SGE – The Latest in Google Search: Experience or Experiment?

SGE - The Latest in Google Search: Experience or Experiment?

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE), which they are developing in their Search Lab. The goal of SGE, through their AI SEO experiments, is to redefine the search experience with SEO artificial intelligence. Rather than transmitting passive information, it will be more personalized and delivered in a more interactive format.

SGE is getting closer to understanding search intent and creating a personalized AI-driven search engine. It’s looking at our location, browsing history, and historical behaviour. SGE is an AI-driven search engine that creates AI SEO content that more closely targets our audiences, enhances user experience, and drives better search results.

What sets SGE apart? Its ability to learn

SGE’s AI technology, which is at the forefront of artificial intelligence content creation, uses deep-learning models to generate new content. SGE promises to be multimodal; responses can include text, images, voice, or videos. Through generative AI examples, Google aims to provide a deeper understanding of user intent with AI search and more accurate search results. 

But here’s where it diverges from other AI apps 

Unlike AI, which follows preprogrammed rules, this AI-driven search engine can learn and adapt. From vast amounts of data, generative AI, acting as an AI writer, creates new AI writing content on its own. If you’re thinking this feels a little bit like Jurassic Park, it does. And like Jurassic Park, it’s exciting and a little scary. SGE provides a significant boost to your SEO strategy.

There’s something else going on here: big tech’s big investment in AI

The tech sector is laying off workers again. 2023 was Meta’s “year of efficiency” when they laid off a third of their staff. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft also laid off tens of thousands of employees. This isn’t just the big guys; smaller companies experienced smaller but equally significant layoffs to stay competitive. The result? Stock prices soared, stockholders were delirious, and life went on. 

Tech companies are making strategic cuts that are AI-driven

They’re identifying those areas where they will invest less and jobs are no longer needed. But they are beefing up their AI investments. Google CEO Sundar Pichai recently warned employees there would be more job cuts in 2024 as the company shifts investments toward AI. “The hiring frenzy in AI will be unprecedented as this arms race continues across the tech world,” Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities, told CNBC.

The pros of using a generative AI-driven search engine

  • Accurate responses: Generative AI analyzes vast amounts of data and understands the nuances of language, providing more accurate and AI SEO-enhanced responses to queries. 
  • Personalization: Search results are tailored to align with your search intent, taking into account your search history and behaviour. They can be a significant boost to a content strategy that's not only relevant but also resonates with your interests and preferences.
  • Contextually relevant snippets: Consider the capabilities of AI content creation tools. A generative AI writing assistant crafts snippets that enable users to quickly grasp the essence of content without delving into the full article. This innovation is a boon for mobile users or anyone pressed for time.

Content strategy based on multimodal SGE is interactive

Source: KDNuggets


You can pose inquiries to see AI examples in action. Ask SGE to explain the 49ers losing the Super Bowl, and you'll receive up to four generative AI-generated responses, which could include images, videos, or voice replies. Was it Jauan Jennings’ touchdown or Ji'Ayir Brown Intercepting Patrick Mahomes?

Generative AI examples of product descriptions

For product searches, AI for product searches technology will generate a comprehensive overview that includes reviews, price points and images. Product descriptions are one domain where AI truly shines. SGE provides product descriptions that include relevant, updated reviews, ratings, prices and product images. Content strategy gets a big boost from SGE technology.

The wealth of product information is accessible because SGE harnesses the power of the AI shopping graph, which is built on Google’s Shopping Graph—the most extensive dataset of products, sellers, brands, reviews, and inventory that's constantly updated.

Searching for a recipe with generative AI

Source: Search Engine Roundtable


According to Google, a personalized search engine powered by generative AI can discern the intent behind your queries and generate step-by-step instructions from a variety of sources. It can even tailor the instructions to suit your dietary preferences or the ingredients you have on hand, thanks to AI SEO advancements.

Witness the effectiveness of a little SEO experiment as part of a broader SEO strategy. Searching for a French restaurant in San Francisco, SGE not only provides a standard list of eateries with links to their websites but also offers insights into the evening’s specials and the restaurant’s ambience. It aggregates information from reviews and food photos posted on Yelp and Google Business Profiles, delivering a depth of insight that surpasses typical organic search results.

SGE: The Bad News

Google’s Search Generative Experience could potentially hurt our SEO efforts.

  • SGE provides AI-generated overviews at the top of search results, so the need to click is significantly reduced, enhancing the user's search experience with quick access to AI-generated overviews.
  • Improved search results mean users may not read as much of our SEO content. But who’s so arrogant to believe that users read an article in its entirety? If SGE provides an overview and we front-load important information, we will provide relevant SEO content for our users. If they want more information, they can read on.
  • They won’t click on links as much because they’re satisfied with the scope and scale of the content we’re providing. This could result in lower CTR and less organic traffic for websites, impacting digital marketing strategies. With the availability of graphics and video, SGE may require that content strategies need to be completely reimagined. 

Technical SEO agency Onely weighs in on SGE

Source: Onely


When it comes to SGE and its future, the highly regarded technical SEO agency Onely says that people tend to have strong opinions about the rollout and the future of SGE. Those opinions range from extreme anxiety to near-total confidence that SGE will never be launched and will remain an SEO experiment forever.

Onely’s role is to gather data and start a discussion based on those numbers. As usual, it all starts with SEO keywords, which are the cornerstone of search engine optimization. According to Onely, they found that SGE covered 81% of queries. Sounds pretty good, right? But that means that 20% of potential searches are not getting tracked at all. That’s a lot of information that doesn’t even get addressed.

eCommerce queries seem to be Google’s core focus

Ecommerce SEO has a staggering 92% coverage as of July 30th, 2023 (an increase from 79% on July 1, 2023). Not surprising, as Google has been heavily focused on gaining an in-depth understanding of eCommerce seo queries since its inception. This may be a way to compete with Microsoft’s Bing, which seems to be eating away at Google’s market share.

Onely found that:

  • Google won’t touch COVID-related queries based on a few logical keywords.
  • Google’s SGE targets 87% of medical/health-related queries, growing from 70% on July 1, 2023, to 83% on July 31, 2023. That means that 13% of medical/health topics don’t get processed by SGE.
  • What’s missing? Finance SEO and investment SEO. Very low growth rate. And there are other verticals that are not being processed well.

Quantifying SGE’s ability to learn

  • SGE’s ability to learn presents some new challenges. Since generative AI learns from existing data, it may unintentionally perpetuate biases in the data, leading to biased information and misleading information in search results or the continued spread of misinformation.
  • Because it bases content on historicals, if that information is incorrect, it will continue to propagate misinformation.
  • The lack of transparency. Generative AI operates on complex algorithms that are not easily understandable by humans, a situation that raises concerns about algorithm transparency and whether the search results produced can be trusted.

The Future of Generative AI in the Google Search Experience

Generative AI is still in its early stages, and its potential for enhancing Google's search experience is immense. With substantial generative AI research and a focus on improving the user experience, Google has made a significant investment in this technology. Users can anticipate interactive experiences that may include images, videos, articles, audio files, and reviews.

Generative AI will play a significant role in voice search

  • By leveraging natural language processing, generative AI can provide more conversational and intuitive responses to voice queries, understanding natural language and context.
  • According to Google, they've built SGE as an integrated experience, applying insights from their understanding of user behaviour.
  • Google emphasizes that SGE is still an experiment within their search labs, which focuses on search and other experimental functionalities. Generative AI, a sophisticated form of artificial intelligence capable of creating content, is at the heart of powering SGE.

The status of Google’s Search Generative Experience: It remains experimental

Source: Brodie Clark


Whether or when SGE launches is the source of speculation. According to Search Engine Land, speculation about the future of SGE seems to be growing. A random blog post suggested that SGE 'wasn't going to happen,' but for now, Google has not announced when or if SGE will launch, consistently referring to it as an “experiment”. Google SGE remains in the Google Lab.


  • An AI-driven search engine, unlike traditional AI that relies on preprogrammed rules, possesses the capability to learn and adapt to new information.
  • Understanding the intent behind SEO experiments, SGE is adept at providing more personalized and contextually relevant results, enhancing user experience.
  • The challenges of an AI-powered search engine like SGE include biases, a lack of transparency, and the potential for a significant dip in domain ranking.
  • Google’s search engine experience offers a preview of the future of search, showcasing a journey that is still very much a work in progress.

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