How is AI Changing B2B SEO in 2024

Manoj Palanikumar
|
June 25, 2024

Contents

Key Takeaways

The wave of AI advancements surged dramatically after the launch of ChatGPT by OpenAI. Since then, we've seen everyone, from tech giants to small startups, strive to leverage this new technology. 

One sector that seems to have felt the significant impact of AI is search engines. ChatGPT's success spurred Google to create Bard AI, saw Bing develop its own Bing Chat, and now the latest AI Overviews by Google.

While these developments have been exciting, B2B businesses are beginning to worry because it looks like AI is trying to disrupt their primary source of traffic—search engine. According to recent B2B SEO statistics, organic search is responsible for 76% of trackable B2B website traffic, and 71% of B2B clients start their product research with search engines​. 

Imagine the potential loss if AI advancements divert traffic away from traditional SERP. To prevent this from happening, B2B SEOs must adapt and innovate. 

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the impact of Generative AI in changing B2B SEO, and how SEOs stay ahead of the curve.

B2B SEO & AI: How is AI Changing the SEO Landscape

Generative AI tools, such as Google's Bard and the Search Generative Experience (SGE), fundamentally reshape how search results are displayed. These advanced technologies leverage natural language processing and machine learning to deliver more nuanced, context-aware, and personalized responses to user queries.

Instead of merely listing links and snippets, these AI tools generate comprehensive answers, summaries, and insights directly within the search results page.

See SGE in action below;

While this transformation may help people find answers faster, B2B marketers might face SEO traffic challenges because their websites may struggle to compete for visibility with SGE.

In light of these changes, B2B marketers are encouraged to adapt rather than resist. 

Nitin Rai, a B2B marketing leader, concluded his recent publication on "The Future of SEO in the Age of Generative AI" with the following insights:

"While generative AI heralds a new era of possibilities in content creation and digital marketing, SEO's relevance in the B2B sector remains steadfast. Far from becoming obsolete, SEO will evolve, intersecting with AI in ways that amplify its importance. By understanding the nuances of this interplay and adapting strategies accordingly, B2B marketers can ensure that their brands not only survive but thrive in the age of generative AI. The future of SEO is not a question of relevance but of evolution and integration, embracing the potential of AI to enrich and expand the horizons of digital marketing strategies."(source)

Google Launching AI Overviews across the US and its Acceptance

In May 2024, Google launched AI Overviews, previously known as the Google Search Generative Experience, after a year of intensive training and testing. It was initially rolled out in the United States with plans for it to be globally available by the end of the year.

According to Google, AI Overviews aims to enhance user experience by providing concise, accurate summaries of search topics along with links to the sources. They also mentioned that no action is required from webmasters to benefit from AI Overviews.

Critiques reviews on AI overviews

Since the release of AI Overviews in the United States, it has received mixed reviews from users. Some are concerned about its tendency to produce misleading information, hallucinate facts, and its inadequacy for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) queries. While others have praised it for its efficiency in delivering quick summaries and enhancing their search experience.

Here are some examples of AI providing wrong information;

.AI Overviews describing the health benefits of taking a bath with a toaster

.AI Overviews confirming everything on the internet is real

.AI Overviews saying a dog as played in NHL

In response to the negative feedback, analysis showed that Google’s AI Overviews now appear less than 15% of the time, a significant drop from the previous 84%.

Meaning that Google still has the interest of its users at heart.

Key Trends Shaped by AI in B2B SEO

Decline of informational queries

This is the most expected outcome of the rise of generative AI because no user would want to sift through numerous search results when they can easily obtain a straightforward answer.

As it is now, Gartner already predicted that the volume of traditional search engine queries will drop by 25% by 2026 due to the increasing use of AI chatbots and Virtual agents.

This shift implies that B2B blog posts focused on providing only information-based based may likely see reduced traffic from traditional search engines. So this might be a wake-up call for businesses to publish more MOF and BOF content.

Brand awareness

While it is now more challenging to get clicks from Google, one way to overcome this challenge is by focusing on boosting your brand. Enhancing brand awareness can help you attract and retain customers even as search engine dynamics shift.

To achieve this, consider leveraging social media platforms to engage with your target audience, creating high quality content that resonates with your target market, and investing in influencer partnerships to broaden your reach. 

For instance, running targeted ad campaigns on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can increase visibility, while regularly publishing insightful blog posts or hosting webinars can establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.

How to leverage AI-driven traffic

With generative AI becoming an integral part of the search engine, B2B businesses should capitalize on this development by adapting their strategies to align with how AI tools generate and distribute information. Here are some effective approaches:

Optimizing for AI-Generated Overviews

Google's AI overviews provides quick, synthesized answers directly in search results. To ensure your content is featured, you should:

  • Use structured data to help AI understand and pull relevant information from your content.
  • Focus on creating high-quality, authoritative content, as AI algorithms prefer reliable sources for their answers.

Diversifying Content Formats

AI increasingly favors diverse content types. To expand beyond traditional text and capture AI's attention, incorporate:

  • Videos, infographics, and podcasts are more engaging and likely to be picked up by AI systems.
  • Interactive tools like calculators, quizzes, and interactive infographics, which provide value and engagement.

Integrating Conversational AI and Chatbots

Utilize AI chatbots to provide instant answers and personalized recommendations. This approach not only improves user satisfaction and retention but also positions your business as responsive and technologically adept. 

For instance, deploying chatbots on your website and social media channels can handle customer inquiries in real-time, offering a seamless user experience.

Measuring Impact of AI on B2B SEO Metrics

Google has announced that webmasters will not be able to distinguish between performance metrics from AI Overviews and standard web search results within Google Search Console.

Here’s a screenshot from a release from SEOroundtable;

While this may complicate tracking and analysis, there are still effective strategies you can employ to measure the impact of AI on your B2B SEO efforts. See some key metrics to track;

Key metrics to track in the world of AI overviews

  • Brand vs. Non-Brand Search Impressions—Monitor the number of impressions your site receives for brand-related searches compared to non-brand searches. This can help you understand the visibility of your brand in AI-generated results.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR)—Track the CTR for both AI-driven and traditional search results. A higher CTR can indicate that your content is effectively capturing user interest.
  • Organic, Referral, and Direct Traffic—Examine the trends and relationships between organic, referral, and direct traffic. Understanding these patterns can reveal how AI-driven results influence overall site traffic.
  • Integrated Lead and Pipeline Data—Utilize integrated lead and pipeline data to enable full-funnel tracking to revenue. This holistic approach allows you to see how AI-generated traffic impacts your sales and conversion metrics.

Focusing on these metrics can help you gain valuable insights into the impact of AI on your Search Engine Optimization performance and also make informed decisions to optimize your B2B marketing strategies.

B2B SEO Challenges Brought on by AI Overviews

Reduced Click-Through Rates (CTR)

The fact that AI-generated overviews can directly answer user queries on search engine results pages (SERPs) will most likely reduce the need for users to click through to your website for detailed information. 

This trend is especially noticeable in informational B2B searches. A study by SparkToro found that nearly 65% of Google searches in 2020 ended without a click to another web property. This highlights how more users find the information they need directly on SERPs without visiting additional sites​.

Content Quality Concerns

Even if AI can rapidly generate content, there’s always a gap in terms of quality. AI generated content is less likely to meet the standards expected by B2B audiences who seek in-depth expertise and trust. 

When it comes to B2B content creation, a unique perspective and a human touch which AI-generated summaries may lack are often required. This discrepancy can lead to content that doesn't fully engage B2B readers, who value expertly crafted information.

Accuracy and Attribution Issues

Like we mentioned earlier, AI-generated overviews have faced criticism for inaccuracies and potential plagiarism. 

This raises concerns about the reliability of the information provided to users. Aside from that, the lack of clear citations within AI summaries can make it difficult for users to verify information and find the original sources.

Shifting User Behavior

With AI Overviews providing summaries directly on SERPs, user behavior might change. They might be more likely to scan summaries than dive into full websites. B2B SEO strategies need to adapt to this evolving behavior.

How to optimize for AI in search in the B2B SaaS Industry

Having recognized the transformative impact of AI in the B2B industry, here are some essential steps for B2B SaaS businesses to stay ahead of the curve;

Optimize for Featured Snippets

AI-driven search results often use featured snippets to provide direct answers to user queries. To optimize for them:

  • Use B2B SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find questions frequently asked by your target audience.
  • Provide clear and direct answers to these questions in your content. Use headings, bullet points, and numbered lists to structure your information.
  • Implement structured data to help search engines understand the content and increase the chances of being selected for a featured snippet.

Focus on High-Quality, In-Depth Content

It's no longer news that Google’s AIs favor content that demonstrates expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). To achieve this;

  • Create detailed content that covers topics thoroughly, offering real value to your audience. Not just AI generated content.
  • Incorporate insights from industry experts and thought leaders to add credibility to your content.
  • Keep your content fresh and relevant by updating it with the latest information and B2B SEO trends in your industry​.

Enhance User Experience (UX)

SEOs often overlook the importance of user experience (UX). However, it has long been a top-ranking factor in search algorithms. With the advent of AI, optimizing for UX has become even more important, as these technologies rely heavily on user experience to deliver effective results. Here are some tips to enhance your UX

  • Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to identify and fix issues slowing down your site.
  • With mobile searches on the rise, ensure your site is responsive all across devices.
  • Make it easy for users to find information quickly through clear navigation menus and internal linking.

Implement Technical SEO Best Practices

Technical SEO is important for ensuring that search engines can crawl and index your site effectively. Here are tips to ensure that;

  • Minimize HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to improve site performance.
  • Ensure all your important pages are included and submit them to search engines.
  • Regularly check for and fix any broken links to maintain a smooth user experience and help search engines navigate your site.

Optimize for Voice Search

With AI assistants' rise, voice search optimization has become increasingly important. According to recent statistics, voice search is used daily by more than 50% of adults worldwide. To enhance your chances of appearing in voice search results, consider the following tips;

  • Write content in a conversational tone that mirrors how people speak.
  • Focus on longer, more specific keyword phrases that are often used in voice searches.
  • Include question-and-answer formats in your content to match the query style of voice searches.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can AI be used for SEO?

AI can enhance SEO by optimizing content, conducting keyword research, analyzing competitors, fixing technical issues, and optimizing for voice search.

Is AI going to take over SEO?

AI will not completely take over SEO but will serve as a powerful tool. Human insight, creativity, adaptability, and ethical considerations remain crucial. AI will only complement human expertise by providing valuable data and recommendations to enhance SEO efforts.

Stay Ahead of the Curve with TripleDart B2B SaaS Marketing Agency

With everything happening in the digital marketing world today, innovation and agility are key to staying ahead as a B2B marketer. 

TripleDart B2B SEO Agency excels in offering tailored, data-driven strategies that help businesses navigate the complexities of modern SEO and digital marketing. 

Whether it's leveraging AI advancements or optimizing for the latest search trends, TripleDart ensures your business thrives. They successfully helped over 100+ B2B businesses drive traffic, enhance engagement, and boost growth. 

Their holistic approach includes everything from B2B performance marketing, SEO, and keyword research to LinkedIn B2B lead generation and social media strategies. And if you’re at the stage of choosing B2B ppc agency, you should consider them a perfect partner.

Key Takeaways

  • AI tool like Google AI Overview is transforming how search results are displayed, offering personalized and comprehensive responses directly in search queries.
  • B2B marketers need to focus on brand awareness, diversify content creation formats, and leverage AI-driven traffic to stay relevant.
  • Use structured data and create high-quality content to ensure visibility in AI-generated overviews.
  • Expect reduced click-through rates (CTR) and potential content quality concerns due to inaccuracies in AI-generated summaries.
  • Users may prefer scanning summaries in SERPs over visiting websites, necessitating a shift in B2B SEO strategy.
  • Implement best practices in technical SEO and enhance user experience to maintain and improve organic search rankings.
  • Optimize for voice search with conversational keywords to capture AI assistant queries.
  • Track metrics like brand vs. non-brand search impressions, CTR, organic referral, and direct traffic to assess the impact of AI on SEO performance​.
Manoj Palanikumar
Manoj Palanikumar
A Connoisseur at creating product-led marketing strategies that are equipped to approach both organic and paid channels.

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