The search experience has been relatively the same for many years. You turn to Google to find an answer to a question. You then get served a bunch of articles. Next, you pick which ones you want to read and ta-da you’ve got your answer. Sounds familiar, right?
Of course, Google’s added some fun features over time. For example, SERP features. An acronym that stands for Search Engine Result Page. Sometimes you don’t even need to click into an article because the bulleted answers are right there on a search page. This is called featured snippet. Or you make it to the sought after position zero where you’re featured at the very top above all the sponsored posts.
But soon, everything about this experience is going to change. In fact, if you use Bing, it already has with the integration of ChatGPT.
Earlier this year, Google released what is called the “search generative experience,” or SGE. This is where select users who opt-in or have been invited, can interact with their experimental version of search that displays AI-generated responses (from their own ai tool called BARD) above the old school list of results.
This announcement has caused a lot of fear. Does blogging even matter anymore? Is SEO going to be obsolete? Let’s talk about it.
What Does The New Google Search Experience Look Like?
Now when you ask a question, the AI result will appear up top. There will be trusted links and resources that relate to your question and follow up questions to help deliver you an answer quicker. If you scroll down you’ll see what the experience used to be; a bunch of links to trusted websites related to that keyword.
Why you shouldn’t be scared of it
This new experience is meant to make the search experience easier for the user. A better experience is something we should be praising search engines for! We just have to figure out how to use it to our advantage. Here’s why we aren’t scared of this new change.
According to Google…
“SGE is designed to be a jumping-off point for exploring helpful information on the web, with links to search results included alongside each AI overview. To help you better understand how recent the information is from these web pages, we recently added publish dates to links. And we’re continuing to experiment with new, easier ways for people to find web pages that support information in AI overviews.”
Notice those bolded mentions above? This is proof that we have nothing to be scared of. Your links and content are still incorporated in the results page even with AI. At the end of the day AI needs us and search engines will always continue to encourage and reward good, helpful content.
Another thing we notice is the mention of relevant, fresh content. Publish dates are going to start to appear in the AI content helping the user understand how relevant the information is. Creating new content isn’t always the goal. You need ot be sure to refresh your old content too!
What types of content won’t work anymore?
With all that being said, there are some types of content that will become basically obsolete because the AI generated answer will be enough for the user. From now on, don’t waste your time writing about these topics:
- Definitions and quick answers to your questions
- Creating content for the sake of creating content.
Now is the time to focus on experiences, stories, and transformations. These are the kinds of things AI can’t deliver. AI can answer simple questions that allow users to never leave a search engine result page. But AI won’t be able to relate with your audience on a human level like you can.
How can you try SGE for yourself?
Right now, you can sign up to be on the waitlist here. The tool is available on Chrome desktop and the Google App, for both Android and iOS in the U.S. It’s also English-only at launch at the moment, so they can incorporate feedback and continue to improve the experience over time.
We know change is scary, but just remember that search engines and AI tools will always need our content to continue functioning. You just need to figure out how to work with the tool instead of against it.
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Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective, or to inquire about working with our team, head over to www.duocollective.com.
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