Could Digital PR Be Key for Local SEO in Google’s SGE?

The New Google Experience - GSE for Local SEO
Find out how Google’s new AI search changes local SEO. Learn why boosting your online presence and using Digital PR can help you stand out in a world of AI.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Make sure your website, Google Business Profile, and content marketing offer all the necessary information for Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) to include in AI overviews.
  • Incorporate Digital PR into your digital marketing strategy.
  • Focus on building a strong brand and reputation within your local market.

The Intersection of AI, Local SEO, and Digital PR

The ongoing integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into search technologies presents significant opportunities and challenges for local businesses, and we’re extremely excited to see what happens with Google’s new Search Generative Experience (SGE) and what strategies we will need to test to get the best outcomes.

What is Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE)?

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) is an advanced feature that uses artificial intelligence to generate detailed, context-rich overviews in response to search queries. Instead of just listing links, SGE provides comprehensive answers by summarising information from various sources, making search results more informative and useful.

What It Means for Search:

For users, SGE means getting more relevant and in-depth answers directly in the search results, saving time and effort. For businesses, it means that having high-quality, authoritative content becomes even more crucial, as Google’s AI will prioritise this content in its generated summaries. This can potentially increase visibility and drive more traffic to businesses featured in these overviews.

How SGE May Change the Way Customers Search for Local Businesses

The introduction of Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) has the potential to significantly alter the way customers search for local businesses. Here are a few key ways in which SGE might impact local search behaviour (based on my personal opinion):

Impact on Local SEO Strategies:

Focus on Authority:

Local SEO strategies will need to place a greater emphasis on building authority through high-quality content and digital PR efforts. This includes securing backlinks and mentions from reputable sources to boost credibility.

Content Optimisation:

Businesses will need to continuously optimise their content to meet the evolving standards set by AI algorithms, ensuring that their information is accurate, comprehensive, and relevant to customer queries.

What this means:

Get an expert that stays up to date with the latest AI, SGE and Local SEO strategies. Leaning on an expert will guide your business in this new wave of artificial intelligence and way of searching.

More Comprehensive Search Results:

Detailed Overviews:

SGE provides detailed and context-rich overviews, meaning that customers will receive more comprehensive answers to their queries directly within the search results. This can reduce the need to click through multiple links to find the information they need.

Informed Decisions:

With more information available at a glance, customers can make quicker and more informed decisions about which local business to choose, based on the summarised details provided by SGE.

What this means:

An online presence has never been more essential. Build your website, your content, your Google Business Profile with the information needed to answer everything about your business so SGE can pick this up for the search results.

Emphasis on High-Quality Content:

Content Quality:

Businesses with high-quality, informative content are more likely to be featured in SGE summaries. This means that customers will increasingly rely on the businesses that provide the most relevant and useful information.

Trusted Sources:

Customers may develop a preference for businesses that consistently appear in these AI-generated summaries, viewing them as more trustworthy and authoritative.

What this means:

Become an authority in your niche and local area. It’s easier said than done, but in most industries, local businesses are still yet to implement Local SEO basics. Produce quality content with the intention of benefiting the users.

Changes in Customer Interaction:

Less Clicking, More Reading:

As SGE delivers more complete answers directly in the search results, customers might click on fewer links and spend more time reading the provided summaries. This changes the traditional interaction model where users would visit multiple websites to gather information.

Higher Expectations:

With richer information provided upfront, customers may develop higher expectations for immediate and detailed responses from local businesses.

What this means:

Right now, I’m not sure about the data tracking of SGE, but expect less clicks to your website, especially if you’re not appearing at the top of search / in the AI overview.

Local Business Listings:

Enhanced Listings:

Local businesses that optimise their online presence for SGE can see enhanced listings in search results, including richer snippets with more detailed information about their services, locations, and customer reviews.

Improved Visibility:

By appearing in the AI-generated overviews, local businesses can gain improved visibility, potentially leading to increased foot traffic and online engagement.

What this means:

Ensure citations and web directory listings are accurate. Having a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) across the internet establishes trust with Google and your customers.

Google’s SGE is likely to make the search process more efficient and informative for customers. Local businesses that adapt to these changes by enhancing their digital presence and content quality will be better positioned to attract and retain customers in this new search environment. Ranking on Google/search engines will be harder, and getting in the top 3 for organic search may no longer be enough to generate the phone calls and enquiries your local service business needs for growth.

But after all, there is one thing that I can’t stop thinking about when it comes to SGE for Local Businesses – Digital PR.

No, I’m not talking about getting published by major UK publishers through fantastic PR campaigns – I’ll leave that to the big PR agencies. I’m talking about your local news sites and bloggers.

When it comes to asking AI tools such as ChatGPT or Perplexity questions about local businesses, there are already algorithms in place to know what businesses to recommend.

Perplexity also cites its information sources, and Digital PR will be crucial in this context. Getting listed on numerous authoritative sites will increase the chances of SGE including this information in its AI-generated overviews and answers to questions like, “What’s the best IT company in Caerphilly?”

Here’s a case study for a Local IT company in Caerphilly with Perplexity:

Perplexity Local SEO recommending excellence IT

You can see that Excellence IT dominates when it comes to AI generative search, and it’s exactly the same sort of answer on other generative AI tools such as ChatGPT.

Why? This requires extensive testing to get the ‘official’ answer. To get Excellence IT to where it is today, I’ve continually used AI tools, streamlined the website for quick answers, regularly updated the Google Business Profile, kept an active local page recognised by Perplexity, and built local backlinks to strengthen our online presence.

But, at the moment, there is no ‘real’ answer. I’m sure there will be far larger SEO teams working on this project within the next few months – but the work  done for Excellence IT has put them in a very strong position for any changes that happen with GSE.


This is just one of many pieces of the pie – I truly believe that Digital PR and building a strong, reputable brand will be one of the leaders in the next chapter of generative AI search.

Want to get a head start for your business? Let’s talk.

Calum Edwards

I’m Calum, Owner of Everyday Digital.

I write about Local SEO, Google Business Profile and how businesses can get found on Google to increase their leads.

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