Search engine optimization (SEO) and content strategies have been going through a whirlwind of changes. This evolution is coming thanks to Google’s relentless innovation. The search engine giant has a reputation for keeping everyone on their toes, but some recent developments are about to dramatically alter the workflow for marketers, SEO experts, and content creators. One of the big changes here is the increase in zero-click searches and Google’s new feature called the Search Generative Experience (SGE) powered by GenAI.
The first thing to note is the rise of zero-click searches. These are searches where the user gets their answer directly on the Google search results page without having to click on any links. You’ve seen this when you look for the weather, definitions, and even simple calculations. The search result answers your question, so you don’t need to go further. What does this mean for websites and content creators? Basically, traditional organic links are getting less visibility, which could mean less traffic for websites. If users find what they’re looking for without clicking, fewer eyeballs are making it to your site.
This brings us to the shifts in content and SEO strategies. With less screen real estate for organic and even paid search results, there’s a new premium on getting featured in Google’s own search features, like Featured Snippets. Content creators are now focusing on snippet-friendly formats and SEO experts are reverse-engineering strategies to land in this privileged space. But even that is starting to look like old news because of Google’s latest feature.
Enter the Search Generative Experience (SGE). This new feature doesn’t just show snippets; it generates a full-blown prose answer to your query using Google’s Language Learning Model (LLM). Drawing from various sources, it gives users a comprehensive, aggregated answer right on the search page. Think of it as Featured Snippets on steroids. Not only does this make the user experience more fluid, but it also creates a conversational interface for deeper queries.
What’s most interesting is that the links SGE relies on aren’t necessarily the top results from traditional organic search. In fact, recent independent research by Insight shows that only 57% of links cited by SGE come from the first page of organic results. This divergence suggests that content quality and reliability, not just traditional SEO metrics, could be key to being featured in SGE.
So where does this leave us? The prominence given to Google’s search features like SGE means that traditional organic search is vying for a shrinking slice of the pie. And it’s not just the share of the screen that’s at stake; it’s user behaviour. If users start to favour SGE, then even landing on the first page of Google’s search results won’t have the same value it used to.
The emergence of zero-click searches, and Google’s new Search Generative Experience are undoubtedly disrupting the digital landscape. Companies need to adapt to stay ahead. But how? To start, businesses should focus on understanding the new features and their implications. They should also experiment with new types of content that are geared toward these changes, whether it’s creating more snippet-friendly pieces or crafting content that provides the kind of depth and reliability Google’s new SGE feature seems to favor. Learning what works through trial and error will be critical.
It’s better to prepare for the storm before it hits. As Google leans more into features like SGE, it’s likely that many sites will experience a decrease in organic traffic, in some cases up to 25%. Companies need to be ready for this and should not panic. Rather than hastily changing strategy in response to short-term dips, it’s better to keep an eye on the larger shifts and adapt progressively. Use the analytics to determine if you’re losing out on the types of queries that SGE targets and adjust accordingly.
The tendency in moments of upheaval is to go into a defensive stance, but staying proactive can pay dividends. If you wait for Google to change the game before you adapt, you’re already behind. Invest in creating high-quality, relevant content that can compete in this new world. Also, consider focusing on other avenues of traffic, such as social media, email marketing, or even other search engines. Diversifying your strategy will make you less dependent on Google’s changing algorithms.
If there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that this generative change will continue to evolve. Google’s introduction of SGE is just one change in a long line of transformations. Businesses should always be ready to adapt to new technologies, search behaviours, and competitive challenges. In short, always have a Plan B, and probably a Plan C and D, for your digital strategy.
It always pays to call in the experts. A digital marketing agency that understands the intricacies of these changes can devise a strategy that will keep your company competitive. They have the tools, the experience, and the expertise to navigate the zero-click world and can adapt your SEO and content strategies to align with new search behaviours and opportunities.
You will need tailored solutions that can generate revenue even in a future dominated by zero-click searches and SGE, and ALM offers cutting-edge digital marketing services just for that purpose. From crafting a resilient SEO strategy to producing content that stands out, ALM can help you prepare for what the future holds.
Contact ALM today to learn more and get started with our digital marketing specialists.