22 November 2023

Google SGE: implications for SEO strategy

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New possibilities have been added to Google SGE. But what exactly is Google SGE, what does it do and what are the consequences for your SEO strategy?
Google SGE (Search Generative Experience) is simply the use of AI or artificial intelligence to provide an immediate answer to a search query. SGE shows the direct answer to a question on the results page. Where normally links are shown to the page where the answer can be found, for example a website about caring for plants, the answer to the search query is now shown directly. You immediately see how to best care for a plant. Google SGE provides complete and personalized answers without the need for follow-up questions.

Deal with search results differently

Google SGE therefore changes the way you can interact with the search results. In the past, the top spot on the results page, position 'zero', was reserved for a snippet of information from the website that Google believed offered the best information on the subject. With SGE, information is retrieved from various sites to provide one comprehensive answer to the search query. This answer contains links to the articles the AI engine used to build the answer.
So less clicking is required. Previously you could find the answer by clicking on the link, but now the answer is already on the search page and the user only clicks further if he wants more information or wants to know from which page Google got the information.
Does this mean that you have to take into account a decrease in website traffic? No, not if marketers and content creators respond smartly to this and use the new ranking options that generative AI offers.

Implications for SEO strategy

The central point of Google SGE is that users will spend more time on search results pages. After all, they will take the time to absorb the full answer. This has the following consequences for your SEO strategy:

  1. Good keyword research is no longer enough. SEO is now more about building authority and thought leadership. And that can only be done by creating valuable content that users find useful; content that is unique, personal and thought-provoking, so that it stands out from the generic content on most websites, which is increasingly created by AI tools.
  2. Pay more attention to E-E-A-T signals. Google's search algorithm values E-E-A-T signals – Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness – more than ever. So it's important to demonstrate expertise and experience, increase website authority by building links and build trust through customer reviews and case studies. For example, you could engage subject matter experts to create content.
  3. Reputation management is important. Google wants every SGE response to be accurate. To do this, it pulls answers from reputable sites. It is therefore important to build a good online reputation by collecting positive reviews, being active on social media and looking for negative reviews to counteract them.
  4. Own the story in your industry. Another great way to engage with SGE is to own the industry story. And first-person narratives reinforce this. It indicates that you are the source for all information in your niche. Cover a topic in depth and build good backlinks to your website, as these increase the authority of the content.
  5. Optimize for detailed questions. AI generates detailed answers from various sources. It is therefore expected that detailed questions, the so-called long-tail queries, will become increasingly important. It is therefore important to answer users' questions in detail. It is better to optimize the content for the question 'why do tomato plants turn yellow?' than for the general keyword 'tomato'. Google then sees you as an expert who has the right answer, and long-tail queries also have the advantage of having a higher conversion rate.

New SEO tactics

The arrival of SGE requires new tactics to increase visibility. Experiment with new concepts and content strategies to see what best suits your target group. Because SGE not only brings challenges, but also offers opportunities to intensify contact with users.

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