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Google’s AI (SGE) is finally here

Last update: May 18, 2024

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4 Minutes

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Google’s SGE is Rolling Out to All U.S. Users

Google has been working on Search Generative Experience (SGE) for over a year through beta…

At this point, billions of searches have been completed using its new AI features.

While there was much skepticism about when or how these new AI features would launch, Google made an official launch announcement on May 14th.

Starting immediately users all over the US will be seeing AI responses directly in their search feed.

But what does this mean for business?


How SGE Changes User Behavior

The biggest shift we will see from SGE is in the way that people use Google as a platform.

Historically a typical user journey would look something like this:

  1. Search a relevant term
  2. Browse the links available
  3. Click one to read the content

The new user journey will start to shift toward this:

  1. Search a relevant term
  2. Read an immediate answer

The big change is that there will naturally be less browsing for information and that users won’t need to actually visit a website to get the answer they are looking for.

This is typically referred to as “zero-click” content.

Content that is intended to be consumed without the requirement of direct action being taken.

The upside to this is that you can reach more people than if you required a click.

The downside is that the clicks generally convert at a higher rate and are easier to track.


How SGE Changes SEO

The part that has most businesses worried is how this change will affect Google as a revenue stream.

I want to first calm your nerves a bit.

While this is a big change to how Google is choosing to display information, it’s not that much different than other changes that have been made in the past.

When Google implemented SERP features, there was a similar uproar of “zero-click” content.

Businesses got along just fine.

The important thing to remember is that Google’s primary customers are businesses.

99% of their revenue comes from advertising.

Their internal priorities will always be to make sure that businesses can succeed on their platform.

That’s what keeps the lights on.

Here’s what we can reasonably expect from the SGE rollout:

  • Rankings will shift in relevance

    As more AI-related features rise in popularity businesses will gain a whole new suite of ranking types to optimize for. Being in the “Top 3” may become less important.
  • AI Rankings will be hard to measure

    All reporting tools need to adjust to measure these new AI placements as most backend systems don’t currently have a direct way to identify a website’s participation in the AI results.
  • Metric priority will change

    The top 2 metrics companies rely on to determine success in organic search are keyword rankings and clicks.

    While these two metrics will remain important, search impressions will become increasingly meaningful for measuring the reach of “zero-click” content like AI results.

How SGE Changes Advertising

There will be volatile shifts over the next 30 days as Google shifts how ads work with AI results.

Google will not prioritize its new AI features over advertisers.

Since Google’s revenue is entirely tied to advertising, a dip in advertiser success would lead to less use of the platform for advertising.

It’s in Google’s best interest to make businesses as successful with their ads as possible so that they will keep spending more on the platform.

While this “get the businesses to spend more” mentality isn’t always working in your favor, in this case, it is.

We don’t know exactly how SGE and ads will work together yet.

Over the next 7 days, there will be a lot of discoveries and strategies forming.

This will be the largest shift in Google Advertising since 2015.

While it can be scary for some, my team and I are only excited about this.

This is a unique opportunity for marketers who move quickly to take advantage of the changes.

Where other companies may see old campaigns wane in performance, we can find new ways to get ahead of the market.


Are you prepared for Google’s SGE?

If you’re hearing about this for the first time, or have been waiting for the right time to start studying SGE… this is your signal that it’s time. SGE is here, for better or worse businesses need to adjust the way they are measuring and marketing through Google to stay ahead.

If you want to skip 100 hours of research and talk to the pros who have already been working on this, click the button below.

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