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SEO in the Age of Google’s Search Generative Experience

Prepare for the rollout of Google's search generative experience with these SEO tips. Things are about to get weird in the SERPs!

Things Are About to Get Weird in Google!

The world of search engine optimization (SEO) is about to undergo a significant shift as Google’s search generative experience (SGE) becomes more prevalent in its search results. With this new technology, AI responses are expected to become more dominant in the coming years, leading to changes in SEO strategies for businesses and digital marketers alike.

Clearly, it’s essential for digital marketing professionals and SEO pros to understand the best approach required for generative AI and how it will impact the industry.

Here I’ll provide an overview of SGE, its potential implications on SEO, and how businesses can optimize their content and website performance accordingly.

Specifically, we will discuss revenue key performance indicators (KPIs), content creation strategies, link-building tactics, and contextual authority.

By understanding these elements thoroughly and implementing them effectively, businesses can stay ahead of the competition while navigating through this new era of SEO with something approaching “ease”.

SGE Overview

SEO for SGE - things are about to get weird

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) is the latest AI advancement in natural language processing and machine learning, allowing users to receive personalized responses tailored to their individual queries. Digital marketers must adapt their strategies accordingly in order to ensure query relevance and provide a positive user experience.

With SGE, the ratio of generative to non-generative (the usual blue links in the SERPs) responses is likely to go down, making it necessary for SEO efforts to focus on mid-funnel rather than top-of-funnel optimization.

Query reporting will become obsolete as a metric for SEO success, and the thorny metric revenue from organic search (with clicks as the leading metric) will become more important.

Why do I say “thorny”? Because businesses must accurately report a given prospect’s conversion to a client, and thereafter actual revenue, and this is a challenge for a few reasons:

  1. HIPAA and other privacy concerns
  2. Lack of pricing visibility within the business and with the agency (sometimes, even the business doesn’t know what their actual revenue was!)
  3. In certain cases, a lack of motivation to share successes with the agency.

But, these are challenges for a different article. Suffice it to say that forecasting revenue and reporting on revenue is a two-way street between the business and your digital marketing agency.

Forecasting based on queries has never really been effective, save to show general progress. There needs to be a tighter integration between what happened on the website, and what happened for the business.

Moola.

Links and SEO will change in a more personal search world where relevance and topical authority are the most significant factors in ranking algorithms.

This author’s opinion is that, in a world where anything can be generated (regurgitated), link-building will become even more critical than it has been to date. After all, if anyone can crank out content, but not just anyone can get a website to link to theirs, well…what’s the best measure of calories burned?

Getting a backlink.

The KPIs They Are A-Changin’

Measuring revenue as a key performance indicator (KPI) for optimizing organic traffic in the context of AI-generated responses within search engine results pages (SERPs) warrants further exploration.

It’s also a bit of a nightmare, as most businesses are — let’s say charitably — not very good at reporting revenue to their digital marketing agencies.

With the rise of generative AI, traditional forecasting methods and query reporting may become obsolete, making it difficult to track SEO success. As such, clicks and conversion tracking may no longer be sufficient metrics for measuring organic growth.

Revenue attribution can potentially serve as a more reliable KPI for SEO success. By focusing on revenue generated from organic search rather than clicks or impressions, businesses can better understand the impact of their SEO efforts on their bottom line.

Should we attribute clicks for “Boomcycle” to “SEO”? Probably not. This is a search by someone who’s already heard of us, either from other TOFU search queries or one of the dozens of other branding opportunities we have such as Facebook Ads or in-person networking.

David Victor, Boomcycle Digital Marketing

Either way, calculating the total addressable market (TAM) can provide a more accurate forecast for future revenue growth in the face of changing search algorithms and user behavior.

As generative AI becomes more prevalent in SERPs, businesses would be well-advised to (at long last) pivot their SEO strategies toward revenue-focused metrics to stay ahead of the curve.

Content Creation

Content creation strategies that focus on mid-funnel engagement, such as People Also Ask (PAA) and People Also Searched For (PASF) in Google, can be effective in optimizing organic traffic in the context of AI-generated responses within search engine results pages (SERPs).

However, the future is not so bright for affiliate marketing and their “money pages”. Note this tortured SGE SERP for “best portable grill for camping”.

SEO in the Age of Google's Search Generative Experience 1
SGE SERP for “best portable grill for camping” leaves this affiliate way, way down the page

In addition to keyword clustering, competitor analysis, and trend analysis, this information can provide insights into what users are searching for and what information they need to move further down the funnel.

By creating content that answers these questions and provides valuable information to users, businesses can increase their relevance and topical authority within their industry.

Utilizing People Also Ask and follow-up questions also allows for a more personalized approach to content creation.

Rather than simply targeting keywords or topics, businesses can provide specific answers to user queries based on their individual needs.

As generative AI becomes more prevalent in search results, this type of personalized approach may become even more important for SEO success.

Additionally, by focusing on mid-funnel engagement rather than just top-of-funnel awareness, businesses may see an increase in qualified leads and conversions from organic search traffic.

Link Strategies

Effective link strategies in the context of AI-generated responses within search engine results pages involve focusing on relevance and topical authority, seeking out sites in contextual neighborhoods for links.

In a world where generative AI becomes more prevalent, traditional link-building tactics may not be as effective as before.

Anchor text will still be important, but it will need to match the topical authority of the page being linked to rather than just using exact match keywords — which Google may see as link spam anyway. This sort of “topical link relevance” will become increasingly important as Google’s algorithm becomes better at understanding content and its relationships.

SEO in the Age of Google's Search Generative Experience 2
Are these domains relevant to the topic of your website?

Domain diversity is another factor that may become less significant with generative AI. Instead of having a large number of links from different domains, trust signals such as brand mentions or social media engagement may carry more weight when determining topical authority.

Finally, outreach for link building should focus on building relationships rather than just acquiring backlinks.

Quick handy hint: If your business does business primarily with local customers, you are topically related to other local businesses in your area — the topic? Geography!

David Victor, Boomcycle Digital Marketing

By networking with relevant websites and creating high-quality content that naturally attracts links, SEO strategists can adapt their link-building tactics to the changing landscape of search engines.

Overall, while traditional SEO tactics such as link building are still relevant in today’s search environment, it is important to recognize that they will need to evolve along with new technologies like generative AI. Strategists who focus on relevance and topical authority while also fostering strong relationships with other websites stand to benefit most from these changes.

Topical Authority

As the landscape of search engines evolves with new technologies, there is a growing emphasis on topical authority as a key factor in effective link strategies.

In order to establish relevance and topical authority, it is important to focus on niche areas and expert positioning within those areas. This involves creating high-quality content that not only provides valuable information but also showcases expertise in the field.

Additionally, community involvement can help to build credibility and establish strong connections within the industry. User Generated Content has gotten a bad name in the past decade in SEO, but it’s important to engage users with your website in some way, as Google takes note of those interactions.

And again, local relevance plays an important role in topical authority as well. It is crucial for businesses to optimize their online presence for location-based searches by including relevant keywords, creating localized content, and building relationships with other businesses in the same geographic area.

By focusing on these factors and establishing a strong contextual neighborhood, businesses can increase their chances of ranking higher in search results and ultimately drive more traffic to their website through organic search.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will the use of generative AI impact the traditional SEO approach?

The use of generative AI will have a significant impact on the traditional approach to SEO optimization. As search engines evolve, AI optimization is becoming increasingly important for businesses looking to improve their search engine rankings.

The personalization impact of generative AI means that content creation must be tailored to meet individual user needs and preferences, which requires algorithm adaptation. In order to remain competitive in this new landscape, it will be necessary for businesses to focus on creating relevant and high-quality content that meets the needs of users while also adhering to best practices for SEO optimization.

Additionally, links and domain authority may not be as crucial as they once were, as relevance and topical authority become more important factors in determining search engine rankings.

What are some potential consequences of the shift toward mid-funnel SEO strategies?

Content optimization is an essential component of any successful SEO strategy. However, with the shift towards mid-funnel SEO strategies, it is becoming increasingly important to focus on user intent and audience targeting.

This involves not only creating high-quality content that resonates with your target audience but also ensuring that it aligns with their interests and preferences. Additionally, brand awareness and conversion rate are critical factors to consider when optimizing content for search engine rankings.

By developing a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and tailoring your content accordingly, you can improve your chances of success in today’s highly competitive online landscape.

How does the calculation of the total addressable market (TAM) differ from traditional query forecasting for SEO?

Market analysis, SEO targeting, competitive research, forecasting methods and keyword selection are crucial components of a successful SEO strategy.

The calculation of the total addressable market (TAM) is an alternative to traditional query forecasting for SEO. TAM involves identifying the potential size and value of a specific market and analyzing the competition within that market in order to determine which keywords and phrases will be most effective for SEO targeting.

Competitive research helps identify relevant sites in contextual neighborhoods for link-building purposes, while keyword selection relies on understanding user intent and behavior through data analysis.

Forecasting methods will have to evolve with the rise of generative AI as query reporting becomes obsolete as a metric for SEO success. As such, revenue from organic search should be used as a KPI with clicks as a leading metric (Good luck getting those numbers from your busy clients, SEO pros!)

What changes should be made to link-building strategies in a more personal search world?

In the current landscape of search engine optimization, link building strategies are evolving in response to the trend towards personalization techniques.

Rather than relying solely on domain authority, websites are now judged based on their relevance and topical authority within a contextual neighborhood.

Social signals and user intent are also becoming more important factors in determining search rankings.

Local SEO is another key consideration, as search engines prioritize results that are geographically relevant to the user.

In this environment, content quality is paramount for success in link building efforts, as it must be tailored to meet the specific needs and interests of individual users.

How might the use of generative AI impact Google’s market share in the search engine industry?

The impact of generative AI on Google’s market share in the search engine industry is a topic of concern for, well, certainly, Google. Market competition will undoubtedly increase as other search engines implement similar technology, and user experience may become more personalized but also potentially limited by algorithm updates.

Data privacy concerns may also arise as generative AI requires significant amounts of data to function effectively. However, content creation may be revolutionized as generative AI can offer new ideas and perspectives for SEO optimization. Google’s ace-in-the-hole is its vast amount of data.

Ultimately, the success of Google’s adoption of generative AI will depend on its ability to balance these factors while maintaining relevance and trust with users.

SEOs: Get Ready to Rumble!

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is set to revolutionize the world of search engine optimization (SEO). With Google’s recent experiment with SGE, SEO professionals need to shift their focus from top-of-funnel to mid-funnel, with revenue from organic search as a crucial KPI.

This change in approach requires a new emphasis on content creation that appeals to generative AI and contextual authority through link strategies. These changes will impact the industry significantly, and SEO professionals must adapt quickly.

To succeed in this new era of SEO, businesses need to prioritize revenue generation from organic search and consider TAM for forecasting purposes. Content creation should be centered around generating a response that aligns with generative AI while maintaining relevance and quality.

Link-building strategies should prioritize relevant and authoritative links that establish contextual authority rather than simply focusing on quantity. Overall, the emergence of generative AI in Google’s search results presents an exciting opportunity for businesses willing to adapt their approach to SEO.

By focusing on mid-funnel tactics like revenue KPIs, content creation, link strategies, and contextual authority, businesses can thrive in this new era of optimized search rankings.