Google Search is changing with the introduction of AI

Ben Barnes, co-founder & Managing Director, Neural Edge
By Ben Barnes, co-founder & Managing Director, Neural Edge

Google’s latest announcement, that it’s going to be integrating AI into a new type of Google Search Engine called SGE (Search Generative Experience), will have a huge impact on the traffic that comes to your website and where you allocate your marketing budget.

According to documents seen in advance of the Google announcements by The Wall Street Journal, Google is working on a new search engine with the aim of making search more “visual, snackable, personal, and human, with a focus on serving young people globally”.

The suggestion is that Google wants to move away from the traditional ’10 blue links’ layout to something more engaging and tailored to the user’s individual interests.

This also includes interactive elements such as videos, audio clips, and images that provide users with more information than they would get from a traditional text-based search.

The full details of this were announced at Google I/O in May with a range of other product offerings, including the new Google Pixel phones and tablets.

The impact of Google Search on eCommerce

Search engines have always been a key source of traffic for eCommerce stores. From informational searches to purchase intent searches, the ability to be seen and found in search engine results pages (SERPs) is vital for any website.

Google’s new AI-infused search engine will have a huge impact on how your website appears in organic search results. The suggestion is that Google is looking to create an experience for people who are seeking more than just information, but also entertainment and interactions such as a chatbot.

As such, businesses will need to adapt and enhance their content offerings in order to keep up with the changes in search engine algorithms as well as the changing needs of their customers.

The integration of AI into search will mean that traditional SEO techniques, such as keyword optimisation, may become less important. Instead, eCommerce stores will need to focus more on content that is interactive, engaging and provides more value to the user.

“Google’s SGE marks a seismic shift in search technology,” says Ben Barnes, Managing Director at Marketing Agency, Neural Edge. “Adding a personal touch to content to satisfy E-E-A-T is going to be even more important now, as well as thinking about delivering the same content in different formats for your blog, TikTok and YouTube.”

AI-Generated answers

Within the new Google Search format, we’re likely to see answers generated by AI that give attribution to the sources it uses to generate its answer to your query. For informational searches, this could mean that website traffic from Google Search is lost in favour of providing users with the answer directly.

For example, if a user were to search for ‘What is the capital of France?’, SGE would provide an answer, with 3 links to where it sourced the information. This could result in fewer people visiting web pages and clicking through from search engine results pages.

Marketing teams will need to think carefully about the types of content they create and why they are the best person or company to provide the information. This human-level insight will be one key factor for getting into the AI snippet.

The inclusion of FAQs and shorter snippets of information used across your site could be a key way to get in these AI-generated responses, too as searches become longer and more detailed.

What should eCom businesses be doing about search?

If search is a big driver of traffic and revenue for you, you need to be thinking about how these changes will impact your current rankings, and what that means for future results.

Undoubtedly there’s still a role for SEO and search in the current marketing mix; the key is staying on top of the latest changes and adapting your strategy accordingly.

At a minimum, eCommerce stores should ensure they have well-structured content that’s optimised for search and includes visuals such as images and videos to take advantage of the shift towards more interactive elements in search.

Text-based content will still be important, but the focus will be much more on the quality of content rather than quantity. Similarly, backlinks and website authority will likely remain as ranking factors, so it’s important to ensure that your website is regularly linked to from high-authority websites and news publications.

Embracing the new world of Google Search

Ultimately, the introduction of AI and other interactive elements into Google Search is a huge game-changer for eCommerce stores. Getting a clear understanding of where search engines sit in your marketing mix will help you to plan ahead and adjust your strategy accordingly.

The key is to think about what you can offer in terms of value and entertainment, rather than just relying on traditional SEO techniques. Embracing Google’s new AI-infused search engine could be the difference between success and failure in an increasingly competitive online environment.

Neural Edge is currently offering free SEO audits for eCommerce websites that need clarity on how search impacts their digital marketing. Contact the team to book an intro call and audit.


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