Neil Patel

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What Is SGE and How to Adapt Your SEO Strategy

A graphic saying "What is SGE and How To Adapt Your SEO Strategy."

The digital marketing landscape is on the brink of a seismic shift, courtesy of something called SGE, or Search Generative Experience. 

Currently in a limited beta phase and available only to select users, SGE is Google’s new way of answering search queries by understanding the words you type and the intent behind them. 

Data shows that almost 94 percent of the time, SGE’s AI-generated answers don’t match any links from the top 10 Google organic search results. This is huge because it means that traditional SEO strategies focusing solely on keywords might not cut it anymore.

Why should you care? Well, for starters, SGE could drastically reduce organic traffic to websites for many keywords. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom. This shift opens up opportunities for content that might not otherwise rank in the top 10 to be featured in SGE results. 

So, let’s get into what SGE is all about and how you can tweak your approach to SEO when preparing for SGE

Key Takeaways About SGE

  • SGE uses advanced AI to understand the intent behind search queries to deliver more relevant and intuitive results.
  • Content relevance and quality are critical. High-quality, informative content that meets users’ needs is essential to ranking with SGE.
  • Effective SEO now requires a deeper analysis of what users are really looking for, beyond just the keywords they use.
  • Technical SEO basics are still essential. Elements like site speed, mobile optimization, and structured data help SGE accurately understand and index your content.

How Does SGE Work? A Glimpse Under the Hood  

When you type in a query, like “does honey ever spoil,” you’d traditionally get a list of links—some good, some not so relevant. But with SGE, the experience is different, as you can see in the example below.

An SGE result for "does honey ever spoil."

Imagine this: At the top of the search results, instead of links, there’s a concise summary answering your question. Plus, you might find related topics or questions you hadn’t even thought to ask. That’s SGE in action. 

But how does it work, exactly? Let’s look closer to what powers generative AI in search:

AI Language Models

At the heart of SGE’s power are AI language models. These models are the result of extensive training on enormous datasets encompassing a wide array of text and code. Their ability to parse and understand language nuances is nothing short of revolutionary, enabling a level of search query interpretation that feels almost human.

Why does this matter to your searches? The answers you receive are relevant and insightful. It’s as though the search engine doesn’t just understand your query but the intent behind it, providing answers that genuinely meet your needs.

Natural Language Processing and Context Analysis

Another cornerstone of SGE is its use of natural language processing (NLP) and context analysis to understand user intent. This means SGE doesn’t just see words—it interprets them, considering how they’re used in your query and what they reveal about what you’re really looking for. 

You’ve probably seen NLP used in IBM Watson and Google Cloud to incorporate question-answering technology. MonkeyLearn uses NLP to gather insights from text data and make it easy to understand.

An example of NLP from Monkeylearn

Source: MonkeyLearn 

This deep dive into the context and purpose of your search allows SGE to deliver results that go beyond keyword matching, offering answers that truly align with your needs. It’s a game-changer for how we find information online, ensuring that search engines provide more than just data—they provide understanding.

User-focused Results

Google has always aimed to put the user first, a commitment clearly outlined in its philosophy. Search Generative Experience aligns perfectly with this by offering more than just links in response to your queries. It creates dynamic summaries and relevant suggestions that dive directly into the heart of what you’re looking for. 

This isn’t entirely new; SERP features like featured snippets, knowledge panels, and people also ask have been stepping stones toward this goal, attempting to provide direct answers and useful information up front.

Google results for Yoga Poses.

But SGE takes it further. It not only saves you time by eliminating the need to click through multiple links but also broadens your horizon by introducing related topics and insights you might not have considered. 

An SGE result for yoga poses.

By tailoring content specifically to your needs and interests, every search becomes a direct path to a deeper understanding and discovery. 

Why Does SGE Matter?

SGE isn’t just another update in the world of digital marketing and SEO. It’s a fundamental shift in how search engines operate, promising to redefine the search experience for every user, and attitudes about SGE are positive. 

This shift toward an AI-driven approach is about transforming the way we discover, engage with, and derive value from content on the web. Let’s explore why this matters for user experience.

Less Information Overload

Imagine searching for “local seo strategies for small businesses” and immediately finding a clear, concise summary right at the top of the search results. That’s SGE in action. 

An SGE result for "local seo strategies for small businesses."

Instead of wading through millions of results, SGE provides a digestible overview that covers the basics—like selecting a topic, equipment needs, and promotion strategies. Plus, it offers links for deeper dives into each subject.

SGE simplifies the search process, directly addressing information overload by prioritizing relevance and efficiency. It’s about getting to the heart of what you’re looking for quickly, without the hassle of filtering through endless pages. This streamlined approach saves time and makes finding accurate, useful information easier than ever.

Conversational Engagement

SGE’s use of natural language processing (NLP) enables a more conversational engagement with search engines. This makes searching not just a task but an intuitive and enjoyable interaction, as if you’re asking a knowledgeable friend for advice. The search engine understands and responds to queries in a natural way, encouraging users to interact with it more freely and effectively. 

If you ask Google to compare marketing and advertising, it suggests follow-up questions to further break down exactly what the search intent is. 

Suggested followup questions by Google SGE.

You can also ask a follow-up question of your own. The search engine understands and responds to queries in a natural way, encouraging users to interact with it more freely and effectively. This conversational approach is a significant step forward in making search a more user-friendly experience.

Improved Accessibility

When considering SGE’s impact on search, it’s important to keep in mind that accessibility is a key part of Google’s ranking factors. By understanding and processing natural language more effectively, SGE helps bridge the gap for users with language barriers or specific accessibility needs. 

Whether it’s providing clearer, more direct answers or offering alternative content formats, SGE ensures that more people can access and benefit from online information. This inclusivity is a vital part of why SGE matters, as it opens up the world of search to a broader audience, making information available and accessible to all.

How SGE May Impact Your SEO Strategy

The shift toward SGE is redefining the future of search. As digital marketers and SEO professionals, adapting your strategy to align with SGE is crucial. Here’s how SGE may affect your SEO strategy and what you can do to optimize for SGE and keep up in this new SEO landscape.

As SGE further accelerates the rise of zero-click content in the SERPs, scoring click-throughs will only get harder. As SGE results lead users to the information they’re looking for atop the SERPs, that means less scrolling, and less scrolling means fewer impressions for content across the board. Fewer impressions will mean fewer clicks.

What does all this mean? Well, because SGE corroborates its AI responses with links to reliable sources, becoming one of those sources is a path forward. Think of it as the ultimate impression. 

An SGE result for "best honey."

That means you’ll need to be more in tune with your audience than perhaps ever before. And you’ll need to focus on creating high-quality content that delivers major E-E-A-T value.

How? Here are some things to keep in mind:

Intent is everything. Keywords matter, but the intent behind them matters more. Start by deeply analyzing your target audience’s search behavior. What are they really looking for? How can your content solve their problems or answer their questions more effectively?

Optimize for relevance and quality. With SGE, high-quality, relevant content is key. Ensure your content directly addresses the questions and needs of your audience, providing clear, comprehensive answers and valuable insights.

Embrace AI and machine learning tools. Tools like Clearscope, MarketMuse, and Semrush leverage AI to analyze content relevance, track search trends, and offer insights into user behavior. Incorporating these tools can sharpen your content strategy, helping you stay relevant and visible.

Lastly, don’t forget about the technical SEO basics. Fast-loading pages, mobile optimization, and structured data are more important than ever. They help SGE understand and index your content more effectively, improving your visibility in search results.


How will SGE impact SEO?

SGE is transforming SEO from a keyword-centric approach to one that prioritizes understanding and intent. This means strategies need to adapt to focus more on content relevance, quality, and user experience to meet the sophisticated needs of SGE.

How does SGE work?

SGE uses advanced AI and machine learning to understand the intent behind search queries. It then provides more accurate, relevant, and personalized results, improving the search experience for users.

Does SGE display personalized results?

Yes, SGE aims to provide more personalized search results based on the context and intent of queries and user interaction history to deliver information that is most relevant to each user.


The introduction of SGE marks a pivotal moment in search and SEO. It’s a clear signal that the future of search is intuitive, intelligent, and centered around providing the best possible user experience. 

The message for marketers and SEO professionals is clear: adapt or get left behind.

Embracing SGE isn’t just about tweaking your SEO strategy—it’s about rethinking how you create and deliver content. By focusing on search intent, quality, and relevance, you can ensure your content ranks well and truly resonates with your audience.

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