Google SGE is a new AI-powered search feature.
With SGE, people can find answers quicker and to more specific questions. Instead of reading blogs and websites, the searcher will be shown AI-generated answers.
This is awesome for the searchers. But it could spell disaster for blogs and websites.
Let’s take a closer look at it.
What Is Google’s SGE?
Google SGE (Search Generative Experience) is an AI-powered Google search feature. In SGE, Google answers searchers’ questions with AI, instead of suggesting search results.
From AI’s perspective, this means people no longer need to sift through blog posts in search results to find answers.
Instead, the AI will provide a quick and specific answer in seconds.
More importantly, one can ask much more detailed questions from Google than ever before.
Previously, Google searches were like this:
- Best shoes for tennis
But with the addition of SGE AI, one can Google things like
- I’m a male tennis player with a shoe size of 41. Can you recommend some shoes for artificial turf courts? I play a bunch of times per week but don’t compete. I want a cheap option but something that still works.
This makes search engines much more advanced than they used to be.
But what makes this feature great is also its biggest issue—the AI.
AI can nail some answers and “know” a lot of stuff. But it’s also wrong many times.
Because AI doesn’t think, it can only summarize what it has seen on the internet. This can sometimes lead to a not-so-specific or accurate answer.
The Nature of Technological Changes
In blogging and SEO, the biggest worry is if the next Google update or technology change will disrupt the entire industry.
This worry has been there as long as blogs have existed.
Think about voice search.
Voice search, with its conversational nature, should have changed the blogging landscape entirely. Instead of reading blogs, people could just use voice search to find answers without even opening their phones.
However, initial predictions like “50% of all searches being voice searches by 2022” proved to be crazy overestimations.
The SGE and AI revolution is likely similar.
Surely, in 10-20 years, the world will look different. But none of these AI-powered tools or features will disrupt industries overnight.
Google’s SGE is most likely going to be one example of these.
Many people think there will be no reason to use blogs after SGE. But in reality, most people still will traditionally use Google for a long time.
And that’s not because they don’t know about SGE. It’s simply because SGE isn’t perfect. Not even close. In most topics, one needs to see a human-written answer.
As long as AI is not a conscious human being, there’s no need to worry!
Pros and Cons of AI
AI or artificial intelligence is making waves in the blogging and SEO industry.
The idea is simple. Instead of having to look through web pages, one can just ask AI for an answer and get it in seconds.
The first notable such an AI-powered tool was Bing Chat.
You could ask anything from it and it told the answer in seconds instead of having to read blog posts for minutes.
Look at the above example. A really great answer with all the citations and whatnot. Why would I ever read blog posts or websites if it’s this easy to find answers with AI?
The only issue is that AI is not perfect—not even close. It doesn’t think, it doesn’t see, it doesn’t experiment. All it does is predict what’s the best answer.
Yes, it guesses the answers—it’s never 100% right.
And this can be a big issue.
Instead of reading a human-written response, you get an AI answer that is maybe right.
For example, when Google first introduced Bard AI (their “response” to ChatGPT), it made a huge mistake.
The worst part is that these mistakes happen in a very confident tone of voice.
In some cases, mistakes aren’t lethal. But sometimes, it can be fatal, and a much better idea to just read human-written content.
Also, in some topics the AI answer is meaningless. Think about a product review.
If you ask AI to review a pair of shoes, it doesn’t think or know what those shoes even are. It can just summarize.
It’s wiser to read a post written by a real player rather than having AI to guess the products for you.
This already shows you how Google’s SGE is probably not going to be a big change for bloggers.
Let’s take a look at content where SGE can do a better/worse job than a human writer.
SGE Will Lose If…
If you want to write content that’s going to do well, you need to write content where AI cannot compete with you.
In this section, I will show you what SGE (or any other AI) cannot really do as good a job as a human writer can.
To see how poorly AI actually answers questions or writes blogs, make sure to watch this video.
In this video, I show how to use ChatGPT to write a blog post. But as it turns out, I had to do 99% of the work.
SGE is not useful if someone’s searching for something where a human takes matters.
Think about product reviews. AI cannot review those. It can just summarize what others have said. For some, this could be enough. But most people want to read the posts.
Also, most people want to see visual guides.
Think about a search like “How to create a thumbnail in Canva”. The SGE cannot do much on a search like this. SGE cannot show how to use a tool or product.
In a topic like this, AI can only recommend posts—which is what Google already does.
On a search where the answer needs experience, expertise, and real knowledge, SGE is not that useful.
So if you’re a blogger or SEO, there’s no need to worry. If you write truly unique and useful content that solves real problems, you’re unlikely to get hit.
But for someone who just wants a quick answer, SGE might indeed be great.
SGE Will Win If…
SGE can surely replace specific types of blog posts.
Think about a search like “What is a cat”.
The AI can answer that very easily. Heck, it can even generate an image of a cat on the fly.
This type of “commodity content” is what AI can produce more and more easily. So this type of content is not going to work in the long run.
But let’s have a closer look at a topic like this.
If you search for “What is a cat” on Google, you will already get a ton of results.
Also, even before SGE, Google renders a short answer which makes scrolling any further useless.
The above answer is more than enough for someone searching for that topic.
Long story short: it’s already impossible to stand out with this type of content. That doesn’t have anything to do with SGE or AI revolution.
In short, it’s not AI that will disrupt blogs. It will only make already irrelevant content even less relevant.
If you focus on topics where the AI cannot do better than you, you will do good. But if you write content that a cheap freelancer or AI could produce, that can spell disaster.
We Just Don’t Know
I come from a scientific background and I hate to speculate. Please, keep in mind that everything related to SGE is just speculation.
It will probably take years before AI is good enough to provide actual value.
In some short questions, it can be reliable and good. But most of the time, it’s simply wiser to take the extra minute to read truly useful and reliable resources.
Of course, SGE could always become an overnight success. But just as well Google could mess it up so bad they need to roll it out.