The team here at Reunion loves research. We’ve won several awards over the years because of our hands-on approach to new trends and the efforts we take to understand customer behaviors and these past few months, we’ve got to dig into a different type of understanding. How does Google’s AI behave?
For those who don’t know, Google has been enhancing its search results with results similar to BingGPT’s results, using AI to give separate “answers” to various searches that are different than the other paid and organic results. As we watch the results from SGE, or Search Generative Experience, there are many very interesting consistencies, as well as some concerns.
First and foremost, it is obvious that for in-market searches, Google is leaning into information from the Google Business Profiles to deliver much of the information also seen on a dealership’s GBP listings. It is incredibly important to have fully optimized GBP listings across sales, service, and parts and this only adds more urgency to a dealer ensuring that their listings are accurate and fully built out. Review count, ratings, addresses and other citation information across all departmental listings, and more all seems to be coming
See the results for a “Toyota dealership near me” from Cary, North Carolina.
Even more interestingly, this result seems to take into consideration the reviews for a “subaru service coupons search” when the fourth result tells searchers that the dealer offers the best customer service in town.
Beyond GBP, Google’s SGE environment seems to be pulling in a lot of information from third-party sites and goes against much of the progress Google’s organic results have made since the Venice update (allowing local businesses that can solve specific needs of local customers to find each other on the SERPs). These results seem to have a lot of similarities to where Google was pre-RankBrain years ago before fine-tuning to better serve the customer’s needs. A dealership is far better at serving a local customer than a national website that doesn’t have local employees helping, but where these results land right now, may not be as helpful for searches that have larger shopping intent. Our strong guess is that this will change as Google makes updates and digs into the various results as they relate to buying intent versus research intent, as the current organic results demonstrate.
For in-market searches like “2023 kia telluride for sale raleigh,” we see results that seem to better fit the needs of higher intent shoppers and not providing local businesses that can sell them the vehicles.
In this case, instead of using dealership website data for a “2019 kia ev6 in raleigh” search, SGE shows an answer where it’s pulling information from Edmunds information, further highlighting its regular reliance on third-party sites, heavily contrasting the current organic experience that better serves the customer pulling information from dealership websites that have content readily created to serve local customers.
As with any beta that is in its infancy, we expect significant change as Google measures the behaviors of shoppers using SGE. Our expectation is just like Google’s organic results, that it will begin better incorporating local dealership content to best satisfy local customer needs while continuing to lean strongly on local SEO information from Google Business Profile listings.
Most importantly, change continues, and leaning into it is the best way for a dealer to stay ahead of the competition!