Have you heard? There is a new SERP feature in town. At Phantom, we have always been strong proponents of features like People Also Ask and Featured Snippets, but where is this new AI-driven feature going to fit into the mix? This new feature is called Google Generative AI. We will explore what it is, how it works, and most importantly, what it means for SEO.
How to Turn On Generative AI In Google Search
Currently, there are some rules that limit who can use Generative AI. Don’t worry, it’s not a closed beta. You do have to be 18 or older and you have to be on a personal Google account. As of this writing, Generative AI only works in English, Hindi, and Japanese. You will also have to use the Chrome or Google app depending on your device.
To get started with it, in a new window, with incognito turned off, click or tap the Labs icon which looks like a filled beaker. Depending on your device, it will be in the top left or the top right.
On this new page, there will be a few “experiments” that you can opt into. One of them will be “SGE, generative AI in Search.” SGE stands for Search Generative Experiences. Turn this experiment on, and then you will see a generate button populate in applicable searches. Note, this feature is different from “SGE while browsing” which isn’t directly related to search but will provide key points for pretty much any page that you are on.
What Does Generative AI Look Like in Google Search?
Looking at any new search feature that Google tries out we have to learn how it works, what it looks like, and ultimately how it surfaces links to actual pages. Let’s get into it and explore what these Generative AI results look like. Below, you’ll see our results from a previous answer. There can be more on this result depending on your device with sources to the right and potentially even a video or further imagery.
Within the Generative AI result, you will see down arrows in at least a couple of spots. Some will have more, some less. Each arrow will link you to all of the sources that the AI used to come up with this information.
You can think of Generative AI as a summary tool. Instead of summarizing a single source, it is summarizing your search results page in a way that it thinks will be the most useful to you. This application of AI, at least on the surface, is a rather smart one. Instead of taking information from one source that Google has already deemed reliable, it is using multiple to provide you with a very rich result.
What is the Quality of Google Generative AI
Currently, the quality is a little hit or miss but the main points tend to come across well. You can see this in the above result. Some steps are listed in a strange order that isn’t always helpful. For example, telling you how many times per side to paddle your board before telling you how to hold your paddle. In other spots, steps are essentially repeated twice but in different words.
Google knows this and starts each Generative AI result with this text: “Generative AI is experimental. Info quality may vary.” You can see a little more quality with a different topic. Here we searched for “How to change your oil.”
This search is much better organized with a very simple step-by-step guide followed by a list of tips. The tips can be a little repetitive, and the step-by-step guide is enough if you just need to check your order on things, but not enough to teach someone how to change the oil on their car if they’ve never done it before. This search result also includes a lot more sources spread throughout and even includes a Reddit post into the mix.
How Will Generative AI Fit Into the Future of Search?
Whenever a new SERP feature comes out, we have to analyze how it will affect rankings, click through rates, and general traffic health. As this is a new feature, one with limited users, hard data is not yet available, but we can speculate on the effects of this feature.
Obviously, we will never know this for sure until it happens. From an aesthetic point of view though, the Featured Snippet and the Generative AI result seem to live in the same space. It’s easy to imagine this Generative AI replacing the featured snippet. Whether this is a good or a bad thing for content marketing strategies is hard to predict.
On the one hand, there will be more links made available in the top spot than just one. On the other hand, will these spots earn as many clicks as featured snippets do now? And on an inexplicable third hand, who will we be writing content for when we are trying to earn a Generative AI link? The searcher or the AI? One could argue that we already do this to some degree, writing for Google instead of the end user, it just so happens that a majority of Google’s ranking factors are centered on the user experience already.
Read More: What is AI-Assisted Content?
The important part here is that Google is providing sources in a smart and easy-to-use way which is far better than the alternative of a guide or a result without any sources, which is how some are using ChatGPT currently. As we mentioned, this is a beta feature, and certainly not everyone is using it yet so the end result of this feature is far from known.
Currently, Google has this beta set to run until December of 2023. At that point, Google could extend the feature, do away with it either temporarily or indefinitely, or roll it into search proper. Until then and likely even after, the goal remains the same, create amazing and well-optimized content and the traffic will come.
Get Content Marketing and SEO help With Phantom Copy
If you need someone to create that amazing and well-optimized content for you, Phantom Copy is here to help. Whether you want genuine human-written content to help you fight the good SEO fight or if you want to take AI into battle yourself with our AI-assisted content that keeps real humans in the loop but still for an affordable content marketing option. Reach out to Phantom Copy today and get an experienced Phantom on your side.