How Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) and Other Changes Affect Web Traffic


Google Search is constantly evolving, and its latest addition, Google Search Generative Experience (SGE), is set to revolutionize the way users interact with the search engine. SGE incorporates generative AI capabilities to provide users with quick and accurate answers to their queries. The introduction of SGE, along with other Google Search changes, raises questions about how these changes will impact website traffic and what marketers can do to optimize their web strategy.

What is SGE?

SGE integrates generative AI capabilities into Google Search results to enhance the user experience. Traditionally, Google’s web crawler would visit websites to collect and index information, which would then be ranked using its algorithm. However, SGE brings a new approach to the process.

By utilizing a large language model and generative AI, SGE can deduce results and recommend relevant content directly to users, eliminating the need for them to click through multiple links or submit new queries. This streamlined experience aims to provide users with quick and accurate answers to their questions.

An example of SGE in action is a search for “Where can I watch Ted Lasso?” Instead of displaying a list of links, an AI-generated response provides the information that the show is exclusively available on Apple+ and the cost of the streaming service. Additional links with a plot summary and more information are also included, forming what Google calls an “AI Snapshot.”

Other Changes Coming to Google Search

In addition to SGE, Google is introducing other changes that will affect the way search results are displayed and accessed. One notable addition is AI Snapshots, which is a link carousel that is likely to receive a significant amount of traffic.

Another new feature is Perspectives, a search filter that displays viewpoints related to the user’s query. This feature is available on the mobile web and the Google app. By clicking on the Perspectives tab, users can access long- and short-form videos, images, forums, and written posts shared by real people on the topic they are searching for.

Google aims to connect users with other people’s perspectives to provide a broader understanding of various topics. This change emphasizes content creators and their expertise, with information about the creators, including their name, profile photo, and the popularity of their content, being displayed.

Additionally, Google is changing how it ranks search results by prioritizing “content with unique expertise and experience.” The search engine intends to highlight hidden gems of information that may reside in unexpected or lesser-known sources, such as forum threads or niche blogs.

How Could SGE Affect Web Traffic?

With the introduction of SGE, there is a possibility that websites may experience a decrease in visibility and organic traffic, as the AI Snapshot pushes them below the fold. However, the majority of web and SEO analysts remain optimistic about the potential impact of generative AI on search engines and web traffic.

According to a recent Website/SEO report, 75% of web analysts believe that generative AI-integrated searches will have a positive impact on their blogs. Furthermore, 68% of these analysts predict an increase in traffic, while only 9% expect a decline.

To ensure higher traffic once SGE is fully implemented, web and SEO professionals are taking proactive measures. The report reveals that 57% of web analysts are preparing for the integration of generative AI with search engines by training their staff on AI usage, incorporating it into their workflow, and exploring new ways to leverage the technology as an assistive tool.

Additionally, the report indicates that AI is already being utilized by 50% of blog writers, with 74% of web analysts reporting that it improves content performance and 65% stating that it helps their content rank higher on SERPs.

Perspectives could also have a significant impact on web traffic. By emphasizing real people’s videos, images, and written content, businesses can leverage content creators, influencers, and user-generated content to increase their rankings in the Perspectives tab.

While SGE is still in its experimental stage, it is clear that web and SEO marketers should familiarize themselves with AI and integrate it into their workflows and strategies. By doing so, they can position their organizations for success in this new SERPs landscape.

Closing Summary

Google’s introduction of Search Generative Experience (SGE) and other changes to the search engine will have a significant impact on web traffic. SGE, powered by generative AI, aims to enhance the user experience by providing quick and accurate answers to queries, reducing the need for users to click through multiple links.

In addition to SGE, Google is introducing AI Snapshots, which will likely receive high traffic, as well as Perspectives, a search filter that displays viewpoints from real people. These changes emphasize content creators, unique expertise, and user-generated content.

While there may be concerns about the potential decrease in visibility and organic traffic due to the AI Snapshot pushing websites below the fold, web and SEO professionals remain optimistic. Proactive measures such as training staff on AI usage, integrating AI into workflows, and leveraging content creators can help ensure higher traffic in this new SERPs landscape.

As SGE and other Google Search changes continue to evolve, it is crucial for marketers and website owners to adapt their strategies and embrace the possibilities that generative AI brings. By doing so, they can thrive in this new era of search engine optimization.