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This is how Google (SGE) could affect your organic traffic (SEO)

Let’s talk about the buzz around AI. Google is working on a new feature called SGE (Search Generative Experience), driven by Artificial Intelligence, that could change how users find and consume information.

Why is this crucial for you? Any company with a marketing strategy should consider the risks and opportunities this new search engine could bring, because if Google changes, marketing (SEO, SEM, content strategies, etc.) will also need to change.

Stay with us, and let’s analyse what is currently happening with SGE (as of February 2024) across different sectors, and then focus on how Google may treat ‘Your Money Your Life’ topics (such as finance and health) under this new technology.

What is Google SGE?  

Google SGE is like a super-smart assistant, powered by AI technology, that lives inside your search engine. Imagine asking Google a question and getting personalised and chat-like answers (all this from the search engine itself). 

Although this tool is still in the oven (since March 2023), and is continuously evolving, here are some relevant differences between the current search engine and SGE.

Let’s type the following query (‘why is popcorn associated with movies’) in the current search engine and then in SGE to compare:

Source: Google, Source: “A new way to search with generative AI”. PDF by Google

The main difference is obvious: SGE produces its own response and pushes down the list of websites that rank in the top positions.

So, how could Google SGE impact your SEO landscape?

According to BrightEdge, 84% of the queries typed into the search engine could provide an AI-generated response.

The Healthcare sector would be the most affected (76%), followed by E-commerce (49%), B2B Tech (48%), Insurance (45%), Education (44%), Restaurants (36%), Entertainment (36%) and Travel (30%).

In other words, users could find what they are looking for in the search engine without visiting your website, having a negative impact in terms of organic traffic.

The SEO sector generally agrees that the new SGE could significantly reduce organic traffic, especially for informative searches such as ‘What is the country with the most pets?’, ‘How to change a car wheel?’, etc.

And, how could Google SGE affect the financial sector?

According to the research mentioned above, Google SGE uses AI-generated content to answer 17% of queries related to the financial sector. This suggests that as of January 2024, users will likely remain on the current version of the search engine (without AI features). Let’s look at some examples…

Here is the situation: we want to search for information about this query: ‘how to prepare for retirement financially’. Here’s what Google’s new search engine has to say about it…

This data (June 2023) indicates that Google did not provide an AI-generated response for the term above.

Source: Play Media

And now, another query: ‘how to apply for a student loan’.

In this case, Google did provide an AI-generated answer, including the following disclaimer: “This is not professional financial advice. Consulting a financial advisor about your particular circumstances is best”. 

Source: Play Media

Google SGE vs Financial Experts

SGE is like having a financial guru in your pocket. This new tool brings AI into the mix, offering quick answers. But here’s the million-dollar question: Will people trust a robot with their financial questions? The answer is tricky. While SGE can give general advice, you should still chat with a human expert about the really complex stuff.

Will Google SGE change user’s behaviour in the financial sector? 

Imagine asking SGE about: What are the requirements for a personal loan? You get a quick AI answer, but will you stop there, or dig deeper by visiting some websites? Maybe, for less risky queries, like this one, SGE can be a game-changer, offering fast and friendly advice.

Source: Play Media

Should I change my SEO and content strategy soon?

This question is not easy to answer, but let’s look at some possible scenarios, taking the financial industry as an example.

SGE: Impact on SEO strategies for financial topics

In the evolving landscape of Google’s Search Generative Experience, businesses should evaluate different scenarios in terms of organic traffic

  1. The first scenario is where Google does not launch SGE; if it does, it does so in a very subtle way that doesn’t alter search results, thus not impacting organic traffic. An unlikely scene, to be honest.
  2. The second scenario envisions Google providing limited AI-generated answers for financial queries, with disclaimers (as mentioned above, this is the current scenario as of January/February 2024).  
  3. The most transformative scenario involves Google SGE improving in the Your Money Your Life (YMYL) sector by extensively gathering data from prestigious and reliable sources to offer a wealth of AI-generated answers, always accompanied by disclaimers.  

Marketing in the Age of SGE

Businesses, listen up! With SGE, the way people find your website might change. You might see fewer clicks, but the ones you get will be from people genuinely interested in what you have to say.

  • Be prepared to make your brand a go-to source for SGE.
  • Create content that answers people’s burning questions.
  • Be original. and get creative with your articles – not just plain text (use infographics, videos, etc.).
  • Be everywhere (social media counts!).
  • And remember those positive reviews from your happy clients!

In short, Google’s Generative Search Experience (SGE) heralds a new paradigm in finding information. As specialist in financial services and experts in SEO and marketing strategies, we will stay at the forefront of these changes. 

Do you want to be ready for Google SGE?

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