There is a big change coming in SEO and Google search – SGE, Search Generative Experience. When I say big, I mean massive. It’s something that, here at Pod, we have been keeping a close eye on for a while. If you’ve not heard about it, let me tell you more.
In this article we will cover:
What is SGE?
SGE stands for Search Generative Experience. It is a new feature developed by Google that integrates generative AI into search engine results. Currently in the experimental stage, SGE displays a snapshot in the search results. It shares key information in a summarised, visual format.
The SGE search results will have links, images, and next steps, as well as a conversational mode to ask follow-up questions. You’ll be able to hover over specific words to get a preview of definitions.
In short, SEO and Search is changing. Organic traffic could drop as a result of SGE anywhere between 18% and 64%.
How will SGE Affect Your Online Business?
SGE will mean that it’s more difficult for your website to rank in SERPS – Search Engine Results Pages. It is expected to reduce the amount of organic traffic websites receive from search. That is unless those websites also rank in the few linked slots in the SGE panel.
So, what does SGE mean for you, our clients? When we discovered how much of a threat SGE represented to ranking, we were focused on one goal. We wanted to mitigate the risk of SGE and save you, our clients, from the expected traffic drops.
How Does SGE appear?
SGE will provide answers directly on the search page, which could mean fewer people clicking through to websites. This could result in zero-click results. Getting traffic to websites will definitely change.
SGE will display AI-generated answers above the standard search results listings. The carousel has room for 4+ positions but some of those who have tested SGE didn’t even realise. We know we need to target the top three positions.
When will SGE Become a Permanent Feature of Google Search?
SGE, in its experimental form, was initially launched in the US in May 2023, and then expanded to 120 more regions in November 2023.
It was originally set to launch in the UK in December 2023, but Google has removed that end date. The latest thoughts are February, but like with everything else SGE, we aren’t sure.
This suggests Google is still evaluating SGE’s performance. It will consider user feedback before deciding its long-term future.
What are the Differences Between the Current Google Search and SGE?
This comparison table below highlights how SGE aims to create a more interactive search experience. It intends to use AI to understand and respond to queries in a more contextual and nuanced manner compared to traditional Google Search.
Optimising for SGE
As previously mentioned, SGE is still in the experimental stage. However, we believe that ranking in SGE will be much easier if you are already ranking in the ‘regular’ organic results. This implies that SGE uses some of the same ranking signals Pod has been using in SEO for many years.
- High-quality content
- High-authority topical backlinks
- Decent website speed
- Positive user experience
However, ranking in the ‘regular’ organic results probably won’t be enough. Getting those all-important first few carousel slots won’t be achieved just from doing ‘regular’ SEO.
It will be important to optimise specifically for SGE results, even if you have the ‘SEO basics’ covered.
Google’s Search Generative Experience and User Intent:
SGE will aim to better understand and fulfil user intent. This will make it crucial for content creators to align their content more closely with what users are actually searching for:
- Content should not only be keyword-rich but also contextually relevant to what users are searching for.
- Content should be tailored to meet informational, navigational and transactional needs. It should address the exact questions or requirements users have when they enter a search query.
- We believe that SGE will prioritise content that provides a positive user experience.
- Pod will focus on creating content that closely matches the users’ search queries.
- With the evolving nature of user queries, content should be regularly updated and optimised to keep it relevant and useful.
What Content Does Google’s Search Generative Experience favour?
SGE has not been launched in the UK yet. Our research suggests writing content in short, straightforward sentences. Additionally it favours sentences and paragraphs that make a single point.
We believe that because SGE is designed to provide short, easy-to-read answers; it needs to reference short, easy-to-read sentences.
The content we write for our clients will include a summary, or answer to the user’s query, right at the beginning of any content. It’s something that is already working for featured snippets so it’s not too difficult to implement. We aim to summarise the answer to a question and give Google SGE the ‘support’ it needs for its answer.
Content Written by People for People
We’ve always believed here at Pod that content has to be useful to the user. We follow the Search Quality Evaluator Rating Guidelines that Google has put in place with E.E.A.T: Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
Your website content should be high-quality, created by knowledgeable and experienced authors, and provide trustworthy, accurate, and helpful information. It should fulfil the search intent of the user. E-E-A-T will become increasingly important after Google’s SGE release.
Your content needs to be written by real people for real people. Google needs its AI models to continue to improve based on new information on the web. And new information, including new perspectives, experience and ideas, can only come from real people.
Will Google’s SGE Affect Google Ads?
During this new SGE era, Google’s ad business continues to be a key area of focus. The company has consistently demonstrated an ability to seamlessly incorporate new features. Monetisation has always been at the forefront.
Innovations, such as SGE are expected to further bolster and refine Google’s ad strategy. It’s crucial to remember that Google tends to focus on features that help increase its income.
The introduction of SGE serves as an important alert. Nevertheless, it also opens the door to new possibilities. This is indeed an exciting time for digital marketing.
What is the Future of SEO and SGE?
Now, more than ever, it’s about giving the user what they want. In my role at Pod, myself and the team focus on continuous learning and adaptation. SEO is changing all the time, and for me that’s exciting. SEO is a bit like DIY on your home. You don’t decorate once and then it stays clean, fresh and en vogue forever. I’m always looking for the next change – the next big thing.
Search Generative Experience is the biggest change to happen in the SEO world for many years. We will do everything we can to be ready for it. This will involve strategic planning for SEO success in the SGE era and staying ahead of the curve.
Preparing for the Future of SEO with Search Generative Experience
There may be many challenges to face with the introduction of SGE; however, it also means opportunities. By staying ahead of the game, Pod Digital will continue to use innovative SEO strategies to keep your business ranking.
Call, email or fill in our contact form to chat to us about keeping your website ranking during the biggest change the world of SEO has seen in years.