Search Generative Experience
How will Search Generative Experience (SGE) look?
On May 10th 2023, Google announced their new changes to search, powered by state-of-the-art artificial intelligence known as Magi. This highly anticipated update promises a more visually appealing, personalized, and human-like search experience. However, gaining access to the cutting-edge Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) is currently limited to those on the Google Labs waitlist, so you might have to exercise some patience before getting your hands on it. Find out more about our Generate AI SEO service.
There’s been a massive response from the SEO community. Is this the death of SEO, again?
Don’t fret! We’ve broken down in-depth exploration of the exciting new features of Google SGE.
Here’s your SGE links you need to read:
The detailed PDF on Search Generative Experience (SGE): This document outlines Google’s vision for integrating AI into search.
The two-hour Google IO keynote presentation: The keynote provides insights into the technical aspects and future developments of Google’s AI integration.
The post on Supercharging Search with Generative AI: This release explains the enhanced capabilities of search with AI integration.
Search ads today and in the future: Google acknowledges the impact of AI integration on search advertising and highlights potential changes.
A look at what’s next for AI and Google Search | Google I/O 2023: This video visually showcases the AI-powered search and its features.
Learn from others’ experiences with more perspectives on Search: Breaking down the Perspectives feature.
How To Get Access To SGE (Search Labs)
To access SGE (Search Labs) and other experimental features, it is necessary to join the waitlist for Search Labs.
Keep an eye out for an email or notification from Google, which will welcome you to Search Labs.
Quick Tip: To access SGE, use an old or create a new gmail account. Once you’ve received access, use a VPN to change your location to USA and you should be able to start seeing a generative AI section within the SERPs.
So, what is SGE?
SGE stands for Search Generative Experience, an experiment by Google to enhance Google Search using generative AI. With SGE, users can ask entirely new questions they never thought Search could answer, quickly get the lay of the land on a topic, ask follow-up questions naturally in a unique conversational mode, and generate creative ideas and drafts right in Search.
How does SGE differ from traditional search methods?
SGE differs from traditional search methods by using generative AI to transform the search experience. With SGE, users can ask entirely new types of questions they never thought Search could answer, quickly get the lay of the land on a topic, ask follow-up questions naturally in a unique conversational mode, and generate creative ideas and drafts right in Search.
How SGE Works
Generative AI search results
SGE leverages AI technology to present informative snapshots to individuals when appropriate. These snapshots offer a concise overview, including relevant factors and synthesised insights. As a starting point, they enable users to explore different web content and perspectives.
SGE also provides links to corroborating resources, empowering users to verify the information and delve deeper into their exploration. This approach facilitates the discovery of diverse content from publishers, creators, retailers, businesses, and other sources, allowing individuals to leverage the information they find to accomplish their goals.
The testing is live and with access to Search Labs we’re able to test out keyword searches to see how Google responds.
Here’s an example of a search result with a FAQ, PPA, and Knowledge panel usually:
By clicking on the right hand corner you’ll be able to see where Google have generated their response from:
Note that there’s no direct citation for where the response has pulled content from the result. More on that later.
The first result will appear just under, with FAQ’s still under the result:
SGE Local SEO Searches:
Google provided their generated response with 3 results, map pack, and links to websites on the side:
Noticeable that the one of the three results is different in the normal search results underneath compared:
When we push the local result further to get more details on what’s required to get a satisfying result we get this:
SGE Brands Searches:
Had to try out our own name, was instead given the option to generate a response manually:
Reviews mentioned as part of the new generated response:
SGE Ecommerce SEO Searches:
Searching for products with modifiers for price, one did not feed me back anything:
Upping the price gave me a different response, with “things to consider” on the purchase:
Products were available, the organic results below, with sponsored results below that too:
On the other hand, I noticed that branded search terms for eCommerce brands will represent a new challenge. We can see below for the branded query ‘nike sneakers’ in the SGE section Google is showcasing third party sellers alongisde Nike in a carousal like format. Histroically, brands like Nike have always owned this space when it comes to branded queries (e.g. Nike + product/category name).
Key Takeaway: While SGE is still in it’s early stages it will be hard to tell for these types of branded queries if the SERPs will still look this. If you’re a big eCommerce retailer like Nike, this might be a good time to start reviewing and optimising your product landing pages.
SGE News Searches:
Here’s a news search on the Denver Nuggets, summary of the events of the game less than 24 hours beforehand:
SGE Events Searches
While looking at informational searches on “what to do”:
SGE Informational Searches:
Up to date information based on the citations:
SGE YMYL Searches: Navigating Sensitive Subjects
Regarding specific categories like medical advice or financial matters, Google exercises caution and refrains from providing direct answers to safeguard user well-being. For instance, queries concerning administering Tylenol to a child may not receive a response due to the sensitive nature of medical advice. Google extends its commitment to safety by expanding the “Your Money, Your Life” (YMYL) policy to encompass civic information.
Google explains, “Just as our ranking systems prioritise avoiding potentially harmful, hateful, or explicit content, the SGE also upholds a higher standard. It places greater emphasis on delivering informative responses that are corroborated by reliable sources.
It’s been very noticeable that there are some searches that have no response at all – presuming that’s because they are in the finance space:
SGE Heath Advice Searches
Health takes a different approach, where they make it clear it’s not medical advice:
When pushed to give based on medical advice, normal result appears with a featured snippet:
SGE “How to” searches:
When given a very long tail expression, there’s no SGE trigger at all, a clear example of an “information gap” in SGE:
In their documentation they state that the SGE won’t show up for “some” topics known as “Information Gaps”, this “some” in relation to the sheer amount of searches per day can still be targeted with great content:
Google strives to address “data voids” or situations where its systems have lower confidence in generating accurate responses. In such cases, the AI-powered snapshot may not be generated. Furthermore, explicit or dangerous topics are handled cautiously, and Google refrains from responding to those instances.
SGE Sponsored Ads Searches:
Ads will persistently occupy dedicated ad slots strategically placed across the page. Google says they are committed to maintaining transparency, ensuring that ads are distinguishable from organic search results.
When Search ads are displayed, they prominently showcase Google’s industry-leading, unmistakable ad labels featuring the bold black text of the “Sponsored” tag.
These featured a non triggered response, and the sponsored results at the top, an additional scroll needed to find the organic results on desktop:
Users can tap and “ask a follow-up” or choose from suggested next steps provided beneath the snapshot. This action initiates the conversational mode, where they can naturally inquire further about the topic they are exploring, interacting with Google. In addition to the concise AI-generated snapshots, people can delve deeper into the subject by accessing additional resource links.
Throughout the conversation, the web links below the SGE change dynamically, allowing users to explore the most relevant content from various online sources conveniently.
When asked about thriller movie recommendations you can ask a follow up with comparisons in a more featured chat experience:
Google is set to introduce a revolutionary feature called the Perspectives filter, which aims to provide searchers with diverse viewpoints to address their queries. By utilising this filter, users can access a wide array of long and short-form videos, images, and posts sourced from discussion boards, Q&A sites, and social media platforms.
In mid-2022, Google introduced the Helpful Content update to improve search results. This update explicitly targets content created solely for search engine ranking purposes and aims to prioritise genuinely helpful and valuable content. Google has now announced plans to further enhance this system in the coming months by better understanding content from personal or expert perspectives, ultimately improving the ranking of search results.
Google recently announced an upcoming update to its invaluable content system. This update, set to be released soon, aims to enhance the search experience by uncovering valuable information from lesser-known sources like forum threads, blogs, and other elusive corners of the internet. These hidden gems will be prominently displayed in Google’s search results, bringing forth valuable resources often overlooked.
We’re also improving how we rank results in Search overall. Helpful information can often live in unexpected or hard-to-find places: a comment in a forum thread, a post on a little-known blog, or an article with unique expertise on a topic. Our helpful content ranking system will…
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) May 10, 2023
This ties in to the addition of ‘Experience’ to EAT, which now has been updated to EEAT as a concept for Google Rater team to use to assess content.
Impact of SGE on SEO
Google Needs Human Driven Content
While some individuals have expressed worry over SGE, others maintain a more positive outlook. Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land sees SGE as a healthier way for Google to link to publishers and support the ecosystem. However, the true impact of SGE remains uncertain, and it is essential to examine the situation more closely.
Google recognises the importance of diverse and human-created content. They understand that users value information from real people and experiences, not just AI-generated responses.
If website owners and content creators stopped, then Google will have no fresh content to generate their AI responses. This is where the Perspectives feature will come into play too.
The Featured Snippet on Steroids:
This paradigm shift poses a challenge for website owners. With AI-generated answers presented prominently, organic search traffic to websites may decline. The traditional approach of relying on website visits and clicks for revenue generation could become less effective. The conventional ‘10 blue links’ are further down the search results page, and as we know, if most click-through happens at the top, the links will likely have less click through rate (CTR).
The more ominous predictions of a significant drop in traffic lead to concerns and speculations about the future of sites from SEOs around the globe.
Affiliate marketers writing product reviews may face challenges as AI snapshots display product details, reviews, and pricing directly in the search results.
With the user’s tests available we’ve seen that affiliate websites can rank in the top of SGE results.
Takeaways from Google SGE Testing
Here’s my takeaways from my SGE tests over the past days:
Lack of Citations
Citations are needed on SGE, with links out for users to click through. For a search engine that is stacking heavy on EEAT, it’s contradictory to not have an authority behind the content they serve.
SEOs are taking this point straight back to Google, Mike Futia suggested that when Google’s AI presents direct quotes from sources, it should include clear link attribution within the AI-generated answer itself, visibly marked with quotation marks:
This is a more appropriate way for Google to cite their sources. Link attribution in the actual “AI answer”.
With quotation marks. That’s a direct quote you’re using. pic.twitter.com/4qKUrduhRJ
— Mike Futia (@mikefutia) May 26, 2023
Too Slow Loading, People Won’t Wait
I work fast so waiting up to 10 seconds for a generated result, or remembering to click to prompt the generation isn’t my style. Released to billions of users, with no understanding of what this is, people may fall into use the “old” search results anyway.
The shifting of the search result page feels awkward and clunky to the eye. CLS is a page experience factor right Google?
Google “CLS is bad”
Also Google 👇 https://t.co/sfPI5qmMrm
— Nate Hake (@natejhake) May 25, 2023
Gaps in SGE for YMYL Topics
Makes sense to me not to have these as Google doesn’t want any mis-fires they can be blamed for providing the wrong information.
Impact on Informational Queries
These types of information searches I feel are the most logical for SGE, when you want nuanced information that a simple keyword search can’t answer, when you need to dig deeper to find the information you need.
“And” will be a keyword modifier
How are SEO tools going to deal with the new level and longer tail expressions people may use for SGE, you can have multiple “and”’s added to a keyword search. This is where content creators will have to focus on picking the right topics, with semantic searches to optimsie for these results.
SGE needs more work – not there yet.
It feels clunky, messy, and the generated results are hit and miss. There’s a significant amount of work to be done here, starting with Google delving deeper into addressing informational queries without providing lengthy and bloated answers, or giving people quick ways to access their transactional searches without the need for reading up a company’s biography.
From seeing the reactions to the SGE testing from the SEO community, it’s lukewarm at best:
Currently, SGE is in the testing phase, and over the next few weeks, it will roll out to testers in different stages. It is important to note that the final version of SGE may differ from what Google initially showcased. Based on speculation, it may take six to twelve months before SGE becomes widely used by most users.
Google’s release of SGE can be seen as an effort to fire back to Microsoft’s utilisation of GPT-powered search, which led to an 11% jump in Alphabet’s share price, Google’s parent company.
When will SGE be released?
Liz Reid, the Vice President of Search at Google, stressed that the Generative Search Experience is an exploratory in nature. With each result loading, the phrase “Generative AI is experimental” prominently features, clear why, as Google has to test this out extensively as this change to SERPs will impact billions of users on day 1. This distinct trial phase is projected to conclude by December 2023.
How to Prepare for SGE
With SGE, searching for information is changing. This means businesses need to make their content creators more reliable. They can do this by creating strong profiles with keeping EEAT in mind. Also, businesses should motivate their authors to be more active on social media and share their work. This is important because the standing of the author in the community is now very important to rank in Google Perspectives eventually.
To keep up with SGE, businesses should try different content strategies. They can use comments from users on their own websites or stay active on online forums. They should also try making short videos. This can be useful for SGE and make their social media pages more interesting. TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts are good places for these short videos on informational keywords.
Websites will need to focus on making their content high-quality and easy to read. They should make sure that it can be accessed on mobile devices. They should also include relevant Schema to prove authenticity, (Person:schema) could be now essential to getting your website indexed and ranked. Updating content regularly and making it interesting is also important as fresh content will be used in the generated responses.
Lastly, they should learn about Generative AI. Google has a free course on this called Introduction to Generative AI, SGE is a big change in how we search for information, and those who can adapt to it will do well in the future.
The introduction of Google’s SGE has created a wave of anticipation and concern among publishers and niche site owners. While the future impact remains uncertain, adapting and evolving in response to changing SEO dynamics is crucial.
To stay competitive in this new era of Search, exploring advanced tools like generative AI for SEO might be beneficial. Check out our Generative AI SEO services to learn more about how these advancements can optimise your online presence