Google Gemini and SGE – current Predictions on the Impact of AI on SEA and SEO

With Gemini, a new multimodal language model, Google made a huge step forward in the AI battle against Microsoft’s ChatGPT. And Google immediately made it clear that Gemini will be integrated into Bard and the SGE results. Even though the exact effects are difficult to predict at the moment, it is already obvious that a big change to the search engine results page (SERP) as we have known it, is imminent. And it will be the most significant of any Google update to date.

Microsoft vs. Google – ChatGPT vs. Bard 

With the integration of ChatGPT into its own search engine (Bing) in February 2023, Microsoft triggered a veritable AI boom just a few months after the official launch of the large language model by Open.AI.

In February 2023, just a few months after the official launch of ChatGPT by Open.AI, Microsoft integrated the large language model into its own search engine and thus triggered a veritable AI boom. Although Microsoft’s AI developments are not purely focused on search, the early integration into search was definitely aimed at catching up with market leader Google.  

Google’s response came within days: Bard was launched. Prematurely though it seems, as Google faced an almost 100 billion dollar loss in market value within one day due to incorrect answers from the LLM. Bard may have received less attention than ChatGPT throughout 2023, but further developments show that Google is working much harder than Microsoft to integrate AI into its own search results. The launch of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) in May 2023 was a key event.

Source: Google Ads & Commerce Blog

Now, at the end of 2023, results are sobering and Microsoft was not able to steal significant market share from Google, despite the popularity of ChatGPT.

Search Generative Experience – Current Developments

With the launch of Search Generative Experience, Google is demonstrating its way of integrating generative AI in the search results page. Not as a separate tab or chatbot like it is within Bing (Bing Chat), but as direct integration within the SERP. The information from indexed and crawled websites is displayed as before, SGE is an addition in the results. Read more about this in our blog post

The impact of SGE on click behaviour within organic search results, as well as possible opportunities for advertisers have been discussed extensively in the search community. There are still no clear statements or rules regarding advertising measures but Google has a clear advantage: The search giant holds a wealth of information on user behaviour to run many experiments and figure out the perfect balance of paid and SGE. At Proficio we see a few possible developments and opportunities:

  • Testing various assets for optimised results – SGE is further blurring the lines between text and image searches and results.
  • Better user targeting through deeper integration of ads and an even more seamless experience for the user. However, improved targeting can result in more expensive click prices.
  • need to drive more impact with paid upper funnel search activity. Users have shifted from forums to ask basic questions to chat bots like ChatGPT. With SGE bot-like results appear integrated in the SERP and organic results might see decreased traffic volume for these queries. Ads can fill the gap.

Google Gemini – a possible Game Changer?

With the launch of Gemini, Google is throwing a multimodal voice model into the ring that, according to initial comparisons, should be significantly better than ChatGPT. Gemini is already being used by Bard and SGE, and is expected to provide faster results. The first videos also show that Gemini can answer multiple queries from users without search results nor clear use of external sources.

It remains to be seen what impact Google Gemini will have on search overall and user search behaviour. 

However, after the first insights into Gemini, we expect an actual search experience revolution. With no reference to external resources necessary, the risk of traffic loss for companies and website operators could be significant.

Stefan Drah

Managing Director, Proficio Germany

Potential Impact on Search Performance

The most immediate solution for the use of Google Gemini are further developments of SGE and a balanced use of organic and paid search results. Remember: Google ad revenue in 2023 will be close to 280 billion US Dollars – the search engine giant is unlikely to want to negatively impact one of its main revenue streams.

Nevertheless, especially with organic search results, website operators must expect an increased proportion of “no-click searches” and resulting traffic losses. The percentage of traffic loss depends on a number of factors such as the type of search query, current ranking and website content.

In the US where SGE has been available longest, websites have seen significant traffic losses ranging anywhere from 20% to 64% depending on the domain and sector. SGE is particularly affecting informative long-tail queries, meaning Google is now taking the top of the funnel for itself. What does that mean? Well, at the moment Google is only giving one- or two-word answers to questions it could answer easily and relatively accurately based on structured data. For example football scores, population counts or voting results. Generative AI integrated in SGE means that SEO will most likely move to a mid-funnel priority rather than upper funnel. Instead of focusing on high volume keywords at the highest level, SEOs will have to follow a more targeted approach to generate clicks.

There are no official guidelines on paid results or SGE-tailored ad formats available, but click rates are expected to be significantly higher, thus likely resulting in higher click prices than current.

How can you prepare for SGE, Gemini and the Revolution of Search?

In preparation for the launch of SGE in Europe and an increased use of AI through Gemini within Google Search we recommend to:

  • prepare your search data and reports in the best possible way in order to have meaningful long-term insights for SEO, SEA and search as a whole (e.g., CTR analyses at keyword level),
  • analyse your potential risk of traffic loss through SGE by classifying ranking keywords (informational vs. purchase) and including current positions, CTRs and CVRs,
  • test advertising opportunities within AI-generated results as early as possible to gain your own experience and stay ahead of the competition within Google Ads, and possibly most importantly
  • take preventive measures and adapt your website content to counteract possible traffic losses and even emerge as a winner.

Make sure your content is geared towards actual buyers, users who are in the market for your service or product.

Modify your main keywords to be more specific. E.g., instead of targeting plant soil, go after plant soil reviews or plant soil types.

Write content that draws a comparison to your competition, other countries or similar products.

Any further questions about Search Generative Experience or Gemini? We are happy to help you!

Marketing strategy SEO 11. 12. 2023