The landscape of online search is constantly evolving, and AI is ushering in the next big shift. As search engines strive to deliver faster, more accurate results, generative AI is emerging as a powerful tool to enhance the user experience and streamline information discovery.

For multi-location businesses and franchise brands, understanding and leveraging the power of Generative AI and its impact on organic search results and digital advertising is critical to improving their online visibility and attracting more local leads. In this blog post, we'll delve into the ways AI is reshaping local search, including Google Search Generative Experience (SGE), and explore strategies for multi-location marketers to capitalize on this technological revolution. 

What is Google Search Generative Experience (SGE)?

Google’s generative AI in Search, which they are calling Search Generative Experience (SGE), is an early step in transforming the Search experience with generative AI. Google SGE is a sophisticated blend of machine learning algorithms designed to understand and generate human-like responses. It's tailored to interpret complex queries and offer detailed, conversational answers, making local search interactions feel more natural and less robotic. Key differences between search results now and SGE include:

  • Complex Queries Handling: One of the most striking features of Google's generative AI for local search is its capability to tackle complex and descriptive queries. You can now ask questions in a more conversational manner or provide detailed descriptions, and the AI will decipher your intent to provide accurate search results.
  • Quick Summary Generation: The AI can sum up the essence of a topic, giving users a fast way to grasp what they're researching. This feature enables users to get an overview without the need to sift through multiple links, saving time and effort.
  • Direct Results Utilization: Whether it's drafting a piece of writing or generating imagery, this advanced AI provides the tools to accomplish tasks right from the search page. This seamless integration of functionalities enhances productivity and user satisfaction.
  • Conversational Follow-ups: The AI supports conversational engagement, allowing users to follow up with additional questions or commands based on their initial query. It aims to deliver a more organic and fluid search experience.
Generative AI answers summarize the most relevant, locally indexed content, listings, and reviews.

Generative AI is redefining the search experience to reflect individual preferences and historical data, tailoring the results to the user's unique digital footprint. With every query, the AI learns and evolves, carving out a customized path for each user. 

Generative AI answers also have recommended businesses and suggested follow-up questions.

While Google has not announced an official date for when it will fully launch SGE, we do know Google has been testing SGE in the wild with a small subset of U.S. searchers and continues to hear rumors of launching on May 14th during the Google I/O keynote address. With Microsoft's Copilot already live and gaining traction, Google faces increasing pressure to introduce its own generative search experience to maintain its market position. In fact, Google's search market share has dropped by approximately 5% over the last year, with most of that share going to Bing.

Regardless of the exact date, it's safe to say that Google's SGE will be launched in the near future as they strive to maintain their market position, and Multi-location businesses and franchise brands that stay current with trends and focus on the following best practices will gain a considerable advantage in appearing in the new search results experience. Read on to see how your brand can rise to the top of organic and paid search results. 

Outsmarting the Competition with Improved Visibility

To ensure your brand is well-positioned in this AI-driven landscape, you must focus on optimizing the core inputs that AI models and algorithms rely on to make local recommendations. These fundamental pieces of information serve as the foundation upon which AI, Google, and other models base their decisions, and by providing high-quality, relevant, and optimized inputs, you enable AI and search engines to better understand and recommend your website to users seeking local information.

Tip 1: Create Content that Better Matches User Intent

Content driven by E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) principles continues to reign supreme, serving as the linchpin of successful SEO strategies. Strong, unique content that effectively addresses user intent will invariably find favor with Generative AI, as with any search evolution. Aligning content with user intent doesn't just mean understanding what they're searching for—it implies recognizing the why behind their queries and delivering content that exceeds their expectations. Personalization strategies must be crafted with ingenuity, and content must do more than simply inform—it must engage, answer, and delight.

A huge part of what Google looks for to best match for user intent is also localization. Localized content and localized location pages are a critical component of your online presence, yet they are often overlooked or poorly executed. Many businesses make the mistake of creating generic pages with little variation between locations, which can negatively impact both search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience. To engage your audience and communicate to Google that you have a product or service a local consumer could benefit from, your location pages should include localized content beyond just the location name and contact information. Include localized information such as the specific products or services offered at that location, meeting the staff or owners with photos, blog posts about local events and community involvement, local reviews, or location-specific before and after photos. 

By providing this level of detail, you demonstrate to potential customers that you value their specific needs and are invested in their community. This personalized approach not only improves your chances of ranking higher in local search results but also fosters a stronger connection with your target audience.

Tip 2: Ensure Your Location Pages Have Appropriate Structured Data Markup

According to Google’s structured data resource for developers, “Google Search works hard to understand the content of a page. You can help us by providing explicit clues about the meaning of a page to Google by including structured data on the page.” Structured data is a way to provide information about your location pages to search engines like Google, which is communicated using a standardized format called schema markup. 

For businesses with multiple locations, structured data is particularly important and you should ensure that your pages have appropriate Local Businesses, FAQ Page, and Review snippets. Google states that these hints help them better understand your content and create more engaging search results for users. These enhanced results, known as rich results, can make your pages stand out in the search listings.

Tip 3: Ensure Google Business Profiles for Each Location are Complete, Accurate, and Regularly Updated

Google Business Profiles play a significant role in local search rankings. By optimizing your profiles with complete and accurate information, relevant categories, and keyword-rich descriptions, you improve your chances of appearing in local search results. This increased visibility can drive more foot traffic and revenue for your locations. To gauge the effectiveness of your GBP efforts, track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as profile completeness, customer interactions, and conversion rates, while utilizing tools like Google's own insights or third-party solutions to monitor these metrics and identify areas for improvement. Regularly review and share these KPIs with your local owners and operators to ensure everyone is aligned and working towards common goals.

Tip 4: Ensure Your Locations Local Listings are Accurate and Consistent Across Major Online Directories and Platforms

Ensuring your locations are accurately represented across major online directories and platforms is crucial for staying visible in search results. While claiming your Google Business Profile is a great start, it's important to remember that Google isn't the only player in the game.

As search behaviors evolve, consumers are turning to a variety of platforms to find local businesses, including Facebook, Apple Maps, Bing, Yelp, and hundreds of other niche-specific directories. Inconsistent or outdated information can lead to lower visibility in search results, making it harder for potential customers to find you, while inaccurate information, such as incorrect hours or addresses, can frustrate users and lead to a poor customer experience.

Managing local listings at scale can be challenging, especially for brands with hundreds of locations. While tools exist to help flag inconsistencies, manually updating each listing can be time-consuming. To streamline the process, consider using a local listing management tool to automate updates and monitor accuracy, which saves both you and your location a ton of time and effort.

Tip 5: Have an Effective Local Reviews Program in Place and Respond to All Negative and Positive Reviews

Reviews serve as powerful social proof, influencing potential customers and impacting local search rankings. Google increasingly uses reviews as a signal of a legitimate business. More high-quality reviews can boost your local search visibility. To optimize your review management strategy:

  1. Encourage Reviews: Implement a process to consistently gather reviews from satisfied customers across all locations.
  2. Respond to Reviews: Engage with reviewers by providing thoughtful, professional responses, and respond to both negative and positive reviews.
  3. Provide Corporate Guidance: Offer training and guidelines to ensure location managers respond appropriately, particularly to negative reviews.

Tip 7: Use Hyper-Localized Digital Advertising Campaigns Running with Budgets and Creative at the Location Level

While brand awareness is important, highly localized campaigns are the bread and butter for driving conversions. By focusing on users conducting "near me" or "in my location" searches, you can reach people who are further down the sales funnel and are more likely to take action, while providing more meaningfully specific ads and landing pages to allow Google’s AI to match you to the right user intent. To maximize the effectiveness of your localized advertising amid constant algorithm changes, consider the following:

  • Tailor your ad copy, creative, and videos to the specific location
  • Continuously optimize campaigns to ensure they're meeting objectives
  • Use data to make informed decisions and adapt to changing market and competitor conditions

Tip 8: Compare Campaigns and Lead Performance Across Locations to Optimize at Scale

Comparing the performance of campaigns across different locations can provide valuable insights. For example, if a top-performing location is investing heavily in Facebook advertising while lower performers aren't, it may be worth adjusting budgets to see if that strategy can be replicated successfully. By leveraging tools that provide a comprehensive view of key metrics like return on ad spend (ROAS) across multiple locations, you can optimize your campaigns at scale and achieve the best possible results for your investment. Regularly monitoring and adapting your strategy based on these insights will help you stay ahead in an ever-changing marketing landscape.

Example of one view from Netsertive’s Insights Manager, which allow franchise and multi-location brand marketers to view location-specific ROAS and performance on a quad chart.


The integration of Generative AI into Google's search engine ushers in a new paradigm of local search, one that hinges on heightened personalization, a renewed focus on top-tier content, and agile adaptation to technological innovations. Businesses attentive to these shifts, and who pivot their SEO and paid media strategies accordingly, will find themselves well-equipped to maximize their local search visibility and capture the attention of a savvy digital audience.

For a deeper understanding of how to adapt your digital marketing strategies in the era of Generative AI, connect with Netsertive to learn more.

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