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Google Search Generative Experience with Pictures

Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) – The Biggest Update for Over a Decade

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What is Google Search Generative Experience (SGE)?

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) is a new approach to Google Search. It uses generative artificial intelligence (AI) to provide users with quick and precise answers to search topics—without having to click on individual web pages. It’s currently in testing (beta phase) and expected to be rolled out worldwide in the coming months.

What does SGE look like?

When you search in Google, the SGE portion takes up roughly 50% of the viewport, meaning sponsored and organic results are pushed downwards on the page. In the SGE portion of the screen, you will see Google providing an answer to your query using the power of AI based on its trained data. This is called a “featured snippet”, similar to what is currently shown on some searches. Below the SGE results is a small text box with an option to ask a follow-up question. For some search queries, we also see 2-3 images on the right side of the SGE box. There is a recent update here; these images previously had their website URLs directly beneath. The update now shows the pictures but without the URLs. However, when you hover the cursor over these pictures, you will see the URL.

With pictures –

Google Search Generative Experience with Pictures

 

Without pictures –

Google SGE Featured Snippet

How does SGE affect website visibility?

It could look better for organic SEO visibility, with results being pushed further down the page and out of view. Refined SEO tactics will be required to work with SGE. To appear in those featured snippets, we must provide accurate and, more importantly, relevant content. As usual, though, sponsored ads appear first just below the SGE (which can take up four listings), and organic results are below these. This works in Google’s favour as the need for sponsored ads will increase, driving revenue for Google as a business. Some users have reported seeing an organic increase in Merchant Center product listings. So, the top row is all sponsored ad product listings, and then directly below is a row of organic Google Shopping Listings. Although, I’m yet to see this on several tests. 

How can we implement SEO tactics to rank on SGE?

Specific tactics like providing short-snippet answers to topics will help increase our chances of appearing in the “featured snippet”. But how do we know what questions to answer? Tools such as AnswerThePublic and AlsoAsked can show you the most-common questions people are entering into Google based on a specific topic. See below:

AlsoAsked Screenshot for SEO

So, we take these questions to our site and answer them!

In testing, it’s evident that the top-ranking websites sometimes do not appear in the featured snippet picture boxes. So, if you currently rank first in Google, that doesn’t mean you’ll rank first or even in the top 3 in SGE. The most crucial factor to be featured is relevancy. I’ve seen websites between ranks 10 and 20 appear in these boxes. That could be great for lower authority domains to gain visibility.

So, niche-specific content with answers to questions is crucial in the future. We can implement this in several ways, like adding FAQ sections to frequently visited pages, single posts with the H1 tag, a specific question, or an FAQ page with multiple questions as headers. 

How can we test out Google Search Generative Experience now?

The beta (testing phase) is currently only available in the US. Therefore, to access SGE, you must hook up a VPN with a US location. I recommend Psiphon for a reliable and free VPN. It’s available on the iPhone and Mac App Store, with Android and Windows versions available. Once downloaded and switched on, visit labs.google and scroll down to the “Search Generative Experience” box. Click the SGE box to open up Google with the new beta features built in. Please note that SGE will only work for specific searches. So, try a few different searches to see the results. 

Should we be worried at SGE?

Some early studies show the potential impact SGE can have on websites. According to research by Search Engine Land, which used a sample size of 23 websites, we can expect an 18% to 64% drop in organic traffic. Propeller Media suggested a decrease of around 30%.

When providing information about a particular brand, SGE includes an opinion in its answers as a summary of its pros and cons. This differs from organic content and traditional search results containing many opinions. 

However, it’s essential to remember that Google is still actively developing SGE and has yet to make it available worldwide. Therefore, the outcome depends on the specific features Google chooses to incorporate. I hope they proceed with caution because they have a significant impact on many businesses. 

When is Google launching Search Generative Experience?

We will likely see the worldwide roll-out of Google’s new SGE in Spring/Summer 2024. However, this has yet to be confirmed and we will likely see features drip-fed into Google Search in the coming weeks.

Conclusion

Google is ever-improving and evolving, and we here at Glide keep a close eye on things to ensure all our clients and partners are informed of the changes. There is no need to fear Search Generative Experience; we are still in the very early stages. We must evolve with the Search Engine and stay caught up. As best practice now, before its launch, I’d recommend the following:

  • Bolstering Google Business Profiles for local SEO. Post regular updates and photos to stay active.
  • Add products to Merchant Center for Google Shopping.
  • Start to implement answers to searched queries within posts and FAQs.
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