Local SEO

What Google's New Search Generative Experience (SGE) Means For Your Rankings?

In May, Google test-launched its new Search Generative Experience. Here's a first glance at its impact on Local SEO.
Last Updated:
June 5, 2023

The recent SGE update is one of the most significant changes to the search results page in 20 years. Marketers and SEOs who have access to it are sharing their findings and speculations about how it might impact rankings moving forward. Unfortunately as a Canadian, I do not have access to SGE yet to test out its impact on the car care industry - Canadian discrimination is real at Google! :P But thankfully many smart SEOs have shared their findings. So let's dig in.

The exciting aspect of this new experience is that it increases the visibility of businesses in the local pack results by highlighting 5 GBP profiles instead of only 3 currently. It also positions the Local Pack more prominently at the top of the search result compared to the current one.

The two lists do not perfectly match. Occasionally, the map displayed in the AI box provides a broader view and includes distinct businesses compared to the current local pack displayed below, as demonstrated in this instance.

I must say, the results displayed on the top right side for local searches are the newest most distinct addition. They showcase listings that differ significantly from the ones in the organic results. For instance, in the case of garage door searches, Angie's List managed to secure one of the three spots despite not being listed in the top 3 organic results.

Images & SGE testing thanks to LocalU and Joy Hawkins

It is worth mentioning that some queries do not automatically produce an SGE result. Instead, users have the choice to request one. It would be intriguing to observe the frequency and locations at which Google makes AI optional, and how often users opt for the AI result.

This might vary by category, depending on the feedback that Google receives from users. Roughly 50% of queries automatically generate AI-assisted results which indicates that Google is A/B testing this feature - which is not surprising after all.

So Is Local SEO Dead? Far From It

We'll have to wait and see if Google rolls out the SGE results to all americans or even all global users. I'd bet on them rolling it out to all users at some point but the final version will likely look quite different than the live version as they gather data.

So far we definitely like what we see with more visibility to the Local Pack and more visibility to more GBPs. Local SEO is definitely far from dead. Want to dominate the Local 3 Pack or should I say the Local 5 Pack? Checkout or free course or get in touch to book a 1-on-1 consultation.

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