Learn How to Enable and Use Google SGE Generative AI in Search

  • February 14, 2024
  • SEO

Last Updated on June 14, 2024

Expanded AI Search Capabilities with Google (SGE) Search Generative Experience

Google’s use of machine learning is nothing new. Since its early days, Google has been innovating with machine learning and artificial intelligence to perfect its search engine.

But now, it has taken a huge leap forward. Google recently launched the Search Generative Experience (SGE) to help users find and understand answers more effectively.

Read on to learn more about this feature, its benefits and drawbacks, and how your business can leverage Google’s Search Generative Experience.

Google search generative experience

What is Google Search Generative Experience?

This new search experience uses artificial intelligence (AI) powered search to provide users with succinct information about a topic. 

AI-generated answers will appear above Google’s search results listings. Google will cite the websites it used to help generate the answer. This creates a jumping-off point for users to explore their search query further.

Similar to featured snippets, this search feature means that users don’t have to click onto another website to get their answer. Instead, their answer appears directly on the Google Search results page.

The regular Google results page appears directly below the search generative feature. 

Google SGE AI snapshot

The SGE AI Snapshot features relevant information on the left, citations on the right, and follow-up questions on the bottom.

A Deeper Dive into How Google SGE Works

Google SGE is a dynamic feature. When a user types in a search query, Google’s AI quickly combs through the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It finds the answer to the user’s question and quickly creates a digestible. That answer appears at the top of the SERP in a new snippet called the AI Spotlight.

SGE uses AI in the following three ways to enhance its search experience:

  • AI snapshot: This is where users find AI-generated answers at the top of the Google SERP. At the bottom, you will be able to ask follow-up questions.
  • Conversational mode: When you click “ask a follow-up”, you enable conversational mode. This is where you can ask Google more questions related to your search topic. The AI keeps the context of the original search topic, no matter how many questions you ask.
  • Vertical experiences: In shopping-related online searches, Google shows different product options alongside in-depth insights, such as product features. 

How to Use SGE

Turning on Google SGE

  1. Open Chrome and sign into your Google Account.
  2. Open a new tab and go to Google.
  3. Select the “Labs” icon at the top right of the page. If you can’t find the Labs icon, then it could mean that Google SGE is not available in your country yet. Currently, SGE is available in 120+ countries. 
how to turn on google sge

Go to Google Labs to active search generative experience.

  1. On the “SGE, generative AI in Search” card, click the toggle icon.
  2. Then click “try an example”.
how does search generative experience work

Google Search Generative Experience uses generative artificial intelligence to break down the top results into a single snippet at the top of the page.

Benefits of Google Search Generative Experience

Here are the benefits users get with Google SGE:

  • The purpose of this feature is to display easy-to-understand information about complex or in-depth topics. It gathers information quickly so users can find what they want faster than traditional search.
  • Google will suggest logical follow-up questions after a search. This provides users with a way to get more in-depth on a topic. 
  • Business owners can have improved organic search visibility for their websites. When your site appears within the SGE AI snapshot, this can increase the number of impressions and your click-through-rate (CTR).
  • This feature has the potential to decrease organic traffic for websites below the snapshot. However, users will be more informed when they do get to your website. This means potentially higher conversion rates.
  • If your website appears in the AI snapshot, you get to demonstrate your expertise. Searchers will see your site as an authority and trusted source of information.

Drawbacks of Google Search Generative Experience

Like many AI tools, there are potential drawbacks that can arise. Google has been upfront about this, claiming the feature as “experimental” and still in the early stages of development. Here are some of the potential downsides:

  • The SGE AI snapshot uses the best real estate on the SERP. This means both paid and organic results appear far down and get less visibility. When users expand the AI-generated snippet, it pushes results down even farther.
  • AI always has the potential to produce inaccurate information. Google SGE is no different, which is why there is a disclaimer at the top of the snippet. This is a particular issue for any kind of medical, financial, or legal advice people search for.
  • Large language models (LLMs) are AI tools that understand and create human text. Google’s version is PaLM2, which the company uses to create the SGE. Their model is closed, meaning we don’t know much about how the AI comes to decisions.
  • Google has already launched SGE in 120 countries but is not available everywhere. Many users will have to wait to use this new feature.

How Can Your Business Leverage SGE?

Google’s Search Generative Experience is changing the way users interact with the SERP. So, you might need to alter your content strategy slightly.

If you’re concerned about your website traffic taking a hit, don’t be. For a long time, Google has used Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E-E-A-T) to evaluate content. This isn’t changing, it’s actually enhancing.

Google EEAT content guidelines for SGE

Use Google’s EEAT guidelines when writing your content. Content that has experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust will rank higher on SERPs may help with SGE rankings.

So, if you have been creating high-value content for users, you will be fine.

SGE can actually help you to rank higher in search results for competitive keywords. Google wants users to “dig deeper into those sources”. The algorithm can display your company as one of those sources. 

So, how do you get your website into the SGE AI snapshot?

Like many search features Google has rolled out over the past several years, the #1 ranking factor is (you guessed it) having quality content.

Factual Information

To make it into the SGE AI snapshot, publishing factual information is key. This boosts your website’s credibility and helps Google recognize your site as a reliable source. Trust is a large factor in Google rankings, and facts foster trust.

For each article, conduct thorough research. Back up your content with data, statistics, and references from authoritative sources. Use these tips to find factual information for your web content:

  • Use information from respected sources like academic journals, government websites, and reputable news outlets.
  • Be skeptical of unverified sources and always check multiple sources. Google now has a fact check tool you can use. 
  • Use academic databases like JSTOR, PubMed, and Google Scholar for peer-reviewed articles.
  • Check for official reports and publications from credible institutions.
  • Use primary sources whenever possible, such as interviews, official documents, and direct observations.
  • Consult with experts and professionals of a particular field.
  • Use statistics from government agencies.
  • For historical information, refer to archives and historical societies.
  • Always cite your sources to allow readers an opportunity to explore the information for themselves.
  • Update your articles with the most current information.
Google fact check explorer

You can use Google’s Fact Check Tools to verify information for your articles.

Short, Succinct Answers

Google wants content that directly answers user questions in a clear, concise manner. Essentially, you want to make it easy for Google to cite you in the AI snapshot.

This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice detail. However, you should structure your content so important information is easy to find and understand. Use these tips:

  • Get to the point first and then elaborate as necessary.
  • Use simple language and avoid jargon.
  • Keep each sentence focused on a single idea.
  • Trim out unnecessary words or phrases that don’t add any value. If you can say something in fewer words, do it.
  • Use active voice rather than passive voice.
  • Use headings, bullet points, and bold text to structure content and highlight key points.
  • Break down complex topics into digestible pieces.
  • Use visuals to convey information.

Unique Content

The SGE AI snapshot gives a basic overview of information. If that’s all a user is looking for, they may not need to click onto another website. However, many people want more in-depth answers, so that needs to be on your website.

The internet is a sea of generic information, with many articles produced by AI these days. In fact, 85.1% of AI users use it for blog content creation. Go beyond basic by offering deep dives, expert insights, and unique perspectives.

Your goal is to offer value that people can’t find anywhere else. Use these tips:

  • Understand the needs, wants, and pain points of your audience to create content that resonates with them.
  • Use original research like surveys, studies, and experiments.
  • Share your own experience to add a personal touch that no one else has.
  • Collaborate with industry thought leaders, influencers, and other brands to add multiple perspectives.
  • Present information in multiple ways, such as video, images, podcasts, and interactive elements.
  • Be authentic to your voice and values. Focus on telling the unique story of your brand.
how many content writers use ai

85.1% of AI users use these tools for blog content writing. This has its risks because Google could see AI-generated content as spam.

Detailed Schema

Details schema is code that helps Google understand the meaning and context of your pages. Schema is like giving Google a roadmap of your website. You’re telling search engines what the information means, not just what it says.

For example, schema can tell Google that:

  • a specific number is a rating out of five
  • a line of text is the address of a local business
  • a page contains a recipe, cooking instructions, and nutritional information

This structure allows search engines to display content in more useful ways, like rich snippets (and now the SGE AI snapshot).

Google supports 35 kinds of structured data markup that you can use for your website. Only use the types that are relevant to your site.

google schema

Schema, or structured data markup, helps search engines understand the meaning of your website content. Google supports 35 different types of structured data markup.

Long-Tail Keywords

SGE is great for more complex searches rather than general ones. That means users will be typing in long-tail keywords like:

  • “best coffee shops in boston”
  • “how long to cook a turkey”
  • “how to improve my reputation”
  • “affordable family-friendly resorts in Cancun”
  • “home remedies for seasonal allergies”

Incorporating these keywords into your content helps it align with users’ questions. That’s because they are specific and conversational, which is important for getting your content into the SGE AI snapshot.

Long-tail keywords also have lower competition and cater to a more specific audience. Targeting these keywords improves your chances of Google seeing you as a valuable source of information. Visitors are more likely to be interested in your offerings, driving qualified traffic to your site.

Closing Out: The Opportunity With Google SGE

Google’s Search Generative Experience is changing the way users interact with Google search results, and it presents a great opportunity for businesses. Creating quality and factual content can help your website be shown in the SGE AI snapshot. 

schedule free reputation consultation

While Google SGE helps greatly improve their visibility and awareness, you want to make sure your message matches your brand. If you have a brand perception issue, the team at Reputation911 helps businesses ensure their company is shown in the best possible light online. Learn more about our business reputation management services.

About The Author

William DiAntonio is the Founder & CEO of Reputation911, a reputation management firm he founded in 2010 that has earned the trust of its clients for over a decade by helping individuals, businesses and brands control their online search results.

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