SEO

How to use the ‘perfect click’ to optimize for AI-assisted search results

The perfect click refers to a click from a SERP that takes the user directly to the single best webpage or resource that directly solves their problem. 

The ultimate aim of assistive search features like Google’s AI Overviews and Bing’s Copilot is to bring the user down the funnel and get them to the Perfect Click without leaving the search interface (for now, that is a SERP).

Off-SERP assistive engines such as ChatGPT and Perplexity operate from a similar perspective. However, for this article, I will focus on Google’s AI Overviews and Bing Copilot, which are simply assistive engines integrated into the SERPs.

The perfect click is official

Fabrice Canel, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft Bing, has confirmed that they use this concept and term internally and that they are guiding the user on SERP to the ideal bottom-of-the-funnel action – conversion. 

Google hasn’t communicated about this but certainly has the same concept, perhaps by a different name.

A typical three-step marketing acquisition funnel

Marketers often represent acquisition as a funnel with three stages:

  • Awareness: Where the target audience becomes aware of a problem they need to solve and research to find the solution to that problem.
  • Consideration: Where the user researches which providers (company or person) offer a viable solution, and narrows down their choices to a select few.
  • Decision: Where the user makes their final choice about the most suitable solution for their problem and the best provider of that solution.
A typical three-step marketing acquisition funnel

Google’s AI Overviews mimics the acquisition funnel

The aim of Google’s AI Overviews and Bing’s Copilot is to guide the user through the funnel from awareness to the final decision. 

The assistive engine does this through a conversation between the human user and the machine. The user asks questions, and the assistive engine answers the question by:

  • Providing answers in the form of summaries from information found around the web. 
  • Making research suggestions based on behavioral data, query pools and information from the web. 
  • Making recommendations about solution providers based on algorithmic evaluations of E-E-A-T (N-E-E-A-T) credibility.

How to build a successful strategy for Google’s AI Overviews 

This strategy is universal. Bing Copilot, ChatGPT, Perplexity and Google Gemini all function the same way, and this approach satisfies the fundamental pillars and ticks all the right boxes.

The secret to optimizing for assistive search engines and assistive SERP features is to understand:

  • How the algorithms find, digest and communicate your content to users in the SERP (traditional SEO).
  • How your content fits into the funnel (marketing).
  • That the “who” behind the content is key (entity optimization).

Only the last point requires skills and strategies that are new. Luckily, it is very simple since it focuses on how well the algorithms understand the website owner (generally a corporation, but sometimes a person) and the content creator (generally a person, but sometimes a corporation).

Focus on the nature of the conversation between the human and the machine 

The human has a single goal: to find the best solution to their problem. The machine is designed to fulfill a single function: guide the human to the best solution to their problem. This is the perfect match.

The human starts this journey with sketchy knowledge of the problem, a very limited understanding of the possible solutions and little or no idea about credible solution providers.

The human is confident that the machine understands the problem, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the possible solutions and can reliably evaluate the credibility of the solution providers.

The machine/algorithm is in control.

The machine is single-minded about the funnel

The algorithms want to guide the human user down the funnel:

  • Provide helpful research information and advice in a way that reduces the time and effort a person needs to invest in research.
  • Identify the providers who can best solve the problem for the human user.
  • Help the human user identify the solution provider they are comfortable with.

You need to become the focus of the conversation between machine and human

As an SEO, you must influence the algorithms to act in your favor and guide their users to you rather than your competitors.

Let’s look at the marketing funnel again, adding what you want the machine to do for you on the left-hand side.

The perfect click in the context of the marketing funnel

Awareness

  • If the human user is unaware of you, you want the assistive engine to introduce you to the conversation. 
  • If the user is aware of you, then you want to ensure it doesn’t lead the user away from you. 
  • The human user is mostly in control at this stage.

Consideration

  • You are in the conversation, and you want the assistive engine to systematically place you first in every list of options and constantly re-introduce you to the conversation. 
  • The human user still feels in control but is unlikely to insist on you as a candidate for consideration if the assistive engine doesn’t naturally keep you in the conversation.

Decision

  • The choice is being narrowed down to one. The perfect click. 
  • The assistive engine (or assistive search feature) is now in control. 
  • You need to ensure that it prioritizes you and doesn’t guide the human user toward your competitor as a better solution provider. 

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Steps you can take to become the focus of the conversation between machine and human

To create a situation where the assistive engine algorithms make you the focus of its conversation with human users:

  • First, you must communicate understanding about who you are, what you offer and who you serve. 
  • Second, establish your credibility.
  • Third, ensure that you provide deliverable content that will ensure the assistive engine reliably includes you in the conversation more often than not.
The perfect click

Your aim is to become the ideal candidate for the perfect click 

Assistive engines like ChatGPT and assistive search features like Google’s AI Overviews aim to get the user to the perfect click within their own walled garden. Your aim is that the Perfect Click they choose to present to the user is you. 

There is only one single perfect click. the perfect click is the click that converts. you cannot allow the perfect click to go to your competitor.

To get the perfect click, focus on three pillars in this order of importance: 

  • Understanding (you need to educate it about yourself).
  • Credibility (you need to convince it you are the most legitimate solution provider).
  • Deliverability (you need to provide the educational content that will encourage it to cite you as it guides people to the perfect click).

The key to optimizing for Google’s AI Overviews: Build the traditional marketing funnel

If you look at the illustration of the funnel above, it seems that we are building the funnel upside down. That is a question of perspective. A perspective that many people have 

Google can only start to consider your credibility as a solution if it understands who you are, what you offer and who you serve. 

Once it understands who you are and believes that you are a credible solution provider, it will be enthusiastic about introducing you to the conversation it is having with its human user. 

Your content will only be a candidate for visibility on assistive features of search engines, answer engines and assistive engines if the algorithms understand you, your offer and your credibility.

These engines are designed to guide the human user down the funnel to the best (most credible or recommendable) solution to their problem. 

They need to:

  • Understand who you are (solution provider).
  • Be convinced of your credibility and trustworthiness to deliver that solution.
  • Have access to your branded content so it can deliver a convincing argument for you.

The last point is hugely important since it demonstrates that the assistive engines and their algorithms are delivering your sales pitch for you.

The perfect click as the future of SEO

How can you ensure that the assistive engines and assistive search features reliably and regularly bring the right people to the perfect click?

Tell search engines clearly who you are, what you do, and why you’re trustworthy. Then, provide detailed information so they can consistently recommend you to users and guide potential customers through your sales process, leading them to click directly on your most conversion-ready page.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for Search Engine Land and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the search community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

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About the author

Jason Barnard

Contributor

Jason Barnard is an entrepreneur, writer and CEO of Kalicube, a digital marketing agency and groundbreaking software company based in France. Jason is also a digital marketer known as the “The Brand SERP Guy.” Jason’s first book, “The Fundamentals of Brand SERPs for Business,” was published in 2022. Jason has more than 25 years experience in digital marketing, he started promoting his first website in the year Google

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