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Google SGE: Search Generative Experience

June 13, 2024

Google Search Generative Experience - What You Need to Know

Google processes approximately 8.5 billion searches per day, which translates to about 5.9 million searches every minute or around 99,000 search queries per second. On average, a person conducts between three and four searches daily. At least, that's what Google's very own artificial intelligence (AI) Search Generative Experience (SGE) has to say about the topic.

Knowing what’s going on with Google and other search engines is essential because it affects how your business or product appears to users. Recently, if you’ve used Google, you might have noticed this new AI feature at the top of your search results. Also known as Gemini, Google claims the SGE feature "takes care of the legwork" for researching, planning, and brainstorming.

SGE is a significant innovation for both Google and its users, but what exactly is it? And, like any technological advancement, does it come with any potential drawbacks? As a business owner, it is imperative to understand the changes occurring in search engines, as they may affect how users interact with your website. Learn more about Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE) and explore how it may impact users and brands alike.

What Is the Search Generative Experience?

Google's SGE is a form of generative AI—an algorithm designed to create content such as text, images, audio, and code. The primary objective of this experimental AI is to provide users with quick, concise overviews and answers to their search queries without necessitating clicks on individual web pages.

The Search Generative Experience is designed to assist with tasks such as:

  • Getting answers
  • Obtaining general information on a topic
  • Understanding the main points of a complex subject
  • Learning how-to information

For instance, if you search for "how to wash your dishes," the feature might present a clear, step-by-step guide right at the top of your search results, as demonstrated by the screenshot below.

Benefits of Google's SGE

Google's Search Generative Experience is set to transform the landscape of online search, redefining how we discover and engage with information. This innovative feature offers a range of significant benefits that enhance user experience and efficiency:

  • Simple Overviews for Complex Topics: SGE can break down intricate topics into bite-sized pieces, making the information easily digestible for users.
  • Conversational and Interactive Results: SGE often provides answers in a conversational tone, making complex information more accessible and easier to understand.
  • Quick Answers: SGE can deliver quick, straightforward answers, saving users time when they need information promptly.

Despite its benefits, SGE also comes with some potential drawbacks. While search engines aim to provide accurate information, AI can sometimes:

  • Misinterpret Queries: Because human language is so complex, with words and phrases meaning different things depending on the context, sometimes artificial intelligence can misinterpret what the user is saying or asking. 
  • Provide Outdated Information: Google SGE searches the internet for relevant information in response to queries. However, it is unable to ascertain whether an answer is the most up-to-date or relevant. As a result, users may receive outdated or inaccurate information at times.
  • Fabricate Answers: The internet is a vast source of information, which includes content that is meant as a joke, exaggerated, or completely false. Google does not have checks and balances, so sometimes misinformation slips through the cracks and provides inaccurate answers to queries.

Instances of misinformation have been shared on platforms like Reddit, Twitter (now X), and TikTok, where users reported receiving bizarre or incorrect answers from SGE.

For example, one user reported that an AI-generated answer to the question "Cheese not sticking to pizza" suggested adding non-toxic glue to the sauce—a recommendation traced back to a Reddit thread from 11 years ago. Another user shared that the AI suggested eating "at least one small rock a day." One potential reason for this is that in February 2024, Reddit reported a $60 million data deal with Google, granting Google access to Reddit's data and forums. Reddit has extensive expertise and experience.

These examples highlight the potential danger of unregulated AI-generated answers and the risk of spreading misinformation.

How Google's New AI May Affect SEO

The introduction of SGE has raised concerns among search engine optimization experts about a decline in website traffic. With AI summaries providing immediate answers, users might be less inclined to click through to individual websites.

However, Google argues that while AI Overview offers initial information, users will likely continue their research, using web content as a “jumping-off point.”

The long-term impact of the Search Generative Experience on SEO remains to be seen, but as Google continues to update and refine this feature, its effects will become clearer.

Despite changes in Google's search landscape, search engine optimization (SEO) remains crucial for businesses looking to rank well on search engines such as Google. With ever-changing search trends like Search Generative Experience, it is imperative for your content to be in trusted hands. At Cork Tree Creative, we stay at the forefront of SEO trends and translate these insights into the websites and content we create. Contact our SEO experts today to learn how we can improve your website’s optimization to stay ahead in this evolving digital landscape.