What is Google SGE? How Will it Impact SEO and Copywriting?

As Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) starts using generative AI to summarise search results, engaging content offering genuine insights will remain key to ensuring your brand stands out from the crowd.

For many years, traditional Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) have displayed the most relevant webpages. The art of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) focuses on shaping content to ensure it ranks highly in these search results.

Perhaps more importantly, modern SEO also targets the ‘Rich Answers’ which feature prominently above or alongside many search results. Here, the search engine cites the most concise answer to the query, drawn from a single authoritative website.

Now, generative AI is set to reimagine search, as Google’s SGE and Bing’s Deep Search begin to offer AI-powered Chat Experience Results Pages (CHERPs).

SGE Artificial Intelligence and Search Engines

How CHERPs work

Like ChatGPT, CHERPs use generative AI to scour the web for information and then write their own detailed answer to a search query. For Google, this appears at the top of the page, above the traditional search results, and typically replaces Rich Answers.

Thankfully, AI doesn’t take all the credit. These CHERP answers often contain links and citations, as well as suggested follow-up queries. All of this ensures relevant brands can remain part of the conversation.

For now, CHERPs are still in the experimental phase. Google SGE is available via Google Search Labs. It’s yet to come to Australia, but it shouldn’t be far away, considering it’s already available across seven languages in more than 120 countries and territories.

Meanwhile, Bing’s Deep Search began as a small global trial but is now available to all Bing Search users by clicking on the Deep Search button at the top of the search results page.

What sort of impact are CHERPs having?

Not every search query requires a complex answer written by AI. Currently, only around 40% of search results are accompanied by AI-generated answers, according to Search Engine Journal’s SGE analysis of 90,000 queries.

This figure will likely increase as the technology matures and is applied to a wider range of search types. Yet even 40% is enough to demand that brands sit up and take notice today.

Just as with Rich Answers, people searching for answers often won’t need to look any further than the AI-generated CHERP result to find what they’re after.

This makes understanding CHERPs an essential aspect of any SEO, content and copywriting strategy for brands that can’t afford to disappear from view.

The implications for SEO and copywriting

Effective SEO requires subtlety, as search engines penalise obvious ploys such as keyword stuffing. Likewise, targeting a mention in CHERP results requires coming across as a genuine authority on the subject at hand, rather than merely parroting likely answers in the hope of striking it lucky.

Many websites already use excessive subheadings, FAQs and accordion blocks to answer a wide range of topical questions – even when the result is a haphazard jumble of text that is difficult for people to read. Such websites are basically ‘answer stuffing’ in an attempt to catch a search engine’s eye when selecting its Rich Answer.

This SEO tactic will be far less effective now that generative AI is reading over all this content and then writing its own rich answers on the fly.

Generative AI and content

To warrant a mention or citation in Google’s SGE answers, your brand must have something valuable to contribute to the conversation. This demands well-crafted content that shares valuable insights with the audience. Finding this value requires working with skilled copywriters to draw on your own research, industry knowledge and expertise.

SEO strategy in the CHERP era

Brands which already appreciate the value of original, high-quality, insightful copywriting are well-placed to succeed in the age of chat-style CHERP search results. Meanwhile, brands that pump out ‘search spam’ by scraping and reworking the content of others are set to feel the pain.

The emphasis is on quality, not quantity. Brands which turn to generative AI to churn out reams of generic content won’t impress search engine algorithms, especially as Google starts to downrank AI-generated gibberish. Some ChatGPT-driven content farms masquerading as trusted sources of information have already suffered devastating results.

If your brand doesn’t have something valuable to say, you’ll be overlooked by Google SGE and Bing Deep Search in favour of a competitor offering genuine insights.

Pulkit Agrawal, SEO Expert at UR Digital, says that with Google’s SGE and Bing’s Deep Search, the rules of SEO are evolving.

He points to the need to prioritise Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EEAT) in content.

“Develop unique content that answers specific niche queries while showcasing your brand’s expertise. Avoid rehashing generic information available elsewhere,” he says.

“Analyse SGE and CHERPs to understand common follow-up queries and provide comprehensive answers that go deeper than the AI-generated summaries. Use structured data like schema markup to increase the chances of being cited in AI-generated results.”

SEO and SGE - Generative AI and search

The SEO basics still apply

The overall priority must be on producing informative, engaging and articulate content rather than taking a cookie-cutter approach.

This includes avoiding clumsy and repetitive waffle in the dogged pursuit of keyword and answer stuffing, even at the expense of readability. It also includes auditing existing content to see how it can be reworked and optimised with AI-driven search in mind.

Rather than writing awkwardly to impress search algorithms while alienating audiences, the rise of Google SGE sees the needs of humans and machines align when it comes to great copywriting.

More than ever, well-written authentic content will be the cornerstone of an effective SEO strategy in the age of generative AI search results.


Need help  producing high quality unique content? Article Writers Australia is a Sydney based content agency offering a range of content marketing services. Contact us to arrange a consultation.

Technology Journalist | Website | + posts

Adam Turner is an award-winning technology journalist based in Australia, and covering both consumer and business technology.

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