What exactly is Generative Engine Optimisation (GEO)?

April 2, 2024

What is Generative Engine Optimisation and how does it differ to SEO?

There’s a new buzzword floating around the SEO world: Generative Engine Optimisation, or GEO. But what exactly is GEO, and what does it mean for the world of digital marketing?

What exactly is Generative Engine Optimisation?

Generative Engine Optimisation (GEO) is a new concept in search, which optimises website content for visibility in responses generated by AI-driven search engines, (or ‘generative engines’).  

Probably the easiest way to explain GEO is to compare it against SEO. Whilst being similar concepts, the key difference between SEO and GEO lies in the type of search engines they target. While SEO is designed for traditional search engines that list websites in response to a user’s query, GEO is designed for AI-driven search engines that generate comprehensive responses.  Recently, the digital marketing community has become more focussed on how to optimise for greater visibility in AI searches (Google SGE, BingChat, ChatGPT etc).

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between SEO and GEO

Both SEO and GEO aim to increase the visibility of websites, but they do so in different ways, and in response to different types of search engines.  


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is a well-known digital marketing strategy that focuses on optimising websites to rank higher in traditional search engine results pages (SERPs), i.e. the Google listings. 

SEO involves using targeted keywords, creating high-quality content, and building backlinks, among other tactics. SEO is primarily concerned with how search engines like Google and Bing crawl and index websites.

Generative Engine Optimisation (GEO)


GEO is a newer concept that has emerged in response to the rise of AI-driven search engines, also known as generative engines. These engines, such as Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) and BingChat, go beyond simply retrieving information. They generate comprehensive responses by combining information from multiple sources. GEO involves optimising content to increase its visibility in the responses generated by these AI-driven search engines.  


So what should digital marketers be doing to optimise for AI-driven search engines?

For digital marketers, GEO tactics may involve including citations, quotations from relevant sources, and statistics. Including these elements in website content can significantly boost a website’s visibility in AI search results.

Digital marketers must also become familiar with the metrics used to measure GEO success, which differ from those used in SEO. In SEO, metrics such as click-through rate, bounce rate, and time spent on page are commonly used. However, these traditional metrics may not be sufficient for generative engines. Instead, GEO proposes a set of impression metrics that measure the visibility of citations and their relevance to the user query. 

Do I need to create different content for GEO?


The advent of GEO means that content marketers and digital marketing agencies will need to consider how to create content that will work for both traditional SEO, and the newer AI-driven search engines. So, as digital marketers, do we need to create different content for GEO?

The answer seems to be, not necessarily: you can create content that ticks the boxes for both SEO and GEO. The key is to create high-quality content, and this has been a key principle of traditional SEO for years now anyway.
But, if you would like some specific pointers on how to make your content ‘GEO friendly’, here are some useful tips:

Keywords: Integrate relevant keywords throughout your content to align with classical SEO practices. As with SEO, maintain a natural voice and readability, and always avoid keyword-stuffing, to avoid penalties for over-optimisation. Your content should be unique and compelling: have something interesting to say that your audience will want to hear. 

Cite Sources: As mentioned previously, when it comes to GEO it’s important to enhance the credibility of your content by citing reliable sources.

Include Statistics: Incorporating quantitative data to support your arguments can make your content more convincing and informative.

Include Quotes: Including quotations from experts or relevant sources adds depth and authority to your content.

Simplify: Try to make complex concepts easy to understand, to appeal to a broader audience. And as with any written content, ensure your content is free from grammatical errors to enhance reader experience.

Be Authoritative: As ever, your content should show that you are the expert in your field. Adopt an authoritative tone of voice and tell your audience what they need to know.

If you need help optimising your site, whether for SEO, GEO, or both, we can help. We’re an award-winning digital marketing agency based in Manchester. Get in touch today for a chat.