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5 Ways to Win at Google's Search Generative Experience

Date published: October 25, 2023
Last updated: March 7, 2024

Search Generative Experience, or “SGE” for short, is a buzzword in the AI community. The tool comes from Google Search Labs, which began testing the AI-driven platform in the early summer of 2023 and will continue through December.

While the details of what the final version of SGE will look like are uncertain, there’s no doubt that it and other AI tools like it are the future of search. Savvy marketers are already looking for ways to understand the new technology and incorporate it into their growth marketing strategies. Here are a few tips to help you get started with that process.

Understand Your Place in the SGE Ecosystem

One of the first things worth realizing with SGE is that marketers, SEO experts, and anyone trying to use Google search for profit (outside of paid ads) are not on the inside track here.

On the contrary, Google has explicitly created its tool with users in mind. TechCrunch explains that the goal of SGE is to help “users better learn and make sense of the information they discover on the web.” Google itself says the tool is designed to help its search engine users “understand a topic faster, uncover new viewpoints and insights, and get things done more easily.

This isn’t meant to be an impossible situation. Instead, use it as a wake-up call. SGE isn’t another SEO gold mine waiting for casual marketers to take advantage of it. It is a sophisticated tool meant to help consumers.

That said, Google does want to use SGE to help users better connect with businesses. However, it wants to do so through an effective search experience — which is where suggestions on how to win at SGE come into play.

1. Focus on Quality Content

Yes, content is included in every list like this. But that’s for a good reason. The truth is, this remains one of the most critical ways to promote a brand online — even now.

It’s true that SGE summarizes AI results for each answer right on its own platform. And yes, this deters those who input a search query to click through on a link from a search result. This doesn’t eliminate the need for content, though. It merely changes what that content and its goals should be.

As marketers develop content strategies, they must factor generative AI into the equation. Traditional search tactics, like focusing on keywords and internal linking, may still be important, but the top priority from now on should be quality.

Every piece of your content marketing strategy should be helpful and uniquely answer consumer questions. You can accomplish this by:

  • Producing thorough content in lower quantities.
  • Focusing on Q&A content that answers user queries.
  • Using the Google E-E-A-T content standards (experience, expertise, authority, trustworthiness) as a benchmark.
  • Working with subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop truly unique, insightful content..

2. Create Better Experiences

Quality content inherently creates a better user experience.  This encourages Google to use your content in its answers. And when the search engine attributes your content for an AI-generated search response, it builds authority and credibility in the eyes of consumers.

But a better experience doesn’t stop there. Think about how you can be utilizing other forms of content to enhance your site and how the users interact with it. Think about graphics, photos, videos, and other multimedia elements to create more colorful landing pages, and present information in new and more engaging ways.

3. Be Creative and Comprehensive in Your Approach to SGE

Working with SGE to meet search engine user needs is important. So is quality content. These are great starting points. But if you truly want to leverage Google’s new AI-powered search for business success, you need to think outside of the box, too.

In the past, creativity was a critical part of the development of traditional SEO techniques. It took a willingness to try new things in innovative ways.

Don’t be afraid to use SGE in a similarly exploratory manner. How can the program help rather than hinder your marketing? Can you use it to brainstorm promotional ideas? To keep up with industry innovation? To conduct customer research?

4. Think Omnichannel

Showing up for SGE is wonderful. Ranking well in the organic results is impressive. But unless you are looking at the bigger picture you likely won’t see the success you could be. It’s important to be comprehensive as you work SGE into a well-rounded growth marketing framework. For instance, this should be one part of an omnichannel marketing plan that includes onsite and off-site content, digital PR, paid ads, email, social media, and more.

By thinking holistically, you can get the most value out of SGE and ensure that it is a genuine asset for your marketing efforts. If you don’t, you may be ranking well for some keywords in SGE but that likely won’t translate to overall growth marketing success.

5. Be Customer-Centric

You should always keep your customers at the center of everything that you do, but in the world of SGE it’s more important than ever. As you create high-quality content with SGE in mind, study your target audience. What kind of questions do they have? How can you help answer them? What content will provide the most value to address their pain points?

The better you know what your audience wants and needs, the better you can provide it. The more useful you are for your audience, the more likely you’ll be rewarded in SGE.

Winning at Google's Search Generative Experience

Google Search Generative Experience may be new, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. On the contrary, dramatic changes in the business landscape — like the recent developments in artificial intelligence — provide opportunities as well as challenges.

If you’re willing to accept your place in the AI technology ecosystem, enhance your content, and work SGE into a comprehensive marketing strategy, you can get the most out of Google’s AI search tool as you look for ways to market your brand.

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