How Google’s SGE will change SEO: actionable tips for your business – The Organic Growth Ranch

Welcome to The Organic Growth Ranch season 1, episode 1

The most important takeaway

This episode will help you understand if and how you should prepare your business for the upcoming SGE changes by Google.

The summary

Bartosz Goralewicz speaks with Maria Chołuj (Cieślak), Head of Technical SEO at Onely (currently on a sabbatical). They discuss:

  • Concerns raised about the accuracy and readiness of SGE results, as well as the lack of transparency in the information presented.
  • The importance of Technical SEO fundamentals and building trust with Google through expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).
  • Changes in search intent with a focus on the need for high-quality, unique content that addresses user needs and establishes authority.
  • A concern about the potential for low-quality, specific articles and the need to assess and improve content to match user intent.

Watch the video

 

Listen to the podcast

Our speakers 

Maria Chołuj (Cieślak) is Head of SEO at Onely and a recognized Technical SEO community expert. 

>>LinkedIn >>X (Twitter)

Her work activities involve leading the team, creating and executing SEO strategies for large international structures, and pursuing her interest in modern websites built with JavaScript frameworks. Maria is a member of Bing’s Customer Advisory Board, a conference speaker, and the author of multiple articles primarily focusing on diagnosing and fixing JavaScript SEO issues.

She has an active lifestyle, finding relaxation in skiing and hiking and admiring the mountain views.

Bartosz Goralewicz is a Founder and Head of SEO at Onely and Co-founder of ZipTie.dev.

>>LinkedIn >>X (Twitter)

Bartosz Goralewicz is a Founder and Head of SEO at Onely and Co-funder of ZipTie.dev.

He has been a staple in the SEO industry over the last decade as both the co-founder of Elephate (2018’s “Best Small SEO Agency” in Europe) and a thought leader – especially when it comes to all things JavaScript SEO.

In 2019, Bartosz funded Onely – the one and only technical SEO House. Onely’s specialized team works with Fortune 100 companies and other major international brands while continuing to push the envelope in Technical SEO.

Onely has a unique approach to how it works with clients, which is reflected in its one-of-a-kind workflow, transparent price list, and highly detailed reports. On top of that, Onely makes serious efforts to share its knowledge with the industry as a whole, believing that a healthy and positive SEO industry makes for a better internet.

Full transcript

[00:00:00.480] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Hello, everyone. Welcome. Today, we’re going to cover a very exciting topic of Google’s SGE. I assume that you probably by now either watched a lot of videos about that, or listened to podcasts, or read a lot of articles. I know that there is a lot of anxiety in the SEO community about this topic. Historically, when we had these issues of something new coming up and we had our research, I would always go to one person to listen to her and to have that grounded, very practical approach. That person is here with me today.

 

[00:00:39.190] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Maria, our head of SEO, currently on sabbatical for a very beautiful reason of her newborn baby, agreed to join me today to talk to me about how SGE is going to shape the future of Google SERPs and interaction with your website. Without any further ado, Maria, how are you?

 

[00:01:04.040] – Maria Chołuj

Hello, everyone. It’s great pleasure to… Oh, my gosh.

 

[00:01:12.660] – Bartosz Góralewicz

It’s been a while, Maria, huh? It’s been a while since you’ve been talking to me about all these nerdy concepts. I love to have you here. Sorry to drag you out of the sabbatical, but I assume, knowing you for the past, I don’t even remember how many years, we’ve been working together for a bit too long, I think, sometimes for your patience. But Maria, without any further ado, I wanted to talk about SGE, how it’s going to affect business.

 

[00:01:43.630] – Bartosz Góralewicz

This is a very practical question, practical topic, and I couldn’t think about anyone else but you. If you could maybe give me just a little bit of a big picture of how you think this is going to change how we interact with Google, how users by seeing this extra layer of data called Search Generative Experience, in your opinion, how these user behaviors are going to shift?

 

[00:02:11.630] – Maria Chołuj

I think that it will be extremely challenging both for users and business owners. It’s a new reality for us. For example, from users’ perspective, we need to learn how to use SGE. We need to learn how to search for something in a new way, in a more conversational style. But it’s also a challenge for business owners. Why? Because users will search something using very long-tail keywords. From keyword-oriented SEO, we need to switch to very granular data while analyzing our traffic and Google Search Console data. We may get overwhelmed with the amount of data and the type of keyword that we will see in Google Search Console. Drawing conclusions from such granular data will be extremely, extremely difficult.

 

[00:03:26.120] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Agreed 100%. But at the same time, we’re going to get to the point when a lot of these broad queries like Croatia or Rome that are not really easy to address by SEOs, will lead to somehow clarifying that intent through the SGE layer. We’re going to get to the point where we have better traffic, better conversions. So even if this traffic could drop, being devil’s advocate here, this could still be way more valuable because I don’t think Google is going to starve websites off traffic. I was wondering what your opinion on that is.

 

[00:04:06.390] – Maria Chołuj

I agree. I agree that such general keywords like Rome, et cetera, are not useful for business owners because it’s hard to tell what’s the intent behind the query. However, I expect that we will see very long-tail keywords. I’m not sure that we can say that these phrases are keywords because I think that users will use specific questions and Google will be able to answer them. Aggregating data will be extremely difficult. Most probably we will need new tools and new methods of analyzing data to have some valuable conclusions that can bring value to business so business owners can make a decision on the data.

 

[00:05:16.380] – Bartosz Góralewicz

A hundred percent agreed here. We’ll get to that today, I think, knowing you, Maria, we’ll get back to data at some point. We’ve got a lot of data about… Right now, we have quite a lot of data over the last few weeks since this went live into which queries are being targeted by SGE. How is Google targeting these both keywords? Because not for all of the keywords, the SGE is going to be enabled. We actually know how to trigger that. But more about that later. I think right now my question is, because we have to address the elephant in the room, it’s obviously not nearly ready right now. So I know you have your strong or less strong opinions about where the SGE is at. I wanted to listen to that a little bit as well. Hear you out.

 

[00:06:10.940] – Maria Chołuj

Well, let’s say that I have some mixed feelings about SGE results because Google is extremely… They want to show the best results in Google, so they analyze our website from very critical point of view. But if we take a look at the search results that have SGE, they are not that accurate. Just to give you an example, they introduced the concept of EEAT, that stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

 

[00:07:02.690] – Bartosz Góralewicz

That’s a tongue breaker, huh?

 

[00:07:05.190] – Maria Chołuj

Yeah, it’s not easy to mention that in a row. So they analyze our website from perspective. Oh, my gosh.

 

[00:07:20.400] – Bartosz Góralewicz

They’re very critically analyzing our website. I’m assuming this is where you’re getting at. It’s a double-edged sword. I can predict where you’re going with that. They judge our content or content of our clients with a very strict metric, but at the same time, it doesn’t work when they make the rules.

 

[00:07:39.890] – Maria Chołuj

It seems that they don’t follow the same standards as they apply to our website. For example, when we analyze websites of our clients from EEAT perspective, we always take a look at contact information. For example, we should very easily find information who stands behind the website. Articles that are published on the website should be written by authors that have authority in a given niche. We should be able to find information about the sources that we can find in the articles.

 

[00:08:28.410] – Maria Chołuj

But if we take a look at the SGE results, it’s hard to tell who stands behind the information that we can find in the search results. For example, if you are looking for, let’s say, medical advice, you don’t even know that a given piece of information comes from a person who has medical background. We don’t know if the information is fresh. I don’t think that the project, SGE project, is ready to use at scale.

 

[00:09:06.890] – Bartosz Góralewicz

A hundred percent agreed. I’m panically searching right now for the exact percentage of how many health queries we analyzed, returned SGE. I can’t find it at this moment but-

 

[00:09:21.920] – Maria Chołuj

I took a look at the data and it was around 70%.

 

[00:09:29.210] – Bartosz Góralewicz

That’s how I remember that. We can include the exact number underneath this webinar somewhere, wherever you’re going to watch that and whatever format it’s going to come out in, I will include that data. But anyhow, we can see that Google is heavily targeting health queries and they don’t really have limits. It goes from cancer to basically most of the queries that you would think wouldn’t be tackled by artificial intelligence. That’s maybe not always, but often, hallucinates or confuses the data. This is something where Google said, “This is fair game.”

 

[00:10:07.680] – Bartosz Góralewicz

We can get into some verticals that they attack heavily, like health. We can get into some that they left behind, like finances with just 22%, I think. But anyhow, we can see that the rules that they set with all the core updates, basically all of the updates targeting quality are not really something they would pass. I get this is where we’re getting at and that’s a very valid point. I hope this is going to improve quickly and they will somehow be a bit more reasonable with that.

 

[00:10:43.330] – Bartosz Góralewicz

But I wanted to ask you about one thing I’m really curious about, and I would love to hear your opinion, because being an SEO for so many years, I always look, what are the pros? What are the opportunities? How do we grow? How do we leverage that for our clients and for ourselves to win with that change? I usually don’t look at that. Okay, how do I not lose traffic? I want to win. I’m wondering if you see any potential, if you see any opportunities for growth here.

 

[00:11:14.590] – Maria Chołuj

Yes. Maybe I would start with some data. Based on our research, if you want to be included in SGE results, you need to aim at top seven. I think it will be still important to follow best practices related to technical SEO. That’s something that you need to cover and you need to be even more focused on EEAT elements. Crawling, render… Yeah, Bartosz?

 

[00:11:59.230] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Yeah, sorry, I was listening to you. I just wanted to plug in a little bit of data. Eighty-six percent of all of the links included in SGE come from top 10. Just a little correction of top 10. You still need to be ranking high to be included. You’ve got 14 chances, 14% of results only use something from the second page down. If we can still talk about second page nowadays, which is a whole other discussion with how much space this thing takes. But I’m guessing you’ve been going at the fact that, okay, for now to be included in that, you need to take care of all the old stuff in a way. All the technical SEO aspects of crawling, rendering, indexing, structure of the content.

 

[00:12:46.880] – Maria Chołuj

Yeah, fundamentals. Business owners need to cover the fundamentals, like as you mentioned, crawling, rendering, and indexing. Then we can move to more elements that build trust in your website because I think it will be critical from Google perspective. Being included in the… If you want to be mentioned in SGE, you need to cover them. I think introducing SGE will be great motivation for business owners, because I know how it-

 

[00:13:30.880] – Bartosz Góralewicz

You’re in trouble now. You have to do your homework.

 

[00:13:35.350] – Maria Chołuj

Why? I know how it works because when Google introduced structured data, everyone wanted to have them displayed in Search. I think it will work in the same way. Everyone wants to have… Maybe it’s not a good thing to be mentioned in SGE, but I think that everyone wants to be a source of information that Google uses for SGE.

 

[00:14:15.320] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Yeah. Thanks for that. I’m assuming this is a segue because the question was about pros and opportunities. I can tackle that a little bit. Thanks for mentioning, to actually look into these pros, to these opportunities to grow, you have to do your homework. Actually, I like that side of you, Maria, as well, always grounding that conversation. Okay, let’s do the homework first and then dessert.

 

[00:14:41.530] – Maria Chołuj

That’s why you mentioned that it’s a great motivation for business owners, right?

 

[00:14:46.570] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Now that we all are heavily motivated by Maria, let’s go through into some of the pros and opportunities. I think I can start with a few from myself. Maria, feel free to join or interrupt. First of all, I think that most affected keywords will be ones that right now I would call SEO articles, SEO content. A lot of the top funnel content that really none of us likes to interact with.

 

[00:15:16.670] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Again, I’m looking for a bike. I have no idea about bikes. Reading all these articles, figuring out if this website is affiliated with that website, maybe they’re confusing me. This all now seems to be slowly disappearing. On one hand, that’s good from user perspective. But all of the websites creating this top-of-the-funnel article, there are three types of bikes, blah, blah, blah, will lose that traffic. The question I would have and actually what we’re investigating, looking into is okay, if you lose that top-of-the-funnel traffic that we don’t really like to interact with, none of us likes to do research into something we actually want to buy. But all of a sudden we have to be experts in this thing.

 

[00:16:07.510] – Bartosz Góralewicz

This is going to be gone. But the opportunity behind it, because I’m actually going somewhere with this, the opportunity behind this is, if this intent is going to change. We see what the next interaction is. If someone is looking for a bike and maybe the query is like, “What kind of bike do I need for X, Y, Z?” We’ll see this traffic being heavily filtered out or heavily… Basically, we’re going to get from users that we don’t really know what they want into maybe mid-funnel, sometimes even bottom of the funnel, within just a few steps. The whole process is going to get much quicker.

 

[00:16:52.530] – Bartosz Góralewicz

What I think might happen if you’re living out of ads and the top-of-the-funnel content, maybe affiliation, this might not be the best time for you in the upcoming months. Obviously, there are tactics to mitigate that. But in the long run, this is not really an opportunity for you. You probably are not really excited for that.

 

[00:17:13.250] – Bartosz Góralewicz

But again, if you’re in ecommerce, if you’re selling something and you’re struggling, “Okay, how do I find this very targeted audience?” That might be quite a treat for you, especially that 79% of results we tested in ecommerce have SGE layer enabled. Google is heavily going after the SGE in organic and also in paid. There are so many things they introduce in paid right now. That this is something that also is a whole other conversation.

 

[00:17:45.560] – Bartosz Góralewicz

From my point of view, if you understand how this intent is shifting and you can actually start preparing right now, this could be quite an exciting journey because not only you will have very targeted traffic. Maybe there is just 30% of this surge volume coming to you, but it’s a different traffic. I think we all look at Search Console, rankings, traffic, we sometimes shift away from business. I think in this case, we can really have some fun with optimizing for this before everyone else starts doing it. What do you think about this, Maria?

 

[00:18:26.320] – Maria Chołuj

It’s still about motivation. Sorry.

 

[00:18:32.070] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Are you going to motivate us again?

 

[00:18:35.800] – Maria Chołuj

Sorry. But I’m happy that business owners that have a lot of generic articles will need to make a decision on what to do with the articles because as you mentioned, most probably they won’t bring a lot of traffic in the future. I think that Google will prefer something that has expertise, that is focused on very narrow topic.

 

[00:19:11.470] – Maria Chołuj

If users land on this kind of article, I think that business owners can expect better conversions. Because when I see that from my perspective, when I land on very detailed article and I feel that someone who wrote this piece of content is an expert, it’s easier to make a decision based on the information that I can find in this article. In this way, we can address the problem that I think everyone who has ecommerce and has blog can face because it’s very difficult to convert traffic from blogs to ecommerce. Some people visit our blog and then go out.

 

[00:20:12.470] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Sorry, I was just messaging Maria to reduce the quality of the video because she’s cutting off and she’s dropping a lot of truth bombs as usual.

 

[00:20:23.790] – Bartosz Góralewicz

It’s a little bit of tough love here, Maria, because on one hand, I understand that. I think as a SEOs with quite a lot of experience in that field, we’re mostly worried about a lot of content online that’s just not amazing. Usually when we onboard a new client, we look into a lot of the blog articles. And I don’t want to offend anyone but very often, 60%, 50% of these articles, if they disappeared, the world wouldn’t really change. I think this is where you’re getting at. This is going to force that shift. But forcing that shift, even though it’s not going to be comfortable for a lot of businesses, this adjustment, this change, this uncertainty will get them into a better place long term if they do their homework.

 

[00:21:12.640] – Maria Chołuj

That’s true. But we need to look at creating content as something as investment because creating high-quality content is expensive if you want to have something that is written by someone who has passion and who is an expert in a given niche. That’s why switching from low quality and removing a lot of content that is basically low quality will be a challenge for business owners.

 

[00:21:56.850] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Yeah, and I think that the biggest challenge is not even about removing that content. In a lot of the conversations, and we had a lot of them, both of us, we’ve been on these calls when we tried to explain what good content is to the other side, whoever that might be. Even if we look at the SEO space, we’re all guilty of that in some form. We keep removing old articles if they don’t get clicks. We keep removing old articles if they’re getting the index. We see how much content is just useless within even our blog.

 

[00:22:34.770] – Bartosz Góralewicz

At the same time, we see that articles that bring new research, new knowledge like this SGE research we’re going to launch, this article is going to not only get a lot of links, a lot of referring domains because it’s useful. It’s going to help the community prepare for what’s coming. That not only helps people, but that gets you to rank better. We have articles with a few hundred referring domains within a week or two from publishing, and I would rather publish five of these than 500 of copy or 5,000 words of… What am I saying? 700-words articles optimized for SEO, high quality.

 

[00:23:17.560] – Bartosz Góralewicz

I think the way to make it easier, because I assume we all see that coming, maybe not all of us in both SEO marketing, website owners, whatever, we see that change. The question very often is, how do I make the first step? I’m thinking we could speculate. Let’s say that we have a travel blog mostly targeting broad queries like Croatia, what to do in Rome. These queries will be heavily affected.

 

[00:23:48.640] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Do you think we could try to draft or structure a few first steps for someone to not only observe what’s coming and make data-driven decisions? We’re going to publish again. You can follow or subscribe to our newsletter. We’re going to publish all the data about SGE soon. It gets easier if you know exactly which keywords are going to be affected. Let’s say I see that “What to do in Rome?” is a keyword that I’m going to lose, most likely. Maybe not lose completely. I’m going to still rank for this, but I’m assuming my click-through rate is going to tank tremendously. It’s a broad query. Do you think we could create right now maybe two, three steps someone can take right now to tackle it?

 

[00:24:28.940] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Sorry for that surprise question, Maria, but knowing you, you would probably be the best person to figure this out. But I assume that the first move is how… First thing we need to accept, I think I can propose the first step, is we have to accept that if this article, if this content could be created by AI, even in an imperfect way, it shouldn’t live on our website anymore. Because if this is something that AI can create, even if you win for the next three months, this is not going away.

 

[00:25:04.570] – Bartosz Góralewicz

My first step would be to understand, okay, is it authorship? Is the fact that I wrote this article making it valuable, contributing to the general database right now? We can look at that as our website, as database for AI. Or is it unique? First thing, is there something that people have to visit this article to find out? That would be my first step. Uniqueness, value, and is this something that doesn’t exist online at this moment? This could be anything. This could be structure, this could be graphics, this could be simplicity. Not always we don’t have to invent room from scratch.

 

[00:25:48.850] – Bartosz Góralewicz

But yes, sorry. I would propose this first step. Do you have an idea for the next one, Maria?

 

[00:25:54.820] – Maria Chołuj

I would say… I’m from technical SEO so let me add something from technical SEO perspective.

 

[00:26:02.940] – Bartosz Góralewicz

No more homework, please.

 

[00:26:07.790] – Maria Chołuj

Review structured data that you use on your website because I think that they are even more important than we all think because Google gathers extra information that you add in structured data about authors, about structure of the website, of the article. Everything that you put in structured data should be without any errors and without any warnings. That’s something that I would add.

 

[00:26:50.340] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Sorry to interrupt you, but just to clarify, what it’s going to do, and correct me if I’m wrong in how I understand that, just to simplify that a little bit more, take it one floor lower or higher, hard to say right now. But anyhow, you look at the big picture of that. Because of the structured data, Google would have a very easy job of understanding what that is, and not only including the SGE rank in it, understanding that it will be compared to other articles out there. With the structured data, we’re giving Google a little bit of structure—wonderful invention, Bartosz, I know—a little bit of structure of… This article contains these things. This is written by this person, who is an authority. We actually feed a lot of value to search engines through that, right?

 

[00:27:39.180] – Maria Chołuj

Yeah. The problem is that nowadays, everyone uses structured data. But if we take a look at the details, a lot of websites use structured data in incorrect way. They have a lot of errors and warnings. I think everyone wants to use them, but I think we don’t know how to use them in a proper way. That’s what I meant.

 

[00:28:16.120] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Just a shameless plug here. I think in Tomek’s, our head of R&D, then now lead of ZipTie, our sister company, Tomek’s e-book about ChatGPT. We can link it below as well. It’s a free e-book. We have a chapter about using ChatGPT to generate structured data. Basically, you feed ChatGPT all of the documentation, you feed it your content, and ChatGPT is giving you a lot of useful stuff. I hope it’s covered in the book. That’s at least how I remember. If not, we’re going to have to remove this element of this recording.

 

[00:28:55.420] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Okay, moving forward. I would go and add a third aspect that I think you can expand on. But I would make sure that we actually target an intent. By an intent, I don’t really mean, okay, we’re going to open Ahrefs or Semrush or whatever, and we’re going to go after the largest volume and the largest PPC value, whatever. I would go after something that actually addresses a very specific problem in the best possible way online. That’s how we create a lot of content. If someone is going to search about “Crawled – Currently Not Indexed”, I want to make sure that our article about this topic, within onely.com, has content that’s not only actionable, valuable, but created by people who actually know what they’re talking about. That gives us quite a lot of that extra value that will be very difficult for Google to—and I’m sorry for the term—steal.

 

[00:29:52.870] – Bartosz Góralewicz

So understanding that intent, that user behind that intent and how this person needs to interact with your website is also not something you can do by sending a brief to a copywriter saying, “Write me 400-words article about this.” This is not really addressing all of these problems and this is the content I think that we both wish that can be slowly pushed out of Google.

 

[00:30:21.840] – Maria Chołuj

Okay. But I have some concern about this. I agree. That’s the first thing that we need to understand the intent. But I have a concern that-

 

[00:30:39.300] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Just for the audience—I’m sorry, Maria, to interrupt—that doesn’t happen very often.

 

[00:30:45.760] – Maria Chołuj

But it happens.

 

[00:30:48.640] – Bartosz Góralewicz

It was “I agree, but…”, so let’s listen to the “but”. I’m sorry, but I’ll let you continue.

 

[00:30:55.150] – Maria Chołuj

But I’m afraid that business owners and content creators will go too granular. I’m afraid that we will find articles that are 200 words long and they are very specific. In general, we can find the answer for a specific question, but we don’t have a proper experience of reading the article or finding additional information. But maybe people will see that it doesn’t work, so it won’t last for very long, for many years.

 

[00:31:42.450] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Just to say it back to you, the way I think I understood it, just to clarify it for myself first and then for the audience, if someone has the same problem as me. But how I understood that is your concern—and if that’s true, I definitely agree with that—is that a lot of people will take it a little bit too far. Instead of creating one valuable article, they will go after this long-tail keywords that come from SGE and write, again, poor content.

 

[00:32:14.620] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Regardless of… None of us, either me and Maria, we don’t believe in a length of articles. It doesn’t matter if it’s 50 words or 5,000. We have a lot of proof in our blog where we would be over-ranked by 10% of content of what we wrote because it’s more digestible. We had to rewrite and so on. But anyhow, the concern is that a lot of people will adjust in the same way, use the same tactic, but just for this new rewrite.

 

[00:32:39.760] – Maria Chołuj

Yeah, but I’m talking about low-quality articles. Analyze the data.

 

[00:32:47.630] – Bartosz Góralewicz

I’m going to use the low and high quality because high quality doesn’t mean much with all the emails I’m getting with all the high-quality articles we’re being pitched. But sorry.

 

[00:32:59.360] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Is there anything else, do you think, as a way to prepare of, how do we shift from this old mindset of let’s have articles, let’s get it to rank to… Okay, Google is going to take over some of that user journey. Obviously, transactions are still going to happen outside of Google. That won’t affect business the way I understand that, at least. Maybe some of that can shift from PPC to SEO or from SEO to PPC. I don’t think anyone can predict that nowadays.

 

[00:33:33.570] – Bartosz Góralewicz

But long story short, what we have to remember is people will still buy that house through Google. People will still buy that bike through Google, but people will still go to that marketplace searching for something, and they will still find that heated Reddit discussion about something we’re just excited about. This won’t change. What’s going to be affected the most is again, queries that can be easily answered by Google. If you’re in that niche, I think first you have to prepare, but then you have to rethink that business model because it’s definitely with SGE or without over the next year or two, it’s going away.

 

[00:34:12.520] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Just to summarize, I think with just these few steps we covered, I think we can start this process of understanding our users a little bit more, seeing if you have content. Regardless of SGE, this content has to go because Maria gave you that homework.

 

[00:34:29.790] – Maria Chołuj

I agree.

 

[00:34:31.710] – Bartosz Góralewicz

I wouldn’t panic just yet with, again, our prediction, looking at a lot of the data, a lot of the research we’ve done in this topic, I don’t believe that SGE will be launched publicly soon. I think Google would be in too much trouble both legally and ethically and all the other fronts. Also, a lot of the user intent is misunderstood.

 

[00:34:56.330] – Bartosz Góralewicz

So we could cover a lot of these aspects but I think if any of you watching this wants to prepare for SGE—and this conversation is just a conversation between us just to show you how we think about this—the key takeaway from my point of view is see which queries are going to be affected, and we’ll publish the data so you can actually look into how it looks like.

 

[00:35:21.160] – Bartosz Góralewicz

But just to give you an overall perspective—and I think this might be very valuable—is all of the “H” questions, so how… They’re not “H” questions. So “W” questions: “what, where, why, how, best, cost, and near me”, all of these questions are fairly targeted by SGE. The only query out of these being lower than around 70-80% of results showing SGE is “best”. “Best” is still at 40% for some reason. But “how, cost, near me, why, how, where”, and all of these queries that are fairly informational are being targeted by Google,

 

[00:36:06.290] – Bartosz Góralewicz

so You can look through your top keywords. Most websites have most of the traffic coming from, let’s say, top 100 or 200 keywords. You can see, okay, these few will be affected. You can also enable SGE and just check that manually, whatever works. But then three steps. Let’s see if I remember them correctly. One: see if this is unique content, if Google can actually live without that article. If that’s the case, even if you have a lot of links, even if you have page rank 11 and all these other aspects, most likely this is not going to survive. That’s one. Now, second was yours, Maria. Second point.

 

[00:36:49.650] – Maria Chołuj

It was about structured data, but now I think that-

 

[00:36:53.010] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Structured data. You want to replace it? Okay, go on.

 

[00:36:57.440] – Maria Chołuj

Sorry. But based on my experience, I think that cleaning up, especially big structures, always takes some time. Maybe it’s a good time to start some housework and getting rid of-

 

[00:37:19.290] – Bartosz Góralewicz

No more homework, Maria.

 

[00:37:20.670] – Maria Chołuj

I don’t know why.

 

[00:37:22.830] – Bartosz Góralewicz

But yeah, agreed. We get so much index bloat nowadays.

 

[00:37:26.510] – Maria Chołuj

Yeah, index bloat. I think that indexing will be even more optional in the future so Google will be even more critical because we create a lot of pages, a lot of URLs, so they have limited space. Cleaning up, so first step: review the content that is useless, that doesn’t have fresh information and make a decision if you want to improve it-

 

[00:38:05.460] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Doesn’t contribute stuff [inaudible 00:38:06].

 

[00:38:06.800] – Maria Chołuj

Yeah. Or get rid of the content that is low quality. Then you need to fill in the website with something that has some value and answers the intent. That was the third.

 

[00:38:33.390] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Think I can end it with a story or an example from last year. Maria, that was before your sabbatical, so you will know exactly what I’m talking about and the last spam update from last year. I think it was on October 2022, what we saw is Google deindexed billions of pages. Even if we look at the website, on our website or website of John Miller from Google or basically any website out there, Google removed a lot of contents from index, meaning that basically you cannot find that content on Google anymore. The heuristics, the rules they used for that, even if your content was ubervaluable, it was unique content, it would bring peace to the world, but it wouldn’t match with clear user intent, they would remove that.

 

[00:39:29.540] – Bartosz Góralewicz

An example, we had a very interesting, again, my ego, I probably write-up of some of my presentations from SMX in New York or something like this from 2018, 2017. There was a lot of unique data, unique research that you couldn’t find somewhere else. I think it was about pre-rendering JavaScript SEO. It was unique content, it was valuable. But at the same time, the title of that article, of that page was just about that event.

 

[00:40:01.590] – Bartosz Góralewicz

And Google removed all of these pages from our blog. We saw the same pattern from a lot of other websites. Let’s say, if you’re in real estate, indexing off-market pages, regardless of the market, is it US, is it UK, is it anywhere outside of these two countries is a problem, because again, there is no clear user intent searching for a property that’s not on the market anymore. We have seen millions of these pages being deindexed.

 

[00:40:29.470] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Obviously, for the past few years, Google is deindexing soft 404s, as they call them, so products that are out of stock, even if they’re indexable. There are a lot of heuristics that Google is implementing to clean that index. If you get caught by surprise, this gets difficult because sometimes that stands for a lot of your traffic because these pages would get traffic, it’s not usually the most valuable, but we saw a lot of dramatic stories of businesses after that spam update.

 

[00:40:59.600] – Bartosz Góralewicz

I think this was a very good trial for us to see how skillful Google is in figuring out, okay, do we really need this article online? We only probably saw a few patterns of why they would remove that. I’m assuming this is machine learning, this is AI, and this not only got very advanced last year, and this is the first time I saw something this significant, but now with all the computing power and advancement, this is going to get more intense.

 

[00:41:29.360] – Bartosz Góralewicz

So I think this tells the story of, okay, this is already happening, so it’s not really something new, but as Maria said, you will have that wonderful motivation of making your website a little bit better. That’s going to be a little bit forced on all of us, including us. Anything else you would want to add at the end, Maria, because I think this was beautiful. I love this conversation. Is there anything else you want to add at the end?

 

[00:41:56.850] – Maria Chołuj

I think that it was a great summary. I’m looking forward to see the final results of SGE, not a better version, but the final product or product, let’s say. I think that it will change a lot, but I think that we shouldn’t panic. We just need to take a look at the data and make a decision what to do next and get prepared for the change.

 

[00:42:27.760] – Bartosz Góralewicz

A hundred percent agree. Just again, one correction, sorry for being so anal. This is not even BETA yet. I think this is lab, this is an experiment. It’s not even in the BETA phase, theoretically, but maybe they will jump three steps this time from experiment to like… I don’t know. Yeah, 100 % agree. Just to wrap this up, we’ve seen these changes before. I think that me and Maria were in this position that maybe we didn’t look like this, but we’re in business for a while. And with every single update, with every single major change, there was this feeling in the SEO community among Webmaster that SEO is dying, that this is going to be very dramatic.

 

[00:43:10.960] – Bartosz Góralewicz

However, it’s going to move forward, Google also has some limitations of they cannot piss off the whole planet with that change, because if people will, even us, people listening to this, will stop feeding Google this information, they will die. We need to understand that Google needs to maintain this balance somehow because when they starve out publishers from traffic, they will starve out themselves from content.

 

[00:43:37.880] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Long story short, the only thing I see being really affected right now is content that you can create with ChatGPT, just to maybe overly simplify that. If you have a lot of value, most likely users will find your website still. It’s just you need to target that a little bit better, you need to be a little bit more strategic and look at the data and do Maria’s homework, obviously. None of us never wants to be on Maria’s bedside, so I would definitely make this happen.

 

[00:44:10.750] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Thank you so much for tuning in. Thank you, Maria, for taking time-

 

[00:44:14.940] – Maria Chołuj

Thank you.

 

[00:44:15.640] – Bartosz Góralewicz

In the evening to jump and record that with me. I appreciate it.

 

[00:44:22.670] – Maria Chołuj

Thank you.

 

[00:44:24.640] – Bartosz Góralewicz

Thank you, everyone. See you soon.

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