A new player is entering the digital marketing game; answer engine optimization (AEO). While search engine optimization has always been a critical part of digital marketing strategies, a new type of optimization has emerged.

With the increased popularity of voice search and virtual assistants, user behavior and how they search has been changing. That is where AEO comes in. AEO is a type of search engine optimization that focuses on providing users with better search results by understanding the intent behind a user’s query, and then providing answers that match the user’s expectations.

Search engine algorithms aren’t dumb. Every day they become more advanced, because of that it has made SEO become more challenging. The days of stuffing keywords or building low-quality links are over, and businesses need to focus on creating high-quality, relevant content that provides real value to users.

By optimizing content for questions users are likely to ask, you provide direct answers to their questions and increase your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). Think of the last time you asked a question in a search engine; do you remember how the first result was a direct answer to your question? This direct answer is a featured snippet. Ahrefs did a study showing featured snippets receive an average of 8.6% of clicks when they are in the first results.

Example of a feature snippet from Google.

How Do You Optimize for AEO?

When optimizing your site for featured snippets, your content needs to be written in an easy-to-understand format and organized into logical sections or paragraphs. It should also include keywords related to the query as well as other words or phrases that are associated with it. Formatting is also important for featured snippets; including lists and tables can help draw attention from search engines and increase the chances of appearing in snippets.  For example, if I were optimizing a piece of content about how to make a cake, I would have some sections on the type of cake and a list of the step-by-step instructions.

In addition to optimizing content on websites, AEO also includes link building efforts. By creating quality links from other authoritative sources, you can increase your chances of appearing in featured snippets. Link building can help improve SEO rankings as well as increase visibility in SERPs for certain queries.

There Will Always Be Challenges…

While more and more digital marketing firms are integrating AEO into their overall optimization strategy, it still has a lot of challenges. Namely, there is no way to guarantee that your content is going to be considered a featured snippet. Since search engine algorithms, like Google’s, change daily it’s possible to be the featured snippet one day and not the next. The other big problem is there is a risk that your clicks could decrease because users find the information, they need without going to the site itself.

What Does This Mean for SEO?

AEO is not a replacement for SEO, but it will become more and more intertwined with it. Think of AEO as a nice glass of wine with your steak dinner. By using a combination of keyword research, content creation, and link building strategies that are optimized for both AEO and SEO, you can give yourself an edge over your competition in an increasingly technology driven landscape.

Let Very Good Creative Company Help

At VGCC we pride ourselves on staying up to date with SEO technology advancements (we are nerds, but in a fun way). Our team of content marketers and SEO specialists can help you optimize your site for both SEO and AEO. Schedule a call today to see how our digital marketing and SEO packages can work for you.