What is Google SGE? And How Will It Impact Small Businesses?

For small businesses, being discovered online has always been tough. Up until now, they relied heavily on search engine optimisation (SEO), creating informative blogs and compelling case studies to boost brand visibility and build customer trust. 

But, with the emergence of generative AI, content creation became lightning-fast. Although there are significant concerns about the ability to rank AI content, it seems like a major boon for small businesses. 

However, it may yet prove to be a double-edged sword. Google’s new Search Generative Experience (SGE) looks set to transform how people use search engines, and it could spell the end of traditional SEO practices. 

What is Google SGE?

Introduced at the Google I/O conference on 10th May 2023, Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) is a new addition to the search engine results page (SERP). So far, so normal. Google is constantly tweaking and adjusting its SERP or altering the underlying algorithm.

SGE is different, however. It involves an inbuilt generative AI that creates tailored responses to search queries. The response draws upon the top results, distilling the information down into a brief summary. This summary is displayed at the top of the page – pushing paid results and organic results further down. This is in a testing phase at the moment but here’s what we think the Google Search Generative Experience might look like. 

If you ask, ‘What is Email Marketing?’ rather than going through the top results, Google will provide a concise response of 2-4 paragraphs explaining the answer. Alongside the explanation will be several links to more detailed articles. But it’s not just about answering questions. Ask it for a recipe, and you’ll get one. Type a company name, and you’ll receive a company description.

Genius, right!? However, anyone familiar with SEO marketing may be alarmed at organic results getting pushed further down the page. 

Challenges and Considerations for Small Businesses

Challenges of SGE

The challenges posed by SGE are obvious. The further down the SERP you appear, the fewer impressions and clicks you receive. If SGE dominates the headline space, small businesses could see less traffic on their content. In fact, if a searcher finds the right answer at the top of the page, why would they read anything else?

There’s also the concern about which websites will be cited as sources for SGE answers. Google’s other platform, YouTube, routinely prioritises so-called ‘authoritative’ sources, making it nigh-on impossible to find certain channels. Will small businesses be featured as a source? Or will big business competitors dominate?

Small businesses are already familiar with dancing to the tune of the algorithm. Adjusting to new SEO best practices is nothing new. But companies might rightly wonder if it’s worth creating content that’s going to be harder to rank. (That’s without getting into the copyright concerns.)

Navigating the New SEO Landscape

Potential solutions cover everything from continuous learning to professional help. Any shakeup of search engines creates winners and losers. It’s a chance for smaller competitors to rise to the top rapidly – but only if they anticipate the changes and take proactive action. 

You can also leverage professional SEO services and tools. Seasoned SEO agencies are highly familiar with Google’s ongoing changes, even SGE. They will have strategies to maximise the benefits while minimising the downsides for small businesses. 

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Preparing Your Business for Google SGE

Here’s what we think will happen: SGE will revolutionise searches at the top of the funnel (TOTF). The funnel is similar to the buyer’s journey, only from the seller’s perspective. TOTF content is all about generating awareness of your brand. It aims to educate and inform your audience about the general topic without promoting a specific product or service.

If that sounds like the majority of blog articles and content, you’d be right. 

The result is that companies will pivot to bottom-of-the-funnel (BOTF) search terms and content. It’s designed to convert prospects into customers. Think case studies, customer testimonials, product demos, FAQs, and more.

The hardest problem to overcome will be generating brand awareness. Boosting your conversion rate will yield a greater ROI and more sales, but eventually, you need to expand your market. Companies may turn to social media or place greater reliance on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising (due to its prominence on the SERP). 

You have to remember that despite Google wanting to get involved with AI and constantly innovate but at the end of the day a big chunk of Google’s revenue comes from advertising so just how far are they willing to push ads down the page? It’s yet to be decided, but if SGE takes over the whole page, what’ll happen to Google’s ad revenue?

Practical Steps for Small Businesses

SGE isn’t here yet. The technology is still in the early stages of development. So, how should you prepare for the impact of Google SGE?

  1. Get some measurement in place: Establish robust analytics to track SEO performance and user engagement. Tools like Google Analytics can help you understand where your traffic comes from, what keywords are driving it, and how users behave on your site.
  2. Work with a team of SEO professionals: Collaborate with SEO experts who can provide insights and guidance tailored to your business needs. These professionals can help you stay ahead of changes in search engine algorithms, implement effective SEO tactics, and adjust your content and marketing strategies accordingly.
  3. Optimise for searches for high-intent terms: Focus on keywords that potential customers are likely to use when they are close to making a purchase decision. Optimising your website for high-intent terms can improve your visibility in search results at critical moments, increasing the chances of converting searches into sales.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Being adaptable and forward-thinking is the best SEO strategy for the digital age. Change is inevitable. The question is, will you move with it or be moved by it?

Final Thoughts

Google SGE promises to revolutionise the search engine results page, reducing clicks and impressions for organic search results. Small business’s traditional SEO marketing methods, such as content creation, will be impacted. But it’s not all downsides – it’s also a chance for growth and innovation. 

With a renewed emphasis on case studies, testimonials, and other bottom-of-the-funnel content, you can boost your conversion rate and grow your business. 

So, what is Google SGE? It’s your chance to rethink your current digital marketing practices. You don’t have to do so alone. Share your thoughts about this innovative technology and how you’re planning to adapt. 







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Carl Darnell
Founder and Director

My passion lies in helping growing businesses achieve their goals by leveraging the power of digital channels. I strive to bring a fresh perspective and innovative strategies to the table to help brands reach new heights.

Carl Darnell
Founder and Director

My passion lies in helping growing businesses achieve their goals by leveraging the power of digital channels. I strive to bring a fresh perspective and innovative strategies to the table to help brands reach new heights.

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