AI has underpinned Google search for years, and soon it’s going to be front and centre.
Following the announcement of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) earlier in the year, testing phase has been in full swing, with new features announced seemingly every week. But what is it and how can you get ahead?
What is SGE?
SGE will ultimately change the way we receive answers in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), and may also influence how we search, so what will it look like?
- AI Snapshots
To help users get to the information they want quickly, AI will generate ‘snapshots’ of useful information that will be served on certain search queries. This will include written information and image thumbnails.
Google will be serving real people’s perspectives on a topic in the results pages, whether it’s through social channels like X (previously Twitter), TikTok or opinions from forums and review sites.
- Follow ups
You’ll soon be able to refine search queries by tapping ‘follow up’ without the need to enter a whole new search query.
- Informational Journey
In shopping, generative AI will showcase key product information, up to date reviews, ratings and prices to make purchase decisions easier.
- Image generation
An interactive way to visualise an idea and spark ideas, you’ll be able to ask Google to draw you something and receive AI generated images.
But what does this mean for SEO?
Google is essentially going to be taking content from across the web to generate their ‘snapshots’, so brands need to consider the strength of their onsite content.
Are FAQ’s fully up to date and informative? Are you creating content which directly answers search queries?
Google is putting weight on content created by real people.
Are you showcasing your Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust? Are you considering first hand experiences? Are you working with creators and considering channels like TikTok, X and YouTube?
You may see a dip in traffic, but the traffic you do get will be qualified.
Google is streamlining search and serving valuable information to users. This should translate to highly qualified users landing on your site.
Your images now matter, as Google will be pulling through thumbnails to support the generated written content.
Are you creating imagery that aligns with search queries? Are you optimising these?
What does this mean for Digital PR?
SGE will source information from trusted sources, so ultimately, your brand needs to be that source. Digital PR builds online trust and authority through links, brand mentions and coverage on reputable and relevant sites.
For us, audience led Digital PR is the golden ticket, and this aligns perfectly with Google’s SGE developments. We should be considering the end user at all points in Digital PR strategies, driving awareness at each point in the search journey and providing information which they genuinely want from your brand.
Well, testing phase is still ongoing. Google needs to ensure that AI generated responses are not significantly impacted by bias, misinterpretation and duplication.
Human input and evaluation are vital for developing SGE and the team at Google have Search Quality Raters to measure outputs, they’re conducting studies across search queries to ensure quality is met and identifying any areas where systems aren’t performing.
For us, it’s important that search strategies are futureproofed. Working to own topics for brands, build out expertise and create genuinely useful content for audiences that will ultimately mean Google will serve our content in generated responses.
Social is going to be key, and PR and social media need be integrated and underpinned by search insights – real world experience and opinions from creators and authors offers a wealth of opportunity for brands to rank in the SERPs and should be a big consideration in upcoming strategies.
If you’re interested in hearing more about futureproofing your digital PR strategies, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org