Search Generative Experience – Adapting to AI-Driven Search

Search Generative Experience – Adapting to AI-Driven Search

James Smith

Head of SEO - PLMR Genesis

The emergence of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) has led to a shift in how digital marketers approach traditional SEO practices.


Search Generative Experience also represents a significant evolution in search technology. The integration of AI into Google Search means that new strategies for content optimisation and audience engagement that focuses on user intent and experience will be key.


What are the key features of SGE?

At its core, Google’s SGE leverages generative AI to create a more intuitive and contextually relevant search experience whereby search queries are not just answered, but also anticipated.


Key features include:

  • Personalisation – SGE tailors search results based off individual user behaviour, that considers previous interactions and user preferences to provide more refined responses.
  • Conversational context – The SGE system can understand and retain information about a user’s search session, enabling a more natural experience.
  • Rich Snippets and Knowledge Panels – Enhanced search results which display a more comprehensive overview of a search topic.


The impact of SGE on traditional SEO practices

AI algorithms prioritise content very differently, focusing on context and user intent over just keyword density. The fluidity of SGE generated search results can also lead to search ranking volatility, meaning that your keyword rankings can fluctuate and therefore make it slightly more challenging to maintain visibility in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).


At present, the criteria for what SGE and AI in general consider to be of quality and relevance is not overly clear or transparent. However, in order to prepare and adapt to SGE we would recommend the following:


Optimise content for a generative search environment

Optimising a website based purely on keyword content optimisation is evolving. With SGE, comes new prioritisation over ‘natural’ language and question-orientated formats instead of just keyword matches. Therefore, the utilisation of user-generated content (such as reviews) and PAA (People Also Asked) questions will be pivotal to help provide unique and rich context for search engine crawlers to deliver the most relevant answers to users.


Focus on what content resonates with both users and AI algorithms

By understanding the intent behind a search query, you can align your content accordingly. Utilise natural language and ‘conversational’ phrases to reflect how people speak. Structure content with clear headings, subheadings, and bullet lists to enhance readability for both users and AI.


Create comprehensive content clusters

When you organise your content around key topics into pillar and cluster pages, search engines, like Google can prioritise ranking content that clearly demonstrates Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). The more content you publish on relevant topics and subtopics, the more keywords (search queries) you can rank for whilst building your authority in SERPs.


Implement and update relevant schema markup across your site

Schema markup (also known as structured data) will play a vital role in helping SGE to understand the content on a webpage more effectively. By implementing schema mark-up correctly, you can aid Google (and wider search engines) in delivering more accurate and relevant search results to increase organic user traffic over time.


Focus on UX (User Experience) data

The seamless integration of UX principles into SEO strategies is now essential for websites looking to thrive in an AI-driven search landscape. By enhancing the user experience, websites can indirectly influence the AI algorithm that determine search rankings. A positive user interaction signals to the AI that the content is valuable, thereby increasing its visibility in search results amongst target audiences.


Final thoughts

The introduction of AI-driven search like SGE will alter the landscape of SEO, but it won’t mark the end of traditional SEO practices. Instead, the necessary adaptation to new AI-driven strategies for content optimisation, that focus on user engagement and content relevance will be needed.


Yet, with SGE still in the early stages of development, there is still potential for inaccuracy due to limitations in understanding and reliable information available. There is also a lack of transparency from Google with how SGE curates’ information during the search experience. However, adapting and implementing AI-driven strategies moving forward will help to set the foundations for when SGE is fully rolled out.


If you want to find out more about how you can optimise your website and campaigns for AI-driven search or just need some guidance regarding your ongoing digital marketing efforts, then please Get in touch.

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