How will the Search Generative Experience (SGE) disrupt Google search?

February 29, 2024
Search Generative Experience (SGE)

This text is part of our series of 6 articles on the main digital trends in 2024.

You've probably already heard of ChatGPT from OpenAI, this personal assistant powered by generative artificial intelligence (AI), capable of answering complex questions, drafting emails, and even helping you use certain software like Excel. But the revolution sparked by ChatGPT is just beginning! Indeed, OpenAI continued to shake up the digital world in 2023 by partnering with Microsoft's Bing search engine. This collaboration gave birth to Microsoft Copilot, a personal assistant that redefines the user experience by integrating AI into traditional search.

Of course, Google wasn't going to take this lying down! In order to maintain its position as a leader in the field of online search, the Web giant decided to retaliate by developing Google SGE (Search Generative Experience), its own AI tool, directly integrated into its search engine. Learn more about this new Google tool, which promises in turn to revolutionize the way we conduct online searches.

What is Google SGE (Search Generative Experience)?

Google SGE is a search system that merges classic search with generative AI to provide users with a direct response to a query.

Because a video is worth a thousand words, here is the official presentation of the tool by Google:

Each response will be condensed and summarized at the top of the search results (position 0), allowing the user to obtain a quick answer without having to scroll through a list of results or click on links. However, Google SGE will not be available for all types of queries, particularly those related to a brand or domains such as health or finance. The tool will also present two display modes:

  1. A display with a button to generate the search.
  2. A display with truncated text at the top of the search page.

The features of Google SGE

Still in the testing phase, Google SGE will certainly undergo changes in the coming months. However, the first version of this search assistant already presents several interesting features, which Google has outlined in a user guide:

  • Advancing in a theme: This feature allows you to refine your search and deepen your knowledge on a specific topic.
  • Generating images: This feature allows you to bring your ideas to life by creating images generated with AI. Based on the entered query, Google will generate four visuals for you.
  • Product search: If the user expresses an intention to purchase, this feature will generate a list of products, mainly from Google Shopping. This list can be enriched with customer reviews, ratings, prices, and photos. A local dimension has also been added to offer products closer to the user (indeed, over a third of SGE results include local products).
  • Citation of used sources : This feature displays all the sources used to generate its responses. However, it should be noted that these sources do not necessarily come from the first page of results. In fact, in over 40% of cases, these responses are not in Google's top 10.
  • Translation: Google enhances the translation of its AI tool by displaying multiple meanings for a word, thus giving the user the option to choose the appropriate term for their sentence. However, this feature is nothing revolutionary, as it has already been available for some time on DeepL.
Google SGE

It will be interesting to monitor how these features of Google SGE will evolve over time. In the meantime, here are some questions (and our answers) to learn more about this new AI tool!

When will Google SGE be deployed in Canada?

The launch of Google SGE in Canada is planned for the year 2024, but no official date has been communicated yet. At the time of writing, Google SGE was available in test version in 120 countries, with Canada not being one of them.

How should SEO specialists prepare for the arrival of Google SGE?

The arrival of AI on Google will inevitably lead to a period of significant upheaval in the world of SEO. And it is undeniable that SEO specialists and businesses will need to adjust accordingly! In fact, several experts are already starting to talk about SGEO (SGE + SEO) given the significant changes to come!

Here are some tips to adapt to what's coming:

  • Invest in "Zero-Click": As mentioned earlier, with Google SGE, users won't have to click on a web page to find the answer they're looking for, which could significantly affect the level of organic traffic for many sites! To position yourself well in search results, it's important to prioritize content that is likely to appear in position 0 on Google.
  • Enhance content quality: It's not new, but to assess the relevance of a website, Google favors content that meets the search intentions of users and respects the principles of EEAT. The arrival of new AI tools is an excellent opportunity to improve the quality of your content through generative AI.
  • Work on long-tail keywords: With Google SGE, there will be more and more long, conversational queries. SEO specialists will need to focus more and more on very specific and targeted questions to adequately address the search intentions of users.
  • Work on product listings: Google SGE could become the best friend of e-commerce businesses, as it will allow for the display and synthesis of merchants' products from Google Shopping. Therefore, clear descriptions, highlighting positive customer reviews, and paying particular attention to the quality of images for each product will be essential.
  • Manage your online reputation: It will become more important than ever to have a good online reputation by generating as many positive customer reviews as possible, as Google SGE will rely on all information found on the web to generate a response to users. Google's review system has already been updated ("reviews update") to reflect this change.
  • Use structured data: By integrating this type of semantic data into your content, Google will be better able to understand named entities (product pages, recipes, articles, images, videos, events, FAQs) and highlight them better in search results.

Expert tip:
You can test your keywords in the beta version of Google SGE on Search Lab by connecting from the United States using a VPN. This will give you a good overview of the type of responses generated, and you can even start adjusting some of your content for Google SGE!

What are the limitations of Google SGE?

Although SGE is not yet fully developed, Google has already started issuing warnings regarding possible limitations of this artificial intelligence tool. Some provided information may turn out to be false or misleading, and several biases related to artificial intelligence are also possible:

« SGE relies on high-quality data extracted from the web, which may sometimes present narrow representations, as well as potentially negative contextual individuals or associations. »

Google SGE Guide

The arrival of Google SGE also raises concerns among authors and writers regarding how data will be collected to feed the tool's artificial intelligence, leading to several ethical questions related to copyright. A class-action lawsuit against Google was even filed in December 2023 in the United States by the publisher Helena World Chronicle, accusing the Web giant of anticompetitive behavior. Therefore, a compromise between the innovation of Google SGE and the rights of authors will eventually need to be found.

Arrival of Google SGE in Canada: Is Your Website Ready?

The arrival of Google SGE will undoubtedly mark a turning point in the search habits of internet users, who will have access to increasingly dynamic and personalized responses.

With this new technology, Google aims to meet the growing demand of the new generations regarding AI. Indeed, 40% of millennials are ready to use artificial intelligence. Therefore, it will be imperative to change our way of viewing online search to retain all these potential users in the future.

One thing is certain: the job of an SEO specialist is far from over, and your website will need to adapt to the search engines of tomorrow! Are you ready for the arrival of Google SGE?

Malika Mdahoma
SEO Counselor