Search Generative Experience (SGE): What It Means for SEO




Updated 4/29/2024

Learn about SGE, a generative AI feature for Google Search results.

sge cover image - eyeglass with plants

What is SGE?

Search Generative Experience (SGE) is Google’s approach to using generative AI in search results. This feature enhances the search process by providing AI-powered results for the user’s query.

SGE offers a more interactive and conversational search experience than traditional Google Search. It can summarize information, suggest follow-up queries, and provide additional context.

To use SGE, you must opt-in with a Google account and be signed in.

Example Search Experience

SGE is one of those things that’s better explained visually. Let’s walk through a search experience using the feature.

For this, we’ll use “how do you make really good ramen at home” as the initial query. Since SGE is enabled, the results page (SERP) shows an option to Generate results:

how to make good ramen sge option

After clicking “Generate”, the page loads a new interface:

how to make good ramen sge result

As you can see, the results are significantly different. These can be further refined with conversational modifications:

SGE showing knowledge graph items

These results feature articles on the side but use knowledge graph data and images for the ingredients.

The searcher can continue to refine their queries from there without needing to add much context:

"any cooking classes in la i can take" SGE result in Google

Notice how listings might display different information in various locations. For example, the “Ramen School Usa” listing features descriptive text on the bottom version but not on the one in the right pack of results.

SGE vs. Gemini

Both SGE and Gemini are Google AI projects, but they are different. Here’s a breakdown:

Search Generative Experience (SGE)

SGE is an experimental feature that uses AI to enhance search results. It can:

  • Generate different text based on your query
  • Provide summaries of complex topics
  • Answer questions in a more natural way

SGE is not a separate tool you interact with directly. It’s built into Google Search results and works behind the scenes to manage results.

Google Gemini

Gemini an AI chatbot that uses a large language model (LLM) trained on a massive dataset. It can:

  • Generate text
  • Translate languages
  • Answer questions
  • Provide citations

Gemini is a conversational AI tool like ChatGPT. It is intended for completing tasks and performing research, whereas SGE enhances searches with AI features.

What SGE Means for SEO

SGE and other AI enhancements are transforming how searchers use Google and other information technology. Instead of being concerned with being #1 for a listing, marketers and businesses will need to expand their concepts of success.

Much of how Google and search engines function relies on others to create content that gets indexed, analyzed, and presented to searchers according to complicated algorithms.

If people are able to get reliable information from generated results in Google or other AI tools, it fundamentally changes user behavior and search interactions.

SEO Strategies for SGE

Well that’s nice, but what should you do about it? Honesty, a bunch of specific advice would get outdated pretty quickly, as Google is making constant updates.

However, you can better adapt to SGE and other AI changes with these techniques:

  1. Pay attention to generative SERPs. Note what you can about the search results, especially how they differ from a typical search experience.
  2. Examine quality listings. See an appealing SGE listing that stands out against competitors? Try to document and replicate it using creative methods.
  3. Prioritize quality images. One of the clear opportunities for a great SGE listing is images. Ensure your web content has appealing images and structured data to help your page perform better.
  4. Update old content. Listings can feature minimal information from the page, but one element might be the date. Keep content, timestamps, and metadata current to ensure your listings appear fresh and relevant.
  5. Put your keywords first. The real estate for page titles in SGE results can be minimal. Using keywords at the front of page titles has always been an SEO best practice, but SGE makes that technique even more important.

Technology is accelerating quicker than in recent years, largely thanks to AI. Features like SGE and other generative AI integrations are the beginning of new search experiences and much more.

While it would be practically irresponsible to say what’s going to happen, the core advice is to stay updated and keep an eye out for changes. Generative AI has already revolutionized how many people seek information, and Google will try its best to adapt however it can.

Bottom Line

SGE is a generative AI feature for Google Search results. You can opt into SGE by enabling Search Labs in a personal Google account. From there, you can search in new ways compared to traditional search, with more specificity and other benefits.

For marketers and content producers seeking great listings, ensure your pages have appealing images and use other SEO best practices. SGE opens infinite possibilities for how people might discover information, so think about how you can provide a good search experience to at least a few.

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