Introducing Google’s New Search Generative Experience

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SGE is a reimagined search experience powered by Google's own artificial intelligence.

According to Google, "With new generative AI capabilities in Search, we’re now taking more of the work out of searching, so you’ll be able to understand a topic faster, uncover new viewpoints and insights, and get things done more easily.”

SGE is now available in 120 countries, 7 languages and counting...

Important note: Today, users must be opted in via Search Labs to access Google’s AI search experience.

SGE and AI-generated results are the future of search. They will dramatically impact the search landscape, change searcher behavior and alter how we think about and measure discoverability.

What are the key components of SGE?

AI-powered responses, appearing at the top of the search engines results page (SERP), highlight key information related to the searcher’s query.

They might include:

  • Generative text results
  • Links to content used to generate AI-snapshot
  • Local Google map results
  • Links to related products
  • Multimedia content including images and videos
  • Links to definitions related to educational topics
  • Follow-up questions related to your initial query to help refine your search

One key thing is missing from SGE today...

Sponsored Google Ad placements, which may appear above SGE results, aren't widely seen inside SGE results... yet. Google has begun testing ads that appear after searchers ask follow-up questions within SGE. Sponsored product listings have also been spotted within the SGE experience.

Generative Search & Commerce

New developments in the generative search experience create a rich shopper experience directly in the SERP.

  • Searchers can use images generated by Google's AI- powered search experience to find similar products to buy.
  • Related product listings, displayed with prominent product reviews, are integrated into AI results for commercial-intent queries.
  • Google is beginning to experiment with Shopping ads in the Search Generative Experience.

What is SGE while browsing the web?

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According to Google, SGE while browsing allows users to

"browse web pages with generative AI-powered tools."

SGE while browsing allows Google Chrome users to:

  • Quickly digest and engage with long-form content via AI-generated summaries
  • Jump to relevant, important sections within a web page to quickly learn more

How will SGE Impact the Future of Discoverability?

Google's AI search experience is evolving in real-time.

Google has long been committed to making AI a key component of its search function. As this technology evolves, what we see today in SGE may look quite different when it becomes widely available — or even the default mode of search.

Brands and marketers can adapt by:

  • Continuing to build strong search foundations, including technical accessibility, structured data, and optimized content.
  • Monitoring changes in Google's AI search experience to understand how best to target valuable search real estate.
  • Monitoring trends in search behavior to fill new searcher gaps when they arise and maintain a competitive advantage in search.

Google is testing ad placements within SGE results.

Search engines will work to monetize generative AI search results as quickly as possible. Carousel ads were first spotted by users in November after they asked follow-up questions related to their initial query, indicating that Google is testing ad formats and integration into SGE results.

Brands and marketers can adapt by:

  • Increasing collaboration between Paid Search and Organic Search channels to ensure full coverage of possible search results for key searcher journeys.
  • Activating and optimizing Performance Max in Google Ads to prepare for all available Google network placements.
  • Partnering with Google representatives to opt into betas and tests when available.

“Zero-click” search results call for new ways to measure search performance.

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Example of "zero-click" search results

With AI-powered search results, searchers are more likely to get full answers directly on the SERP. Often, users are not required to click through to a specific website to get the information they are looking for. This could mean lower click volume and click-through rates than before. Measurement of search success and channel attribution will need to evolve to adequately measure discoverability.

Brands and marketers can adapt by:

  • Considering the full searcher journey and the changing needs and expectations at each stage.
  • Noting the types of content SGE prioritizes for relevant queries, and adjusting search strategy accordingly.
  • Adapting attribution to include evolving search success metrics
    beyond website clicks as data becomes available.

Searcher behavior is evolving in real-time.

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Examples of follow- up questions in SGE search results

As searchers adapt to using AI search, they’re adapting their search behaviors to yield better answers more quickly and efficiently. Most prominently, searchers are learning to ask SGE suggested follow-up questions to help refine their search, instead of backing out and starting a new query.

Brands and marketers can adapt by:

  • Monitoring changing search patterns to identify new long-tail or question-based queries that gain popularity over time.
  • Considering the full, end-to-end search journey, including follow-ups suggested in SGE results.
  • Developing comprehensive, authoritative and relevant content that addresses changing searcher needs.
After all, users always wanted answers, not 10 blue links.

Michael King

CEO and Founder, iPullRank

SGE by the Numbers: What you need to know about Google’s AI-powered Search Results

81% of all search results contain SGE features.

For opted-in users, 81% of the time, an expanded AI search result or a “generate” button will appear when performing a search. The generate button allows users to generate an AI-snapshot for their query.

Why it matters

  • As Google leans further into AI, we expect SGE results to show up more often over time, which will dramatically change the search landscape.
  • Based on opted-in users seeing SGE results over 80% of the time, we expect searchers to see AI results for a majority of their queries as the feature rolls out publicly.

Top-ranking content doesn't always make it into SGE results.

SGE results often include content that ranks beyond the first page of traditional search results. Websites ranking on the first page are more likely to be featured, but those that don't yet rank highly still have an opportunity to be featured in SGE results for relevant queries.

Why it matters

  • Smaller, less authoritative brands have the opportunity to occupy valuable search real estate by providing relevant, comprehensive content that meets search intent.
  • Ranking on page one doesn't guarantee placement in SGE results. Focus on creating the best content possible, and consider alternative content types like video and images to maximize your chances of being featured in AI search results.

Google has yet to prioritize ads in and around AI search

When ads are shown, they are rarely featured within the SGE results. 30% of SGE search results show ads outside AI- generated answers on the traditional search results page. That said, Google continues to test sponsored placements within SGE results over time.

Why it matters

  • Currently, opportunities to appear next to or within SGE results are limited for advertisers.
  • Google depends on advertising revenue, so it’s safe to assume they will continue to test different ways of inserting their ads experience into SGE results, creating new opportunities for paid placements

Informational queries are most likely to trigger SGE results.

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More than half (51%) of queries where searchers look for information and answers generate SGE results for opted-in users.

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Tests have also shown a high propensity for SGE results in queries with local search intent (31%).

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Additionally, these tests have demonstrated a high propensity for SGE results in queries with shopping search intent (18%).

How Marketers can Prepare for the Future Search Landscape

How to prepare your online experience for SGE

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Lean in to established SEO & content best practices

As we learn how to target real estate in SGE results, it remains critical to follow SEO best practices, including creating comprehensive, authoritative content rooted in actionable search insights.

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Pay attention to changes in search behavior

Marketers must monitor changes in search behavior as users get more familiar with SGE. Understanding these shifts is key to creating relevant, discoverable content that serves the needs of our audience.

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Rethink what success looks like in the age of SGE

While traditional metrics like website traffic are still important, they may need to be supplemented to fully understand how successful search efforts are in the future.

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Continue to monitor for future SGE updates

As SGE evolves, staying on top of changes in how organic and paid results display is vital to give brands the best chance to succeed in this new search landscape.

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