How SGE & Other Google Search Changes Could Impact Your Traffic [Data + Predictions]

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Erica Santiago
Erica Santiago

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How you use Google will change as the search engine rolls out Google Search Generative Experience (SGE). SGE is Google's way of efficiently using AI to answer complex or multi-step searches.

A marketer monitors her site's web traffic

The feature could result in a better user experience, but how can SGE and other Google Search changes affect your website traffic? And how can marketers optimize their web strategy to keep up with this change?

This article will explore SGE, other Google Search changes, and how web and SEO professionals prepare for this new SERPs landscape.

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What is SGE?

SGE integrates generative AI capabilities with Google Search results. Now, Google Search works via a process in which a web crawler visits websites to collect and index information.

Google ranks this information via its algorithm, which is constantly evolving to provide users with the latest and most relevant information. However, this process changes with the addition of SGE.

SGE uses a large language model for content and query capabilities, enabling generative AI to deduce results and recommend relevant content while providing users with a simple and quick experience

The idea is that Google will answer your questions, so you won‘t have to click through multiple links or type in a new query to find what you’re looking for.

For example, writer Jay Peters from The Verge used SGE to search “Where can I watch Ted Lasso?”

Instead of displaying links containing the answer, the AI-generated response says the show is available exclusively on Apple+, and the streaming service costs $6.99 per month.

SGE results also included a plot summary and three links with additional information. Google calls this form of content display “AI Snapshot.”

Screenshot of AI Snapshot

 

Image Source

What other changes are coming to Google Search?

Once SGE launches everywhere, Google users will notice a few differences in how the results of their inquiries are displayed. AI Snapshots is a link carousel that users will likely see first, generating the most traffic.

Another new feature is Perspectives, a search filter displaying viewpoints related to your query. The feature is available on the mobile web and Google app.

To access the feature, click the Perspectives tab at the top of your screen. From there, you‘ll find long- and short-form videos, images, forums, and written posts people have shared online regarding the topic you’re searching for.

“When it comes to what’s most helpful out of all the information out there, we know that for so many questions, you want to hear what other people have to say,” Google said in a blog post.

The post continues, “That’s why, as we transform Search with new AI-powered capabilities, we’re not only continuing to focus on providing quick insights, but also connecting you to the people and perspectives that will help you understand what’s best for you.”

Additionally, Google will display information about the creators of the content, such as their name, profile photo, and the popularity of their content.

Furthermore, Google says it's changing how it ranks results overall by focusing on “content with unique expertise and experience.”

“Helpful information can often live in unexpected or hard-to-find places: a comment in a forum thread, a post on a little-known blog, or an article with unique expertise on a topic,” Google's blog says. “Our helpful content ranking system will soon show more of these “hidden gems” on Search, particularly when we think they’ll improve the results.”

How could SGE affect web traffic?

There's a chance websites could experience a dip in visibility and organic traffic since the AI snapshot pushes them beneath the fold.

However, most web and SEO analysts are optimistic about the changes generative AI could bring to search engines and web traffic, according to our 2023 Website/SEO report.

Our report shows 75% of web analysts believe generative AI-integrated searches will positively impact their blogs. In fact, 68% predict their blog will get more traffic than before, and only 9% expect a drop in traffic.

So, how can websites experience higher traffic once SGE officially launches for all users? According to web and SEO professionals surveyed in our report, by being proactive.

57% of web analysts are taking steps to prepare for the possibility of generative AI being integrated with search engines. Preparations include training staff on AI usage, implementing it into their workflow, and learning new ways to use the technology as an assistive tool.

Regarding workflow, 50% of blog writers use AI, and 74% of web analysts say it makes their content perform better. 65% say their content ranks higher on SERPs.

Perspectives could also be a game changer when generating web traffic.

Since perspective emphasizes videos, images, and written content from real people, businesses may look to content creators, influencers, or user-generated content to rank their media higher in the Perspectives tab.

SGE is still in its experimental stage, and many web and SEO marketers are still figuring out how generative AI can impact marketers and users in the future.

However, the consensus seems that familiarizing yourself with AI and integrating it into your workflow and strategy could set your organization up for success.

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