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SEO for AI (yep, it’s a thing!)

One thing we enjoy covering on this podcast is up and coming tactics and terminology you need to know as a healthcare marketer. Though you may or may not choose to prioritize new tactics, knowing about them and not being surprised during a hallway conversation is key. 

Today, we will cover the basics around SEO for generative AI platforms, specifically discussing:

  1. What is SEO for AI
    Essentially, how do you get your organization to show up in AI results, alongside relevant studies and data?

  2. Acronyms you need to know
    • LLMO – Large Language Model Optimization
    • GEO – Generative Engine Optimization
    • GAIO – Generative AI Optimization
    • AIO – AI Optimization
  1. What is LLM, why do you need to know about it, and how does it work?
    When it comes to training AI models, there are mathematical models that help understand natural language, LLMs. Understanding even a little about how these LLMs train for relevance can help you optimize for AI.
  1. Four cornerstones to thinking about SEO for AI
    • Be robust in your research and keyword identification to understand what real people are asking
    • Get official – include citations, relevant sources, and statistics
    • Make sure you’re technically sound; put keywords in your schema and code to make sure AI platforms can understand what your website is about
    • Traditional marketing and PR helps build your authority and trust – continue these efforts!

As promised, here are the resources we mentioned on the podcast:

Connect with Jenny:

Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi, friends. Welcome to today’s episode of “We Are, Marketing Happy,” a healthcare marketing podcast. My name is Jenny Bristow. I am the CEO and founder at Hedy & Hopp. We are a full service, fully healthcare marketing agency, and I am the host of your show. I am jazzed to be here with you today. And I’m going to be talking about a topic today that I’m going to be honest, I never thought this was a phrase that would come out of my mouth, but we’re going to be talking about SEO for AI. 

So, one of the things I’d love to do on this podcast and that I do regularly with all of our clients is I raise the flag and help them be aware of different trends and buzzwords that are coming into our healthcare marketing vernacular, because the last thing you want to be as a healthcare marketing leader is surprised in a leadership team meeting or a meeting with one of your peers in your organization, when they ask you about something, and you’ve been so busy doing your day to day job, you aren’t even [00:01:00] aware that it’s on the radar.

So that’s what we’re going to do today. We’re going to talk about the trend of trying to optimize content marketing for AI platforms. So what does that mean? That means trying to have your organization show up in ChatGPT results, for example, as the most foundational example. And there’s a couple of things we’re going to cover today.

We’re going to start by talking about what SEO for AI is. I’m going to cover the acronyms you need to know, because this is a fast moving space and there’s a couple of acronyms floating around to try to cover this practice. Nothing’s been settled on yet. So we’re going to go through them. We’re going to talk about high-level how large language models work.

I am not going to get scientific on you today, but I am going to share some resources if you want to learn about it later, but I need to give you a 101, because we’re going to talk about four areas to focus on. If you’re wanting to start experimenting and testing out SEO for AI platforms, what are the areas you should be leading your [00:02:00] team to research, begin testing, et cetera, to start seeing how it can work for your organization.

So let’s dig in. First, what is this? So I’m sure you’ve heard about AI. It’s all over. Generative AI is something that you really can’t get away from today. It is going to be impacting our roles and our functions in the marketing world, especially in healthcare marketing. AI has really come on the scene strong on the clinical side, but we’re also seeing it creep in on the marketing side.

In fact, SHSMD is putting on a multi part series on AI. I’m actually speaking. In the virtual series. Um, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes, uh, next Friday, with my colleague, uh, Mark Brandes, and we’re going to be covering basics, like what different kinds of AI are there? What are some ways that you can begin incorporating AI into your marketing processes today, et cetera.

So all of this is new and fast moving, but in essence, what we’re [00:03:00] talking about is trying to help make your organization show up in generative AI results. So if a consumer in your market area were to type, who’s the leading Oncology center for breast cancer, positive outcomes. You want your center to show up along with studies or data to be able to back that up.

So that’s the foundation of what we’re talking about. How do you get your information to show up more and more consumers are using platforms like ChatGPT and Perplexity as search engines instead of going to Google or Bing. So you want to make sure you’re relevant. As far as acronyms, there are four adorable little acronyms.

Uh, acronyms floating out in the space, just like when SEO started, uh, way back in the nineties, it’s a wild, wild west and four that you need to know about that you may see floating around. The first is LLMO, which stands for large language model optimization. [00:04:00] The second is GEO, which stands for Generative Engine Optimization.

The third is GAIO, Generative AI Optimization. And the fourth and the one we’re going to be using today, because it’s just cute, is AIO, which is AI Optimization. So that’s the one we’re going to be sticking with. But I’m going to put all of those names in the show notes again. So in case you want to just see them so you can remember them and process them easily.

If you see them referenced in any sort of industry publication or by your peers, you’ll quickly realize what they’re talking about and referencing. A little bit of history, for those of you that maybe were on the communications or PR side of the marketing world coming into your careers, whenever SEO first came around, it was in the nineties, whenever consumer facing search engines first became popular, it really was the wild, wild west.

There was no documentation about what worked and what didn’t work. Um, I actually started a web development company [00:05:00] in seventh grade. And so at that time that was a 1997 through 1999, one of the popular methods was literally typing the phrase you wanted to rank for in Google or whatever the search engine of the time was that you were aiming for a hundred times at the bottom of the website with white text on a white background.

The user couldn’t see it, but the search engine could see it. It was really rough, right? Rough around the edges. But what you were trying to do is help the engine understand what your website was. Was about what information are you helpful for, for people that are searching? What information do you want to show up for?

It quickly became much more technically sophisticated than that, but it started out really basic. And so going into AIO. Oh, it feels weird to say that. But as we’re thinking about AIO, there’s a couple of foundational things from the SEO world that you’re going to see transition over really cleanly.

Um, one, an acronym you need to be aware of [00:06:00] is EAT. It stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. And that’s an acronym that really guides an SEO practitioner’s best practices as they’re thinking about content creation, website optimization, et cetera. If you really do well on expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, you’re much more likely to rank for those phases.

And that’s going to be true based off what we’re seeing for AIO as well. So really important to understand a lot of the foundations from SEO do carry over for AIO based off what’s being seen today. So let’s talk a little bit about, um, LLMs, large language models and natural language processing. So, a lot of these generative AI platforms and tools, you’re thinking about ones that consumers use today.

Again, like ChatGPT, that’s one of the easiest examples and most frequently cited, but there are many other, their training [00:07:00] models really are a black box. They do not share with people how their models are trained, but there’s a couple mathematical components that are generally understood to be part of that formula and really understanding natural language processing is important if you’re thinking about semantic search and how people use words.

All of this is really common sense as a marketer. They just put lots of different technical language around how the math is calculated. But if you’re using a variation of the keywords you’re trying to rank for and the proximity of those keywords are close together, then you’re more likely, um, to be relevant for those sorts of queries.

So there’s a really wonderful article, um, by search engine land. We’re going to list it in the show notes. It is a very long article and it really breaks down visually how, um, LLMs work, how [00:08:00] the databases and models are trained, um, and lots of helpful information. If you want to dig into the scientific side, but the end of the day, they really are trying to, use those words to train their models about relevance.

Because again, what they’re wanting to do is give the most relevant information at the most relevant time. So the data you put in, as far as the keywords and the way you structure it, just like with SEO, is going to be, again, the foundation of how you have to think about it. So that’s, as far as we’re going to get into LLMs, I don’t want to get any more technical than that, but hopefully that information is helpful.

So if you’re wanting to get started, how in the world are you going to get started? Well, um, I was jazzed whenever I saw this last month, but there is a study. Um, actually done through Princeton University. It was a group of students, and they actually did a study on how to optimize content for generative AI.

And again, I’m [00:09:00] going to link to the study in the show notes. But they really found a handful of things to be most relevant. Search Engine Land also has a handful of things that are most relevant. And then my internal team has been doing a lot of testing, so there’s a handful of things that also we think are the most relevant.

So I’m going to share with you four areas to focus on. If you’re going to want to begin testing AIO within your own organization, but I do have to share a really big caveat. Even in the Princeton study, they were very clear that, hey, these models are moving fast. Their training data is moving fast. The way that they’re aggregating and sharing results is really moving fast.

So what works today may not work tomorrow. And for anybody in the SEO world, you already know that that’s exactly how Google is today. What you do to rank well today, you may be number one today and tomorrow you may fall down to page 10 because they changed their algorithm. So we’re used to that uncertainty.

If you’re a marketer that does [00:10:00] anything within SEO. But again, that’s just something to keep in mind. What works today isn’t necessarily going to work tomorrow. But with that in mind, here’s four areas that you should focus on. First, you should hopefully be doing this as part of your overall content marketing within your organization, but getting much more robust in your research and your keyword identification.

So really understanding the queries consumers have that are relevant to you that you can help answer and then the variations of keywords. So instead of just oncology center, breast cancer, also cancer center breast cancer. Lots of these variations of the ways that people actually speak and talk. I remember back whenever I was doing work, um, for a hospital system, we were trying to optimize the cardiology section of the website and we wanted to put “heart doctor” in a few pages and the physician that was in charge of the department got really angry and said that that is not what they were called and we had to show them the data that that’s what consumers are calling you.

They don’t maybe know the [00:11:00] word cardiology. So you have to have that same lens on your research and your strategy as a step one. What truly are people asking that we can provide, um, credible information and help about, and then what words are they using? It isn’t necessarily the words about what we call our services.

What are they calling it and making sure that we include that in the execution of the content. So that’s number one. Number two is get official. Remember that EAT acronym: expertise, authority and trustworthiness. Here’s where you really can focus on that you want to make sure that you’re including citations, quotations from relevant sources, and statistics.

So anything that you can include to show that you’re not just talking, what you’re sharing is relevant and real, and you’re referencing third parties and you’re including statistics to really make sure the information you’re sharing is accurate. Anything around that authority and trust is important to include in your content marketing and the work that you put out.

Number three [00:12:00] is making sure you’re technically sound. Kind of going back to when I was talking about SEO in the 90s, search engines literally had no way to understand what you did if you didn’t put the words in the website. That’s still true today, but today you need to be a little bit more technically structured in the way that you include it in your content.

So thinking about snippets and structured data or schema markup. So in the code, in the website, or in whatever platform you’re publishing content on making sure that you’re putting the right keyword and keyword variations within the code. So that way the AI platform and the models can ingest your information appropriately.

And the fourth thing across the board, both the Princeton University study and Search Engine Land’s website said that traditional marketing and PR. So the work you’re doing around your content marketing and around your organization builds authority and trust. And it’s really important and valuable to continue doing that [00:13:00] because the more signs that these AI platforms see that you are trustworthy and worthwhile to quote, the more likely you are to be included in these studies.

Or these outputs for the queries. So again, I do not recommend that you completely change what you’re doing today from an SEO perspective to try to adhere to starting to show up in these generative AI outputs. But if you do already have a content marketing team within your organization and you have an SEO function, I would strongly share this podcast recording with them, encourage them to read all of the articles and studies I’m going to reference in the show notes, and encourage them to put some thoughts together and share it with you as far as how they’re going to start testing these different strategies with the content your organization is putting out. 

Foundationally, it’s not very different from what you’re needing to do from an SEO perspective, but there certainly are different, uh, test queries that [00:14:00] you could use to be able to see if your content begins showing up as far as an output from a reporting perspective.

So, I hope this episode on AIO or LLMO or GEO or GAIO was helpful. Things are moving fast. I promise to do a follow up episode, um, when additional meaningful information is shared. But as of today, I hope this gave you a good foundational understanding of what it is, why you need to start paying attention and how you can start dipping your toe in.

Thank you again for tuning in. As always, if this episode was helpful, please subscribe, like, share, give me feedback on future episode topics you would like to see. And until next time, have a fabulous rest of your day and I’ll see you on a future episode of We Are Marketing Happy. Cheers.



About the Author

The Hedy & Hopp digital production team is the glue that keeps all activation work running. From auditing websites and tagging, to content strategy and CRM implementation, our digital production unicorns ensure the tiniest detail is reviewed and accurate before it gets to our clients. Their determination in finding solutions for any challenge makes this team marketing happy.

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