Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE): An In-Depth Guide (Part 1)

Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) represents a significant evolution in how users interact with search engines. By providing AI-generated responses directly to questions, SGE streamlines the information retrieval process, potentially reducing the need for users to click through multiple websites. As you can imagine, this new shift has profound implications for businesses reliant on search engine traffic and has left many marketers and business owners with questions about how this will affect their online presence and digital marketing efforts.  

While we’ve previously highlighted SGE in some of our previous blogs, in part one of our series we’ll delve much deeper into the concerns surrounding SGE, the opportunities it presents for ranking, and strategies for businesses to adapt and thrive in this new landscape.

Source: Google


Why Do Businesses Fear SGE?

  1. Loss of Website Traffic and Engagement: Traditional SEO strategies focus on attracting clicks through search engine result pages (SERPs). SGE circumvents this by delivering answers without directing users to external sites, which could potentially lead to a significant drop in website traffic and, consequently, engagement metrics like time on site and page views.
  2. Reduced Visibility: If a business’s content isn’t cited by SGE, its visibility to potential customers could possibly diminish. This reduced visibility can impact brand awareness and the effectiveness of online marketing efforts.
  3. Advertising Revenue Impact: For content creators and publishers, decreased traffic not only affects engagement metrics but also potential advertising revenue derived from page impressions and clicks.


Opportunities with SGE

However, SGE also offers new avenues for visibility:

  1. Carousel Links: Interactive carousels that appear in SGE results can feature content from your site, providing a direct pathway for users interested in exploring related topics or products.
  2. Drop-down Links: These are detailed answers to specific queries that might include links to your website for further reading, offering a targeted approach to drive traffic.
  3. Product Recommendations: For e-commerce sites, SGE can recommend products directly in the search results, linking to your product pages.
  4. Follow-Ups: Additional questions or related topics suggested by SGE might include links to your content, inviting deeper exploration.


Now that you have an idea of what SGE is and how it works, to help you really understand how to maximize each of these four opportunities, let’s break down each in-depth and provide you with some insight into their use, why the features are important to your brand, and some strategies for each.


Source: Google


Carousel Links in SGE

Carousel Links in Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) represent a dynamic method for displaying content related to a user’s search query. These carousels are visually engaging and scrollable elements that appear at the top of the SGE results, showcasing a range of articles, products, or topics relevant to the initial search. 


Understanding Carousel Links

  1. Visual Appeal: Carousel links are designed to catch the user’s eye. By presenting information in a visually attractive format, they can effectively draw attention to your content among other search results.
  2. Contextual Relevance: Each item in a carousel is selected for its relevance to the search query. This ensures that users are presented with options that closely match their interests or informational needs.
  3. User Engagement: The interactive nature of carousels encourages users to scroll through the options. This interactivity leads to higher engagement rates as users explore multiple pieces of content from the carousel.




Importance for Businesses

  1. Enhanced Visibility: Being featured in a carousel link significantly boosts your content’s visibility. Given their prominent placement in SGE results, carousels can attract more clicks than traditional search listings.
  2. Targeted Traffic: Users who click on your content from a carousel are likely looking for something very specific. This means the traffic coming to your site is more targeted, leading to higher conversion rates.
  3. Brand Authority: Appearing in a carousel can enhance your brand’s authority on a particular subject or product category. It signals to users that your content is recognized by Google as valuable and relevant.


Strategies for Being Featured in Carousel Links

  1. Optimize for Visual Content: Ensure your content includes high-quality, relevant images. Google often uses visuals to determine carousel placements, so having striking images can increase your chances of being featured.
  2. Create Comprehensive Content: Develop in-depth content that covers a wide range of topics within your niche. Comprehensive content is more likely to match various user queries, making it a good candidate for carousel inclusion.
  3. Employ Structured Data: Implement structured data on your website to help Google understand the context and content of your pages. This can be particularly effective for e-commerce sites looking to feature products in carousels.
  4. Focus on Trending Topics: Stay abreast of trending topics within your industry and create content that addresses these trends. Google’s carousels often feature content that’s currently popular or in high demand.
  5. Engage in SEO Best Practices: Continue to adhere to SEO best practices, including keyword optimization, mobile-friendliness, and site-speed optimization. High-ranking content is more likely to be picked up for carousel displays.


Carousel links in Google’s SGE provide a unique opportunity for businesses to gain prominent visibility and engage users effectively. By focusing on high-quality, visually appealing content that aligns with user interests and search queries, and by optimizing your site’s technical aspects, you can increase your chances of being featured in these valuable search elements.



Drop-Down Links in SGE

Drop-down links in Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) offer a nuanced way to deliver answers to users’ queries. These links appear as part of an expanded answer to a search question, providing users with a direct link to external websites for more detailed information. 

Understanding the mechanics of drop-down links, their significance for businesses, and how to optimize content to be featured in this format is crucial for maintaining and enhancing online visibility in the era of AI-driven search.


Understanding Drop-down Links

  1. Contextual Depth: Drop-down links are designed to offer users a deeper dive into specific aspects of their query. When a user shows interest in a particular part of an AI-generated answer, these links guide them to more comprehensive content hosted on external sites.
  2. User Convenience: By integrating drop-down links directly within SGE answers, Google streamlines the user’s search experience, making it more efficient and user-friendly. Users can access detailed information without having to navigate through multiple search results.
  3. Precision Targeting: These links are highly targeted, connecting users with content that precisely matches their search intent. This precision ensures that the traffic driven from these links is of high quality and relevance.


Importance for Businesses

  1. Direct Traffic Source: Drop-down links can become a significant source of direct traffic to your site, bypassing the traditional SERP competition. Being featured in these links can direct a focused audience straight to your content.
  2. Enhanced Credibility: Being cited by Google as a source for detailed information enhances your site’s credibility and authority in your domain. This can boost user trust and perception of your brand.
  3. SEO Advantage: While SGE may change how traffic comes to your site, being featured in drop-down links can provide SEO benefits by indicating to Google that your content is valuable and authoritative, improving your overall search rankings.


Strategies to Be Featured in Drop-down Links

  1. Answer Specific Questions: Create content that directly answers specific questions related to your industry or niche. Use clear, concise headings and bullet points to make the information easily digestible and scannable.
  2. Use FAQ Pages Effectively: Develop comprehensive FAQ pages that address common queries within your field. Structure these pages with clear questions and detailed answers to increase your chances of being featured in drop-down links.
  3. Implement Structured Data: Use schema markup to help Google understand the content and context of your pages better. Structured data for FAQs, articles, and products can enhance your visibility in SGE features.
  4. Focus on User Intent: Tailor your content to match the intent behind search queries closely. Understand the needs and questions of your target audience, and craft your content to provide clear, actionable answers.
  5. Optimize for Relevance and Quality: Ensure your content is not only relevant but also of high quality. Google’s algorithms are designed to surface the most informative and authoritative content in response to queries.
  6. Engage in Comprehensive Topic Coverage: Cover topics in-depth, providing a range of information that can address related queries. Comprehensive coverage can position your site as a go-to resource, increasing the likelihood of being featured in drop-down links.


Drop-down links present an invaluable strategic opportunity for businesses to drive targeted traffic and build authority in the age of SGE. By focusing on creating detailed, question-specific content, employing structured data, and optimizing for search intent, businesses can enhance their chances of being prominently featured in these direct pathways to their sites.



Learn More About Leveraging Google’s SGE

Stay tuned for the second part of ALM Corp’s update on Google’s new SGE features, where we’ll cover some key SGE product recommendations, tactics to make the most out of their features, and follow-ups in Google’s SGE.