Announced in May 2023, Search Generative Experience, or SGE, is Google’s generative AI powered search engine which aims to revolutionise the way we search in the future.
This “new look” search engine will integrate AI functionality across multiple new widgets and features with the aim of making it easier for a user to find the answers they are looking for.
SGE is still in beta and is only available for testing purposes currently. Whilst there is no confirmed launch date, AI is moving quicker than ever before so we can expect this to be rolled out in the very near future.
Whilst SGE hasn’t been rolled out to the general public, we’ve had early access to the beta to get a glimpse into the future for us and our clients. It’s important to note that, as a beta, all examples are subject to change, based on further testing and feedback.
From what we’ve seen so far, many of the features in Google’s latest iteration will be reassuringly familiar. However, you will start to see changes as soon as you start to search.
The example below shows the proposed SGE version (highlighted in red), with the AI generative results displayed above the traditional results. This AI widget will change in appearance depending on the type of search term used, for example differing for transactional and informational based queries.
From our current understanding an AI snippet won’t be generated for every search query, but will appear when Google thinks it’s most useful.
From our own testing we’ve seen AI snippets generated mostly for transactional and informational search terms. Below are several examples.
Althought the widgets will vary depending on the type of the search, the overriding intention remains the same each time – using AI to better interpret the desire behind the search and to pull information from multiple sources to provide the most comprehensive and useful response.
As ever Google’s aim as a search engine is to give its users the best experience by returning accurate results quickly. Google believes the launch of SGE will help propel this forward.
Google has also announced a new Perspectives section which will begin to show in search results. It has been developed because of Google’s belief that users place increasing value on the views of industry experts, real life users and influencers.
Perspectives will show excerpts from forums such as Reddit, pull videos from TikTok and Youtube Shorts as well as other multimedia sources.
Businesses or organisations wanting to benefit from appearing in Perspectives will need to ensure they generate first-person expert content across multiple channels and concentrate on developing the profile and authority of individuals.
‘SGE whilst browsing’ is the first AI feature Google has announced that will appear outside of search results and on web pages themselves.
Whilst still an early experiment, this feature will offer the option to provide an instant summary of key points from the page that the user is browsing.
This means those generating web content will need to ensure articles are clearly structured and use approapiate headings to aid Google’s understanding of the composition of the page.
Website traffic: This will undoubtedly be affected as traditional results are pushed further down the fold by AI generated snippets. However, if you can appear within these snippets there is a chance to drive more traffic than ever before.
Paid ad campaigns: It’s not completely clear what Google’s intentions are here, however, as revenue from this source is so important to Google it’s unlikely these will be heavily impacted. From what we’ve seen it appears ad formats may be integrated within the AI snippets or above them.
How users search: Although the fundamental search process will remain, we anticipate users will being to adapt their search queries to be more precise and granular to maximise the effectiveness of the AI widgets.
Google SGE and AI will undoubtedly create change but as with all evolutions brands who adapt can continue to grow and excel. Here are a few tips from our digital experts on how you can gear up for this change.
Build a brand: It’s clear that Google wants to rank sites that can demonstrate experience, expertise, authority and trust within their given industry. To increase your chances of appearing in AI generated snippets you need to be targeting each of these four areas.
Explore channels outside of Google: Google is looking to incorporate snippets from TikTok and Youtube Shorts into its search results so make sure you are active on these channels to benefit.
Leverage experts within your company: Google wants to showcase content from creators / authors with experience and expertise. Look to build the profiles of individuals from within your business that fit into these categories.
Create high quality content: To increase your chances of being referenced in AI generated snippets, ensure your content is high quality, follows a logical structure and is created by authors with authority and expertise on the subject.