Google recently released three new features designed to capture consumers turning to A.I. to shop, and any business with an SEO strategy will want to master them.
The search giant, which in May launched Search Generative Experience (SGE)--an A.I.-powered experiment that employs A.I. for shopping--rolled out another SGE update on November 16. SGE will "help holiday shoppers more easily get inspired and find that perfect holiday gift," Google said in a blog post. The features are available for U.S.-based shoppers through the end of 2023, if they opt in and turn on the function in their brower.
Coming shortly after the launch of Google's "small business" label, a tag that verifies small businesses for shoppers, this SGE update includes three new features that business owners should be mindful of as they grapple with algorithm updates.
Google said it will collect performance data on the experimental search tool through the end of the year, but business owners would be wise to start thinking about how SGE could alter the SEO landscape now. Some 27 percent of key-words perform the same, if not better, in SGE based on an analysis from Search Engine Land, an SEO news site. While shopping with generative A.I. isn't frictionless yet, businesses can get a head start on the emerging trend.
Here are the SGE feature updates you need to understand:
1. AI-generated subcategories
SGE now lists related subcategories to a specific item for shoppers to explore, from brands small and large. If you search "great gifts for home cooks," for example, SGE should curate products such as specialty tools, ingredients, and culinary subscriptions. With this feature, SGE also surfaces more links, and a wider range of sources, which Google says will generate more options and ideas for shoppers. For brands, that could mean more visibility for products over time.
2. AI-generated image
Using the new "Generate images" option, consumers can shop photorealistic images based on key words. After typing in "colorful metallic jacket," for example, users can press the tool and see a handful of A.I.-crafted jacket options that possibly match their vision. Users can either "generate more" or scroll down to see similar-looking jackets that are actually for sale--another opportunity for brands with sharp product images.
3. Virtual try-on for men's
SGE launched a virtual try-on option for women's tops back in June, which allowed users to see how tops fit on over 40 female models who range in skin tone, body shape, height, and size. Now, SGE also includes men's, so when shopping for men's tops users who click the "try-on" icon can see any of the hundreds of results on 40 male models with the same range of race and size. Throughout the duration of the experiment, shoppers can use this feature in the Google app, mobile browsers, and soon desktop.
Brands might not need to integrate SGE into their long-term SEO plans just yet, but as the algorithm evolves, strategists and advertisers might want to keep pace, especially if consumers are already using SGE for holiday shopping.
To take advantage of the potential boost in visibility, brands should focus on the quality of experience their brand and product data provides through the engine, according to Katie Moro, an ex-Googler and Productsup Director. She says that brands should ask themselves: Are you emulating helpful and valuable content? Are your images and videos unique and accurate, which will support authority and trustworthiness?
Moro says brands should "remove unhelpful content and add as much relevant and unique content as possible to their product pages." Doing so will help curve any existing SEO challenges and mitigate new ones.
At least, that is, until the next Google update.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Company.