How to Prepare an Effective Google SGE Strategy

Learn how to leverage free resources and tools to build an effective Google SGE strategy, from conducting an SGE impact assessment to measuring SGE performance post-optimizations.
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    Sarah Berry SEO Consultant
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  • March 25, 2024
  • 6 min. read

Google’s search generative experience (SGE) doesn’t have a launch date, but what it does have is a strong expected impact on search engine optimization (SEO), which is why now is the time to develop a Google SGE strategy.

Learn how to prepare an effective Google SGE strategy for your site with our proven approach!

How to build a Google SGE strategy

Start building a Google SGE strategy with these steps:

1. Determine your SGE impact

First, understand how Search Generative Experience will affect your website. Several SEOs have developed processes (and templates) for this step, including Aleyda Solis. Your SGE impact assessment will take time, as it requires manual SGE searches.

Google SGE strategy impact sheet

While completing an SGE impact assessment for all URLs is possible, consider starting with URLs that rank on page one or two for their target keyword. You can use rank tracking tools to help identify these URLs. For example, Ahrefs is considered to be one of the best rank tracking tools around. If you have a larger site, focus on your most valuable pages for:

  • Traffic
  • Micro-conversions, like newsletter sign-ups
  • Macro-conversions, like online sales or quote form submissions

Keep in mind that while the above template includes a column for the next steps to take, like page-specific optimizations, you do not have to complete that step as a part of your impact assessment. Instead, we’ll address that task later.

2. Audit your existing SEO

When it comes to SGE ranking factors, Google uses its core ranking systems from Google Search, making search engine optimization a non-negotiable part of Search Generative Experience strategies.

Conduct an SEO audit with a search engine optimization tool like Screaming Frog.

For websites with an SEO program in Poor health, focus on improving your SEO since SEO serves as the foundation to an effective SGE strategy.

Screaming Frog will highlight issues across SEO, from on-page to technical, and provide actionable advice on fixing errors related to crawling, indexing, internal linking, on-page optimizations, and more.

Your goal is to understand the overall health of your SEO program, like:

  • Poor
  • Good
  • Excellent

For websites with an SEO program in Poor health, we recommend reconsidering SGE optimizations. Instead, focus on building and improving your search engine optimization strategy, which will serve as the foundation for ranking in SGE snapshots.

If your SEO program is in Good or Excellent health, now is the time to build a Google SGE strategy.

3. Evaluate your generative engine optimizations

When it comes to ranking in Search Generative Experience, SEOs use generative engine optimization (GEO), which includes tactics related to user experience (UX), search engine optimization, and design, like:

Consider the following questions when evaluating a URL’s GEO:

  • Does the content include custom multimedia, like graphics or video?
  • Does the content use structured data, if applicable?
  • Does the content demonstrate E-E-A-T?

On a sitewide scale, consider these questions:

  • Does our brand have a Google Knowledge Panel?
  • Does our brand use Google Merchant Center, if applicable?
  • Is our brand featured on third-party websites, like directories?

Your answers will determine which SGE optimizations get prioritized and implemented.

4. Outline your short- and long-term goals

Let’s recap. You now have answers to the following questions:

  • How much will SGE impact my site?
  • How healthy is my site’s SEO?
  • How well do I follow GEO best practices?

Now, it’s time to create some short- and long-term goals. These goals are useful for a few reasons:

  • Demonstrating to leadership the team’s response
  • Tracking the team’s push towards SGE rankings
  • Understanding the effectiveness of these strategies

Focus on creating S.M.A.R.T. goals — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. While these goals can encompass multiple timelines, from weekly to monthly to quarterly, we recommend starting with monthly or quarterly goals.

5. Prioritize your SGE optimizations

Next, prioritize which URLs and SGE optimizations to focus on using data from the previous steps. We recommend focusing on URLs that rank on page one or two since these URLs have a better chance of appearing in SGE results.

For SGE optimizations, consider the following:

Area High impact Medium impact Low impact
  • Grow backlink profile
  • Acquire Google Knowledge Panel
  • Join Google Merchant Center (if applicable)
  • Improve readability
  • Get listed on third-party sites
  • Improve E-E-A-T
  • Add relevant structured data
  • Target SGE suggested searches
  • Create multimedia elements, like custom infographics

You can use additional prioritization methods, like ICE (Impact, Confidence, and Ease), to build an optimal Google SGE strategy for implementing these optimizations. For example, if an optimization requires more developer time at your organization, consider de-prioritizing it.

This step is where you can return to your SGE impact assessment sheet and its next steps column.

6. Implement your SGE optimizations

Work with your team (or SEO agency) to begin implementing the prioritized SGE implementations. Document changes made, the date completed, and your before SGE rankings to provide the necessary data for a comprehensive before and after analysis.

Monitor SGE updates, too, as these updates could affect your SGE placement.

7. Measure your SGE rankings

Changes in SGE rankings can take time — that’s why we recommend focusing your strategy on URLs ranking well in organic search results (preferably on page one). Typically, businesses will see ranking shifts within 30 days.

Keep in mind, though, that Google algorithm updates and SGE changes can affect this timeline.

Because Search Generative Experience is an experiment, measuring SGE rankings is manual. Use a Google Sheet (similar to the SGE impact assessment one shared earlier) to understand how SGE snapshots and your appearance in these snapshots have changed.

Rank in SGE snapshots with an effective SGE strategy

You’ve got an effective SEO strategy. Now, level it up with a complementary SGE strategy. Build yours today, or get professional help with the above steps by contacting us online about our Google SGE optimization services!



Learn more about Search Generative Experience with these FAQs:

What is Search Generative Experience?

Search Generative Experience is an AI-powered snapshot that appears in Google Search. Users can access SGE for free through Google Labs. Search Generative Experience is an experiment that is subject to ongoing experiments and changes.

Why does Search Generative Experience matter?

Search Generative Experience matters because of its anticipated impact on organic search traffic. SEOs expect Search Generative Experience to decrease organic visibility, traffic, and conversions, affecting businesses that use SEO to generate revenue.

What are the types of SGE snapshots?

There are three types of SGE snapshots:

  1. Collapsed: An SGE snapshot is generated but requires users to click “Show more.”
  2. Opt-in: An SGE snapshot is available but requires the user to click “Generate.”
  3. Absent: An SGE snapshot is unavailable.

Within SGE snapshots, the content encompasses three categories (per Solis):

  1. Duplicate, which mimics the organic search results and is common for local searches.
  2. Summarize, which summarizes the organic search results but doesn’t meet the user’s intent.
  3. Accelerator, which summarizes the organic search results and meets the user’s intent.

What determines SGE rankings?

Based on our research, we’ve determined seven SGE ranking factors:

  1. AI models
  2. Core ranking systems
  3. Databases
  4. Topic
  5. Search intent
  6. Multimedia
  7. Structured data

For a quick summary, download our free infographic!

Portrait of a smiling woman with long hair, transparent background.
Sarah Berry is an SEO Consultant at one of the largest SEO agencies in the USA — WebFX. With more than 10,000 hours of SEO experience, she offers practical insights and strategies you can use to grow your rankings, traffic, and revenue from search.

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