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Where we are with evolving Google Search: April 2024

“SGE” is another acronym to get to know in the search marketing world – it stands for “Search Generative Experience”, and it’s Google’s description of how it’s bringing AI-powered answers into its results, in the same way that Bing Chat did last year. SGE was also first referred to nearly a year ago, but it’s really ramping up now. That said, if we just think of it as the old “featured snippets” on steroids, then the Google search results don’t really look all that different, yet.

Where it’s going is that the featured snippets on steroids will grow from being a quote above a link into a complete article, with multiple links. This will include images, videos and even maps, so we need to ensure we’ve got plenty of supporting visual content with any text we publish. Original visual material has always given additional credibility to web pages, so be even more determined to grasp this easy opportunity.

Ads will stay important

Philipp Schindler from Google said in January: “As we shared last quarter, ads will continue to play an important role in the new search experience and will continue to experiment with new formats native to SGE. SGE is creating new opportunities for us to improve commercial journeys for people by showing relevant ads alongside search results. We’ve also found that people are finding ads either above or below the AI-powered overview helpful as they provide useful options for people to take action and connect with businesses.”

My recommendation to any of us dependent on search for website traffic is to ensure that the list of important search terms we regularly monitor includes some frequently-asked questions. As well as recording our changing positions in the search results, I’d also suggest actually taking screenshots of the results as a monthly exercise, to get a better picture of developments.