Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) has been introduced as a ‘beta’ using generative AI. I have been closely monitoring this new search experience over the last few months, and I believe it can potentially transform the user search experience.
Google’s newest AI technology, released in May 2023, may have an overall impact on how we perform Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As a real estate marketing professional, it’s crucial to comprehend these changes and how they could influence your digital strategy due to the ever-changing digital landscape.
A Brief Overview of Google SGE
SGE is designed to provide more context to its search results, making it easier for users to find relevant content and immediate answers to questions. For example, as outlined in Google’s “A new way to search with generative AI,” people will be able to do the following:
Ask entirely new types of questions that you never thought Search could answer.
Quickly get the lay of the land on a topic, with links to relevant results to explore further.
Ask follow-up questions naturally in a new conversational mode.
And get more done quickly, like generating creative ideas and drafts right in Search.
The outcome showcases two features that illustrate this new technology. First, AI-generated snapshots emerge at the top of search results that offer a quick overview of the topic, answering specific questions and presenting essential information.
For example, if a user searched for a home with a kitchen with specific amenities such as a gas stove, SGE could provide a snapshot comparing different properties, highlighting their kitchen amenities that have a gas stove (see image).
The second feature is introducing a new vertical experience for specific items. This feature provides a comprehensive overview of products, including descriptions, reviews, ratings, prices, and images.
Google does claim that it assures us it will display reliable and current information in these features while giving importance to quality and responsible AI usage.
The Impact of Google SGE on Real Estate SEO
The Possible Benefits
SGE delivers an enhanced user experience. For example, SGE’s AI-powered snapshots and vertical experiences could offer a more detailed and comprehensive overview of properties and other real estate information. I believe SGE has the potential to greatly enhance user engagement and satisfaction. By providing users with a wealth of information at a glance, it has the ability to expedite their decision-making process.
Improve information accuracy through better AI technology. Google’s promise of quality and accuracy could result in more reliable and up-to-date information about properties in their search results. This can enhance the credibility of real estate listings and foster trust among potential buyers or renters.
The Potential Challenges
Possible reduction of organic and paid website traffic to branded sites. Due to their prominence, AI-powered snapshots could push traditional website links further down in search results.
This could lead to decreased website traffic, translating into fewer leads for brokerages and agents. My initial guess would be a 20 to 30% decrease in traffic. As website traffic often forms a crucial part of lead generation in real estate, this could pose significant challenges.
Another significant challenge is how to monetize or promote core or ancillary services. The SGE vertical experiences bypass traditional property review websites and affiliate links, potentially affecting the revenue streams of those relying on these methods.
Put simply, when property information, reviews, and prices are easily accessible in search results, users may be less inclined to visit real estate websites. This can have a direct impact on their revenue from ads, affiliate marketing, and other related services.
Strategies for Adapting SEO Practices in Light of Google SGE
Despite these challenges, these are some of my thoughts on ways real estate marketing professionals can adapt their SEO strategies to leverage the changes brought about by SGE.
Focus on high-quality content
With SGE possibly delivering AI-generated snapshots of real estate information, creating specific and authoritative content relevant to buyers and sellers becomes even more crucial. Creating high-quality content, such as in-depth information or unique insights about a property or neighborhood, can still attract users who wish to dive deeper into a topic. In addition, if accomplished with consistency, it allows Google to recognize your website as the “topical authority” on a subject.
Optimize for featured snippets
SGE uses snippets of information to provide quick answers. Therefore, structuring content that directly answers common user questions can increase the chances of your content being featured. This requires the utilization of headings, lists, and succinct paragraphs to make it easy for search engines to pull relevant information.
I believe this is going to be a very important strategy based on the last two months of Google Search updates, which were labeled as ‘Helpful Content’ updates.
Leverage structured data!
This is an area where real estate SEO experts keep missing the mark by doing only the basic implementation of structured data.
Implementing structured data markup (Schema.org) on your website can provide additional context and information about your content. We discussed this in a previous article, “3 SEO Real Estate Web Strategies.” This approach assists search engines in understanding and presenting your content more effectively.
Build a strong brand presence
Another way to remain competitive in the eyes of consumers is to build a strong brand presence. Real estate marketing professionals can build a strong brand using a shotgun (omnichannel) approach to distribute the brand message and engage with buyers and sellers using the latest tools on social media platforms.
For example, creating YouTube shorts, Instagram Stories, TicTok, and Facebook Reels from full-length videos. Yes, there are AI tools available to easily craft and distribute this content. It seems brokerages tend to stay away from this strategy, which is a shame. People are generating tons of revenue through this media.
Monitor and adapt to changes in website performance
Finally, organizations should scrutinize and adjust changes in website performance. Real estate marketing professionals can improve website performance and remain competitive by tracking website analytics and adjusting as needed.
Incorporate AI in its property search
It’s a good idea to have frank discussions with your website partners about utilizing AI tools to improve the property search user experience. If they are not, call me, David Gumpper. There are many such tools available.
Using Google’s Search Generative Experience has advantages and disadvantages for real estate. On the one hand, it offers users a convenient way to view properties and obtain reliable information. However, on the other hand, it can lead to reduced website traffic and limited control over information.
Google SGE is currently featured as an experiment in the Search Labs. While it’s not widely released, you can access it through the Chrome desktop and Google App on Android and iOS.
Search alone generated 57% of Alphabet’s 2022 revenue, which amounts to $162B. So you have to believe Google will smartly implement SGE to allow the search service to continue to grow revenue. So you need to keep up your SEO tool belt tight and ready to work.
In summing up, real estate marketing professionals can adapt to these changes by:
- Creating high-quality content
- Optimizing for featured snippets
- Leveraging structured data
- Improving user experience
- Building a solid brand presence
- Monitoring and adapting to changes in website performance.
By implementing these strategies, real estate professionals can remain competitive in the industry and succeed in the age of AI-powered search.
If you want more insight into SEO practices and an understanding of the future of AI, contact David Gumpper of the WAV Group.