What is Google's Search Generative Experience & How Will It Affect Your Website?

Ashley Colaizzi, Senior Manager of Performance Marketing


Lacie Thompson, Chief Growth Officer at New Engen

Lacie Thompson, Chief Growth Officer at New Engen

December 18th, 2023

The New SERP: Google’s Search Generative Experience

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) has made waves within the digital marketing world, and for good reason: a brand new search experience is on the horizon. So, what is this SGE, how does it work, and (most importantly), how do we expect this new experience to shake things up? Let’s dive in and explore all that we know so far about the new SERP and how it could impact your brand.

What Is Google’s Search Generative Experience?

The buzz started back in May, when Google announced that it would be testing a new search experience. By August, Google had released its Search Generative Experience under the radar within the Google Search Labs experiment platform. Fast forward now, we anticipate that SGE will be rolled out any day.

What’s so different about this search experience? First of all, it's powered by Google’s AI and will focus on providing users with personalized and conversational results. Google has continued to refine its personalization capabilities throughout the years, but this new experience allows natural language processing capabilities to serve results that not only match search intent, but also match a specific user's conversational attributes. Essentially, Google wants its results to read less like your computer and more like advice from your big sister.

What Does the New SERP Look Like?

In the images below, you can see the SERP as we know it today depicted on the left, and the new SGE SERP layout depicted on the right. The most obvious change is a sizable decrease in the landscape occupied by Paid and Organic results, and a sharp increase in real estate devoted to Google-driven results.

Current Google SERP Layout

Current Google SERP Layout, December 2023

⭐️ Google SERP Layout with SGE ⭐️

New Google Search Generative Experience Layout

Let's break this down more.

Google is trying to create a sticky user experience from the SERP, by providing users with a diverse set of results and instant access to many forms of content in as little space as possible. Therefore, we as search marketers expect there to be an increase in zero-click searches, meaning brand impressions and interactions that occur on the SERP without the user clicking away from Google.

Within this space, Google is relying on is knowledge graphs to fill the SERP with Product Images, Reviews, Content Snippets, Bulleted lists, Citations and links to articles from authoritative editorial sites, Q&A’s, and the ability to refine your search and ask a follow-up. This gives users more ways than ever before to find the answers they are looking for straight from Google.

Google SGE Results Example

So, What Does This Mean for You? And How Can You Future-Proof Your Website for This New Experience?

As stated above, we expect to see a rise in zero-click searches from this experience due to the vast amount of information the user is getting directly from the SERP. Because of this, we may have to shift our strategies for search visibility. Here is what we're focusing on to continue driving awareness and traffic from Google for our clients:

  1. Creating content that is valuable within diverse forms and addresses a user's intent. Content has always remained the backbone to any great marketing strategy and will continue to reign supreme here. The only difference now is that we want to make sure onsite content is inline with Google’s E-EAT criteria. Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness are the attributes that make content relevant and credible to Google. You can learn how to make your content E-EAT worthy here.
  2. Leveraging authoritative affiliate placements to build surround sound and thought leadership for your brand. Affiliate content inclusions (especially on page one SERPs) are even more important now, and not just for top-tier keywords.
  3. Incorporate coupon page placements in your affiliate mix. Because we know domain authority and quality score have a big impact on what’s populated by SGE, we can expect coupon partners to show in this space for TM+ terms since they have both domain authority and high-quality scores for these terms. In the past, some brands have attempted to include a coupon or promo page on their site for added transparency and in an effort to outrank coupon sites - but this will be particularly challenging with the rollout of SGE.
  4. Button-up your Google Merchant Center. When a user clicks on a product from the SGE, they are shown a sidebar that displays product offerings from multiple retailers. Boost brand visibility by: improving your Scorecard within the Google Merchant Center, opting into reviews, optimizing your onsite images, and leveraging product and review schemas onsite. These tactics will give brands the best chance of ranking within this sought-after area.
  5. Use structured data and schema code across your website. This type of code is more important than ever because Google is using this code as a signal to occupy correlating areas within its SGE landscape. If you already have structured data placed on your website’s pages, test it to make sure it is working correctly.
  6. Be open to testing. Let the learnings begin! While we can quickly shift our tried and true marketing strategies to work well within the new SGE, we know that Google can deploy new changes without notice. Because of this, we should anticipate a period of testing and measuring what is most effective for each brand within this space.

Google’s new SGE is destined to change the way users and brands alike interface with the SERP, and marketers will need to continue to evolve their brand strategies holistically - this latest development is another reminder that no marketing stack will succeed in a silo.

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