Search Generative Experience (SGE) – What Might It Mean For SEO?

June 7, 2024

An image of a person on Google search using the Search Generative Experience

When you tell your friends and family the many reasons you enjoy working in marketing, the classic line that gets rolled out is, “it’s always changing, which keeps you on your toes and engaged”. Well, things are very much changing at the moment, so hopefully you are enjoying it…

Just over one year ago, when I was coerced into writing my thoughts for the Signify blog, I put pen to paper surrounding Google Ads and AI and what it might mean for the future of paid search. One of my main observations was the ridiculous speed at which it had rolled out and my predictions mainly centred around progress slowing and adverts becoming more visual. So far, I’d say that was fairly accurate with the runaway AI train hitting some roadblocks along the way and people realising its limitations and potential pitfalls. 

In this blog I’ll take a look into Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) that is the talk of the town from a lot of SEOs at the moment. I’ll explore what you need to consider, how you can start preparing and also throw a few predictions in there to keep things interesting!

What is Search Generative Experience (SGE)?

Basically, a bigger and supposedly better version of the featured snippets that currently feature on the Google Search Engine.

Featured snippets were introduced in 2014 and have been finding themselves more and more prominent within the search engine ever since. If you’re fortunate enough to be shown for one then it improves your click through rate by around 20%. Because of this fruitful bonus, many SEOs have been priortising just how they can appear for featured snippets in an attempt to dominate the landscape and make their clients/employers chirp like a songbird with a worm tasting session ahead of it.

But forget featured snippets. Perhaps not just yet, but get ready to add them to the online marketing graveyard.

Shortly they can rest in peace alongside MSN messenger, the legendary Google Penguin Upgrade and Universal Analytics. Ahead on the horizon lies an unexplored land that is the Search Generative Experience. Upon this land many sites will prosper and flourish while others may hit the rocks on their approach, perishing in the process.

While the move to Search Generative Experience might not be quite as dramatic as a colonial land grab, it will certainly shake up the search experience and with that comes a slew of winners and losers.

Let’s explore some of the key factors that might feed into what will win/lose on our new search generative experience island.

Images/Video Remain King

A boring one to start. As our attention spans wither and we demand fast-paced, attention-grabbing content, one must feel that this will transition over to the search experience.

Featured snippets always prioritise quality images and insightful video content and the Search Generative Experience will be no different. 

Key Considerations Around Images/Video For SGE:

  • Descriptive and keyword-focused filenames
  • Informative and targeted ALT text
  • Relevant image titles
  • Informative and attention-grabbing thumbnails for videos
  • Genuinely engaging and captivating video content
  • Video subtitles

Strong Domains – Strong SGE?

Domain reputation will also feed into the Search Generative Experience as it does in search but with more emphasis. In theory the experience will give prominence to those with stronger images/video content and who rank higher.

With less traffic falling down the funnel to those in lower positions, it places an even greater focus on ensuring the information at the top is genuine and of actual value.

Just last week Google was embroiled in a PR mess where its AI tool was suggesting people eat rocks and use glue on pizza. With horror stories such as these possible and journalists circling like piranhas to discredit the technology, Google knows it needs to get this right.

EEAT and User First Content (Eye Roll)

While Google preaches Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EEAT) when it comes to content, this leaves me unconvinced. Sure, your content needs to be well written and informative, but apparently “not tailored for search engines” as Google says. 

For me it feels like telling a teenager to go to University and it will land them a great job after. It’s a solid start but so much more than that needs to happen. In reality the whole EEAT and User First Content marketing from Google is more of a warning against using AI content, without specifically saying that.

There have been, and always will be, countless examples online of genuinely well written blogs and content falling flat in favour of AI written or black hat websites. And let’s be honest, nearly every SEO or marketer is writing content with SEO in mind, because it does help rankings. Until Google can objectively and genuinely measure the quality of content alone, content written for SEO purposes will always still be there.

An example of this in practice comes from a certain competitor of ours with an extraordinarily basic two page website. For our most desired keyword to rank for, they are able to rank in the top 3 for the term. Meanwhile countless other competitors with faster websites, stronger domain authorities, 100x more content and regularly updated and well written blogs (like this one 😉 ) fall outside of the top spots. 

In summary, and to put an end to my bitterness, be very wary of using AI content. Use it for briefs, use it to proof, use it for synonyms or content structure. Be creative, but be very careful. Rather quickly Google may come down on AI content like a guillotine in a mediaeval town square and you don’t want you or your clients’ websites to be on the rack.

Focus On Content Recency 

An interesting factor that will go into the SGE will be the focus on publication dates. To feature informational snippets with such emphasis will require information to be up to date and relevant at the time of publishing. Going back and updating formerly strong pieces of content (as well as their publication date) may well be an important factor to consider.


  • Strong domains will achieve far greater search presence than niche content providers.
  • Content with stronger images and video content will be prioritised.
  • Actual traffic from SGE may be lower to sites as users’ queries may be solved without needing to actually click on the website.
  • Don’t panic. As long as you’re not doing anything flagrantly wrong now, it’s unlikely you will notice any huge fluctuations. Take time to follow the news and implement best practice where appropriate. 

In Summary

Now is the time to start preparing for the Search Generative Experience. If you are a client of ours, we will be in touch shortly to discuss this with you. If you are not, then I’d suggest planning your next steps to get ahead of the curve.

Alternatively, if you are not a client of ours then please do get in touch. It’s a volatile, yet exciting time in the search engine optimization sphere and we’d love to work with you to help navigate this turbulent journey.

Highly analytical and passionate about achieving results, Nathan brings technical expertise to every client project.
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