Google’s Gen-AI Search Is Powering 84% of Queries, Study Finds


A new report shows that 84% of queries on Google search will be shown a result powered by Search Generative Experience—the tech giant’s artificial-intelligence-powered search engine—disrupting huge chunks of brands’ and publishers‘ search traffic.

Search-engine-optimization marketing company BrightEdge—which sells SEO expertise—has been tracking patterns with SGE results since last fall (when Google introduced SGE), measuring more than 1,000 keywords across nine industries such as healthcare, ecommerce and business-to-business technology, among others.

“Brands that are performing well, most of their traffic comes from organic search,” said Travis Tallent, vice president of SEO at Brainlabs. “That’s why [SGE] is such a big deal. If you implement a new way that impacts the traffic coming to the site, it has dire consequences for the performance of a business entirely.”

SGE is available for people in the U.S., India and Japan to opt into, but Google has not fully rolled out the new search experience. It analyzes the context, sentiment, intent and nuances of searches to provide a fact-driven opinion. In response, businesses are preparing for this shift, reworking their SEO game beyond just keywords to ownership over valuable information and integrating siloed teams to streamline business operations.

SGE—previously slated to go live in December 2023—uses two formats for queries within the AI experience: the collapse and opt-in format.

The collapse format (which appears 16% of the time, per BrightEdge’s analysis) provides people with a snapshot of the AI-generated result, where people can click a button to expand and occupy most of the screen. Whereas the opt-in format (which appears 68% of the time) is presented through a banner and prompts people to decide whether they would like to explore AI results for their queries, starting a more conversational experience.

Michael Robbins, senior manager of paid search at Exverus Media, doubts that Google will launch SGE widely without making available inventory for advertisers or a method to optimize paid ads for those generative experiences.

“Search ads make up 80% of Google’s revenue,” said Tallent. “Google hasn’t figured out how it plans to monetize this effectively without impacting brands.”

Beyond organic brand search

BrightEdge’s testing revealed that in some cases, such as when searching for “Nike,” SGE prominently displayed results related to the lawsuit between Nike and StockX. (Nike filed a lawsuit against the reseller platform, accusing it of selling counterfeit shoes and maintaining an unreliable authentication process.)

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