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How Googles Generative AI Search Will Affect Small Businesses

Search magnifying glass

Since the early days of the internet, the chase has been on to reach that number one spot in search and for many businesses, this has been a huge part of their success. Through the years, many businesses have become dependant on this as a main source of leads, many doubling down, buying Google ads and hiring teams to help ensure SEO is working optimally.

It has never been easy to play the SEO game, its time, it takes dedication but for those willing to work at it and make changes as Google makes changes and focusing on how they can be found above the fold. In fact, not a week goes by that a client does not ask me about improving their SEO (search engine optimization) and how they can more easily be found and show up. (and yes, I am also completely honest with them when they say they want to be number 1 and what they look like).

And.. well Google has been able to own search for many years (if you look now, it seems like bing and yahoo are growing in favour recently taking some market share from Google).

With Google's new Generative AI Search coming out it could be a game changer for small businesses and it may not all be for the best... or could it? While this is not

What it looks like:

First, let's look at the difference between what the current search looks like vs the new Google Generative AI Search will look like:

Current Google Search result:

Google Search What is SEO

New Generative AI Search Result:

Google Search What is SEO

In the new Google Generative AI search result the first results are what Google AI believes is the answer to the query from the user, these could be videos, articles, posts and text sourced from the web as a whole. This takes up a large portion of the 'above the fold' area with additional, traditional search results only following after the generative results.

Note, this change to Google search harnesses informational intent, what the intent of the search is, not just the 'answer' to the question. This is to help broaden the answers shown to satisfy the query.

How it will affect businesses:

To say the least, the new generative text is designed to solve the query so that the user will not need the traditional business pages, all they could want including how-to videos, shopping and additional references is served first with the option to ask a 'follow up' question. This is designed to keep users using this area of the search results and not scrolling down to the business pages.

"... not scrolling to the business pages"

This could be a huge hit for businesses that rely on leads from Google searches and have written their websites to answer the questions to get the results.

How you can use generative AI search tools to help your business:

If you have taken note from the direction Google has changed the prioritization in their algorithm you may not be shocked by how you can make an impact, the notes have been there if you've read between the lines:

  • String keywords, and focusing in on your ideal target.

  • Show an understanding of informational intent and provide a broader solution

  • Focus on your blog and adding educational content.

  • Make content easily digestible, snippets may be used.

  • Diversify your media, Google can use snippets of news articles, social posts and podcasts in search results for breadth.

  • Google still cares about ads

  • For e-commerce, making sure you really add in solid descriptions and SEO content.

I've said we have 'littered' the internet for long enough and these tools are designed to help the internet be a little more useful and focused again. SEO is ever-changing and Google has really tried to tap into making search easier for the user and that means if your business relies on it, we need to adapt to understanding the intent for our customer.


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