What is Google's New Search Generative Experience, and How Will It Impact Small Businesses
July 4, 2023
Small businesses and startups have long depended on SEO. This critical function brings customers to your website, driving traffic and (hopefully) eventually turning them into paying customers.
But times are changing in the search world. The advent of generative AI has the world's largest companies scrambling to update their functionality. Google is among the leaders of this innovative wave — the tech behemoth's new Search Generative Experience may disrupt the SEO landscape.
This article takes a look at this emerging situation, letting you know what Google has planned and how you can prepare your small business for the coming SEO revolution.
What is Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE)?
Artificial intelligence has become one of the key concepts for 2023. Since the launch of ChatGPT, most of the big names in tech have rushed to ramp up their AI technologies. This has become critically important in search, leading to a series of AI-related upgrades.
Google’s Search Generative Experience, or SGE, represents one of these models. The service, currently being tested in the company's Search Labs, is meant to provide a more detailed, targeted response to user queries. It also provides a critical link with businesses, as a portion of the results specifically point to shopping options.
Here's how it works. A user puts a query in Google. The SGE function returns information in what the company has described as "an AI-powered snapshot of key information." This uses artificial intelligence to build a summary of the key information in a few paragraphs.
From there, Google provides a series of next steps. These include links and the ability to ask follow-up questions. Part of this function involves a "conversational mode," allowing you to ask more about the subject under investigation.
Google's SGE also has a direct link to businesses. Along with its snapshot and next-steps features, the process also includes a shopping component. This also leverages AI, giving users (in Google's words) "a snapshot of noteworthy factors to consider and products that fit the bill."
How does Google's SGE impact traditional SEO strategies?
Some of the changes that Google is planning with its SGE advancements have already become controversial. This begins with the AI-generated snapshot. As detailed in a recent report by CNBC, many content creators fear this function will be too comprehensive, eliminating the need for users to click.
The core of this concern stems from the fact that the snapshot function provides an encapsulated answer to a user's question. Providing too much information here makes it less likely that a person will click on the link, since the solution is already summarized by Google's AI. All your well-considered SEO, meant to bring curious readers to your perfectly honed content, could become a waste of effort.
This scenario could dramatically impact click-through-rates for sites that rely on this form of SEO to attract potential customers. Your target audience might never reach your website, even though your content was ideally tailored to their needs.
[Google's SGE] could dramatically impact click-through-rates for sites that rely on this form of SEO to attract potential customers. Your target audience might never reach your website, even though your content was ideally tailored to their needs.
How can brands prepare for SGE?
While all the fears concerning Google’s AI technology might not come to pass, SGE still represents a major change in SEO. As such, the coming changes in search technology will significantly alter content plans. Your website has been honed by current SEO standards to drive traffic and entice your target customer base. However, you'll need to reorient your tactics to meet the new reality.
What does this mean in practice? You'll need flexibility and information to compete. Here are a few steps you should follow to prepare for the eventual mass rollout of SGE:
Learn as much as you can
Knowledge will be crucial to keeping your business in front of potential customers. Devote time to research — understand as much as possible about Google SGE specifically and about generative AI in general. This information will help you take advantage of every opportunity available.
Stay current with a fast-changing environment
The world of search will change quickly in the coming months and years. You need to stay up to date as conditions evolve. As such, make learning an ongoing obsession. Budget time and resources to remain current with search and AI best practices.
Connect with cutting-edge SEO experts
As a small business, you might not have an expansive SEO department. This lack of specialized knowledge could put you behind the competition. To shrink this gap, look for outside experts to help. Over time, you can consider boosting your internal staff. Until then, reach out to third-party providers to help you navigate the changing environment.
Constantly gather and analyze data
You've probably been doing this all along. However, it will become even more crucial as Google and other search engines alter the rules of the game. Question all your assumptions surrounding search and mine as many actionable insights as possible from the data you receive.
Regularly review your content offerings
This is the end game of all the information you gather. Your content selection should integrate everything you learn about SEO and your own data insights. Use these to fashion the optimal content to grab attention, attract readers, and set yourself up for a high conversion rate.
How can companies capitalize on SGE?
Now you have some broad strategies to help prepare for SGE and other AI-based search innovations. At the same time, you want to do more than keep up. You also want to thrive in the new environment. With that in mind, here are three tips to help you capitalize on the fresh updates:
1. Structure your content correctly
Even with the advent of generative AI, you'll have the ability to maximize SEO. You just need to stay current with best practices and use all the tools available. For instance, leveraging a Schema Markup is one technique for achieving the search boost you need.
2. Get featured in the next-steps links
While AI will summarize the broad strokes for any user, there is still an opportunity to secure a click. You just need to target the SGE's next-step links. By becoming a repository of in-depth information, you can continue to provide value for your target audience. This will lead to traffic and, eventually, sales.
3. Build a loyal audience
Make sure your target audience returns to you often. In a world dominated by generative AI, you'll need to offer something extra. Build that understanding into your content strategy.
The future won't be about capturing the casual reader. Instead, you'll want to offer unique insights and exhaustive deep dives. Nurture a community. This will enhance your brand and have potential customers targeting your website.
The future [of SEO strategies] won't be about capturing the casual reader. Instead, you'll want to offer unique insights and exhaustive deep dives.
Getting ready for the new search reality of Google SGE
Google's new Search Generative Experience is on the way. The new paradigm, along with innovations being contemplated at other tech giants, will change how traditional SEO works. You need to be ready.
The information in this article will help you prepare your small business or startup for the changing environment. Use the insights here to start your new SEO journey, positioning yourself to profit from the next wave of AI-fueled innovation.