AEO vs SEO: Why Your Business Needs Both

Peter A. Liefer II | Posted: March 30th, 2024 | Updated: May 2nd, 2024

Search is booming, teeming with 6.3 million Google queries per minute. But artificial intelligence is changing how we search online. With AI-driven assistants like ChatGPT, Google Gemini, Bing AI, and Siri, we’re discovering and digesting online information in new ways.

People are transitioning from broad searches to “zero-click search,” getting instant answers and recommendations without clicking on a website. In fact, about 53% of desktop users and 57% of mobile users don’t click an organic or paid result, revealed a Semrush study involving more than 600,000 searches.

Zero-click search is shaking up traditional SEO strategies. Businesses might experience drops in website traffic unless they embrace change and push for a fresh approach called Answer Engine Optimization (AEO).

In today’s blog, we will explore the following topics:

  • What Is an Answer Engine?
  • What Is Answer Engine Optimization?
  • Is SEO dead?
  • What Is the Difference Between AEO and SEO?
  • How Can SEO and AEO Benefit Your Business?

 

What Is an Answer Engine?

An answer engine uses AI and natural language processing to provide direct responses to user queries. Unlike traditional search engines like Google and Bing, which display a list of web pages after a user enters a query, an answer engine gives instant answers, eliminating the need for clicks and wait times.

With zero-click search, users don’t have to go through multiple search results to find answers to questions. Whether it’s weather forecasts, recipes, or news and events, an answer engine gives you the exact information you need in seconds.

There are two main types of answer engines: AI-powered voice search assistants and generative AI bots.

  • AI-powered voice search assistants, such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, use voice recognition to answer verbal questions. Users can ask for information, get directions, set reminders, and do tasks just by speaking, without touching the screen. As many as 50% of U.S. consumers already use voice search daily. As voice search assistants continue to improve, they will become a natural part of our lives and reshape the landscape of SEO.
  • Generative AI bots rely on advanced algorithms to give human-like answers to qualms and queries. Their impressive ability to understand context and instructions allows them to converse and provide in-depth answers on various topics via chat. Users can also give feedback to these bots, making their answers more accurate and relevant over time.

Integrating both types of answer engines into your content strategy can boost brand awareness and build stronger bonds with your target audience.

 

What Is Answer Engine Optimization?

AEO is the practice of creating and optimizing content that directly answers user questions. The content is easy for AI assistants to read and crawl, providing convenient zero-click answers to user queries.

If you’re a business owner, AEO involves discovering the common questions people ask about your industry and using those questions to shape your digital content strategy. It ensures your content meets user needs, building trust in your brand.

For example, let’s consider a web design company implementing AEO principles. Users may ask an AI bot or voice assistant questions like “How can I improve my website’s loading speed?” or “What are the best practices for mobile-friendly design?” Using this information, the company creates blog posts and FAQs addressing these topics directly. Infusing their content with their brand’s friendly and informative tone, they offer expert insights into website optimization. This approach positions them as industry experts and ensures their content is discoverable and helpful for users searching for web design tips. As a result, they attract more traffic, leads, and, ultimately, clients seeking their proficiency in web design services.

 

Is SEO Dead?

Search engine optimization is NOT dead and still has a long life ahead. Users continue to rely on traditional search engines to explore varied topics, conduct product research, and delve into complex subjects that require in-depth information beyond simple answers. SEO still matters for websites to rank in traditional search results, attract organic traffic, and establish credibility and authority within their respective industries. Local SEO, in particular, will remain a critical trend in 2024 and beyond, as more consumers depend on traditional search to find local businesses and services. Learn more about how to optimize your Google My Business listing.

In hindsight, the manner in which Google and Bing organize and present search results has changed. Some marketers might say SEO is dead and gone, but only because they feel like the industry is changing too fast. To keep up with the competition, businesses must hire the right digital marketing team to breathe new life into dying SEO campaigns.

 

What’s the Difference Between AEO and SEO?

AEO is the future of SEO, but it’s still a subtype of SEO. While both aim to provide helpful responses to user questions, they also have clear distinctions:

  • AEO focuses on optimizing content to answer user queries directly. It gives immediate, concise responses tailored for AI-powered assistants.
  • SEO aims for broader visibility on traditional search engines like Google and Bing, employing various strategies to improve website ranking, traffic, and authority. While SEO focuses on short-tail and informational keywords, link building, user experience, and dynamic content optimization, AEO mainly provides quick and relevant answers to user queries.

Differences aside, these strategies share the same goals: create quality content, ensure positive user experiences, and be easy for search engines to understand.

 

How Can SEO and AEO Benefit Your Business?

Combining SEO and AEO strengthens your online presence for long-term success. Despite the rise of AI-powered search, traditional SEO and content optimization remain vital. Many users still depend on traditional search engines through desktop and mobile devices. Furthermore, search engines accommodate paid ads, offering immediate traffic and ROI.

Traditional search and AI-powered search complement each other. Users might turn to answer engines for quick and simple queries, then switch to conventional platforms for more in-depth searches. Ignoring SEO means limiting your visibility and accessibility to users who still depend on traditional search methods.

Businesses and their marketing teams must recognize the role of both SEO and AEO in attracting and engaging users. While AI-driven search offers immediacy and precision, traditional search engines cater to a wider range of inquiries.

Strategically combining both SEO and AEO maximizes your online presence, catering to diverse search habits and helping your business thrive. Reach out to PrimeView to prepare your brand for the future of search. As experts in keyword research, content strategy, and search optimization, we catapult businesses to new heights of success.