The Differences Between SGE and SERP and Know the Impacts

The Differences Between SGE and SERP and Know the Impacts
January 1, 2024 Ananta Abigail
the difference between sge and serp

Google recently launched an experimental new search feature called Search Generative Experience, or SGE for short. The impact of Google Generative Experience is significant, both for general audiences and businesses that use SEO strategies.

As a new feature, SGE utilizes the capabilities of generative AI, an advanced form of artificial intelligence capable of creating content. So, it is crucial for SEO practitioners to learn what are the differences between SGE and SERP, as well as the impacts.

Explanation of Google SGE and its Differences from SERP

Search Generative Experience (SGE) is a new feature from Google that introduces more AI-curated, conversational search results above normal blue links in SERPs. According to eintelligence, SGE uses AI and generative language models like MUM and PaLM2 from Google to try and provide more helpful, conversational search results to users.

The goal is to give quicker answers and summaries pulled from multiple trustworthy sites instead of just showing a list of blue links. With SGE providing quick answers directly, searchers may have less need to click through to other sites.

So, for example, if you search something like “best places to visit in Indonesia,” rather than showing standard search results, SGE will generate a colorful box right at the top with key details, photos, recommendations, and links to other reputable sources about top Paris attractions.

Here are some of the key differences between SGE (Search Generative Experience) and SERP (Search Engine Results Page):

Search Results

search result on SGE

Basically, it aims to directly answer the query, almost like a chatbot, such as ChatGPT. This is very different from regular SERPs that just display a stack of sites for you to sift through. With SGE, the results stay internal on Google instead of driving clicks to outside sites.

Follow-up Questions

Another key difference is that SGE allows you to have an ongoing back-and-forth conversation to refine your search without having to retype the original question.

For example, you could ask, “What about kid-friendly places in Indonesia?” and SGE will tailor the recommendations based on that additional context. SERPs treat each search independently, while SGE remembers your initial query and allows follow-up questions.

What is Google Search Lab?

Before learning more about the impact of Google Generative Experience, let’s explore Google Search Lab first since SGE is hosted under the Search Labs initiative.

Eintelligence mentioned that The Google Search Lab is essentially Google’s testing ground for trying out new experimental features and changes to its search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s a way for Google to let regular users preview and provide feedback on potential search innovations before rolling them out more widely.

Specifically, the Search Lab gives select account holders early access to hundreds of quality tests and experiments that may eventually make their way into the mainstream Google search experience.

However, only some things in the Lab end up launching to all users. The Lab lets Google gauge public opinion and collect usability data on different ideas. One example is the new Search Generative Experience (SGE) interface introduced recently in the Search Lab.

Impact of SGE on Website Traffic

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) has many potential impacts on search process and website traffic flows. Let’s examine some of the impact of Google Generative Experience below, as compiled from eintelligence, Daily SEO, and contentoo:

Intent-based Search

Rather than simply matching keywords, SGE tries to understand user intent and craft relevant search snapshots. If seeking a broad topic overview, SGE may list various summary sources to check out.

But for product-related queries, SGE can recommend and compare listings and reviews. Either way, the goal is to tailor results to match the query’s context and user needs.

This intent focus risks reducing clicks from SERPs to regular sites, though, as users may find direct answers on Google itself. So, SGE has the potential to better match intent-level queries but could diminish clicks if it fulfills too many search needs itself without sending traffic outward to sites.

More Specific and Context-relevant Answers

specific content and relevant answer

One of the impacts of Google Generative Experience is still related to the search process. In addition to interpreting intent more granularly, SGE aims to dig deeper into specifics within a search via conversational follow-ups.

For example, for the query “sneakers for walking,” SERPs display standard results. On the other hand, SGE’s snapshot could outline top-rated walking sneaker models, materials to consider, sizing and fit advice, etc., tailored to that exact purpose.

Users can then further refine via additional questions without a full re-query, like asking about brands good for wide feet or average price ranges, since SGE handles the follow-up with context retained.

Direct Interaction with the System

Rather than a static page of search results, SGE adds a dialog-like interaction with the search system itself. The initial snapshot response triggers a back-and-forth conversation powered by the AI behind it. This represents a major shift in the search paradigm towards an ongoing experience versus a one-off lookup.

The risk is searchers may find their answers directly within these SGE conversations without ever needing to visit regular sites. But for brands producing truly differentiated content, there are also chances to become a known presence almost like an expert conversant on Google’s platform.

Follow-up Question

As mentioned earlier, a key distinction of SGE is allowing successive follow-up questions while retaining search context. Rather than separate queries, users can drill down on various aspects without starting over.

For example, after a snapshot of the best Android smartphone, users could then ask about specific features like the camera or battery. SGE handles these follow-ups while “remembering” the original smartphone-related intent.

So, searchers may fulfill their complete informational needs directly through SGE’s AI without ever clicking on regular sites. Meanwhile, for brands producing truly differentiated content, there are also chances to continually appear as an authority at each stage of question complexity on a topic.

Content optimization for AI Adaptation

content optimization for ai adaptation

To prepare for the impact of Google Generative Experience, content creation strategies must evolve as well. By improving quality, depth, and optimization around long-tail queries, brands can position themselves for this AI-first era. Let’s explore some key areas to focus on:

Improve the quality and domain of the website

With SGE results emphasizing authoritativeness and expertise when compiling responses, building domain authority is crucial. This involves producing comprehensive, high-quality content that covers topics thoroughly and offers unique perspectives.

Rather than generic content to rank for broad keywords, sites should publish in-depth, well-researched material and earn external links/citations. This expertise-building makes it more likely that SGE would reference the content as an authoritative source to excerpt or recommend to users. So, prioritizing genuine value for readers is key.

Delve into every discussion in the content

In addition to quality, content depth and scope are vital for AI search success. SGE’s conversational format means queries can quickly turn specific through follow-up questions. Sites must match that level of granularity.

Adopting a content cluster model explores topics from multiple angles, with interconnected pages covering subtopics at each level. This provides the detail and branching conversations that AI assists with.

Discussions should be structured and comprehensive to address likely follow-up questions, not just high-level overviews. Exploring different user intents, journeys, and parameters will equip content to shine as an SGE source.

Use long-tail keywords

With SGE catering to more natural conversations versus blunt keyword matches, SEO should shift to longer, more specific long-tail queries. This means identifying and targeting searcher questions and multi-clause queries, not just one-word targets.

Read More: Rather than Keywords, Go Deeper into the Topic!

For example, rather than “lawn mower brands,” target “what lawn mower brand is the quietest for a small yard.” This matches the evolving search behavior better. Seed content with likely follow-up phrasing and actual audience questions to embed directly in the AI-powered results.

Understand the Utility of SGE in Business

the impact of SGE for business

For businesses, SGE introduces both major opportunities and risks related to discoverability and traffic in terms of SEO marketing strategies. For example, the direct placement in SGE snapshot panels can increase brand visibility to searchers.

On the other hand, risks exist too. As SGE satisfies more searches directly, external traffic could decline since users don’t click out to sites as often. The next issue is if SGE panels become as influential as regular results, organic visibility challenges may rise.

In summary, while promising exposure and engagement, adaptation is required to fully leverage SGE traffic opportunities while avoiding the risk of declining clicks from overt reliance on Google answering itself. Monitoring ongoing changes will remain critical as its algorithms evolve.

Pros and Cons of SGE

Just like any technology, SGE also brings both advantages and disadvantages. From the pro perspective, here are several points you should know:

Increased visibility and traffic through the SGE snapshot panels shown at the top of search results.

Give a better user experience by summarizing key information and allowing conversational follow-up queries.

Aligns with existing SEO best practices.

However, there are also some possible drawbacks you have to consider, including:

Reduced organic clicks, since users no longer have to click out to other websites as often.

Evolving ranking factors, as there is uncertainty if previous measures like E-E-A-T fully apply and how new engagement/interaction signals may impact visibility.

Increased competition, so businesses must continue advancing SEO efforts to stand out.

When strategized well, though, SGE can become an impactful discovery and revenue channel. You can learn how to maximize the impact of Google Generative Experience with us in Essentials. Use Essentials SEO Services to make your website become a standout reference in SGE now!

Read More: The Fact Of “Top Rank Google”


Hi, can we help you?