Upcoming changes to Google with GSE and Early Notes
Just a heads up on upcoming changes to Google - shared this with my team:
- 💡 Key Takeaway 1: The new Google Search Generated Experience (SGE) provides AI-generated answers instead of traditional search results, allowing users to choose between AI answers and website links.
- 💡 Key Takeaway 2: The AI answers take about 8 to 12 seconds to appear, and scrolling down will stop the AI generation and show traditional search results.
- 💡 Key Takeaway 3: Google is experimenting with two different mechanics for AI answers: one where AI results load automatically, and another where users need to click a "Generate AI Answer" button.
- 💡 Key Takeaway 4: AI answers may be cut short with a "Show More" button, and the sizing of AI answers depends on the browser and screen size.
- 💡 Key Takeaway 5: Not all queries generate AI answers, and some queries show no AI answer, only traditional search results.
- 💡 Key Takeaway 6: Featured snippets and "People Also Ask" sections still exist alongside AI answers, sometimes leading to redundancy and conflicting advice.
- 💡 Key Takeaway 7: AI answers may steal content from websites without attribution or links (weird to list external resources for further reading without linking off), which raises concerns about liability and content duplication.
- 💡 Key Takeaway 8: AI answers favor specialized websites, providing an opportunity for small publishers to rank higher and gain traffic for commercial queries (topical authority determines niche specialization and is key once again from an SEO standpoint).
- 💡 Key Takeaway 9: Google's search results pages (SERPs) have been redesigned, featuring favicons, more spacing between results, infinite scrolling, and black link titles instead of blue. This emphasizes branding and may impact click-through rates (CTRs).
Additional Notes
  • Clicks and traffic will likely drop, only question by how much (I think featured snippets was around 6% when first introduced - SGE will likely result in more)
  • Apparently Google Shopping Ads for relevant products were inside these chat bubbles but not for everything (like software etc.)
  • Youtube could be a darkhorse for organic traffic - AI is developing the most slowly in regards to video though I imagine at some point, it will catch up here too. 
  • AI will give us (and our competitors) more ability to produce now that it is available and Google has essentially said it’s okay. However it’s not time to celebrate yet - likely to take shape of inflation. Value will go down, need more quantity, competitors are using it too and they may not play by the same rules. 
  • Another potential darkhorse - how we sculpt and shape the AI will likely dictate who succeeds long term. Tools are getting more sophisticated allowing for voice cloning, “background information” to feed and educate the AI right down to the H2 section, brand voice training, etc.
  • My test site results suggest Google does not punish AI content - even if its 100% AI 
  • How does an older population treat this AI generated answer? Still scroll down anyways out of habit? How about certain niches?
  • Can be some scary changes amid possible traffic drops but this is early on and we don’t know what the final experience will look like yet.
  • SEO may change but is not “dead” - if a person cares enough about a topic, the AI summary will likely not satisfy that search intent and they will do a deeper dive especially on anything that directly impacts their life like health, finance, etc. 
  • Quantity could potentially offset a traffic loss + build topical authority
  • Will page 2 become a graveyard…..or a haven long term for people tired of the AI chat bubble summaries after a certain point? Will they get tired of it and scroll down, almost like ad blindness?
  • I have heard rumblings that local and ecommerce may not be as affected
  • Key takeaways above may change based on user feedback during beta testing
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