Dec 26, 2023

Google SGE: What is Search Generative Experience?

Vaishnavi Ramkumar
Google SGE: What is Search Generative Experience?
Vaishnavi Ramkumar
Dec 26, 2023

Google SGE: What is Search Generative Experience?

SGE is now showing up for 84% of the search queries. If you do not yet have a clear picture of what is SGE or how it works, this blog is for you.
Google SGE: What is Search Generative Experience?

Table of contents

What is SGE? 

SGE is a search experience developed by Google to help users find direct answers to their specific search queries without visiting any page in the SERP. SGE uses generative artificial intelligence to answer specific and complex questions quickly. 

For instance, let's say you’re searching for “indoor educational games and activities to engage primary school children.” 

Usually, you will find a few articles or webpages in the SERP that provide answers to the query. Before narrowing down your options, you’ll visit these sites to explore your options and find the most relevant activities from multiple sources. 

But, with SGE, you can find a listicle and brief about each activity right at the top, sourced from different sites. This reduces the time spent referring to different sources before you find the best answer to your question.  

Besides this, SGE can 

  • Help you shop for products 
  • Generate images 
  • Summarize concepts and keynotes 
  • Provide examples and step-by-step instructions
  • Generate answers to particular questions

How does SGE work? 

Google says SGE is powered by various LLMs, including the advanced version of MUM and PaLM2. Both these versions of LLMs are used and deployed by Google in search and Bard. 

LLMs powering SGE have the capability to create text, code, images, audio, analysis, reasoning etc. With SGE, Google has been attempting to overcome obvious LLM limitations like hallucinations, biases, misinterpretation, etc.. With this experimental search experience, searchers can quickly get answers to their specific questions without manually going through various content. 

For example, When you search for the term “best cake recipes,” usually you’ll end up with results like “40 Essential (and Delicious) Cake Recipes”, “homemade cake recipes,” or “best cake recipes of all time.” 

Instead of going through the whole list, when you enable SGE, you can find a comprehensive list of cake recipes that are commonly mentioned in relevant blogs. 

SGE snapshot for the search query “best cake recipes” 
SGE Snapshot 

On the right side, you can even access the source of the recipe to get in-depth insights. 

SGE snapshot for the search query “best cake recipes” 
SGE Snapshot 

Alternatively, you can use the dropdown to see the page from the source of the recipe. 

SGE snapshot for the search query “best cake recipes”
SGE Snapshot 

Further, to explore more insights or narrow your search results, Google SGE also suggests some follow-up questions. 

 SGE snapshot for the search query “best cake recipes” 
SGE Snapshot 

In relevant cases, you can also find videos at the end of the SGE box presenting rich information. 

SGE snapshot for the search query “how to knit a scarf or winter” 
SGE Snapshot 

You can also find the sources of each section of the content to get more context and a broader understanding of the topic. 

SGE snapshot for the search query “how to knit a scarf or winter” 
SGE Snapshot 

SGE is currently in the experimental phase and has a long way to go. But, Google has been launching new features to enhance the current user experience. 

Key Capabilities and Features of SGE

Besides providing quick summaries and highlights, SGE can also help you in other scenarios like shopping and image creation. 

Shopping

People often tend to compare multiple products, explore different options and stores, and evaluate each product based on different criteria before making a purchase. This is one ideal scenario where SGE steps in and facilitates the decision-making process. 

Let's say you’re planning to buy a pair of shoes. 

If you enter it as a search query in Google, SGE will quickly pull up the trending shoe collections relevant to the current period. 

SGE snapshot for the search query “woman shoes” 
SGE Snapshot 

In relevant cases, you can also find suggestions like how to choose the best product. SGE will generate a response highlighting what to consider while purchasing a specific product and suggest a similar product that ticks those checkboxes. 

SGE snapshot for the search query “how to choose best shoes for running” 
SGE Snapshot 

Such assistance while purchasing a product online can drastically help you consider different factors more than ratings or reviews and make a sound decision before spending. 

SGE snapshot for the search query “how to choose best shoes for running” 
SGE Snapshot 

Further, you can ask a follow-up question to narrow your search results or get more specific information before purchasing a product. This feature can change the way people shop for products online. As it makes the experience more smooth and accessible, we can expect more people to integrate this into their shopping experiences. 

Images

As SGE is powered by generative AI, creating images comes as an inbuilt feature. You can enter a basic prompt in the search engine and generate an image quickly.

SGE snapshot for the search query “draw a picture of cat…” 
SGE Snapshot 

You can further provide more specific instructions to generate different variations of an image. However, the image feature is only available to those who use SGE in the US and are over 18 years. As this feature is still a work in progress, you may not be able to generate sophisticated images, but a basic prompt will give you some serious inspiration. 

Ads

As the SGE answer box secures a place right at the top of the search engine result page, paid ads and organic results are pushed below. While paid ads are a critical part of online business, Google is finding new ways to make SGE coexist with paid ads. 

As always, we’re committed to transparency and making ads distinguishable from organic search results. When Search ads do appear, they will continue to feature our industry-leading clear and transparent ad labels with the “Sponsored” label in bold black text,” writes Google in their recent release about SGE. 

However, even if you enable SGE, you’ll have to manually hit generate to get a response from SGE for specific queries. It does not automatically generate answers for all the search queries. At the end of the day, the option is left up to the user to decide. 

Benefits of SGE in Google SERP

SGE undeniably made the search easier for searchers. Here are the key benefits of SGE and how it improves user experience. 

  1. Breaks down Complex Concepts Concisely
SGE snapshot for the search query “MUM Meaning in Google” 
SGE Snapshot

Unlike traditional search, you do not have to surf through multiple web pages to understand a concept or get an answer to your search query. SGE does the heavy lifting for you and hands over all the essential information related to your query concisely. 

Let's say you want to know more about MUM (Google’s LLMs). As you enter the search query in Google Search, you can see that SGE results are simpler and concise and provide more relevant information than the feature snippets. 

  1. Quick Multimedia Access 
SGE snapshot for the search query “how to knit a scarf or winter” 
SGE Snapshot 

Every time you generate a response from SGE, you’ll find text-based results (blogs and search query answers), an image, and a YouTube video (if available) based on the intent of the search query. This provides searchers with different options to consume the insights. 

Similar to traditional search result pages, SGE also delivers content in different formats to cater to the varied user requirements. 

  1. Conversational nature 

The previous version of SERP entirely relied on search, People Also Ask questions and FAQs to help readers progress through their search journey.

But with SGE, you can easily ask follow-up questions and generate results that are contextually related to your primary search query. 

This structure lets users quickly progress in their research process and acquire more relevant insights without having to conduct a search from scratch to process their research process. 

Potential Drawbacks and SGE Challenges 

While SGE presents new opportunities, it also comes with some limitations. Here are a few of them: 

  • Accessibility limitations 

SGE is only available in 120 countries and 7 languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, and Indonesian. On top of that, users below the age of 18 cannot access search labs or SGE. 

  • Lack of reliability 

SGE is still in the experimentation phase. Hence, the results might not always be accurate and are not completely free from hallucinations or misinterpretation. Google is still working on fine-tuning the model to overcome the core challenges of generative AI. 

Moreover, SGE responses for topics relating to YMYL (your Money, Your Life), such as age, financial, medical, legal, and other core subjective matters, include a disclaimer to seek professional advice. Hence, you may have to check authoritative websites or contact experts to seek a solution in a certain situation. 

  • Limited space for paid and organic results

SGE is outcompeting paid ads and organic search results by appearing at the very top of the SERP. Even though users can choose not to generate an SGE answer and scroll down to organic results, search generative experience takes up a portion of SERP pages, leaving brands with limited space to reach their target audience. 

As SGE can answer basic questions that start with “what-is” or “how-tos,” websites should focus more on creating thought leadership or opinion-based content, gathering expert insights to give readers a reason to visit their page and avoid zero-click search. 

How to Optimize Your Site for SGE? 

Now that you know SGE sources the information primarily from webpages and cites respective sources in its answer, here are a few ways to rank your page in SGE. 

Focus on E-E-A-T

If Google has been preaching one factor repeatedly, it's prioritizing helpful content. 

Traditional practices like scraping SERP content and keyword stuffing will not cut anymore. You should provide high-quality insight that poses a strong reason for readers to visit your site for more insights. 

With Google prioritizing high-quality online sources, it’s high time to align content with Google's E-E-A-T (Experience expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) guidelines and aim to add value to the readers through your content. 

Use long-tail keywords 

Long-tail keywords and phrasal queries would help SGE pick up your content. Incorporating phrases that answer commonly asked questions related to your niche can raise the possibility of appearing in the primary response and follow-ups. 

Optimize content for multiple formats 

SGE uses different formats, including news articles, blogs, videos, images, customer reviews etc. Creating and optimizing the content for all these formats will expose your content to a broader audience. 

Use day-to-day language

Writing like you speak will become a thumb rule with the introduction of SGE. As SGE follows a more conversational structure and aims to provide an interactive experience, it's best to weave your content naturally and use more common words that we use in conversations to explain concepts. 

What to Expect in the Upcoming Days? 

As SGE is still in the experimental phase, there is more to explore for Google, brands and users. This new deployment is restructuring the way people search online and aims to provide a better user experience - which is the ultimate goal of Google.  

It’s been over a year since AI has become the talk of the town. But the hype and innovations are only moving upwards as we see new technologies and capabilities stepping into the industry more often than before. 

Taking that as a sign, we also have many more paths to explore with SGE. To stay tuned to the industry trends, consider subscribing to our newsletter to get updates directly delivered to your inbox. 

Further Read: How Does SGE Impact Your Organic Traffic and CTR? 

FAQs 

What does SGE stand for in Google?

In Google, SGE stands for "Search Generative Experience". It represents an innovative approach to answering search queries on Google, utilizing generative AI to provide comprehensive and context-aware answers.

What can you do to prepare for SGE?

To prepare for SGE, optimize content per E-E-A-T guidelines, use more conversational and long-tail keywords, and make your content interactive. Monitor changes in website traffic and user behavior continuously to adapt quickly to the evolving landscape of SGE.

What is SGE in Search Engine?

The Search Engine (SGE) is a revolutionary technology developed by Google that aims to enhance the search experience for users. SGE utilizes advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to understand user queries and provide more accurate and relevant search results. By analyzing user behavior and preferences, SGE constantly evolves and improves its search capabilities, ensuring users get the most relevant information quickly and efficiently.

How does the SGE snippet work? 

The SGE snippet uses generative AI to provide a concise snapshot of information in response to a complex search query. It collates critical points from various reliable sources and presents them in an easy-to-understand format, thus simplifying the user's search process.

Will Google's SGE kill organic traffic?

There are concerns that Google's SGE might affect organic traffic because its AI-generated overviews are positioned at the top of search results. However, it's too early to comment decisively on its impact, and Google remains committed to sending valuable traffic to sites.

How to use SGE? 

You can use SGE to get a summary of broad topics, simple explanations of complex theories, find benchmarks while purchasing a product or service and even generate images to get some inspiration. 

Vaishnavi Ramkumar
Content Marketer
ABout the AUTHOR
Vaishnavi Ramkumar
Content Marketer

Vaishnavi Ramkumar is a content marketer specializing in creating BOFU content for SaaS brands. She believes reader-centric content is the sure-shot way to generate high-quality leads through content marketing. As part of the Scalenut team, Vaishnavi curates content that drives brand awareness and boosts signups. When she's not crafting content, you can find her immersed in the pages of a good book or a course.

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