Testing and optimizing for Google’s SGE

testing and optimizing for sge

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We all knew it was coming but a few days ago, May 14th, Google launched their new AI overview feature in the SERP’s.

While it is rolled out in the USA by now, other countries will follow soon.

A lot of SEO’s are not happy about this feature. Especially small publishers believe this will impact their organic search traffic and business outcome even further.

It seems like a new era in SEO has started. One where SEO’s will now also be responsible optimization for SEO in SGE (Search Generative Experience).

Do people actually like AI answers for their queries?

It’s safe to say that definitely not everyone likes the AI answers. Just take a look at the search volume for the search term “Turn off AI overview” in the United States.

Google trends turn off ai overview

It’s quite funny that for this search term, Google actually serves a featured snippet instead of an AI answer:

Kristi Hines tweet

And yes, unfortunatly, unlike Bing, Google has no option to just turn the AI answers off. 

It’s safe to say that AI is here to stay. While there are some big challenges in the present and there will be in the near future like:

  • Spam results in SGE
  • Usage of parasites to manipulate SGE answers
  • Completely wrong answers

We, as SEO’s should be working on optimizing for SGE.

In the meantime, we should be very careful with the content we get served by Google. Especially with YMYL related things. 

lily ray ai overview

So how to actually optimize for SGE?

I can’t provide an easy answer on how to actually optimize for SGE. But it is clear that it’s possible.

There have been several examples of spam sites being featured in AI overviews. And if spammy sites can do that, there’s an option to achieve that for legit sites as well.

Some folks like Charles Floate are already heavily invested in optimizing for SGE with apparently succesful results.

As for me, I keep analyzing and learning more on which factors to focus on to be featured in an AI overview answer.

What I can say with confidence right now, based on my research, is that links play a huge role.

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