What is SGE? How AI is Reshaping SEO and How To Get Ready For The Changes.

Apr 16, 2024
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AI is changing everything, so digital marketing was unlikely to remain untouched. But what is happening? How will AI impact our digital marketing strategies? And with huge developments like Google’s AI Search Generative Experience (SGE) supposedly being rolled out very soon, what does it all mean for SEO?

Today, I want to examine how this shift to using AI in digital marketing will impact our SEO and what strategies we need to consider to ensure we keep our hard-won spots on Page One.

What is SGE?

First, let's take a look at SGE. SGE is Google’s new Search Generative Experience, designed to rethink how search engines understand and answer users' queries. 

Google's SGE creates AI-generated content directly in the search results by summarising relevant internet content in a way that best aligns with the user’s intent. 

Do they want to know how to do something, buy something, or compare a few options before deciding on the best solution?

Google, in its wisdom, can work out the user's intent by analysing their query and delivering an answer that, in theory, gives them exactly what they want.

Instead of returning a list of different pages, Google summarises the relevant posts for their users, making them happier Google customers as they’ve been given a much easier way of finding out the information than trawling through a long list of blog posts or website pages.

Google does the heavy lifting by summarising the best results into simple AI-generated answers.

Where Will These SGE Results Show Up?

It’s not 100% clear where the SGE results will show up, as they’re still in the beta phase, but it’s most probable that they’ll be displayed at the top of the SERPs before the organic results.

Ads might be included in the SGE result, but again, it’s not clear. They might be placed above the organic results, which would push the organic results further down the page and make them even less visible. 😱😱😱😱

Let’s have a look at the anatomy of a potential SGE result in Google.

When Is SGE Being Rolled Out?

Search Generative Experience is currently in beta in the United States and 120 other countries, but is not yet available in Europe. 

There’s all sorts of speculation as to why, from GDPR implications to the environmental impact of the computing power required to holding back until they sort their business model out and start charging people to use SGE search.

But whatever the reason, SGE will most probably be coming to a country near you this year, 2024 or next.

What Does This Mean For Your SEO Strategy?

If you’re a glass-half-empty type, then there are some bumpy times ahead for your SEO strategy.

It’s out with keyword stuffing and playing the system with questionable SEO strategies, but really, you weren’t doing that kind of thing anyway, were you?

If you look on the bright side of things, then there could be some really great opportunities on the horizon.

Yes, you’ll probably end up showing up much further down the search results, but you’ve got the chance to be included in that fabulous SGE snippet, which could be even better than what you could have achieved before.

If you create super-optimised, well-researched, and value-laden content, you could actually have a better chance of being found.

How To Thrive In SGE Dominated SERPs

There are lots of things you might be able to do to boost your chances of showing up in the SGE snippets. Here are six things you can start thinking about.

1. Optimising Your Google Business Profile

Local search results are likely to be even more prominent once SGE is rolled out, so you need to be ready.  Your Google Business Profile needs to be fully optimised and 100% accurate so you have more of a chance of being included in the results. 

2. Including Engaging Visuals

Make sure you include great images in your content, including tables, infographics, and examples. Make sure your posts and pages include images that are relevant and add value to your content. This will make it more likely for you to be used as an SGE source.

3. Creating Meaningful Content

It’s highly likely that you’ll need to make sure your content delivers even more value if you want to appear in the SGE snippets. This is not new; Google is very clear on its EEAT principles and how important quality content is to ranking well in the search results, but if SGE becomes the norm, it will be even more important.

Here's an article all about how to create quality content that might give you a helping hand to get ready for SGE.

Simple how-to articles and basic informational content probably won’t cut the mustard in an SGE world. Google will be looking for informative, engaging content that gives much deeper insight, shares personal experiences, and includes interactive content like quizzes or polls.

4. Understanding User Intent and Their Queries 

Start thinking about the different questions users might ask about your products and services and create content to answer them. Yup, we’re back to good old keyword research. Also, make sure you understand the user’s search intent and create content designed to satisfy that.

5. Focusing On Technical SEO

Make sure that your technical SEO, things like site speed, mobile optimisation, and user-friendly navigation, are in ship shape, as these factors are big contributors to positive user experience and engagement and could make Google feel more inclined to add you to an SGE snippet.  

6. Using Structured Data

Structured data helps search engines understand your website's content more clearly, and SGE will rely heavily on it when choosing which articles and pages to use for its snippets.

So, make sure that your structured data is set up properly, including using Schema.org tags to describe your products, services, reviews and so on.

A structured data strategy is going to be especially important for product-based e-comm businesses as well as for getting your blog found, so start looking into things like referencing author information, date, mentions, reading time, summary and so on.

If you're interesting in getting started with setting up your schema markup, have a read of this article.

Now you Know What SGE Is and How To Get Ready for the Rollout.

While the timing of when SGE is going to be rolled out is still in the air, there’s no doubt that AI is coming to the search results, and you need to be prepared.

We’ve looked at six things you can do to start getting ready, from creating quality content and adding great visual elements to really understanding your visitor's reasons for searching for information and getting your head around schema markup.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to the AI revolution, or is this taking things too far?

Let me know, and of course, if you’ve got any questions, drop me a line.

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