How SGE may impact ecommerce brands and strategies to stay ahead

March 18, 2024

Most of us have used ChatGPT or Google's Gemini to accomplish tasks like planning our travels or troubleshooting code. It's been shifting how we find answers.

Google's SGE also uses AI but works differently. Instead of using AI in a chat format, it enriches traditional search with generative AI, fundamentally changing the way we search.

While nobody knows when or if SGE will be launched officially, brands should already start paying close attention and plan a transition in their strategy for when it does.

What is SGE and how is it different from traditional Google search?

SGE stands for Search Generative Experience, Google’s experimental search experience using generative AI to enhance results.

It gives AI-powered overviews that provide the gist fast, with links to explore further.

Asking more complex questions

If you search on Google now, you'll find articles that are relevant to your search keywords. But these articles sometimes don't fully answer your questions, possibly because there's no article that covers it.

We're still not sure how to bake without flour :(

With SGE, it considers any additional context, intent and emotions to provide a consolidated, well-informed answer. In this example, there's no need for you to click into SERPs to find substitutes for the oven AND eggs AND flour.

Substituting flour with fruit sounds feasible

Asking follow-up questions

In real life, it's unlikely we'll get to the bottom of something without asking follow-up questions. Sometimes, we might not know what we don't know.

SGE includes prompts for follow-up questions so you can dig deeper and actually use the information you found without repeating context.

Changing vertical experiences

Particularly for shopping and local searches, SGE is going to help searchers make a more informed decision by creating a snapshot of consideration factors and a range of product options. While the factors in this example don't seem complete for now, it's interesting to note that SGE featured 3 different types of articles and not just listicles.

  1. Buyer's guide that includes factors to consider when buying a carry-on bag
  2. Comparison of Rimowa models
  3. Listicle of affordable luggages

While still in experimentation mode, the idea of SGE is to transform search by better understanding searchers' intents and connecting them to relevant content on the web. And it seems to be going in the right direction, although it requires more fine-tuning.

What Google SGE Means for ecommerce businesses

If we were consumers, SGE sounds like the perfect Google update for us:

  • Finding answers quicker
  • Not having to adjust our search term to finally find a complete answer
  • Getting our deepest curiosities fully satisfied with follow-up questions

But what does this look like for ecommerce businesses?

SGE’s product experience is similar to Google Shopping, where you see this side bar with details pulled from Google Shopping Graph. It includes product information like images, sellers, prices, ratings, reviews and more.

The only difference is that on SGE, you’ll see tags like “good for school” and a description generated by AI. These are likely to come from a variety of sources like your website content, customer reviews and Google Shopping Graph.

With the way SGE structures product results, the way forward would be to include factors that match what searchers are looking for. In this case, you’ll probably want to cover what material your bottle uses, its size and lid design.

The opportunities of SGE for search marketing

SGE is a little bit like getting dealt a new hand of cards. You start with the same number of chips as you had before, but with new factors. And that means you get a fresh new chance at winning. How so?

Opportunity for underdogs

We tried Googling non-product-specific keywords like “best knee support for running” and this is what we got. The website was the 12th SERP but managed to win a slot here.

So it seems that SGE doesn’t only display top SERPs. Which means the ones who were struggling with SEO previously has a fighting chance at showing up at the prime spot of Google.

Improved conversion rates

The current Google Shopping can be overwhelming—you get a list of product cards with images, reviews, price, shipping details. But you’d still have to click into each of them, read through the reviews, forums and descriptions before shortlisting a few.

SGE makes this simpler by:

  1. Providing noteworthy factors to consider before purchasing
  2. Generating descriptions for each products where you can compare them side by side

This gives searchers all the information they need, so when click into your website, they’re much more primed to buy.

What ecommerce brands should look out for with SGE

On the flip side, we’ll also need to look out for what negative impact SGE will bring. With such a big change, SEO teams and ecommerce brands will feel it in a number of ways.

Loss of control

Right now, even if you can't control where you show up on Google, you can still tell Google what your title and description should be.

With SGE, AI gets to decide how to answer the query. This means your traditional keyword research and on-page optimization become less effective.

Drop in organic traffic

IF SGE is going to dominate the prime space above the fold, then it will push down top SERPs and cause a sharp dip in their traffic.

Besides, since SGE is likely to answer searchers' query in full, there's less need for them to click into links provided.

Increased competition

Everyone was competing to be the top SERP before but looking forward, we’ll all be trying to get on that coveted spot on SGE.

Sounds like multiple things vying for our attention—first Google Ads, then top SERP, and now SGE.

As we’ve discussed, SGE seems to be featuring not just content from the top SERPs but also those who've been buried under. Does this mean that businesses will have to compete on 3 fronts now?

In summary, while Google SGE aims to improve the search experience for users and provide opportunities for brands to rise up, it also threatens to reduce brands' control and visibility in search results.

Traditional SEO and search marketing strategies may become less effective. Brands will need to carefully evaluate how SGE impacts their ability to reach customers through organic search.

How to adjust your content strategy to win at SGE SEO

To keep up with Google’s new SGE feature, ecommerce brands should focus on creating dynamic and optimized content. Here are some ways you can do that.

Talk to customers

Google designed SGE to make the search experience more conversational and human.

So instead of relying solely on keyword research, it’s more important to speak to customers and understand what problems they’re trying to solve—their pain points, needs and interests.

While you’re online, you can also look at People Also Ask for a list of questions users are searching for.

Doing this will help you find more content ideas that numbers ever would. Use their same words in your blog articles, social media posts and product descriptions.

Target long-tail keywords

Searchers are getting used to asking the web questions the way they ask their friends.

In the same way, SGE will likely favor long-tail, conversational keywords and natural language searches. This includes more descriptive ways of searching for your product.

Dig into your USPs and user reviews. What are some of your best features that users also love?

Follow your buyer’s journey

Follow-up questions are a prominent part of SGE. They bring searchers deeper and deeper into the funnel as they present prompts that try to cover all grounds of what searchers are asking.

To shape users’ perspectives, we’d want to follow the searchers through this discovery journey. And to do that, ecommerce businesses need to not just write helpful and detailed product descriptions, but also serve those at the top of the funnel.

This can come in the form of in-depth resources like video tutorials, product comparisons, and guides related to your products.

Focus on high-quality backlinks

There are 3 chances to get on the product experience of SGE:

  1. Consideration factors
  2. Links to sources (on the top right)
  3. Products

Building high-quality backlinks is one way to increase your odds. Pitch relevant product reviews, guest posts, and roundups to industry influencers and media publications.

SGE tips for ecommerce businesses to stay ahead

While all industries will get impacted by SGE, ecommerce brands will likely experience it more heavily since 37.5% of all traffic to ecommerce sites come from search engines.

It’s best we do all we can to get ready before it happens. Here are a few SGE tips that'll also work well with your SEO strategy.

Optimize your product pages

When you show up on SGE, you’d want to show up as your best self—with descriptions showcasing your best features.

Make sure your product pages are optimized with high-quality images, detailed yet concise product descriptions, specifications and reviews.

Keep product information up to date

When you have conflicting information all over the web, it can confuse Google or users and therefore lower your credibility and trust.

Ensure that your product information is updated on every channel. Pay attention to not just your price or stock, but also any changes to product features and specs.

Review metadata

Google uses your metadata to understand what your content is about and whether you should rank for certain queries. Meta title affects your ranking while meta description is more about getting clicks.

With generative AI coming into play, metadata will have to be one of your top priorities.

As you can see on SGE, products show up with their reviews, pricing and descriptions. It’s important that you fill up every field on your product schema markup.

While optimizing for SGE, just keep in mind that SGE is meant to complement, not replace, traditional search. Maintain a balanced approach to reach customers through both experiences.


SGE is still in the labs. So while we plan ahead, let’s not make any huge changes based on what we see currently.

The strategies that we want to implement should mostly be tied to how we can offer the best experience to customers.

Continue to build your brand and community across channels. Keep up your backlink strategy. Continue producing high-quality content that helps people make informed purchases.

And if you need help creating content like product descriptions in bulk or blog articles, try for free today.

Sushi has years of experience driving growth across ecommerce, tech and education. She gets excited about growth strategy and diving deep into channels like content, SEO and paid marketing. Most importantly, she enjoys good food and an excellent cup of coffee.

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