How to Adapt Your Strategy to New Information on AI and the Google Algorithm

Whether we like it or not, Google’s algorithm lies at the heart of all the online work that we do, impacting every facet of our online perception by customers and industry experts alike.

We have continuously stressed the importance of a strong Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy to leverage keywords, hyperlinking, and all the constituent elements of a page to make the algorithm work for us and introduce your brand to customers who would otherwise never be reached, let alone considered a target audience. The competitive advantage provided by such tactics makes it a necessity to stay up to date with the algorithm’s protocols, since a slight misstep could result in your content’s online presence being entirely defunct while a competitor succeeds. 

This is why the changes that have been made at Google in the past year, culminating in the past few months, are important to anyone in the jewelry industry, not just the tech world, because the online realm is a larger marketplace than any physical space. In an effort to compete with the larger AI boom in silicon valley, the world’s largest search engine has been beta testing a new feature, AI Overviews (AIOs), to become the cornerstone of their current interface. Furthermore, a massive data leak has exposed previously unknown elements of their highly studied search algorithm, which is the underlying piece of code that ultimately decides whether or not a brand sees the light of day online. We’ll take a look at both significant events and discuss the strategies you need to implement to make sure that your PR doesn’t get buried in the rubble.

AIO and Chaos in the Search Bar

We’ve been looking closely at Google’s rollout for its new AIO feature. The bottom line of what they’re changing is the addition of a blurb at the top of many search results with a direct answer to the search query created by AI based on the results from the web pages that came up in the search. Google calls this artificial intelligence algorithm for synthesizing results Gemini, and is working it in as a much larger plan to stay ahead of the AI wave which every company in silicon valley is trying to turn into their primary moneymaker. This gold rush means most companies are trying to integrate artificial intelligence into their primary product to turbocharge it and make it the next big tech innovation. For Google this is their search engine, and the feature would quite literally change it forever. 

The move potentially undercuts websites altogether, allowing for users to receive all information directly from a chatbot which turns their search into a closed loop. They would never glance at the website that actually sourced that information, and never see its logo, adjacent advertising, or any of its product lines. The implicit threat to the advertising world is threateningly clear, especially since Google is the direct line for most online advertising today. There is good news; the feature is still being workshopped a lot and rolled back in some instances, and the company is still deciding if and how it will permanently be incorporated into their search. We’re taking a look at the information we have now to see how it will impact the SEO process, and what you can do about it before the problem gets worse.

Since a very quiet rollout a year ago, the Search Generative Experience (SGE) which employs AI optimization has already had an impact on the key indicator of any online strategy; the click through rate (CTR). This metric determines how many real clicks and impressions your website has in a given time period, reflecting its online foot traffic. In May and June sites that often use information to lure in clicks from search queries, or publish articles which stay up forever, termed ‘evergreen’,  with the aim of adding more searchable content, have suffered. One study found a nearly 9% drop in the CTR for URLs cited in the AI overview. Rich results, or search results that feature your webpage and its associated pictures, snippets, and video previews, have significantly decreased for these pages. Thankfully, you can adapt your strategy:

Adapt your keywords

Focus on queries requiring human expertise and detailed descriptions, such as ‘unique engagement ring designs’ or ‘how to choose the right diamond cut’. This level of knowledge can’t be generated by AI, and makes your search result unique from anything it could generate. Keywords where personalized content is the focus will perform better even with AI Overviews present.

Shift your content strategy

Evergreen keywords are those that have a consistent and stable demand throughout the year. They used to be the name of the game, but now these are the most likely to be picked up by an AIO which can predict it. We suggest focusing on specific seasonal, topical, or abnormal words that are relevant to your product but likely to stand out.

Strengthen editorial links to maintain visibility

This is also a very wise PR move. Strengthening do-follow links in editorials and feature articles across multiple sites builds a strong network that can be almost more powerful than simple SEO. Hyperlinking various items in your page, as well as pages from other industry experts or collaborators, creates far more avenues to your website and more results when an algorithm crawls it and other sites. 

Consider strategic media partnerships

Another PR move that transcends SEO is to form strategic partnerships with lifestyle and fashion magazines to feature your jewelry in editorials and style guides. They can get your page out there by word of mouth, their own publications, or deals they have with other search providers or industry media magnates. Engage with high-traffic blogs and online publications to secure guest posts and features that highlight your brand’s unique offerings.

The Big Algorithm Leak Shows Us a New SEO Strategy

Even before the debut of AIOs, a central tenet of search engine optimization strategy was the hunt to determine what elements of a webpage Google’s algorithm collected information about, and which of those it used as primary filters to bring your webpage to the top of the result list. Last month the dam broke with a huge leak of their search algorithm’s base code, shortly after they had uploaded the March 2024 core update. Over 14,000 potential ranking factors were revealed, giving us a number of takeaways that change what your SEO strategy needs to focus on.

Of the possible ranking factors the primary we identified were clicks, site authority, and page visits logged, but a large amount of factors were leaked and trying to focus on all of them is not conducive to success. The leak also revealed that the company was using bounce rate, site authority, and data from its other services in the search engine, which they had denied doing in an antitrust lawsuit from the DOJ in 2016. Key information that’s missing is which of the different factors is most important, and whether or not clicks are the primary determinant of a site’s success. What we do know is that continuously prioritizing human oriented searches and avoiding certain evergreen keywords can help you both optimize the current algorithm and steer clear of AIO sweeps, which we can summarize in a few strategic points:

User engagement is still key

Prioritize metrics like click-through rate, time on page, and bounce rate by crafting engaging, visually appealing content. We’ve found that of the key filters listed in the leak, these are consistently correlated with increased search engagement. Remember to use high-quality images, videos, and interactive elements to keep potential customers engaged. These items are more likely to make your page appear with rich results, which means images and content will be displayed by Google in its results as opposed to just a sentence or two.

EEAT is the SEO word for trust

It is essential that you emphasize Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness in your content. This is what makes it stand out to an algorithm, since users look for these traits in a page and still ultimately drive clicks, so capturing their trust is key. Highlight customer testimonials, expert reviews, and detailed guides on jewelry care and trends.

Quality content avoids becoming algorithmic fodder

While the algorithm leak revealed numerous ranking factors, focusing on creating high-quality, user-first content remains crucial. Regularly update your content to reflect current trends and maintain relevance.

Ultimately it is important to remember that both AIO and the current version of the algorithm that’s been leaked are transitory. Sure, they have a large impact now, but they’re also likely to change, and the key to success with all of this technological innovation is to get good at constant adaptation. Articles like these and other SEO expert sites are a sure way to make sure that you stay on top of what’s changing in the industry, and catch the positive windfall from being the first to adapt to these changes. These are exciting times for PR.

If you are looking for advice on grow your brand’s presence online, contact Pietra Communications at info@pietrapr.com  regarding a free consultation regarding our SEO-focused approach to PR.

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