Ask any enterprise SEO what’s keeping them up at night and the answer is likely, “answering questions from executives about SGE.”
In May of 2023, Google announced its new generative AI search update: Search Generative Experience (SGE). Since then, nearly every enterprise SEO team has been scrambling to uncover how it will impact organic search results moving forward.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been any real data-backed answers to questions around SGE’s impact on SERPs…
To help you stay on top of this massive change, we’ve compiled a research study on how SGE will impact organic search for the real estate industry.
Note: Stay tuned as we aim to analyze SGE’s impact on numerous other industries in the future!
Table of Contents:
- Background and Objective
- Key Insights:
Still just trying to wrap your head around the basics of SGE? Check out our comprehensive SGE preparation guide which breaks down what it is, what it looks like, what it means for SEO, and much more.
Background and Objective
In our research, we noticed that the most consistent feature in SGE results so far is what we call the “link carousel.”
Our objective was to analyze this carousel and answer one very simple question: What is the overlap between links that are shown in the carousel versus standard web rankings?
Why does it matter? SEOs face the challenge of optimizing for these carousels while only having a current understanding of traditional search results.
Nobody knows how the link carousel is generated and its presence could cause traffic patterns to shift significantly.
That's why SEOs are eager to understand: Is it driven by standard web results? Or is it an entirely different algorithm? What's the overlap and how common is it?
Let’s dive into what we uncovered.
SGE Has 3 Prominent Positions
The first insight we uncovered is that SGE results typically display a results carousel in the top right with only three sites prominently visible by default.
Now, the carousel itself can have up to 28 links in it, but you have to click through them three at a time to see. For the keyword set in this analysis of the real estate industry, the carousel featured between 3 and 14 sites in total.
It's unlikely users will navigate through the entire carousel, making the initial three positions the most important out of all the SGE search results we've seen.
~16% Of Keywords Triggered SGE Inconsistently or Not at All
What’s really interesting is that not all keywords trigger SGE. In the real estate space, 16% of the keywords did not trigger SGE or did so inconsistently.
Keywords where SGE occurs inconsistently:
- find mortgage lenders
- steps to buying a house
- get a home loan
- apartments for rent new york city
- how to buy a house
- find mortgage lenders
- open houses near me
Keywords where SGE never occurs:
- 19123 ne 46th ct sammamish wa
- 2700 Point Ln
So SGE is not guaranteed to always show up. We hypothesize a couple of reasons why this happens in the real estate industry:
- Google may be testing SGE and user engagement: Google appears hesitant to consistently display SGE results for keywords that fall into the “my money, my life” category such as “home loan buying,” “mortgage,” “lenders mortgage.”
- Addresses may be excluded from SGE due to privacy, security and related concerns: For example, Google is likely trying to protect sensitive details like bankruptcy filings associated at specific addresses to maintain user confidentiality.
Top SGE Results Are Significantly Different than Regular SERPs
The next insight is a bombshell revelation: there is a huge difference between the top three results that show in the SGE link carousel versus traditional top three results.
Only ONE out of 66 keywords had the same domains in the top three positions in both SGE and regular SERPs.
Additionally, 75% of the keywords had a substantially different set of ranking domains:
- 44% had 1 domain in common in Top 3
- 31% had no domains in common in Top 3
So it’s clear that SGE has its own algorithm that currently has nothing to do with Google's web ranking algorithm.
Zillow Dominates Competitors in SGE Visibility, But…
For this results analysis, we also looked at which real estate sites have the most visibility in SGE’s top three positions.
In the given keyword set, Zillow shows up for 2x more keywords than competitors within SGE. But, they’re still only showing up for 18 out of 66 keywords.
So while it's great that Zillow is currently dominating its competition in SGE results, our research also indicates an incredible amount of fragmentation.
A lot of local sites have started showing up in the top three positions of SGE results such as local realtors, local newspapers, and local publication sites. As a result, the competitive landscape may change significantly for leading enterprise brands.
You're no longer competing with your standard competitors. You're going to start competing with a lot of different sites that write what Google's models – not Google's ranking algorithm – perceive as great content.
For this research study, we took 66 keywords pertaining to real estate and rank-checked them with SGE enabled (if you’re a client who’s interested in getting insights like these, reach out!)
Then, we extracted the sites featured in the SGE link carousel and compared them against regular web rankings.
We hope this data-backed insight into how SGE will impact the real estate industry helps you feel more confident answering questions from executives about this massive SERP change.
If you have more questions about SGE, feel free to shoot us an email at email@example.com or reach out to your dedicated Client Success Manager.