What Are SGE Snapshots? (And How to Appear in AI Overviews)

Learn about SGE snapshots in Google Search and their categorization into duplicate, complementary, and accelerator types. Plus, get optimization strategies for appearing in AI Overviews!
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    Sarah Berry Lead SEO Consultant
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  • March 28, 2024
  • 5 min. read

In Google’s AI Overviews (formerly Search Generative Experience or SGE), snapshots provide users with powerful topic overviews, from “who is ben franklin” to “dental floss picks” to “how to fix a leaking faucet.” However, SGE snapshots vary in appearance, traffic risk, and optimization tactics.

Learn more about SGE snapshots now, including how to optimize for them!

What are SGE snapshots?

SGE snapshots are AI-powered answers to a user’s search. Exclusive to Google Search, AI Overviews appear above organic search results and include suggested follow-up searches and citations to the referenced content.

SGE snapshot example

What are the types of snapshots in AI Overviews?

Google does not categorize the snapshots in AI Overviews into types, but SEOs do. Based on research into how these snapshots generate, SEOs have identified a few kinds of AI Overview snapshots.

At SEO.com, we like to use the classifications created by Aleyda Solis because they categorize snapshots by traffic risk, which is a key consideration for businesses. Below, we explore her categorizations:

1.     Duplicate

Definition: A duplicate SGE snapshot does not offer unique value because it mimics the organic search results too much. In the example below, the snapshot is almost identical to the organic search results.

Traffic risk: Low

Example: A search for “sushi restaurants near me”

SGE snapshot: Duplicative

2.     Complementary

Definition: A complementary SGE snapshot offers value in summarizing a topic but doesn’t fully satisfy a user’s search intent. In the example below, the snapshot provides directions and a video, but the organic search results serve additional videos with key moments access.

Traffic risk: Low to medium

Example: A search for “how to fix a leaky faucet”

SGE snapshot: Complementary

3.     Accelerator

Definition: An accelerator snapshot meets a user’s search intent plus provides highly accurate jumping-off points. In the example below, users get a list of dental floss picks, shopping guides, and product highlights.

Traffic risk: Medium to high

Example: A search for “dental floss picks”

SGE snapshot example: Accelerator

How to appear in AI Overview snapshots

Now, let’s explore how to appear in these specific snapshots for AI Overviews — as an aside, keep in mind that AI Overviews are undergoing frequent adjustments, which could affect the recommended optimizations.

For duplicate SGE snapshots

Optimize for duplicate SGE snapshots with these tips:

  • Practice search engine optimization: Well-optimized sites appear in AI Overviews more often, so continue to invest in SEO and improve its performance. For duplicate SGE snapshots, local SEO is even more critical.
  • Optimize Google Business Profiles: Claim or create a Google Business Profile for your business and its locations. Optimize them according to best practices, like including your name, address, and phone number, along with photos of your location and work.
  • Use LocalBusiness markup: Continue to send Google signals about your business and its locations by adding LocalBusiness markup to relevant pages. Google (and AI Overviews) uses schema to understand the web better.
  • Grow online reviews: Let clients know where to review your business online (if they like) through print materials, word-of-mouth, and other communications. Do not incentivize reviews — instead, let shoppers know there is an avenue for sharing feedback.

For complementary SGE snapshots

Optimize for complementary SGE snapshots with these tips:

  • Practice search engine optimization: Again, focus on SEO best practices. These best practices will increase your likelihood of ranking higher in organic search results, which correlates to appearing in SGE snapshots, including complementary ones.
  • Build toolkits: Target the missing piece of complementary SGE snapshots with interactive tools, like a cost calculator. While tools require design and development time, they’re incredibly effective for SEO and AI Overviews.
  • Create custom graphics: Invest in custom graphics to enhance existing content’s value. Focus on content that targets a visual search intent, like looking for a walkthrough on how to fix something.
  • Film walkthroughs: Use video walkthroughs (like how to fix a leaky faucet) to meet a user’s search intent, plus increase the chance of AI Overviews citing your video. For the best results, upload the videos to YouTube and optimize them for search.

For accelerator SGE snapshots

Optimize for accelerator SGE snapshots with these tips:

  • Practice search engine optimization: SEO is critical to appearing in accelerator SGE snapshots and ranking well in organic search results for these key terms. Focus on SEO best practices, like producing helpful content to improve your rankings.
  • Join Google Merchant Center: AI Overviews use Google Merchant Center, plus Google Shopping Graph, to help power its AI-powered snapshots. Join Google Merchant Center (if applicable) to provide more valuable data to SGE.
  • Add Product markup to site listings: Google powers its Shopping Graph with data from multiple sources, including its search index. With Product markup, it’s possible to provide Google with more definitive data about product inventory, like price and ratings, making it critical for ecommerce sites.
  • Get listed on third-party sites: Accelerator SGE snapshots often cite content that compiles the best-of-the-best products or services. Get listed on these sites to increase your chances of inadvertently appearing in SGE snapshots.

Rank in AI Overviews with SEO experts

Get started with the above tips to begin ranking in AI Overviews. For professional help with Search Generative Experience, consider our AI Overview optimization services, which partner your business with our award-winning team!

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Sarah Berry is a Lead 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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