Google, AI, & SEO: The Present & Future of Search Engine Success

Aaron Peterson

Google, AI, & SEO: The Present & Future of Search Engine Success

Over the past few years, AI has been all of the rave. As companies like OpenAI, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft continue to increase accessibility to AI tools, there will be many questions to be answered as to how businesses should incorporate this technology into their practices.

More specifically, this raises the question of how search engine results and optimization practices will be altered going forward. Currently, there is a wide range of varying opinions, myths, and facts roaming the internet surrounding this topic. Some believe SEO is done for, some believe this is just another adaptation online marketers will need to make, and some simply don’t know what to think.

Although still largely unknown, the answer likely lies somewhere between all three of these. AI is not only the future of search engines but also the present.

What is Google AI Search Overview?

This month, Google finally rolled out its long-awaited generative AI search function. Per Google, the AI is designed to “appear in Google Search results when our systems determine that generative responses can be especially helpful”.

So what does this mean? In essence, this first model of Google AI functions similarly to chat GPT and other generative AI models, where the query-based AI algorithm will crawl both Google’s data centers and the internet to gather and present information the model deems “relevant”.

Google’s AI Search Overview, specifically, generates short responses to queries as well as links to more relevant information on the topic. For example, if a user’s query was “What is SEO?”, Google’s AI model would then collect data from various sources to display both a short synopsis addressing their query as well as links to additional relevant pages. This might look something like this…

“Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing website content and structure to manipulate search engine results and display a desired webpage for targeted queries.”

  • Relevant Link I
  • Relevant Link II
  • Relevant Link III

Google Search Generative Experience (SGE)

Search overview is not the only AI model Google has rolled out over the past few weeks. Google’s Search Generative Experience, or SGE, is another major component of search AI that business owners should take note of.

SGE is a more advanced form of AI-driven search that is best described as a hybrid of your traditional Google search engine and generative AI models such as Google’s Gemini or OpenAI’s ChatGPT. This combination of technologies provides users not only with AI-driven and personalized information and resources but also can generate human-like dialogue and responses tailored towards your query(s), even allowing users to expand upon existing queries.

Though this technology is slowly rolling out through Google’s default search engine starting in May of this year, users may access Google’s Beta AI and technology suite, specifically their SGE AI, using Google Search Labs.

What Does Google AI Mean for SEO Today?

With all of the changes being witnessed in the world of search engines, what should business owners and marketers make of it? As of right now, there is no reason for panic. Just a few weeks ago in late May, Google confirmed that a leak of a 10,000+ page document outlining the tech giant’s coveted search algorithm was indeed theirs. This leak confirmed that much of what SEO experts believed to be true about Google’s search function was true.

This being said June has still been a turbulent month in terms of search engine changes between quarterly algorithm updates and AI initiatives. The biggest current change in search engines right now is in ‘query-based searches’, or searches that ask a direct question rather than a topic broadly. In this initial phase of Google’s AI, the vast majority of generative responses to search queries originate from long-tail terms phrased as questions.

For example, let’s say you’re searching for how to find the best sandwich in town. Historically, many of the top organic results for the query “What is the best sandwich in BLANK?” would be a combination of review websites, articles, and blog posts about local restaurants, with those pages optimized specifically for that query/search term.

Enter Google’s AI suite, where not only does the model display a handful of links, but also provides machine-generated, human-like responses to those queries. How does the model decide which links to place there? What data/information is being retrieved and displayed in the generative content?

Given how recently this technology was implemented, search engine professionals are still learning how Google’s search algorithm and AI models interact with one another. What we do know, however, is that Google, along with the rest of big tech, has been hyper-focused on improving quality and reducing spam across their platforms. This leads us to believe that the overarching concept that will lead to search engine success is simple: quality.

This seems almost too simple of an answer, but this couldn’t be further from true. Quality is a spectrum when it comes to search engine optimization. This includes items such as the UX & UI, internal & external links, on-site content, and even the use of Google’s suite of online business tools such as Search Console, Business Profile, reCaptcha, and more.

The more structured your data is, the higher the quality of content on your web pages, and the higher the quality of your link-building process is, the more success you are likely to have with the emergence of AI.

What Does Google AI Mean for SEO In The Future?

If history is any indicator of the future of search technology, it is quite unclear what the coming years will look like in the age of artificial intelligence. One thing is clear, though, that AI will without a doubt play a major role in search engine use going forward.

It is logical to assume that SGE will be the next major rollout into Google’s main search function, which begs the question of how to adjust to increased AI-driven responses to queries. Without putting the cart before the horse, it is wise to first gain a strong understanding of Google’s current AI search functions.

As more time goes on and AI Search Overview continues to shake up the search engine results pages, or SERPs, businesses should closely monitor both their landing pages and rankings as well as competitors. Keep a close eye on what’s successful, what’s not, and why that may be. Odds are that future AI models from Google will be largely built around the same core concepts, and by keeping a close eye on what works well and emphasizing quality, you can stay ahead of the curve.

Ensure that your SEO agency is building high-quality landing pages, links, and content for your site, as well as keeping a close eye on your KPIs and search engine rankings for both your website and your competitors.

Stay Ahead of Google’s AI Rollouts By Working with an SEO Agency

Although a greater magnitude of change, the Google AI rollouts should be viewed very similarly to Google’s past technology lifts. Will some websites and businesses get left behind due to a lack of preparedness and adaptability? Absolutely. However, there will also be businesses that emerge stronger from the world of AI, those who are willing to work proactively with artificial intelligence rather than fighting its inevitable takeover.

The simplest way to stay ahead of the AI curve is by working with an SEO agency. Here at Simple SEO Group, we’ve been preparing for Google’s AI rollout for years. Through nearly two decades of algorithm updates, search changes, and technological advancements, we’ve still ranked every one of our clients on the first page of Google. We view artificial intelligence as an advantage, not a disadvantage for search engine optimization practices, priding ourselves on staying up-to-date with all of Google’s AI and search algorithm-based updates.

To learn more about how your business may be affected by Google’s AI rollouts, give us a call or visit us online to book a free consultation with our AI & SEO experts. We’re happy to address any concerns you might have about the continued implementation of artificial intelligence in search engines and offer solutions that help your business thrive.