SEO Crisis Alert: Moz Expert Predicts Tough Times

SEO Crisis Alert: Moz Expert Predicts Tough Times

As Google’s artificial intelligence upsets organic SEO, a search scientist supports shifting attempts to commercial queries, local SEO, and content improvement.

Are the days of organic SEO numbered? That’s the takeaway from a search scientist’s appraisal of Google’s AI-powered disturbances.

Tom Capper, Moz’s Senior Search Scientist, presented a data-driven reality check at the 20th annual MozCon conference.

Capper warned the attendees.

“At the end of this talk, I’m going to tell you that full-funnel organic marketing is borderline impossible in 2024 for most businesses.”

He looked at how Google’s AI summary results, aggressive monetization, and changing search intentions offer issues for SEO-focused businesses.

Also, in an exclusive discussion with Search Engine Journal, Capper discussed potential next steps for those prepared to pivot.

The Zero-Click Threat

Capper began by explaining the rise of search “intents” such as informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional queries.

Google’s new AI Overview feature, which displays immediate answers at the top of the page, has been especially disruptive for informational searches.

“Organic is a really tough game for informational intent,” said Capper, citing data showing that informational queries had the lowest share of voice for traditional organic results due to AI Overviews and other SERP features.

He also mentioned that 21% of informational queries now return a Featured Snippet, which can satisfy visitors without requiring a click.

“You basically can’t play at the top of the funnel,” he said bluntly.

AI Overviews: A “Mistake”

In the exclusive interview, Capper warned that Google’s rush to incorporate AI overviews could harm the company’s brand image:

“I believe Google acted too quickly and rushed this, and I believe that is a mistake. That is a little risky for SEO because if Google suffers, it will be disruptive to our sector as well.”

Commercial Battleground

While the statistics are dire for informational content, Capper believes commercial searches represent a “sweet spot.”

However, these rich mid-funnel queries have evolved into a “turbulent” and “incredibly contested” conflict.

Capper commented on the Google product reviews update and other recent developments.

“Google’s search quality issues primarily affect the commercial sector.”It’s become a highly volatile sector.”

Major sites like Amazon, Reddit, and YouTube dominate commercial results, combined with an abundance of price lists and review-rich results. This raises the hurdle for smaller websites seeking to rank.

“There are arts, hobbies, real estate – much more realistic to try and compete in here,” said Capper.

He advised publishers that rely only on easily answered queries,

“If you’ve been doing that, you’ve probably been suffering for a long time.”If you are unwilling to switch to another type of entertainment, then go ahead. “Find another channel.”

A Paid and Local Future

According to Capper, transactional searches at the bottom of the funnel are “pay-to-play unless you’re a brick-and-mortar business.”

Google’s monetization of product listings and experimental map embeds for transactional queries continue to erode organic exposure.

However, Capper highlighted local SEO as a viable road forward, saying:

“If you can do well in local search, I think even in a worst-case scenario AI Overview rollout, you would still be doing well here.”

Adapting To A Changing Landscape

Despite the difficulties presented by AI-powered search features, Capper still has prospects for organic marketing success.

He makes the following suggestions:

  • Target informational searches that don’t have a featured snippet to improve organic visibility.
  • Concentrate on less competitive commercial queries in verticals such as art, hobbies, and real estate.
  • Even if your company has no physical location, you still benefit from local search optimization.
  • To identify commercial intent inquiries, use keyword modifiers such as “best,” “compare,” “top,” and “reviews”

Looking to the Future

When asked for his advice to SEO experts who may be discouraged by the AI search revolution, Capper suggests adapting and focusing on providing high-quality, authoritative content.

Capper said in the exclusive interview:

“If you’ve got any willingness at all to write something more interesting, then I think you can still play an organic.”

Finally, Capper remains hopeful about the future of organic search.

In the interview, he emphasizes that Google’s economic model relies on sending organic traffic to other sites:

“I don’t believe Google will ever stop sending traffic because, in the end, that is its economic model.

People anticipate going to other websites when they search Google; if they don’t have that expectation, they won’t click on advertising; and if they don’t click on ads, Google doesn’t make money.”

While ranking for informational and transactional searches has become difficult, Capper’s study indicates that there is potential in the commercial and local spaces.

To adapt, he suggests focusing on less competitive commercial topics, utilizing local SEO for transactional requests, and developing content that goes beyond addressing basic questions.

Source- searchenginejournal

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