How Will SGE Impact Your Organic Traffic?

April 4, 2024
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‍Poor organic traffic usually directly leads to low conversion and poor sales rates. Through the years, there have been a ton of changes to how people interact with search engines. And with each new change to the search algorithms, marketers and business owners have to find ways to adapt as quickly as possible and make the most of it so they can improve their revenue. We can actually see the same thing happening in real time with Google SGE.

‍The new SGE is one of the biggest changes in recent times, with more far-reaching effects on organic traffic. It affects how the world interacts with search results and how people find you. Do you already know much about this change and do you imagine how to use it to your advantage? Let’s check.

Google & Generative AI: Things to Expect

SGE Impact

Source: @Vlad_CO on X

‍Google SGE is short for Google Search Generative Experience. Like previous algorithm updates, this one has many people scratching their heads and trying to figure out how it will affect them. At its core, Google SGE is basically geared towards enhancing user experience and providing (or, in this case, generating) an answer to a search query.

‍To do this, the generative AI (which uses large language models or LLMs) creates new answer-based content for you. Remember that this will be made from the content already available in the Google index, which appears on the top spot of search results and can vary each time. Still, since the top three spots generally get the most clicks from SERPs, this might lower the potential organic traffic for the web pages on the first page of search results.

‍Even in cases where these generated answers reference content or links from other websites, they rarely link to any of the 10 top pages from the organic results. This happens 93.8% of the time, which has serious implications for SEO as we know it. For example, if your blog is mostly how-to articles, you will likely see less organic traffic. But this is unless your content is more nuanced and offers something special.

Why Is Google SGE Important for SEO?

‍A quick overview of Google SGE shows this innovation is an expansion of the search functions that people have come to know and love over the years. Still, this innovation does present a few curveballs in regard to SEO. Also, it highlights SEO’s importance in helping people connect to the best content available on the net. How’s that happening?

  • SGE is designed to provide the most valuable resources to users, which is aligned with SEO goals.
  • Understanding how GSE works and how users respond to it will be helpful for adapting to user behavior and improving your search rankings.
  • GSE output depends on the existing content in the Google database, so keeping your SEO game tight and using the best practices will help your pages get indexed, increasing your odds of driving some net traffic to your page.

How Does Search Generative Experience Affect Organic Search?

SGE Impact

Source: @NathanABinford on X

‍Now, you already know that Google SGE is going to reduce organic traffic for so many websites, but what other implications could it possibly have on SEO? Turns out the answer to that is “a lot.” Let’s see:

#1 Generative AI Snapshots Impact Your Visibility in Organic Results

‍On one hand, generative AI is able to draw attention to some web pages that may otherwise not have the opportunity to rank high in search results. This depends on your keywords and if they get to appear in the generated response, of course. Still, SGE results already take up a ton of display space in search results while providing answers and even space to ask a follow-up question.

‍As a result, more and more people are relying on the generated content and not bothering to click on other results. It’s like how most users never bother with the second page of Google search results. Sometimes though, the answers are not quite right, in which case, searchers simply move on to the organic search results.

#2 You Get Conversion and Monetization Prospects

‍Do you remember that for the longest time, your ability to boost conversion and growth, including monetization options available to you, has largely been influenced by SEO? Yes, you could have some paid ads here and there, but this is not really as sustainable or long-term as you want, especially for small brands.

‍Now, with SGE, there will likely be a few more options, like SGE ads for boosting your traffic, conversions, and, ultimately, your revenue rate. However, as with SEO, your success depends on how well you are able to generate effective content ideas.

#3 Your Content Strategy Cannot Be Static If You Want to Rank

Traffic Troubles

‍With Google SGE, the fight against spammy content seems to be taking on a whole new dimension. You can expect less and less fluffy content pieces to get ranked. At any rate, even AI can spit out something better than what is found in most of those types of posts. But there’s more: original content pieces that answer simple questions and provide easy-to-follow steps for getting things done will likely be eaten by the AI.

‍Usually, these types of content play a role in attracting people to gently move on to the bottom of the sales funnel. You’ll need to create more comprehensive, insightful content that approaches a topic from a unique angle. Experience and expertise, which are some human skills that an algorithm can’t easily replicate, will count more in getting your content to rank. Of course, your writing must always align with search intent and also provide informational summaries to get the algorithm’s attention.

#4 Consumer Behavior Is Defining

‍So far, GSE search results seem to be a hit with the younger audience demographic (18-24 years old). There are younger users relying on AI-generated snapshots over longer articles. This is not really unusual as the younger generations generally adopt new technology faster and even welcome it. What’s in that for you? You’ll have to find creative ways to make your content interactive and more engaging and pack more info using a smaller word count.

‍Of course, this might not really interest you much if you rather target older people. However, keep in mind that different audience groups are more connected than you think. Guess what? Right. Today’s young ones will become tomorrow’s older audience. It wouldn’t hurt if, while adapting to your preferred audience, you would simultaneously work on a strategy that would possibly make your brand attractive across a few demographics.

#5 Google SGE SEO Optimization Becomes a Must

‍SEO optimization alone won’t cut it any longer. Luckily, there is a big overlap between optimization for search engines and GSE optimization. What does it mean for you? For instance, crafting your content so that it shows up in Google Voice search and focusing on aligning it to users’ needs tick both of these boxes.

‍Notice how much AI now sounds closer to human natural language? You should consider this and want to focus more on using a natural conversational tone and less industry jargon. As much as possible, get your customers to leave reviews and use them, as this will make the search engine work in your favor.

Are You Ready for Google SGE’s Impact on Your Search Rankings?

‍Google SGE will affect traffic across all niches, but some will be influenced more than others. Of course, there are many things that can cause traffic troubles on a website, too. For example, those in healthcare, education, and tech niches are feeling the impact more severely compared to the rest. Even if you are not in these groups, your e-commerce site might still see a decline in organic traffic due to the issues addressed earlier.

‍The good news is that you can check your potential risk level now (to see how much SGE is likely to impact your search ranking) by using tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. There are also tons of free resources online that explain how to do this. The next step, of course, is to prepare for these risks. You can do so by taking a few steps:

  1. Manage your expectations and possibly those of your clients or employers. It’s hard to know for sure just how much your site will be affected as so many factors are at play here. Instead, set new flexible goals that allow room for adjustment to this shift.
  2. Don’t publish only content that shows expertise, experience, authority, and trustworthiness; you are going to want to include rich media files optimized for SGE.
  3. Don’t forget to improve your structured data as this provides important context about your content that helps AI understand what you are about.
  4. Take advantage of third-party mentions and even get paid links to boost your visibility as Google also relies on these things to create SGE answer-based content.


‍It takes some time to fully grasp just how much impact SGE will have on organic traffic and search as we know it today. Get ready to unlearn something (but not all) you know about ranking high in organic results. Still, if you stick to promising SEO practices and focus on offering the best value and experience for your audience, you will have a much easier and more enjoyable experience with this difficult (at first glance) transition.

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