Unless you are working in the world of SEO and digital marketing, you may not have heard of SGE before.

Sounds like yet another Google update with a confusing marketing name doesn’t it?

In this blog we will find out what it means, and why you and your content creators should care.

The Basics

Google SGE, or Search Generative Experience, is a new way to search using generative AI that’s currently being tested in the US.

It aims to transform the search experience by allowing users to ask more complex and descriptive questions, get a quick overview of a topic, start tasks quickly, and make progress easily.

How does Google SGE work?

It does this by using technology called large language models (LLMs) to provide AI-powered overviews, easier ways to follow up on questions, and related experiences linked to shopping and local searches.

It also incorporates paid search ads and helps users with creativity and productivity, including image generation.

SGE in Practise

Here’s a quick exercise to show how Google search using SGE might work in practice.

Comparison searching “best chocolate chip cookie recipe”

Now – paid ads at the top, organic traffic visible underneath. Sometimes there may be extra info to the right, showing any local businesses that are relevant with reviews.

What it could look like with SGE…

Source SEMrush

This starts to change Google from a Search Engine alone, to more of a Search and Results Engine where users are encouraged to stay on Google, rather than viewing many results and digging for answers themselves.

One of the problems? It drives down paid ads and organic results (SEO content) which could make it harder for your content to have visibility if you haven’t got the basics right.

What does this mean?

Google says it has implemented responsible AI principles and quality checks, including training the model, and evaluating its outputs. However, what does this mean for your content?

“Google’s ranking systems aim to reward original, high-quality content that demonstrates qualities of what we call E-E-A-T: expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.”

Source: Google

Rather than penalising content for the way it’s produced, it will continue to be judged on its quality.

But with potentially less space at the top of results, it’s more important than ever to have a rock solid content, SEO and Paid Search strategy in place.

What can I do?

Since the launch of Open AI’s ChatGPT we have seen some website owners jump on the AI bandwagon and start bolstering their website with lots of auto generated content. The latest Google SERPs algorithm update caught quite a few of them out – penalising them for mediocre AI content.

So rather than rushing for AI or creating reams of content to try and have more of a share for Google to choose from, it’s crucial to make sure that your content adheres to the core rules of E-E-A-T.

  • Be authentic – Ensure that the content you and your team create and share across your channels, your website, social media, email marketing and PR, is yours and reflects your brand.
  • Create rich content – Simply posting AI generated content is not going to help you, in fact Google is increasingly going to push these types of content down the rankings. AI programs can be great for idea generation, based on existing content, but it’s not great at actually generating the content itself. Remember – the best content for a human to read, is one that is written by a human!
  • Less is more – Do not add content because you think posting 3x a week is best practice. It is better to post less, but for it to be of high quality, have value and relevance, than to have lots of poor quality content. Content should take time and be created by people who understand your brand and your customers.
  • Keep learning and questioning – If you have an in-house team you are likely to be on-top of this already, however it’s always sensible to stay up to date and ensure your staff have the knowledge to continue creating excellent content.
  • Boost and maintain trust – Keep your Google Business Profile up-to-date – it’s often the first result in searches for your business! Have a process to encourage customers to leave reviews on Google and high ranking third parties such as TripAdvisor, and be mindful of how you respond to negative reviews – this will be how potential guests judge you. Negative reviews are a great opportunity to showcase how great your customer service is!
  • Unite Paid, SEO and Content strategies – Make sure all of your marketing teams, or strategies if a smaller team, work together. Paid campaigns should drive traffic to an optimised page, and organic results can compliment this.

And finally…

Do not worry.

As always, Google rewards good content. You and your team know your brand, your customers and your business better than anyone, especially more than AI! Do what you do best and ask for help if you need it.

Get in touch if you would like to discuss formal training or have any questions about content, strategy or anything else!