Google SGE and Its Impact on Dental SEO
The new Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) represents a significant evolution in the search engine landscape. By leveraging generative artificial intelligence, Google aims to provide users with more accurate, contextually relevant, and comprehensive search results. But what does this mean for Dental SEO? Let’s dive in.
What is Google’s SGE, and How Does It Change the Dental Search Landscape?
Google’s SGE is a new Google Search update (currently in test or beta mode) that uses generative AI to improve the search experience. It’s not merely the introduction of a new search feature, but it is more a dramatic shift in how conventional search engines used to work and still work up to this date. The Generative AI box is an interactive box that is placed right above the organic or local search results. It is automatically generated for some keywords (you need to be logged into your Google account) while you might need to click on “generate” for some other keywords to get an AI-powered overview for the search query. Below is an example of the AI-generated overview box for a dental-related local search term (we had to click on generate for this keyword):
As it is evident from the screenshot, Google’s AI-generated box is placed right above the local-pack and organic results and is featured with local results plus a short review insight text on the right side of each result and a downside arrow that reveals more sources related to each local result. There are also other relevant sources mentioned right above the local map, which are mostly pages that aggregate different dental providers in that area.
Here is another search for a more informational type of keyword:
For this one, it produces a summary of what “clear aligners” are with downside arrows that you need to click on to reveal the source from where each specific part of the summary is taken with the list of the sources on the right side in a carousel format and even an image of Clear aligner right on the bottom of the summary.
For some other dental-related keywords (for example, Dental Implants), Google SGE does not generate any AI results even after clicking on the Generate button, as can be seen in the image below.
It’s unclear why Google generates AI summaries for some dental-related informational search terms but not for others. It could be related to the fact that Google does not want users to see information related to health topics that are generated by AI and might not be accurate.
For brand terms, it is very important to work on your website’s profile on important health and business directory sites and other local listing sites, such as Yelp, Facebook, etc. This is important because when users search for your brand terms if an AI-generated overview is displayed, it will include information on those trustworthy sources that you have a profile on.
As seen from the screenshot above, the brand-term search for this orthodontic practice shows sources from LinkedIn, Crunchbase, and other profile-like sites or business listing directories on which this orthodontic practice is listed. The AI-powered summary is generated from the information presented on these 3rd party sources.
Implications for Dental SEO
While now only available in the US and for Google logged-in users and in Chrome browser, Google SGE will soon become an important part of the Google search results. Here are some of the features of Google’s SGE and their implications for Dental SEO:
- Less Organic Traffic For Websites: Google’s SGE can generate short summaries on various topics, providing users with concise and relevant information without the need to click on multiple links. The AI-generated overview pushes down the organic results so that the complete above-the-fold is occupied with the AI-overview box for most search terms. This means that websites will receive less organic traffic from Google search results as users will find what they were searching for directly on Google search result pages and are less likely to visit each source or scroll down to the organic results below the AI-generated overview.
- Visual Elements: The SGE now incorporates more images and even short videos in its AI-generated overviews. This means that a search for a specific dental procedure could potentially show a brief video demonstration or relevant images. The implication here is huge, meaning that you can use platforms like YouTube to produce videos related to different relevant search terms with the goal of being included in the AI-generated overview of Google. The same thing goes for creating and adding relevant images to your website and optimizing them for your target keywords.
- Speedy AI Overviews: Google has improved the speed at which these AI overviews are generated, aiming to provide users with faster responses. This means that users will be presented with the AI-generated overview faster, which even further reduces the chance for them to see and interact with organic results.
- Enhanced Context: Google’s SGE now includes publication dates for some of the linked sources alongside the AI-generated text, giving users a better understanding of the recency and credibility of the source. This also has an important implication for dental SEO, meaning that it is now even more important to have recent content posted to the site to be included in the small search real estate that the Google AI-generated overview will provide.
Impact of Google SGE on Dental SEO Strategy
The introduction and continuous enhancement of Google’s SGE have significant implications for dental SEO. Like any other Google update, monitoring changes made to SGE is paramount. Refine your strategies, reset your priorities, and focus on what’s essential to ensure your practice continues to receive high-quality traffic from Google. Below are some crucial strategy updates for your Dental SEO due to Google’s SGE updates:
- Adaptable Dental SEO Strategy: As SGE evolves, dental SEO strategies will need to be more adaptable. SEO professionals will need to closely monitor any changes in organic visibility and traffic and adjust their strategies accordingly.
- Local SEO Remains Crucial: Despite the advancements in SGE, local SEO remains vital for dental practices. Ensuring accurate and consistent Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) across online directories, optimizing Google My Business profiles, and gathering positive reviews are still essential for attracting local patients.
- Quality Content is Key: Dental websites should focus on producing high-quality, informative content that addresses common dental issues, treatments, and oral hygiene tips. With SGE’s ability to generate summaries, having in-depth and valuable content increases the chances of being featured as a source. Creating informative content endorsed by dental experts in the practice will enhance the site’s E-E-A-T, which is crucial for Google rankings, especially for health-related websites.
- Backlinks Still Matter: Earning quality backlinks from reputable and relevant websites remains essential to dental SEO. These backlinks act as a vote of confidence in a website’s authority and relevance. The relevancy of the linking site is of great importance. For link-building, it’s important that the linking sites are related to the health or dental industry or the community where the practice operates. Start by creating profiles on health or dental-related sites and on sites specifically targeting the local community you serve.
- Continuous Monitoring and Analysis: Dental practices should regularly monitor their website’s performance, track user behavior and keyword rankings, and make necessary adjustments to their SEO strategy to improve visibility and performance. Ensuring you stay updated with all the changes in the Google algorithm can help you stay ahead of competitors.
Traditional SEO relies on users clicking on links from the search results page. With SGE providing direct answers, there might be a reduction in clicks to organic listings. For example, you will see the impact of this shift on your blog pages and your informative content, as the AI summaries are shown more often for the top-of-the-funnel search terms (keywords with informational search intent). Dental websites might experience a drop in organic traffic if their content is summarized directly in the search results (again, this is more likely to happen for informational search terms, for example, affecting the traffic you receive for your blog posts or general treatment pages.) Even with SGE, adding new informative content regularly is still vital for getting featured in Google’s AI-generated box. Also, this kind of content is essential to increase the site’s relevance and build trust both for the audience and search engines.
Google’s SGE represents a transformative approach to users’ interaction with search results. While it offers a more streamlined and enriched user experience, it challenges traditional SEO practices. Dental practices must recognize these changes and adapt their SEO strategies to ensure they remain visible and relevant in this evolving digital landscape.