Generative AI for search
Note: Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) is currently in experimental mode being rolled out to users in Google search labs.
Google is changing the game with its generative AI search integrating artificial intelligence answers directly into its search engine results with its Search Generative Experience (SGE).
This is currently an experimental version but should give us some clues about what the future will look like when we Google a topic.
In a Google blog post, it outlines how the technology will help to provide more detailed answers to queries and make shopping easier. We have been getting used to gaining information recently through chat and it’s no different here, users will be able to ask follow-up questions and explore topics in a more natural way.
Changes for local search?
Local search is a large focus for us at Digital Influence and we have been testing different queries to see what the impact on local search might be so we can stay ahead of the game. For New Zealand, at least for a lot of searches, there’s no option for the AI answer. Here’s one of the better examples for a dentist in Christchurch and where there will be differences between the AI and traditional organic results.
Some top dentist results from Google SGE there, but interesting the map pack is reserved for the organic version. What I would like to see is a combination of the two results, some star ratings and reviews expanded in the AI results. Having the map pack there is super handy so time will tell if it continues with most queries.
One area where we do see an improvement is not having to look any further for the opening hours as that’s nicely expanded.
We can see that some of the follow-up questions are being pulled from the people also ask section.
What does AI have to say about pie
So, what is the best pie in New Zealand, looks like the South Island is being featured heavily..but it might be that Google knows I’m searching from Christchurch. Honestly, some great results here, some top bakeries with great ratings featured in the AI results and a rough location in NZ. It’s great to see star ratings, you will notice the 5-star business is at the top of the result moving down to the 4.4-star Woodend Bakery.
The AI result mixes articles and a youtube vid with other info on the most popular pie flavours and a nice little piece about bacon & egg pie at picnics. Thanks, Google, I will add one to my next picnic hamper.
The first organic result is from New Zealand Travel Tips and that’s also featured in the AI result. Also, the question from People Also Ask is featured as a follow-up question: Does New Zealand have the best pies? – no need to google that, Yes, Yes NZ does.
From pies to pie charts in Excel
This how-to result just gives more information in an easy to follow process and expands on what the organic result shows. The steps seem to be more broken down and then also give you additional tips for customisation.
Yes, my chart does have lots of slices and I do need a legend. Brilliant.
What’s missing from the AI result however is videos, so you visual learners out there might be better served with the organic results.
What has changed in shopping?
As we can see, full product carousels are added to the AI results and maybe ads (most likely) in the future. Nike gets the first organic spot and the first shopping result but it’s interesting the AI results have chosen a review page for the top result.
More info in shopping results
We love a nice fresh cup of coffee and to do that, we need some airtight storage, so let’s look at the AI result for a coffee canister. The result gives you some things to think about including capacity and style with some highly rated coffee options and some great articles on the side to help you choose.
Some nice follow-up questions by Google if you’re unsure if you need one of these canisters. Overall a great result!
The organic results page has some shopping links up the top of the page with some stars for reviews and stores that stock them. The information density of the AI result just blows this out of the water. As a consumer, this is great as it allows you to make a decision in the results by learning more right there. For a store, this lets your copy shine as you describe the features and benefits of the product and have a better chance of being the stand out option so you gain the click.
Conclusion & findings
The battlefield of the shopping results looks to gain more info and you need to make sure your product listing stands out. It’s more than a picture and a review score that you need to optimise.
Product carousels have the ability to be larger while introducing more options. In our example, there are reviews right by the shoes potentially showing the need to have different content available on e-commerce sites. Content on your products that go into further depth looks to be getting a boost. Bullet points still have their place on product listings, just make sure there’s substance too.
Local search could be the largest change, especially if we are seeing other content mixed in with the local pack of results and the lack of maps. Your Google Business Profile is set to be more crucial than ever.
Contact us today to learn more about the full potential of your website’s SEO and how to engage your target audience effectively.
Once we have some mobile screenshots this post will be updated with commentary on the changes. Happy searching!