How The New Google Search Generative Experience Impacts Your Brand

You need to make sure your information is consistent and robust across your entire digital presence.

By Jessica Belsito

Jun 2, 2023

5 min

Update: As of May 2024, SGE is now AI Overviews. Here's what marketers need to know about AI Overviews.

At I/O on May 10, 2023, Google announced the integration of generative AI in their search experience. And this year at I/O on May 14, 2024, Google is expected to announce the full roll-out of their Search Generative Experience, powered by their AI model Gemini.

In Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE), Google displays a new AI-generated snapshot in search results that summarizes key information sourced across the internet. This offers a direct response to a user's query in a new visual format. The goal is to help users get more out of a single search. (Users see links, imagery, next steps, and a conversational mode that allows them to ask follow-up questions — all within Google's search results.)

It's a big step forward — and a noteworthy development in the ongoing evolution of generative AI search. And while this experience was first introduced as an experiment in Search Labs, Google is expected to announce the full roll-out soon… and companies already have a lot of questions.

What Google's SGE means for your brand

Generative AI has been a hot topic for months. But Google publicly announcing its integration into SGE has potentially profound implications.

In that vein, here are a few trends businesses should pay attention to today.

No-click searches are on the rise.

It's far from the first time we've written about no-click searches at Yext: in fact, Google's use of featured snippets drove the same sort of shift in the 2010s. That said, putting a more robust, visual, interactive display at the top of the SERP may mean users are less likely to scroll down the page, let alone click to a website.

Thus, you could find your business further down the organic search results page — even if you rank "first." As a result, it's important to rethink how you add context to your content: Provide anecdotes and real life experiences, answer detailed questions with recent data, and provide actionable next steps to help your audience get what they need even faster.

Expect adoption to be rapid.

There is no "learning curve" since these generative experiences are getting closer and closer to the way humans naturally interact. Don't underestimate how quickly people will adapt to AI search experiences.

Robust review content — and site content — may play a new role.

The idea that Google is "comparing" your brand to other brands to return the most relevant results isn't new.

But in the past, Google didn't truly answer. For example, which restaurant was "best for kids" or "most ideal for a group" would rank results via a local pack, or show you an article from a relevant site.

Now that SGE is able to contextually understand the content of reviews, the idea of ranking is about much more than keywords and star-ratings. Instead, it matters what your reviews are actually saying about your restaurant experience. For example, if your reviews repeatedly say that your restaurant is great for a group dinner, it's theoretically more likely that SGE might pull that into its AI-generated search response.

Expect to see the role of 'contextual content' expand in this way in the coming year.

How to prepare for Google’s Search Generative Experience

Consistent, updated digital information for your business is more important than ever. In order to provide the right information in generative AI snapshots, there is a critical need for Google to have up-to-date, accurate information about all businesses.

Large language models have incredible reasoning abilities and deep knowledge of the world, but LLMs can only be aware of the information that they're trained on. And, they require additional technology to pull in real-time updates.

Google will still look for the most contextually relevant information to provide their customers with — and they look to your business as the source of truth. In order to answer certain types of specific questions about businesses or services, Google will look for the most contextually relevant information to provide their customers with. You need to make sure your information is consistent and robust across your entire digital presence if you want a chance to serve as that source of truth.

Structure your first-party content, and complete your third-party listings

If you're a local restaurant, you don't want a blog from 2021 serving as the source material for what specials you serve. You want to make sure that information is accurate, consistent, and fresh across your website and third-party platforms like your listings for Google to draw upon.

And it's not just Google that cares about consistency and accuracy: When customers find a complete Google Business Profile (both on the Google search engine and via Google Maps), they are 2.7x more likely to consider your business 'reputable.'

Google is not in the business of generating inaccurate results. So, they will likely prioritize results where they have lots of verified data to back up an answer — like your listings, which are key to improving local SEO.

What else can you do? Organize your content in a structured format. Structured data provides additional context and meaning to search engines, helping them interpret and understand content more accurately. By organizing your information in a structured format, search engines can better grasp the relevance and relationships between different pieces of information, resulting in more precise search results.

This could look like using a CMS that structures your data for you. Or, it could look like accurate, complete third-party listings across an extended network of publishers. In fact, new research from Yext* highlights the correlation between increased website clicks from Google search (by 186%) and brands that manage their information across an extended publisher network.

Need SEO tips to rank well in AI search? Here are 8 generative SEO strategies you can start using today.

Prepare For The AI Search Future

The way people engage with search experiences is, frankly, constantly in flux — and SGE is just the latest change (although an important one). All businesses should keep a close eye on this via trends in their analytics.

Finally, AI search is not only changing existing search experiences, but also creating new ones at breakneck speed. Big names like OpenAI (backed by Microsoft) are also rumored to be creating new AI-powered search engines. Brands must be able to holistically manage their information across any type of digital channel to make sure they are positioning themselves for the future.

*As the largest listings vendor, Yext helps thousands of multi-location brands manage their digital presence. This offers Yext the unique ability to conduct a study of this caliber using such a large, diverse data set. To ensure we took an unbiased approach, Yext analyzed more than 620k locations – across all geographies and brand types – that have been live on Listings for at least one year. Reference the full study for more details.

Read next: How Diverse Publisher Coverage Impacts Brand Discoverability

New research from Yext shows brands can see +186% more clicks from Google when they manage their information across an extended publisher network.

Share this Article

Read Next

loading icon