Google SGE Is Here – Is It In Your Strategy?
If you haven’t yet developed a strategy for Google search’s integration with generative AI – aka Search Generative Experience (SGE) – there’s still time.
If you haven’t yet developed a strategy for Google search’s integration with generative AI – aka Search Generative Experience (SGE) – there’s still time and good reason to get started.
According to research from Authoritas, 94% of Google SGE links are different from organic search results. The SEO software company found that SGE results are returned in 87% of Google search queries, sharing an average of 10 links from 4 unique domains.
You can take this a couple of ways: It means that it’s going to be much harder to rank at the top of Google search results pages when 87% of the time there could be an SGE element present. But it also means there’s an opportunity to be in SGE’s featured links – a completely new opportunity separate from Google’s search results.
A quick primer for those new to Google SGE: it solves for the endless scroll through links in the search engine results page (SERP). Much like the Knowledge Graph gave us snippets of common information (like the weather), SGE is another way users can receive information without the need to sort through links. Except now you can ask follow-up questions in the chat and watch the results adapt to your very specific conversation with the search engine.
Traffic Impact of Google SGE
There’s no way to know the long-term impact of Google SGE on your website, but some have tried by creating models and developing “SGE recovery” techniques.
Using one such model, a study of 23 websites found the aggregate organic traffic drop to be 18-64%. However, since the model’s September release, its best-case scenario seems unlikely to happen based on the Authoritas study mentioned above.
Here are the other assumptions: The model assumes that the “SGE snippet carousel” – where all the visual information is situated – competes for user attention alongside traditional blue links. While including the carousel here will undoubtedly generate some traffic, it likely falls short of the prime real estate in the classic search results. Furthermore, ranking solely in the blue links offers less visibility due to SGE’s potential to answer user queries directly, potentially siphoning clicks away. For search results without SGE, the traffic is presumed to stay the same for that query.
How to Prepare for SGE
First, a caveat. There’s still a lot we don’t know about SGE. Even with the information shared above, there is no official data that exists, and SGE elements change constantly as Google tests its new offering in the wild.
So how exactly do you mitigate potential damage from Google SGE? For starters, keep following SEO best practices and fight the temptation to get distracted by SGE. When investing your efforts, better to work off of information you already have and not what could happen.
That said, one SGE-specific action you can take now is to start thinking more about the SGE snippet carousel. For example, you may want to rethink your photo selection in favor of something more clickable. Track these efforts and measure the outcomes so you know what moves the needle.
Contact us if you need help navigating how SGE impacts your SEO strategy.
Sarah Snyder-Castañeda is a Digital Ads Manager and Content Creator with a long-established career in SEO/SEM. Originally a journalist, her background in writing and research informs her approach that combines the technical and human aspects of marketing. A lifelong passionate learner, Sarah enjoys sharing her knowledge of all things digital.