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How SGE Will Affect SEO and the Search Landscape

Google's integration of Generative AI represents a significant shift in the SEO landscape – and it’s one SEOs have been waiting for since the tail end of 2023. Gemini (previously known as Bard) is Google’s multimodal large language AI model. It aims to enhance user experience by providing more nuanced, context-aware, and comprehensive answers directly within the search results.

Introducing Search Generative Experience (SGE) is a big change by Google that will reshape SEO practices. The focus will shift towards creating high-quality, contextually rich content and optimising AI-driven algorithms, ensuring that users receive the most accurate and helpful information possible.

Enhancing User Experience

Generative AI in search can provide more detailed and personalised responses to user queries. Traditional search algorithms rely on keyword matching and ranking signals to retrieve relevant web pages. However, Generative AI can understand the context and intent behind a search query, generating responses that are not limited to existing web pages. For instance, instead of merely listing pages about a historical event, the AI can synthesise information from multiple sources to present a coherent summary.

Impact on SEO Practices

SEOs will have to adapt to this change quickly and be able to track ranking changes in new ways. Historically, SEO has focused on optimising content for specific keywords and improving page authority through backlinks. With Generative AI, the emphasis may move towards creating high-quality, authoritative content that comprehensively addresses potential queries. Content relevance and depth will likely become more critical, as the AI will prefer well-rounded articles that cover topics extensively.

SEO writers and content marketers will need to focus more on content that is not just keyword-rich, but also contextually rich. The AI's ability to understand nuanced language means that semantic SEO, which emphasises the meaning and intent behind words, will become increasingly important. Structured data and schema markup will also gain prominence as they help AI understand and categorise content more effectively.

Technical SEO will still play a vital role, but the metrics of success might evolve. Factors such as page load speed, mobile friendliness, and secure connections will remain essential as they contribute to a better user experience. Additionally, since Generative AI will strive to provide direct answers, the visibility of a brand's information in Featured Snippets or Knowledge Panels will be crucial.

Challenges and Considerations

One challenge brands and website owners will face is the potential for reduced organic traffic to websites. If SGE provides comprehensive answers directly in the search results, users might not feel the need to click through to individual web pages. This could impact ad revenue and the overall traffic websites receive. SEO professionals will need to find ways to ensure their content remains enticing and relevant enough to warrant a click.

As Generative AI continues to evolve, staying updated with Google's guidelines and best practices will be essential. SEO will increasingly intertwine with AI, so SEOs will need to understand and leverage these technologies to maintain visibility and relevance in search results.