Paragraphs

The strongest words should begin and end a sentence.

The strongest sentences should appear at the end and beginning of a paragraph.

This helps keep the slower, more in-depth material in the middle, and the most important thoughts before the reader.

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31. Become Obsessed About Clarity Of Voice

Clean writing reflects a clear mindset – something people (clients!) need.

For example, Starbucks uses both functional and expressive language to clarify its voice in its marketing.

Screenshot taken by author

Or Mailchimp’s voice is plain spoken with a dab of dry humor.

An example of clarity of voice.Screenshot taken by author

32. Keep Writing Free Of Clutter

Keep it simple.

Get straight to what you’re saying.

Strip all useless words.

Get sentences into their simplest form.

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33. Beware Of Excess Adverbs & Adjectives

If the verb or noun can’t perform the explanation, that verb or noun isn’t strong enough. You can learn more about writing with adverbs and adjectives here.

34. Use A Variety Of Long And Short Sentences

A variety of sentence lengths helps your content to create some rhythm.

Readers enjoy this.

35. Short Paragraphs Allow The Mind to Breathe

Use short paragraphs often.

Space between paragraphs psychologically takes less energy to read, saving that prospect’s energy for the sale/lead.

36. Always Use Active Verbs

In this sentence, the active verb is “Use.”

Without active verbs, the mind shifts. It wanders.

You lose an audience… or a sale.

Be clear on what action the reader can take next.

37. Avoid Clichés

Like the plague.

You feel me?

Writing for SEO: Favorite Hacks

38. Listen to Your Favorite Music

Why not write to it? Some forms of music will bring drastically different emotions out on the page before you’d realize it, so the more the better.

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While writing this, I went from Coltrane to Infected Mushroom to Hendrix to SRV to Dimmu Borgir to Breaking Benjamin to Chopin.

For editing, Wes Montgomery was my go-to.

Music can help words flow, so embrace it all.

39. Commit To The Most Serious Writing In The Morning

I’m typically up by 5:30 a.m. That’s when my brain is freshest.

I always block a few hours every morning for my most serious writing.

40. Carry A Tablet To Jot Down Ideas

If you think clearer in longhand, carry a small tablet for jotting down ideas overusing your phone.

Moleskine tablets are my favorite because they are thin and fit into books, which I always have with me when traveling.

There’s only so much marginal space within a book for ideas; a tablet takes care of this and keeps you off the phone.

41. For Clients: Think 80/20 For The Initial Few Engagements

Focus on the 20% of your writing that will produce 80% results for the client’s sales. How?

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Simple: always begin a content strategy around the top ROI products. This shows value, and will help contribute to the overall qualified keywords you want them to want to rank for.

42. Remember To Get Away From It All

The writers that have the true minds to create and provide value to clients always need a break.

One of my weekly tactics for resting and reenergizing is “half-day Wednesday.” I tune out and either play guitar, hike or ride motorcycles… basically whatever is needed.

This mid-week break keeps the mind fresh and clear, which translates into positive workflow and, ultimately, happy clients.

Conclusion

Creating content that leads to conversion involves not only the art of SEO but also the craft of writing.

Embrace both if you’re serious about providing the most value to your readers or your client’s readers, which you naturally want to turn from prospects to customers.

Also, remember that the appeal and popularity of strong content will only compound online over time.

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Think of SEO writing to a business as compounding interest to an investor – have the patience and discipline to do it correctly, and the results should continually speak for themselves.


Featured image: Paulo Bobita/SearchEngineJournal




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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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