How Google’s New AI Impacts Local Search
Joy Hawkins

Recently, at Google IO, they announced that they would be experimenting with integrating AI into the search results. This experience is called Search Generative Experience (SGE) and is currently being tested via Search Labs. You can sign up to see how it looks here.

We wanted to see how this experience looks for local searches on Google.

The good news is that this experience gives a lot of visibility to the local pack results. A local search for “garage door repair phoenix” highlights businesses that rank well in the local pack results.

That being said, the 2 lists don’t match up identically. Sometimes the map in the AI box has a wider map view which shows different businesses than the local pack down below, like in this example:

The results in the top right side are probably the most unique thing I’ve seen thusfar for local searches. What is listed there is very different than what’s listed in the organic results.  In the garage door example, Angie’s List snagged one of the 3 spots despite the fact that the page wasn’t in the top 3 organically.

It was also interesting to see that pressing the “generate” button more than once would cause the top 3 results to shuffle.

While only time will tell if Google rolls out this experience for everyone, I think from what I’ve seen so far – SEO is far from dead.

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Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.