How will Google SGE Affect my Website's SEO?

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Online search engines continue to evolve, and with the roll-out of the new Search Generative Experience (SGE), the question on nearly everyone’s mind is how will Google SGE affect my website’s SEO?

It’s a valid question, because it seems that a lot of search rules may be changing. And with the changes, there are a lot of unknowns.

The truth is that it really is too early to know exactly how SGE will affect your SEO results, especially your website traffic from organic search.

However, here’s what we do know …

What is Google SGE?

First, let’s define what Google SGE actually is.

Google calls it “a new way to search with generative AI.” Artificial intelligence (AI) has been used behind the scenes within the Google search algorithm as far back as 2001 when their early spelling correction system helped people get relevant search results even with spelling mistakes or typos in their search queries.

Generative AI takes relevant search results even further and goes beyond matching keywords to deliver those results. Google SGE aims to provide answers to queries faster and easier for the user.

With SGE, search results are more geared to satisfying the user’s intent of the search rather than simply matching keywords used. SGE uses AI to generate a “snapshot” overview of the topic being searched, with links to websites and resources that support the information included in the snapshot.

The individual links that have been part of classic search engine results pages are still there, but so is the AI-generated overview that combines information from various sources.

There’s also an interactive element to Google SGE, where someone can “ask a follow up” question or get “suggested next steps” with a simple tap or click of a button.

Implications for Your Website's SEO

There is some concern that these AI-generated snapshots will provide adequate information without the user ever having to leave the search engine results page. If that’s the case, users won’t click through to individual websites, and you may see a decrease in traffic from search.

But according to HubSpot’s 2023 Website/SEO report, “75% of web analysts believe generative AI-integrated searches will positively impact their blogs” … 68% actually predict more traffic, while just 9% expect a drop in traffic.

Here are some other ways Google SGE may affect your SEO efforts:

Content Relevance and User Intent

With SGE, the emphasis on content relevance and user intent has never been more critical. Instead of focusing solely on keyword density, it's crucial to create high-quality, informative content that aligns with the questions and concerns your audience may have. Understanding your users' intent and tailoring your content to meet those needs becomes paramount for SEO success with the introduction of SGE.

Long-Tail Keywords and Conversational Queries

As SGE leans towards understanding natural language, long-tail keywords (more extended and specific search phrases) become increasingly valuable to showing up in search results. Users are now more likely to input conversational queries, and optimizing content for these more specific queries can enhance your visibility in search results.

User Experience

User experience is no longer just a buzzword, it's a fundamental aspect of SEO in the era of SGE. Google aims to deliver results that not only answer the user's query but also provide a seamless and positive experience.

This means focusing on website speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall usability to ensure your site aligns with Google's user-centric goals.

Rich Snippets and Structured Data

Providing structured data through techniques like schema markup is likely to become increasingly important to obtain visibility under SGE since Google will pull excerpts from websites for the SGE overview.

Rich snippets — which include additional information like ratings, prices, and event dates in search results — can make your content stand out and attract more clicks.

Strategies for SEO Success within SGE

SGE enhances search results but it doesn’t completely replace traditional search ranking algorithms. Similarly, you should consider enhancing your SEO efforts rather than completely replacing them.

Here are some examples of things you can do to maintain your SEO success:

1. Optimize for User Intent

User intent has been an important part of good SEO strategy for some time, and understanding your audience's intent aligns with SGE, too. For example, what questions are people likely to ask about your product or service? What problems are they trying to solve that you can help them with?

Creating content that addresses these concerns positions your website as a valuable resource and improves its chances of ranking well with SGE.

2. Diversify Keyword Strategy

Reevaluate and diversify your keyword strategy. Instead of solely targeting short-tail keywords, incorporate long-tail keywords that align with conversational queries. Again, you may already be doing this, and it is even more important with SGE.

This not only enhances your chances of being discovered but also ensures your content resonates with the way users naturally search.

3. Optimize for Featured Snippets

Think of featured snippets as the precursors to the longer SGE topic overview snapshot. You can’t directly mark your website as a featured snipplet, but you can optimize your content to appear in these snippets by providing concise and relevant answers to common user queries.

This is a best practice that not only boosts your visibility but also positions your website as an authoritative source in your industry.

4. Enhance User Experience

Even without SGE, you may have invested in the overall user experience of your website. For example, you probably have taken steps to ensure it loads quickly, is mobile-friendly, and offers intuitive navigation.

Those are valuable investments that continue to be important as Google's algorithms increasingly prioritize sites that provide a positive and seamless experience.

5. Leverage Structured Data

Implement structured data on your website to help search engines better understand the context and content of your pages. By providing this additional information, you may increase the likelihood of being included in the AI-generated overview of SGE.

Get Help Navigating the Future of Search with SGE

As Google's SGE continues to reshape the search landscape, it will be necessary to adapt your SEO strategy. But you don’t have to do it alone.

We invite you to get in touch with the experienced SEO marketing team at WorldLight Media today.

We specialize in crafting SEO strategies that align with the latest search engine developments, ensuring that your website remains visible and relevant … and that you get the results you need for success.

Click here to contact us and get the conversation started.

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