SGE, a new tool from Google, is going to reduce the amount of free traffic that publishers get from Google’s search results. Publishers will have to find new ways to measure the value of their content, as traditional measures like click-through rates won’t apply to SGE. However, experts believe that publishers will still benefit from having their content featured in SGE.
Google has designed SGE to highlight web content, but the specific impact on website traffic is uncertain. According to a Google spokesperson, any estimates about traffic changes are speculative because what we see in SGE now might change when it’s more widely available in Google Search.
Publishers and other industries have spent years optimizing their websites to appear prominently in traditional Google search results. However, they don’t have enough information to do the same for the new SGE summaries. They find the new AI section to be a mysterious element, and they are unsure about how to ensure their content appears in it.
Google states that publishers don’t need to make any changes to their existing practices to appear in SGE. They have allowed Google to “crawl” their content for years, meaning Google’s bots automatically scan and index their content to make it appear in search results.
The main concern for publishers regarding SGE is that Google is using their content to create summaries that users may read instead of clicking on their links, and Google hasn’t been transparent about how publishers can prevent their content from being used in SGE.
For some publishers, Google’s new search tool is seen as more of a threat to their business than unauthorized content scraping. Google has not provided a comment on this assessment.
Some websites are choosing to block their content from being used in AI tools like SGE, especially if it doesn’t affect their appearance in regular search results. Data from AI content detector Originality.ai shows that 27.4% of top websites have blocked ChatGPT’s bot, including prominent sites like The New York Times and The Washington Post. In contrast, only 6% are blocking Google-Extended, another Google tool, since its release.