SGE in SEO: Early Findings

SGE – Search Generated Experience, or Google’s term for the AI-generated content that’s showing up directly in the SERPs – is here, and it’s getting more prominent by the day.

We still don’t know much about the SGE algorithm, but after helping our clients earn some SGE placements as it rolls out more broadly in the SERPs, we know more about the effects – and we have some educated guesses about how to strike the algorithm’s fancy.

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In this post, I’ll share how our team is working toward more visibility in SGE placements – or, as Google is starting to call it, GEO (Generative Engine Optimization). I’ll start, however, with what’s actually happening when we land those placements.

SGE’s impact

We began seeing client results in SGE around the end of 2023, when Google wasn’t even providing link attribution. There are source links in SGE now, but it hasn’t changed the user behavior dynamic much – which is to say that people aren’t clicking on those links.

This isn’t all that surprising to me; Google’s very intended consequence of SGE was that users would stay on the SERPs, and it seems to be working. But there’s a halo effect that seems to be happening as well. 

For one client in particular, whenever they saw a placement in SGE, the original link showed up elsewhere in the SERPs – and high up, for that matter (always in the top three spots). Whether it’s SGE influencing more traditional SEO results or SEO principles paying off in SGE, it’s been a nice surprise.

JDM’s approach to SGE

The initiatives we’re incorporating into our SGE approach are educated guesses – and they also reflect the hints Google has been dropping lately about what they’re prioritizing in general. 

In a nutshell, we’re using a combination of traditional SEO techniques – including keyword optimization, adherence to E-E-A-T principles, semantic richness, and the use of external links — tailored to the unique demands of generative search platforms. 

 

This includes:

Establishing authority: Writing style of the content is more persuasive and authoritative, making confident assertions.

Incorporating keywords: Content includes relevant user query keywords.

Leveraging statistics: Whenever possible, content includes quantitative statistics and data-based evidence instead of qualitative discussion.

Citing sources: Content explicitly mentions sources used to support statements throughout.

Adding quotations: Content incorporates quotations from relevant sources to enhance the authenticity and depth of website content.

Striving for easy understanding: Content uses simplified language and structure, making it more accessible and appealing to users and the generative engine.

Optimizing fluency: Content incorporates improved fluency and readability of website text, ensuring a smooth and coherent reading experience.

Distinguishing your vocabulary: Added unique and intriguing vocabulary in website content makes it stand out and increases its appeal.

Selectively including technical terms: Content incorporates relevant technical terms and jargon for the domain or industry, demonstrating expertise and catering to specific audiences

 

We also have a checklist of practical tips to guide and positively influence AI search:

  • Use real user reviews
  • Include an expert analysis
  • Create a pros and cons list
  • Provide a summary for any long content that is relevant but too extensive to be quoted
  • Add more content – not just increase the number of words, but the number of unique related words
  • Feature UGC (user-generated content) and summarize it in a quotable manner
  • Write about new topics and events that are not part of LLMs’ training data (large language models) for early-mover advantages
  • Use lists, especially for key aspects of the topic you are covering.

 

Keep an eye on the moving target

Above all, remember that we’re learning more about SGE (and its impact on traditional SEO) by the day – so make sure you’re keeping up with the absolute latest by joining our free webinar. Sign up today and bring your most pressing questions!

 

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