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Navigate the Search Revolution: SGE & its Impact

Google AI Digital Marketing Business Strategy SEO Sep 27, 2023 6:23:42 PM Ginny Grimsley, PhD 11 min read

A Google search bar on a black background with the White Raven branded raven in a tree in white silhouette beside the title of the article

If you're in the realms of digital marketing or SEO - or running a business with an online presence (which should be all of us at this point), AI is about to change the game forever with the release of Google’s SGE. 

SGE (Search experience powered by generative AI) is ushering in a new era, and this blog aims to provide you with crucial insights to navigate this transformative period. 

Imagine typing in a complex concept in a Google search and getting an instant, detailed answer right there inside the search itself. 

Or viewing AI-generated summaries that cut through the fluff to deliver precisely what you're looking for. 

That's SGE in action. And it's about to change everything.

Buckle up!

What is SGE?

SGE - search experience powered by generative AI - is designed to give users AI-generated overviews and answers to help them find what they're looking for. 

It literally types the answer to their query on the screen in real-time. 

No blog or website needed. 

Although the exact data sources are not stated explicitly, generative AI models like SGE typically pull from a broad range of web content, databases, and structured or unstructured data.

It uses machine learning algorithms to offer the most relevant and accurate answers based on the user's query.

Which means it doesn’t pull everything it writes for the user from one source. Instead, it presents blog articles and websites that *corroborate* what it's generated. 

And that means it’s harder than ever to get your blog, website, or product listing in front of customers. 

SGE is Changing User Experience

SGE poses a game-changing shift, yes - but it's not without huge issues that have not been solved yet.  

For example, we asked,  "What is a White Raven" and SGE offered up a blend of factual and fictional information. 

The first article it offered to corroborate the information was the Game of Thrones wiki. (George RR Martin created his own version of White Ravens for Game of Thrones—because, yeah! They’re cool!)

This issue raises concerns about the risks of misinformation, particularly when factual and fictional sources overlap.

It’s now more important than ever to double-check sources and use critical thought when using Google SGE.  

Users must approach AI-generated answers as a starting point, not the ultimate source.


Traditional SEO strategies may not hold water in this new landscape. 

Businesses might have to focus on factors beyond mere keywords, such as E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), to make sure their content is both ranked and deemed credible.

In the face of SGE and its potential to fundamentally shift how search operates, an SEO strategy has got to be agile and adaptive to cut the mustard.  

Here are some points to consider:

1. Embrace Semantic Search & Context

As SGE employs AI for generating content, it's likely that semantic search and understanding context will become even more crucial. 

Now, more than ever, it’s important to prioritize content that answers questions or solves problems in a broader context for your customers.

2. Optimize for Featured Snippets and Summaries

SGE may place a heavy emphasis on featured snippets and summaries for providing quick answers. 

Make sure your content is optimized for this to help maintain visibility. This article is a case in point with its table of contents (with clickable anchors for improved UX) and clear definitions right up top. 

3. Quality Over Quantity

With SGE providing AI-generated summaries, the quality of information will be more important than ever. 

Prioritize high-value, well-researched content over mere volume.

4. Mobile Optimization

SGE features will likely be optimized for mobile experiences first. 

A mobile-friendly website will be essential for staying competitive in search rankings.

5. Schema Markup and Structured Data

Utilize schema markup (embedded code inside your website to help search engines read your content) to help ensure Google bots understand the exact context of your content, which makes it easier for AI algorithms to include your information in generated responses.

Not sure if your website is doing this? Ask us to take a look. 

6. Adapt Content Formats

Consider diversifying your content types. 

AI-generated responses might favor information that can be easily summarized or displayed in different formats like tables, lists, or infographics.

7. Community and Social Signals

We advocate for building a strong community - which could become a significant ranking factor. 

Engagements, social shares, and other social signals may gain more importance in a world where website clicks are not the only measure of content success.

8. Build Strong Brand Recognition

In a scenario where clicks may decrease due to instant answers, brand recognition will be key. 

Users might not click the first time, but a strong brand can make them remember who provided that valuable information for a future, more substantial interaction.

9. Monitor and Adjust

As with any significant change, it's crucial to closely monitor the effects on web traffic, click-through rates, and other KPIs. 

SEO strategies will need to be adjusted in real time to respond to the changing landscape.

By rethinking and adapting your SEO strategy along these lines, you can prepare for the changes that SGE will bring to search experiences. It's all part of staying agile in a rapidly evolving digital environment.

And if you need help, we’re right here—and this is kind of our deal. :) 

Implications for Paid Advertising

SGE will definitely change the advertising landscape. 

Because users may no longer need to click through to websites to get information, ad impressions and click-through rates could be affected. 

Advertisers might have to focus more on brand recognition and authority rather than traditional click-based strategies.

Businesses will have to re-strategize their paid advertising campaigns for maximum effectiveness. Here are some strategies to consider:

1. Retargeting with a Twist

Since SGE can provide answers directly in the search results, users may not always click through to a webpage. 

Make good use of retargeting ads to re-engage these users across different platforms, and remind them often of your brand or solution.

2. Get Into Video & Interactive Ads

With SGE integrating more multimedia content like images and videos, it's an opportune time to shift some focus to video ads or interactive ad formats. 

These formats often capture attention more effectively and can provide more contextual information.

Keep your eye on the importance of the use of vertical video in ads as well. 

3. Craft Irresistible CTAs

Since SGE summarizes information, make your call-to-actions (CTAs) more compelling than ever. 

Encourage users to learn more, try a demo, or get a special discount. 

Make it worth their while to leave the search results and engage with your content.

4. Prioritize Long-Tail Keywords

SGE's AI capabilities are likely to offer users more personalized, long-tail search results. 

Bidding on long-tail keywords relevant to your business could result in more targeted and cheaper ad placements.

(That sounds like a Jayme thing—ask Jayme about this one). 

5. Emphasize Branding

In an ecosystem where users get their answers directly from the SERP (Search Engine Results Page), brand recognition becomes critical. 

Utilize branding-focused campaigns to build top-of-mind awareness so that when users are ready to click through, they remember you.

Luckily, White Raven has one of the best brand builders in the industry as a partner. Ask Sarah about building an unforgettable brand that carries your business far into the future. 

6. Test and Optimize

The landscape will be evolving rapidly, so now will be the time to test your ads thoroughly. 

A/B tests for ad copy, visuals, and landing pages will be more crucial than ever to understand what resonates with the target audience in this new search environment.

7. Analyze Voice Search and Conversational Queries

As AI gets better at understanding context, voice search and conversational queries are likely to increase. 

Now’s the time to optimize your paid campaigns to account for this change in user behavior.

8. Think Local

With SGE's potential for hyper-personalized search, local ads, and geo-targeting can help you capture a highly relevant audience who are seeking localized information or solutions. 

HubSpot can help you segment those customers for a more personalized approach. 

Ask us how to do that, and we’re happy to share. 

9. Integrate with Other Channels

To combat lower organic click-through rates, integrate paid advertising with other marketing channels. 

Synchronize your paid ads with social media campaigns, email marketing, and even offline strategies for a holistic approach.

10. Monitor Emerging Ad Platforms within SGE

It’s likely new advertising opportunities or formats will emerge within SGE. 

Stay updated and be ready to adapt your strategy as new avenues for paid advertising open up.

By realigning your paid advertising strategy with these considerations, you can adapt to the challenges and opportunities that SGE brings to the table. 

It's an exciting, albeit challenging, time for marketers, but those who adapt swiftly will likely thrive.

Implications for E-Commerce and Service Brands

For e-commerce, SGE’s summarizing capabilities may mean fewer clicks on product listings.

Focus on creating incredibly concise and compelling product information that can be captured by the AI.

For service brands, highlighting unique value propositions will become even more critical, as SGE will likely generate generic overviews for standard services.

SGE's Impact on B2B and B2C

Both B2B and B2C brands will need to rethink their digital strategies. 

Organic traffic, a significant KPI for many companies, may see changes as users find what they need directly in the search results - without clicking through to the site.

Both B2B and B2C businesses will need to rethink how they measure the success of their marketing efforts and campaigns. 

Sounds rough, yes—but if we all work together to figure this out, we’ll ride it out and come out stronger than ever. 

Things will just look very different. 

The Future of the Internet

In a world steered by SGE, information is summarized and easier to access - but also prone to oversimplification or errors. 

The internet may become a place where snippets replace articles, and quick answers replace in-depth research.

It could also become an untrustworthy place—and people will begin to look for other ways to find answers, products, and services. 

As businesses, it will become more important for us to—sorry to use this old phrase, but— “think outside the box.” 

After using this tool for 40 years now, people are going to need direction and reassurance through brands they trust. 

So, again, brand will become king over content in the new internet. 

White Raven’s Take: Community Over Sales

We believe that this period calls for a shift towards human connection and community-building. 

By curating credible information, sharing expertise, and essentially helping our community navigate these changes, businesses can build a network of trust that sustains them through technological shifts.

Final Thoughts

The advent of SGE signifies a seismic shift in the way we interact with information online. 

It’s a game-changer for everyone, from users to digital marketers to businesses of all sizes. 

And while these changes bring about many challenges, they also present an opportunity: to go back to the basics of human interaction, build communities, and forge genuine relationships.

At White Raven, we're not just strategists; we're your community builders. 

We have the expertise and experience to help you navigate these transformative times and build a sustainable business. 

Ready to face the future head-on? Book a meeting with Jerry, and let's build a resilient, community-focused brand as a team, yeah?

Ginny Grimsley, PhD

White Raven Creative Partner | Conversion Copywriter | SEO Specialist

Ready to Transform Your Business with White Raven?