Generative Engine Optimization: The Latest Evolution in SEO

generative AI iconYou may have heard some noise around recent changes with how Google displays search results and the incorporation of generative AI. You may have even tested out some cool AI technologies yourself. The ability of today’s generative AI to produce near human-quality results is the beginning of what promises to be a new era of SEO. And the first step to success in this new era is to understand and optimize your website for generative engines.

What Is A Generative Engine?

Unlike the search engines we have become accustomed to, generative engines don’t just list a number of links that are relevant to your query. Generative engines combine bits of data and information from multiple sites to provide you with a relevant response that is typically more comprehensive than what you would find under a normal listing.

Oftentimes the response satisfies the query, and you may not need to visit a website to get the information you need. It is all within the generative engine response. Generative engines incorporate personalization and user experience into their analysis, tailoring the content recommendations to the individual. This means that if three people search on the same phrase, it is quite possible that the same generative engine will serve up three different responses.

Take a moment and watch a few examples of generative AI in action to get more accustomed to how it can be used:


Where Do I Find Generative AI Search Engines?

The search engines you are already familiar with have incorporated generative engines into their search results. For certain searches, but not all, a new style of box will appear that showcases an answer to the search query. The answer in this box is a result from their generative engine.

The traditional search engines aren’t the only home to generative engines. There are standalone tools like ChatGPT, Perplexity, and Claude. These technologies are being used by people in place of search engines to get answers to questions they have.

With generative engines being an emerging technology, new apps and tools using generative search are being developed on what seems like a daily basis.

Why Should I Care?

As a business owner you may ask, ‘Why should I be paying attention to what is happening with generative search engines?’ In short, it could impact traffic to your website. Let’s take a deeper look.

Generative engines are new tools that people are using to get answers to their questions. With generative engines trying to provide the most comprehensive and targeted answer they can, it’s quite possible that the searcher will not have to leave Google or Bing after they ask the question. Everything they need will be in the AI generated result. When this happens it is called a ‘zero-click search’.

For example, if someone needs to know the steps to change their car’s oil the generative search engine could provide those instructions. The searcher no longer needs to click to another web page.

generative AI overview

The key for website owners is going to be figuring out how to leverage these results to drive brand awareness, interest in their products and services, and build trust with their audience. This is part of what is called future-proofing your website’s SEO.

Do The Same Things That Work For SEO Work For Generative Engine Optimization (GEO)?

Many of the same tactics that SEO strategists use on websites today will still help with generative search engines. But how different factors are weighted by generative engines when choosing their result seem to vary. Some of the more important ones we have seen when analyzing these new results are:

  • your online reputation
  • mentions of your brand across the Internet
  • and what other websites are linking back to yours

At this point in time these factors seem to be more important than ever.

Is SEO Going Away?

To the disappointment of some people, SEO is not going away. Generative engine optimization is just another (big) step in the evolution of the industry. Search engines have always evolved to provide searchers answers that are more accurate, more relevant, save time, are easy to understand, and so on. It has been the task of SEO’s to keep up with these changes. The rise of generative AI search engines is no different. In the end, the business goals of generating leads, sales, and conversions online or offline is not going away. How we get there and how we measure success is just changing.

“SEO has been continuously evolving for nearly 20 years,” Dan Prynne, SEO Manager at Mannix Marketing said. “The latest advancement, GEO, is an exciting new chapter in search, but change isn’t new to the industry. As GEO technology advances, it will offer new opportunities for businesses and present stimulating challenges for digital marketers.”

Where Do We Stand Today?

At this point research indicates that AI results are part of 8% of the results generated by Google. But all businesses should keep in mind that this rate varies by industry and type of search (Informational, navigational, commercial, transactional).

What Do I Do Now

So how can businesses optimize their online presence and leverage the growing use of generative engines effectively? Here are some steps that Mannix Marketing is recommending business owners to prepare for what’s coming when it comes to generative search engines:

  • Do a check of your top keywords (branded and non-branded) to see if AI generated results are given in the response. This can give you an idea of what types of phrases are triggering AI responses, what type of content is within the response, and whether AI may be impacting your business currently.
  • Verify that your website stats are set up and tracking correctly. You want to be able to measure the impact (positive or negative) that these user behavior and search changes have on the traffic to your website.
  • Make sure you have great information on your site. No matter what the future holds with regards to SEO and GEO, accurate, informative content will always be valuable. Check what’s on your website now to make sure it is worthy of being there, and make a plan to develop new content moving forward.
  • Think about your overall presence on the Internet. What’s happening online outside of your website? Take a look at your online reputation, make sure your NAPs (name, address, phone number) are accurate, and develop a digital PR strategy. Generative engines are able to get a more complete picture of your business (do customers like you, are you trustworthy, how are your products and services) by analyzing information about your brand across the web. A solid GEO strategy will help you take advantage of this.
  • Talk with an SEO expert. It never hurts to get advice from those that are working in this world everyday. You can even get a free SEO consultation from Mannix Marketing.

This is an exciting time when it comes to SEO. Generative engines are changing the game for searchers and website owners in ways that we wouldn’t have imagined just a few years back. The way to take advantage of the new technology is to view GEO as an evolution of their existing SEO programs rather than a separate product. If you make sure you have a great website, and monitor what is happening in the generative engine space to adjust your strategies when needed, you will be in a good place.

Want to learn more about how your business can take advantage of generative engines? Schedule your free consultation today!

About Brian McGrath

Over the past 20 years, Brian has experienced many aspects of marketing, including brand management, copywriting, campaign coordination, paid search marketing, social media marketing and internet marketing. Brian now uses this knowledge to help our clients maximize their presence on the internet. His expertise in all things marketing gives our clients – and the Mannix Marketing SEO team – a distinct advantage in all areas of search. His extraordinary analytic skills provide SEO, social media and paid search clients with real, measurable results. To maintain his cutting edge expertise, Brian stays current on the latest trends in social media and digital marketing by reading industry publications, attending conferences, and consulting with peers.