computer screen showing google search

Search Generative Experience (SGE) – Navigating SEO in the Era of AI

The world of SEO is on the brink of a significant transformation. Google’s largest update to its search engine yet, known as the Search Generative Experience (SGE), is soon to change the dynamics of how we see search results. With this update, the top result for a query will be an AI-generated response, amalgamated from various sources.

This seismic shift heralds several implications:

Your brand and content risk being demoted in rankings.
The concept of keyword search volume for building an SEO strategy may soon be antiquated.
Quantifying and measuring SEO success could be more complex than ever.
However, the most profound change is that marketers will no longer derive value from publishing simple informational content. AI can generate such topics with an unnerving level of accuracy.

The Disruption of Content Creation in SEO

Consider the instance of an article on “what is a marketing dashboard”. If AI can produce a precise answer within a few seconds, human-created content’s necessity seems to diminish. Despite this, numerous SEO agencies continue to pump out the voluminous top and middle-funnel informational content as a strategy, clinging to the old norms.

The hard truth is that average or even good-quality content will no longer guarantee SEO success. To stay relevant and competitive, we need to adopt new strategies.

The New SEO: Our Focus Areas

As we navigate these turbulent AI times, we’re focusing on several key areas to adapt our SEO strategy:

Transitioning to Total Addressable Search Market Clustering

We’re moving away from traditional keyword research, which includes competitor gaps and manual keyword research based on search volume. Instead, we’re embracing Total Addressable Search Market clustering (a concept you can explore in detail at Skyler Reeves’s agency).

Emphasising Thought Leadership

From the onset, we’ve been a thought leadership agency first and an SEO services provider second. This approach has served us well during the rise of AI. While AI can handle many things, it lacks the finesse and depth required to produce expert content, particularly in technical and complex enterprise fields.

Despite the inaccuracy, monotony, and attribution issues associated with AI-generated content, the demand for human expertise and genuine experiences in content remains high. After all, can you envisage publications like the New York Times or The Economist being replaced by AI? Neither can we.

Experimenting with In-house and AI-assisted Content

We’re testing the waters by writing in-house thought leadership content for bottom-funnel search intent and product keywords. Concurrently, we’re utilising AI-assistance for crafting middle and top-funnel content. Stay tuned for further insights into this experiment in our upcoming posts!

Boosting Visual Content

The maxim ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ seems truer than ever. We’re focusing on increasing our use of images, infographics, and information design. We understand that eye-catching and optimised thumbnails could be instrumental in securing that all-important user click in the visually pleasing landscape of SGE-branded results.

Prioritising Topical Expertise (Continued)

Building topical authority never goes out of fashion, but clients need to be more receptive to this approach. Establishing authority in a niche not only makes your brand stand out, but also makes your content less likely to be accurately replicated by AI. Depth of knowledge remains an area where humans still hold the edge.

Conclusion: Embracing the AI Revolution in SEO

The advent of AI in SEO, heralded by Google’s SGE, is not something we can ignore. It brings about both challenges and opportunities. The rules of the game are changing – outdated strategies are becoming redundant, and new approaches are taking the helm.

The most significant takeaway from this seismic shift is not that AI is usurping our roles, but rather, it’s redefining them. It’s pushing us to move beyond the generic and dive into the specifics, to value quality over quantity, to demonstrate authority and expertise over broad coverage.

As we adjust our sails to the new wind, we look forward to navigating this journey with you, embracing the changes, and unlocking new avenues of SEO success.

At Riordan SEO, we have created our own tools to automate and speed up SEO processes. We have set up these tools for numerous clients, allowing more time to be spent on what’s important rather than getting bogged down with tedious tasks. Get in touch today.


1. What is Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE)?

SGE is Google’s latest update to its search engine, where the top result for a query is an AI-generated response, pulled together from various sources.

2. How will SGE affect SEO?

SGE will shift the focus from traditional SEO strategies like keyword research and could make it harder to quantify SEO success. Content creation strategies will also need to adapt as AI becomes capable of generating basic informational content.

3. How can we adapt to these changes?

Adapting to the new SEO landscape involves focusing on areas like thought leadership, in-depth topical content, and visually appealing information design. It also means utilising AI to our advantage, for instance, in generating top and middle funnel content.

4. Will AI replace human content creation?

While AI is becoming capable of generating content, it lacks the depth, authenticity, and expert knowledge that comes from human expertise. There is still a high demand for human-generated content, especially in complex and technical fields.