What is Google SGE, and How Can You Adapt?

On May 10th, 2023, Google premiered its AI-powered search engine, the Search Generative Experience (Google SGE). The cries of “SEO is dead!” hit the streets almost immediately.

There are always dissenters when change happens. We need to ask ourselves whether this is the doomsday people think it is or a new opportunity to get ahead.

Google SGE works differently than a traditional search engine. Instead of users typing in keywords and getting back static results, it uses AI to pick up on user intent and generate personalized content that adapts in real time as the user interacts.

The SERPs have changed (again). Google is hoping to provide an improved and more relevant search experience. That keeps users on Google longer. 

Google SGE is still in Beta and only available to U.S. users. We have broken down the new AI-powered search engine, how it works, and what it means for marketers, the future of SEO, and content creators. We finish off with some actionable strategies to help you adapt.

“As we look ahead, Google’s deep understanding of information combined with the unique capabilities of generative AI can transform how Search works yet again, unlocking entirely new questions that Search can answer, and creating increasingly helpful experiences that connect you to the richness of the web.” – Sundar Pichai, Google I/O 2023

Understanding Google SGE

The technology behind Google SGE uses AI to generate an answer for a query based on info from multiple sources. The AI-powered snapshot sits above the current SERPs and gives the user a comprehensive response to their question.

Informational Queries

When a user asks a how-to or informational question, Google SGE will provide a real-time answer tailored to the user’s intent. The AI looks at the question’s wording and considers the user’s location, device, past searches, etc.

In-Depth Query

Source: Google

The Ai generates a customized answer for detailed questions similar to feature snippets but with more image-rich content tailored to the user’s intent. The information is often a summary from multiple sites and only provides an overview of answers due to limited real estate on the page.

Cursory Query

Source: Google

For questions with simple answers, SGE provides a short explanation. For easy-to-answer questions like “What is SEO” or “What is Google Analytics,” it gives the user a basic understanding of the topic before they dive deeper into more complex information.

Transactional Queries

Source: Google

Google SGE also allows users to access actual products and services quickly. Results include a combination of products from retailers and manufacturers. 

Clicking on products gives a summary of ratings and reviews from various sources.

Follow-Up Questions

SGE has added a section at the bottom of the AI-powered snapshot that functions similarly to chatGPT or Bard. It prompts several follow-up questions, or you can manually ask a question. The AI will update the snapshot as well as the corresponding SERP results.

The Google SGE Experience

There are some issues with the AI results, including – A lack of links, no citations, and the information sometimes contradicts itself. Remember that Google SGE is still in Beta, and many of these issues will likely be resolved before it gets rolled out.

After playing with Google SGE, it feels like an upgraded version of snippets more than anything else. The AI-powered snapshot is well-designed, and the added features make it easier to find an answer without having to leave the SERP. It’s an excellent tool for quickly finding answers without deep research.

Does SGE perform well for transactional searches?

Google SGE’s performance varies significantly in different scenarios. For transactional searches, it’s a mixed bag. While it excels at giving concise answers and product suggestions, it sometimes struggles with understanding nuanced queries or providing comprehensive information about complex products. 

Lists of products link directly to manufacturer and retailer sites and include product reviews but limited trust signals for buyers. Product images are pulled directly from the source websites without citations.

Is informational content handled effectively by SGE?

When it comes to informational content, Google’s AI generally performs well. It’s excellent at answering simple questions. In-depth queries that require longer, in-depth explanations are hit-and-miss. Websites do a better job of answering these questions.

Despite some shortcomings in handling intricate transactions and specialized knowledge areas, Google’s Search Generative Experience represents a significant leap forward in enhancing user experience within search engines.

Desktop vs. Mobile User Experience

The way users interact with this fancy feature differs on desktop and mobile. On mobile, the AI snapshot takes up a lot of real estate, which means scrolling multiple times before getting to the SERPs. It’s a bit like trying to fit an elephant in a matchbox.

Limitations Encountered While Using Google’s AI

Despite its innovative approach, Google SGE has some limitations. It’s excellent for simple queries but falls short on complex stuff like business or finance; there isn’t enough space, and answers are your standard generic AI content.

What Does This Mean For Websites?

The main concern is website traffic. If users get all their answers from the AI snapshot, why would they visit individual sites? Why visit an affiliate site when you can purchase directly through Google?


There is likely to be a decrease in traffic. Some search terms and queries will become less viable and will likely no longer generate traffic. We’re talking short, cursory questions here. But let’s be honest; writing a 1500-word article on how to take a screenshot isn’t that valuable anyway.

In-Depth Content is likely to win out. A user searching for detailed information will likely click through to a website, especially if the AI provides generic content. 

It also means that people who click through to your site want more than a summary and have greater search intent. Better traffic will equal higher conversion rates!

Affiliate Sites

Google will likely take over affiliate sites with high-volume, low-cost products. Buying a $5 pair of socks without reading a review seems reasonable. However, expecting someone to spend $3,000 on a new computer without reading more information seems unlikely.

You have to ask yourself why comparison sites and product list pages exist in the first place. They provide readers with a human connection and a sense of security when they choose a product. AI can’t reproduce this.

Would you choose your next holiday destination based on an AI review, or would you find reviews from people who have been there?

Local SEO

From what I have seen, there are limited changes to local SEO. There appear to be more listings than the current Local Pack Results.


The additional follow-up questions and the carousel are new opportunities for businesses to get their content in front of potential customers.

The carousel lists pages not in the SERPs that answer similar or more niche questions.

The follow-up questions are an opportunity to identify new topic clusters for sites to capitalize on.

The Big Picture

Google depends on websites to generate content. If you can’t monetize your content, why spend time and money creating it? Google can’t undercut every site on the internet without harming its business model. There will be a happy middle ground that improves user search experience and is profitable for businesses.

Ads and AdSense accounted for 58% of Google’s annual revenue in 2022. Cutting off traffic to your site is an expensive call for Google and would tank their stock price.

Source: Statista

So How Can You Adapt?

Adaptability is an essential skill for any successful business owner, but before re-vamping your whole site, remember that SGE is still in Beta, which may change before it gets out to the public. The best path forward is creating great, user-centric content matching search intent.

1 – Niche Sites vs. Authority Websites

The barrier for entry for niche sites is increasing and has been for years now – Google SGE is the next step in the progression. Develop your site beyond a niche topic to a multi-channel authority. From your founder story to your email list and social accounts, generating an audience with multiple entry points is essential.

2 – In-Depth Content

Content that answers more than cursory questions will be crucial for visibility. Long-from content with your personal/brand voice and experience will garner more clicks than cursory informational posts with minimal value to the user.

3 – Unique Experience Based Content

Source: Google

Target the carousel by creating unique experienced-based content around topic clusters. Focus on conveying your message with visuals and unique experiences, and tailor the content to the user.

4 – Follow-Up Content

Use SGE’s follow-up section as a guide for creating follow-up content and topical authority. If you create content around the follow-up questions, your site will gain recognition as an authority on the topic.

5 – Focus on High-End Affiliates

Consumers want to read reviews before buying expensive products. Focus on products and services where reviews and your perspective add value to the consumer’s purchasing journey.

6 – Add SGE products/companies

Use the AI search results as a guide. Include SGE results in the products you review.

7 – Differentiate the products in your list

Google SGE uses information from multiple sites, bringing it together in one spot. It can’t differentiate the pros and cons of each product and identify who it is best for. Differentiate your products and services so that consumers can make informed decisions.

8 – Local SEO

Continue to focus on keywords in your reviews and content relevant to your local area. This will help you rank better in the SERPs and increase organic traffic from potential customers.

9 – Authority and User Experience Matters

It’s clear with all the changes that authority and user experience are at the heart of the push to use AI. Focusing on building a multi-channel brand and adding user-friendly elements to your content will help you build authority and rank better in SGE.


Google SGE is a step forward in how search engines use AI to provide more useful and accurate results. The benefits to users is easy to see. Consumers want faster results with less effort.

AI search is here to stay; the question is how will you adapt and use it to your advantage. The key continues to be reader-focused content that answers their questions.

Small changes to your strategy to take advantage of the changes and focusing on multi-channel marketing can help you stand out.


How do I get Google SGE?

Google SGE is currently in Beta and only available in the United States. To access the Google SGE page.

What is Google SGE?

Google SGE was released on May 10th, 2023, and is Googles AI-powered search engine.

Is generative AI free?

Google SGE is free to use, and you don’t need to sign up for anything.

Is Google Search AI-powered?

Yes, Google SGE is powered by AI and machine learning algorithms. It provides more customized results than traditional search engines.

About Author –
Mike Humphrey is a writer and entrepreneur. He has operated several hotels and restaurants and founded mykhumphrey.com, where he writes articles about business, freelancing, remote work, and living abroad.