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Hands-on with Google’s new Search Generative Experience

Google opened access to its new Search Generative Experience and today – and our own Barry Schwartz is one of the first to gain access.

Although he had to head offline for the holiday of Shavuot, he was able to share several tweets with images from his early testing. I’ve compiled most of those in this article so you can get an early look at the experiment that is Google SGE.

In short, Schwartz was impressed with the clickability of the results and he thinks it will drive clicks to publishers.

The Google welcome email

It’s time to try Search Labs! This is the “you’re in” email Google sent Schwartz.

Getting started

Yes, we’re ready to get started experimenting with Search Labs.

But first you’ll need to agree after reading this crazy long SGE Privacy Notice:

Search [when does Shavous start?]

Google didn’t show the time, but Schwartz likes how you can expand the answers.

Also, look at all those snackable organic/free links you can click on.

Schwartz called the follow-up answers “pretty good”:

Local searches

Onto local search. For [haircut near me] Schwartz got a 5 pack:

And a 3 pack (also: wow it’s expensive to get a haircut in New York):

Looking for pizza in New York (via @BrendanOConnel):

And as growth advisor Kevin Indig tweeted, it seems like SGE recommends local spots by rating, rather than what’s recommended in articles/listicles:

Search [where can I learn about SEO]

Where can you learn SEO? Well… here’s what you get from Google:

Search: [who writes at Search Engine Land?] Some “how to” queries

How do we tie shoes or change tires, Google?

Some Your Money, Your Life queries

Some have AI-generated answers, and some do not, as Google said would be the case:

For some health/medical queries (e.g., about upper abdominal pain, when to go to the ER and relieving pain), Google provided generative AI answers:

Shopping searches

Looking for sneakers:

Who are the best SEOs (What about Barry)?

Some Barry Schwartz vanity searches:

Mobile interface

Here are a couple of tweets with GIFs showing off the SGE on mobile.

More mobile

— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) May 25, 2023 More early reactions to Google SGE

“It’s basically an interactive Featured Snippet, but it doesn’t feel as threatening to Organic Search traffic as the original demos made it feel,” according to Michael King, founder of SEO agency iPullRank, in a LinkedIn post. “Ultimately, I came away feeling like SGE is a novelty because the promise of being able to handle long multi-step queries is not as good as advertised — yet.” More from King:

“It currently requires a user action to trigger the AI Snapshot. The SERP is presented and you can just skip past this feature if you want. Once clicked, it takes ~5 seconds to generate a result.

Odds are, many users will likely scroll past it and maybe not wait the full 5 seconds.

The pages cited in the AI Snapshot can also appear in the organic results.. Each result can be cited more than once. I’ve seen as many as 7 results cited so far. This could be the beginning of a new halo effect. If a result is in both, the user may be more likely to click on it.

Also, interestingly, the suggested questions in the conversation are not the same as the questions in the PAAs for the initial query. Considering that this just launched, I’m curious how those questions are derived.”

Joe Hall, an SEO consultant and member of the SMX Programming Committee, has also shared a video walk-through of the Search Generative Experience, as well as the Code Tips and Add to Sheets Labs features:

Lily Ray, senior director, SEO, head of organic research, Amsive Digital, shared some quick thoughts on LinkedIn:

– the answers are appearing for most queries except for extremely sensitive/controversial/political queries.

– They’re even showing for health, financial and legal queries, but with many disclaimers

– sometimes it’s odd that the answers cite research and studies without links to those studies     </div>
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