Google SGE: 6 tips to tailor your content for the new SERPs

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It’s likely you know about optimising content for user search intent. You’ve got navigational, transactional, commercial and informational queries. But there’s another type that Google’s new generative AI system, SGE, is going to be catering to – exploratory search.

This term isn’t brand-new. It refers to the type of search a user carries out when they’re beginning to dig into a topic, and don’t know quite what they’re looking for yet.

Google has identified this type of search as being an ideal trigger point for its Search Generative Experience. However, while the generated response will no doubt give users a good jumping-off point for their search journey, it’s looking likely that a surge of zero-click searches will result.

How can we ensure sites don’t fall by the wayside once SGE rolls out? The good news is there is plenty you can do to tailor your content to the new SERPs – and there’s no time like the present to get started.

1. Consider the impact on evergreen content

In some ways, the announcement of SGE is a warning shot for sites which rely on evergreen content for the majority of their organic clicks. At this point, we know that certain types of search query will trigger an AI response from Google. That search results page will consist of a generative answer immediately below the search box – and on mobile, this response will dominate the entire screen.

SEOs have already predicted that SGE will result in a spike in zero click searches. After all, if you’re browsing on mobile, Google generates an answer, suggests a follow-up query and then continues to generate the information you’re looking for, you’re never going to scroll beyond that green box.

Evergreen content optimised for long-tail keywords could well see a dip in the coming months. SGE SERPs will show three top resources next to each generative answer, so adhering to the E-E-A-T principles will be more important than ever. Unless your business focuses on YMYL (Your Money Your Life) content, chances are you’ll need to increase your focus on UGC (user-generated content).

2. Keep up with the news

There will always be an important place in the SERPs for well-written, timely and important news updates. You don’t have to be a top news outlet to consider a news-focused content strategy, either. Whether your industry is e-commerce or law, there will be a news cycle to keep track of and contribute to.

By keeping people informed about the latest developments in your industry, not only will your brand establish thought leadership (more on that below) but you can also encourage discussion in comment sections and build an effective database of user-generated content. 

Plus, another SEO ranking factor you can hone in on? QDF optimisation. You can read about it more in our other blog post, but in short, you can capitalise on trending topics to rank content faster and update pages with new content regularly to become a trusted authority in Google’s eyes.

3. Hone your e-commerce strategy

E-commerce brands are in for an interesting ride with the launch of SGE. They will need to step up their SEO content strategy to ensure they appear prominently in the SERPs for specific queries such as ‘Bluetooth speaker for a pool party’.

That’s because, as Google says in their blog The Keyword, for a search like the example above they will now include ‘important factors…price, customer ratings….considerations for that environment, like water resistance and battery life, and a host of options to choose from.’

How can brands ensure they’re one of the top options in this new search landscape? Again, user-generated content will be king. Instead of prioritising buying guides, Google will be looking for up-to-date-reviews, first hand experiences and full pricing schemas. We will dig more into how e-commerce brands can hone their strategy for SGE next week.

4. Build online communities

There is a huge opportunity arising for sites which have active online communities discussing topics in-depth. Google will give more weight to genuinely helpful perspectives on queries such as ‘how to make friends in a new area’. 

While an SEO explainer on the topic might tick all the boxes for the SERPs, think for a minute – if you were in the user’s situation, you would find more value in reading about real-life experiences.

Now is the time to widen your SEO strategy beyond your website, if you aren’t already. If you have a large community or subscriber base, consider creating a forum where hot topics can be discussed. 

Additionally, send your thought leaders out to Q&A sites like Reddit and Quora so they can contribute helpful content on key topics. Google will start prioritising this style of content for certain queries, so now is the time to start laying the groundwork.

5. Work holistically with social media

Post genuinely helpful content on social media, as now there will be increased opportunity for people to find your brand’s channels through search engine results. With almost half of Gen Z using Instagram and TikTok over Google, it’s now more important than ever to have a solid social media strategy.

If your SEO and Social teams sit on opposite sides of the office, it might be worth bringing them together. In this situation, three isn’t a crowd – bring in your Content team too, and get to work on creating a strategy where you’re posting immersive, interesting content to social channels – because that’s about to be a major ranking factor.

While video content is likely to continue building importance as a ranking factor post-SGE, don’t worry if you can’t get stakeholders over the line for an in-house studio just yet. Creating insightful written content on social channels – particularly when it comes from thought leaders – is going to be a winning strategy for the new SERPs.

6. Find your thought leaders

If your site content has been authored by ‘The Team’, now is the time to change that. Google is placing increased value on individuals who are posting popular, useful and engaging content.

Ensure your site and associated brand assets are kept up to date with fresh, regular content. Don’t just write generic content that is already out there – where possible, champion the pioneers in your company to create authoritative, cutting-edge content that will be a genuine asset to the brand. 

With SGE on the horizon, you need to do more than put a H1 in the right place and optimise your anchor text. Creating thought leadership content is what will help you to stand out in the crowd when users search in Perspectives.

Google will be showing content creator names more prominently in Perspectives results. Having an authoritative name attached to your brand is a sure-fire way to build trust and increase the likelihood of getting both rankings and click throughs. After all, people are more likely to trust an expert human than a faceless brand.

Book your Free Acquisitions Workshop today 

If you’d like to find out whether your site will rank well for SGE, book in for a Free Acquisitions Workshop today, where you will receive tailored advice and resources from our expert marketers to give your SEO strategy an overhaul. 

We have a limited number of workshops available each month, so to find out how you can get your site up to speed, get in touch with us today.


Imogen Groome

Content Lead

Imogen is the SEO Content Lead at Skittle Digital. Imogen has worked in SEO since 2016. She helped to define SEO strategy at Metro.co.uk before guiding the newsroom at The Sun Online as SEO Editor. She has more than 5 years’ experience in scaling content strategies that drive revenue for brands through organic search channels. In her spare time, Imogen writes books, watches poor-quality reality TV and hangs out with her cats.

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