SGE (Search Generative Experience) is a smart, user-friendly way to search for answers on Google. SGE offers a simple, intuitive form to get quick, clear answers so that users can easily find key information on a topic. Search results are gathered from the pages with high ranks in Page Trust, expertise and valuable, original content. SGE is the future of Google search.
Now, SGE is flying in a test mode and available only in the USA, India and Japan. But if you are a publisher, content creator or advertiser and want to enjoy the future of Google search first-hand, a good VPN solves the access problem.
The worries and polemic around this new tool are growing exponentially. Reposts of the first page’s future look are endless (so much for talking about original content!). But let’s not lose our sleep just yet. If you have been in business for quite a while like we were, you probably remember all the drastic changes Google implemented; for all that, organic search is still alive and kicking.
Surfing the wave, we decided to conduct our own research and share insights with our beloved community, unboxing this newest Google solution and its possible influence on publishers.
Organic Search and Organic Positioning in the Age of SGE
Let’s start from the most problematic point.
Organic search has always been about serving the most relevant content to the user. Since 2009, when the first rich snippets appeared, and SEO specialists started adjusting the content to rank higher, we have gotten to the point where the content is so optimized that often highly rated results are more about keywords used in the proper order than the information itself. No wonder we are in an endless rat race with Google, which has its interests as a business: to remain the search engine #1, to keep users on their page, and to provide the best content possible.
So, let’s step aside for a second and talk about those E-E-A-T criteria as they lay the foundation of SGE search results.
Produce high-quality, well-researched, and original content. In other words, human-written content prevails. But in the era of ChatGPT, it’s a mission near to impossible not to use it. If you can’t fight it, master it. Focus your prompts for ChatGPT on search intent and the questions your audience might ask. If you know what your public wants to know, you are already on the half-way to the top.
Showcase the qualifications or experience of content creators, especially for topics requiring expertise. Hire professionals – it’s not the moment to save money on content marketing.
Keep an eye on the engagement metrics. Highly engaging and interactive content can indirectly influence your expertise metrics.
Express yourself clearly, briefly and to the point. Don’t produce discombobulating (and this means just good, old “confusing”) Victorian phrases, but demonstrate your expertise in short, concise sentences.
Provide data-based expertise
Check and double-check each fact and piece of information you issue.
Of course, one can’t have a first experience in 100 areas, but you’ll get there by interviewing professionals and minding those points above.
Network, network and then network a little bit more. Partner up with associations and industry leaders and rub elbows with important speakers. Nobody can win this war alone.
Always credit and link to authoritative sources when making claims or citing data; this will also help with backlinks.
Cherish and boost your reputation
Encourage reviews and testimonials: being cited or mentioned by well-known industry experts will most definitely help you to score high.
Secure Your Site.
Use HTTPS, which indicates that the website is encrypted and more secure for user data.
Be transparent about your business practices: display contact information, customer service options, clear conditions of service or products, refunding etc.
Have clear privacy policies and terms of service, ensuring that user data is protected.
Handle Advertisements Carefully.
Ensure your ad format and size are not intrusive or overshadowing the main content. Use the best programmatic solutions for publishers to ensure your ad’s results and improve your ranking. Reach out, and we will help you to find an optimal mix.
SGE tops the top
The SGE sits at the top of all search results. So, the first thing a user sees is the results compiled from websites that best answer E-E-A-T criteria. In other words, their content is doing well in the user-experience department (Experience), expert enough for AI to source the info (Expertise), the webpage holds authority in their field, especially among experts and influencers, who backlinks them (Authoritativeness), and, finally, quality ranks based on who created their content, content’s factual accuracy and citation of the reliable sources (Trustworthiness).
Looks familiar? Right! It does resemble Featured Snippets on steroids. The updates in the SGE design of the answer provide dropdowns that open on the source info.
Good news: your link might be there. If you provide valuable, well-structured, E-E-A-T responsive content, is that. Bad news: if the search intent is informational, users might be satisfied with the AI answer without clicking on your link. Hello, zero-click! We bet your first thought was about your traffic plummeting south and your lead generation KPIs feeling very blue indeed.
However! At the bottom of the answer form, you have the “Ask a follow-up” bar.
Or you can choose a follow-up question.
Here is some good news: even if your website is not doing that great in the trustworthiness and experience department but provides strong expertise, you will find yourself in those answers.
The crucial point here is to focus your content on the answers to those questions, providing a comprehensive, complete, but concise explanation in the first paragraph. Also, it is vital to maintain a conversational content style on your web so AI can serve straight to the table.
Here is one example of how conversational content written as a direct answer can pull you to the top.
What does it mean for SEO?
We have to take care not only of the keywords but also of relevant queries. In other words, know what people also ask? There are some tools to help you in this regard. Besides obvious SemRush and Ahrefs, we recommend tools like AlsoAsked and Answer The Public. Don’t forget to investigate social media trending topics and reels.
Now, not all queries trigger generated answers. For specialized questions dedicated to particular topics, AI will ask if the user wants the results generated or will just go with the traditional search.
Query “news” gives you channels, not fresh news, but “football news” provides an already detailed answer.
So, another tactic to squeeze your website into the SGE answers is to use longtail keywords with a lower search volume that specify a particular aspect of one broad topic. Does it take time to position them? Totally! But once you do it, you are golden.
Another way to feature your website is comparisons. The objectivity and impartiality of the AI-generated answer guarantees a maximum balanced response without preferences, so if you organize your “About” and “Service” page in paragraphs that clearly state your distinctive points, any user looking for comparisons within the industry will get your results on top.
How the first six scrolls of the search results will look now? It heavily depends on the query you are positioning for. Still, after analyzing about 40 queries with different search intents, we came up with these schemas. Nevertheless, we want to remind you that the final look depends on numerous factors, turning all possible predictions into no more than educated guesses.
SGE pre SGE
To Summarize the SGE search
Quality Over Quantity.
SGE aims to improve the quality of search results by focusing on E-E-A-T principles.
Misinformation and clickbait articles will have a harder time getting visibility.
Reward for Genuine Expertise.
Genuine experts and authoritative websites will benefit as they get the recognition they deserve.
Higher Bar for New Websites.
Without a demonstrated history of trustworthiness or authority, they could find breaking into the top search results challenging. It will be essential for them to focus on niche areas, build credibility, and prioritize the creation of high-quality content over mere volume.
Potential Traffic Drops.
Websites that rely heavily on volume might see a drop in their organic traffic if they don’t sufficiently meet the E-E-A-T criteria.
To wrap it up, SGE, like many other updates before it, brings challenges and opportunities. Embracing these changes, focusing on quality, and adapting to the evolving landscape will be the key for businesses and publishers to thrive in the age of SGE.
Remember, while algorithms change, the end goal remains: delivering value to users; still sorting this out? Reach out and let us take care of your ad inventory so you not only bring value to the table but also grow your revenue and rank high, SGE or no SGE.