If you have a successful business website, then you’re probably familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO alone, however, does not include specific optimization for the instant answers that are now commonly provided by search engines.
Hence, the need for Answer Engine Optimization (AEO).
What is Answer Engine Optimization?
These days, a search engine can provide their users with a single answer to the search query directly, as opposed to providing a list of resources for the user to comb through to find what they are looking for.
Answer Engine Optimization (AEO) is needed to ensure that it’s YOUR website that is this single, direct answer.
Optimization: How Search Works
It’s easiest if we think of online optimization in two parts.
Part One: Typed Queries
The first is as we’ve always known it. A user enters their query and the search engine provides a list of relevant websites that will provide an answer.
The higher your business is ranked on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) the better your chances of receiving traffic.
In order for the search user to find what they are looking for, they have to click on a website (or websites) to get the information they need.
The format of typed queries generally comes in the style of short-form keywords.
It’s often the case that if you are looking for red hiking boots, you’ll type something such as, “red hiking boots” or “red hiking boots for sale.” Traditionally, typed queries are direct and to the point.
SEO optimizes your website for higher ranking on the SERPs.
Part Two: Voice Queries
SEO is still vitally important, but another type of search is evolving alongside it, thanks in part to vocal search.
Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and others quote their answers from one website that they recognize as a trusted authority.
These “instant answers” provide the answer to a search query directly- the search user doesn’t need to click on a link to get find an answer as it is displayed readily on the top of the results.
If they want additional information, they then click one of the links that have come up in their search.
A website’s ranking becomes even more important- you want to be the authoritative site trusted by search engines to provide the best answer.
Voice search is more conversational, making long-form keywords important.
Our vocal style makes our queries more casual, and you’ll hear questions such as, “Siri, where can I find red hiking boots?” and “Ok Google, what’s the best place to shop for red hiking boots near me?”
AEO optimizes your website to be used for voice search and search engine’s instant answers.
Why You Need AEO
Voice search is on the rise and its use is only predicted to increase in the coming years. This technology relies heavily on search engine’s instant answers.
AEO will keep becoming more important as time goes on.
The way in which we search from our computers and smartphones (when using our keyboard) is vastly different than the way in which we ask a smart device for assistance. It’s vitally important to be able to rank highly for both.
Without AEO, at best, your website will be listed underneath the instant answer on devices with screens, such as smartphones.
In the case of voice-only machines like Google Home and Amazon Echo, however, single answers are often the only option- voice search users don’t ask the search engine for the “next” result as they are satisfied with the answer provided them.
In this world, without AEO, your business won’t exist.
Build your AEO Strategy Now
Like SEO, AEO doesn’t promise instant gratification. It’s a long-term plan that will set your business up for long-term success.
As Google and other search engines continue to develop their instant answer technology, implementing AEO is a smart investment in your future. If it seems intimidating, remember that it’s never a bad idea to ask for advice from professionals.
Get an edge on your competition and build a stable foundation now.