How The New Google Search Generative Experience Impacts Your Business

Generative AI has been a hot topic for months. But Google publicly announcing its integration into search has potentially profound implications.

By Jessica Belsito

Jun 2, 2023

4 min

At I/O on May 10, Google announced the integration of generative AI in their search experience.

Branded the Google Search Generative Experience (SGE), the update means that Google will soon display a new AI-generated snapshot in search results that summarizes key information in direct response to a user's query in a new visual format. The goal is to help users get more out of a single search. (Users can expect links, imagery, next steps, and a conversational mode that allows them to ask follow up questions — all integrated within Google Search results.)

It's a big step forward — and a noteworthy development in the ongoing evolution of generative AI. And while this experience will be first introduced as an experiment in Search Labs within the upcoming weeks — and Google has not announced when it will be implemented publicly — businesses already have a lot of questions.

What Google's SGE Means For Your Business

Generative AI has been a hot topic for months. But Google publicly announcing its integration into search has potentially profound implications.

In that vein, here are a few trends businesses should pay attention to today.

No-click searches could be on the rise. It's far from the first time we've written about no-click searches at Yext: in fact, Google's use of featured snippets drove the same sort of shift in the 2010s. That said, putting a more robust, visual, interactive display at the top of the SERP is certainly poised to make users less likely to click down the page than ever.

Thus, you could find your business further down the organic search results page — even if you rank "first." As a result, it's important to rethink how you add context to your content: Provide anecdotes and real life experiences, answer detailed questions with recent data, and provide actionable next steps to help your audience get what they need even faster.

Expect adoption to be rapid: there is no "learning curve" since these generative experiences are getting closer and closer to the way humans naturally interact. Don't underestimate how quickly people will adopt this generative search experience.

Robust review content — and site content — may play a new role. The idea that Google is "comparing" your brand to other brands to return the most relevant results isn't new.

But in the past, Google didn't truly answer, for example, which restaurant was "best for kids" or "most ideal for a group": instead, it would simply rank a local pack, or show you an article from a relevant site.

Now that SGE is able to contextually understand the content of reviews, the idea of ranking is about much more than keywords and star-ratings. Instead, it matters what your reviews are actually saying about your restaurant experience. For example, if your reviews repeatedly say that your restaurant is great for a group dinner, it's theoretically more likely that SGE might extract from that when receiving a related query.

Expect to see the role of 'contextual content' expand in this way in the coming year.

Consistent, updated digital information for your business is more important than ever. In order to provide the right information in generative AI snapshots, there is a critical need for Google to have up-to-date, accurate information about all businesses. Large language models have incredible reasoning abilities and deep knowledge of the world, but LLMs can only be aware of the information that they're trained on and require additional technology to pull in real-time updates. So, Google will still look for the most contextually relevant information to provide their customers with and they look to your business as the source of truth. In order to answer certain types of specific questions about businesses or services, Google will look for the most contextually relevant information to provide their customers with. You need to make sure your digital information is consistent and robust across all digital endpoints if you want a chance to serve as that source of truth.

(For example, if you're a local restaurant, you don't want a blog from 2021 serving as the source material for what specials you serve. You want to make sure that information is accurate, consistent, and fresh across your website and third-party platforms like Google Business Profile for Google to draw upon.)

Google is not in the business of generating inaccurate results. So, they will likely prioritize results where they have lots of verified data to back up an answer.

What else can you do? Organize your data in a structured format. Structured data provides additional context and meaning to search engines, helping them interpret and understand content more accurately. By organizing data in a structured format, search engines can better grasp the relevance and relationships between different pieces of information, resulting in more precise search results.

Prepare For The AI Future

The way people engage with search experiences is, frankly, constantly in flux — and SGE is just the latest (albeit important) piece. All businesses should keep a close eye on this via trends in their analytics.

Finally, AI is not only changing existing digital experiences but also creating new ones at breakneck speed. Businesses must holistically be able to manage their information across any type of digital experience — and make sure they are positioning themselves for the future.

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