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Answer Engines are here to stay

Episode 1 of the #SEOisAEO webinar series on SEMrush

SEO has been around and evolving steadily since the 1990s. But today we are part of a seismic shift. We are moving swiftly from “Search Engines” to “Answer Engines” - a unique revolution that changes the game from A to Z.

The biggest revolution in the history of SEO

Here are just a few of the fundamental changes that change the game:

  • Machine Learning - machines that learn to learn
  • Google is not necessarily going to dominate to the same extent it did the Search Engine space (so we need to seriously consider other players)
  • Per-case personalisation is on the rise
  • The range of devices we need to consider is expanding fast

Google, Bing, Alexa & Apple aim to provide one single, “best”, answer/solution to a user’s question/problem. Increasingly, when they are confident they have identified (objectively) the best answer, they will push it to their user, meaning that page 1 is no longer enough.

The traditional vertical approach (ten blue links on page 1) needs to be replaced...



...with a horizontal approach ( #1 cross-device)

With AEO, we need to think in terms of providing the most appropriate and most credible answer - to a variety of engines - on a variety of devices - in a variety of environments - on an individual basis. Multi-device, multi-platform and multi-provider where top spot is king.

This #SEOisAEO revolution is on a scale that the SEO world has never seen before.

Forget Old-School SEO

In 1998, with my wife Véronique, I launched a site for preschool kids - Boowa & Kwala. See: https://www.google.com/search?q=boowa+and+kwala

The site grew to be one of the top 10,000 sites in the world. In 2007, we delivered 1 billion page views with quite a lot of help from our SEO efforts. Keyword stuffing, word-density calculations, close variants, spun texts, hidden texts, one-page-per-variant... the list goes on. Since I left in mid-2008, the site has not evolved in SEO terms (strangely, it seems to have regressed on some points), so the site stands as a reminder of how much has changed in 10 years.

Think New-School AEO

We need to look at how we can convince these engines (Google, Bing, Alexa & Apple) that we have the best answer for their users’ questions and problems.

Understanding and credibility give answer engines the confidence to deliver your solution as the “best thing for the user’s needs” (in the words of Google).

Looking from another perspective, you must aim to effectively communicate (who you are and what you offer) and convince (that your solution is better than the competition).

Communicating, convincing, building brand. Sounds suspiciously like traditional marketing! :-)


So, Answer Engines are here to stay. What are you going to do ?

First, read these articles  

  1. Search Engine Watch
  2. SEMrush
  3. Trustpilot
  4. Rank Media Agency

Then join Barry Schwartz, Craig Campbell, Andy Drinkwater and myself for episode #1 of my epic webinar series on September 4th 2018

Note: this reading list is based on my point of view and is just the grounding. The webinar format is designed to take this topic much further. The guest experts will be answering questions based on this research. And that will take up 75% of the webinar. So we will truly take this to the next level.