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Mastering SEO in the Era of Large Language Models: Evolving Tactics for LLM-Powered Search Enginesby@patriciadehemricourt
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2,767 reads

Mastering SEO in the Era of Large Language Models: Evolving Tactics for LLM-Powered Search Engines

by Patricia de Hemricourt5mMay 11th, 2023
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Large Language Models (LLMs) are revolutionizing the way search engines understand and process queries. LLMs excel in parsing natural, conversational language. Instead of focusing solely on keywords, aim to understand the broader topics and themes your audience is interested in. Incorporate synonyms, related terms, and contextually relevant content.
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The digital landscape is constantly changing, and to stay relevant, we must adapt and evolve. One such evolution in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) is the emergence of Large Language Models (LLMs) in powering search engines. This shift necessitates a fresh look at SEO strategies. But don't fret – we're here to demystify this progression and offer you a roadmap to success.


Embracing LLMs: The New Titans of Search

Large Language Models, like GPT-4, are revolutionizing the way search engines understand and process queries.


Try Microsoft Bing search to see the difference in action!

Running the same search on Google and on Microsoft Bing returns vastly different answers.



Google search results


Microsoft Bing search results



One is the familiar list of sources that can be accessed to find an answer, while the other is an articulate answer that refers to some select sources. Practically, this means that, unless you are one of the very few sites quoted by Bing, no one will even know you exist 😨


Traditional search engines relied heavily on keyword matching. But LLMs, with their advanced understanding of natural language, context, and semantics, take search to a new level. They aim to grasp the user's intent, not just their keywords, making SEO less about keyword stuffing and more about meaningful, valuable content.


So, how do you adapt your SEO tactics for LLM-powered search engines?

SEO for LLMs: Shifting from Keywords to Context

1. Optimize for Semantic Search

With LLMs' prowess in understanding context, optimizing your content for semantic search is crucial. Instead of focusing solely on keywords, aim to understand the broader topics and themes your audience is interested in. Incorporate synonyms, related terms, and contextually relevant content. This approach aligns with LLMs' ability to comprehend the meaning behind search queries, not just the words used.


Do: If your primary keyword is "apple," make sure your content includes related terms like "fruit," "nutrition," "recipes," and "health benefits."

2. Use Natural Language and Long-Tail Keywords

LLMs excel in parsing natural, conversational language. As such, you should strive to create content that reflects how people speak and search in real life, including the use of long-tail keywords. These keywords, often in the form of questions or statements, mirror the way users interact with voice assistants and provide more context to LLMs.


Do: Instead of focusing solely on a keyword like "coffee beans," a long-tail keyword could be "best place to buy organic coffee beans online."

3. Create In-Depth, Quality Content

Content remains king in the realm of SEO. The better your content, the more likely it will resonate with both your audience and LLM-powered search engines. Create informative, high-quality content that offers value and comprehensively covers your topic. This naturally leads to the inclusion of contextually relevant keywords and phrases that LLMs can latch onto.


Do: Instead of writing a 500-word article about "how to care for succulents," you might write a 2000-word guide that covers everything from choosing the right succulent to troubleshooting common problems.


4. Structure Data and Use Schema Markup

To help LLMs understand the context of your content, include structured data and Schema markup in your website. These elements provide explicit clues about the meaning of a page and might enhance your odds to be among the select few quoted in the answer.


Do: if you're writing a recipe, you could use Schema markup to indicate ingredients, cooking time, calorie count, and ratings.


5. Prioritize E.A.T. Principles

E.A.T. stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These principles, though not formally recognized by Google, are believed to be crucial for a page's quality and its ranking in search results. By providing well-researched, accurate, and valuable content, you signal to LLMs (and your audience) that your website is a reputable source of information.


We've mentioned a few times in this piece that adapting to LLM-powered search engines is all about embracing context and natural language. And yes, that includes this very article you're reading now! We've structured this content to be easily digestible by LLMs, incorporating long-tail keywords, semantic search principles, and valuable information on the topic at hand.


6. Embrace the Opportunities of Voice Search

As LLMs are designed to understand and interpret natural, conversational language, they're especially adept at handling voice search queries. Today, with the ubiquity of digital assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, voice search is a rapidly growing segment of online search behavior.


To make the most of this shift, optimize your content for voice search. The key here is to understand that voice searches are typically longer, more conversational, and often framed as questions. So, try to incorporate these elements into your content, anticipate the questions your audience might ask, and provide clear, concise answers.


Do: Make sure your content answers the questions that people might ask their digital assistants. For example, a blog post titled "How to make French press coffee" could be optimized for voice search by including a section that answers the question "What's the best coffee-to-water ratio for a French press?"


7. Adapt to User Intent

In the world of LLM-powered search engines, understanding user intent is crucial. These advanced models are designed to comprehend not just what users are saying, but what they mean. Are they looking for a quick answer to a question, or are they doing in-depth research? Are they in the mood to buy, or are they just browsing?


By understanding and adapting to user intent, you can tailor your content to meet the needs of your audience, creating a better user experience and potentially improving your search rankings.


Do: Take intent into account when producing content, for example, if someone searches for "best smartphone 2023," they're probably looking for reviews and comparisons, not just a list of new releases.


SEO for LLMs: Keeping Some Tried-and-Tested Techniques

Foster a Network of Content: Internal Linking

Internal linking is another practical SEO tactic for the age of LLMs. By creating a network of links between your content, you help LLMs understand the relationship and context between different pieces of content. This not only improves the user experience by making your site easier to navigate, but it also gives LLMs valuable information about the structure and content of your site.

Stay Current: Keep Learning and Adapting

Finally, remember that SEO is a dynamic and ever-changing field. As LLMs continue to evolve, new tactics and strategies will inevitably emerge. Stay informed about the latest developments in the field, and don't be afraid to experiment and innovate. After all, the only constant in SEO is change!


In the era of LLM-powered search engines, SEO is less about gaming the system and more about creating valuable, high-quality content that meets the needs of your audience. By understanding and leveraging the power of LLMs, you can improve your SEO strategy and better connect with your audience. And remember, this very article is optimized for LLM search engines – proof that the future of SEO is here, and it's more exciting than ever!