New Research offers a Generative Engine Optimisation Framework

New Research offers a Generative Engine Optimisation Framework

The GEO framework might enable websites that rank lower in SERPs to gain prominence in generative AI experiences.

According to a recent study paper, including relevant figures, quotations, and citations can increase content visibility in generating engines by up to 40%.

The findings were made in a publication titled GEO: Generative Engine Optimisation. It was written by Princeton, Georgia Tech, The Allen Institute of AI, and IIT Delhi researchers.

What is GEO (Generative Engine Optimisation)? The paper defines GEO as follows:

“A novel paradigm to help content creators improve the visibility of their content in Generative Engine responses by using a black-box optimization framework for optimizing and defining visibility metrics. We make systematic evaluation easier in this new paradigm by presenting GEO-bench, a benchmark comprising different user queries across multiple domains and the sources needed to answer these inquiries.”

Techniques that have been tried and tested. Over 10,000 search queries, nine optimization strategies were tested on something that “closely resembles the design of BingChat”:

1. Authoritative: The content was altered to be more compelling while conveying authoritative claims.

2. Keyword Stuffing: More keywords were added to match the query.

3. Statistics Addition: Instead of a qualitative conversation, quantitative statistics were included.

4. Sources: Relevant citations have been added.

5. Quotation Addition: Quotations from reliable sources have been included.

6. Easy-to-understand: Simplified the language.

7. Fluency Optimisation: Improved fluency.

8. Unique Words: Used in text whenever possible.

9. Technical terms: Technical terms have been incorporated into the content.

The data set for search queries was obtained from Google, Microsoft Bing, and Perplexity. Sources include AI Discover, GPT-4, and others.

Topic-specific optimization. According to the report,

“Overall, our analysis suggests that website owners should strive towards making domain-specific targeted adjustments to their websites for higher visibility.”

Citations, for example, boosted visibility for Facts, while Authoritative optimizations improved performance in the Debate and History categories.

To be clear, when the report mentions “domains,” it is referring to broad categories rather than an online domain name. This is also true in SEO; specific optimizations differ between healthcare and payday loans.

The following are some of the “domains” referenced in the paper:

  • Debate
  • Explanation
  • Facts
  • History
  • Opinion
  • People & Society
  • Law & Government
  • Science
  • Statement

Leveling the playing field? According to the experts, GEO could help smaller websites rank lower in SERPs:

“Ironically, websites ranked lower in SERPs, which typically struggle to gain visibility, benefit significantly more from GEO than those ranked higher.” For example, the Cite Sources approach resulted in a significant 115.1% boost in visibility for websites placed fifth in SERP, while the visibility of the top-ranked website reduced by 30.3% on average.”

Why do we care? With the introduction of Google’s Search Generative Experience, Bing Copilot (previously Bing Chat), and other AI-powered search engines, the time has come to test and understand what factors influence content visibility. Because what works in SEO will not necessarily work in the new realm of GEO.

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