The Future of Google’s Search Generative Experience: What Local Business Owners Need to Know


Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) experiment aims to revolutionize the way local search results are displayed. This raises questions for local business owners and marketers about the potential impact on their visibility and marketing strategies. In this article, we will explore the findings of a small study conducted to better understand the implications of SGE on local businesses.


To gather data on the impact of SGE, 50 manual local searches were performed with SGE enabled. Branded and non-branded terms, as well as modified and non-modified terms, were included in the study. The data was tracked in a spreadsheet, and screenshots were taken throughout the process.

Key Findings

Percentage of Local Searches Return SGE Results

Out of the 50 local searches performed, 100% of them generated local packs in both the non-SGE setting and beneath the SGE box in the SERPs. However, only 10% of the searches returned no SGE display, while 34% prompted the user to generate an SGE display, and 56% auto-generated an SGE display without prompting.

Takeaway: Google is still determining the extent to which users will prefer SGE for different types of searches.

Percentage of SGE Results with Local Packs

While all the searches yielded a traditional local pack outside the SGE display, only 77.6% of the SGE results included a local pack. The remaining SGE results displayed something other than a local pack, such as a broad definition or products to purchase.

Takeaway: The logic behind SGE differs from traditional local pack results, which may affect keyword research and local search marketing strategies.

Differences Between SGE Packs and Local Packs

In the study, it was found that 62.8% of SGE packs did not match the contents or precise ranking of traditional local packs. SGE rankings often differed from those of local pack rankings.

Takeaway: Traditional local pack rankings do not guarantee the same rankings in SGE, requiring businesses to study and audit their SGE competitors separately.

Number of Businesses Included in SGE Local Packs

SGE packs vary in size, with 46.6% containing a 5-pack, 22.2% containing a 4-pack, 4.4% containing a 3-pack, and 4.4% containing a 2-pack.

Takeaway: SGE packs offer more opportunities for businesses to be visible without users having to click through to secondary interfaces.

Escape Routes from SGE and the Importance of Links and Citations

Although SGE feels enclosed, there are escape routes to third-party destinations through carousels within the SGE packs. Structured and unstructured citations still matter in the SGE setting. However, there are few direct links from the carousels to local business websites.

Takeaway: SGE provides some escape routes, but Google should reconsider the prominence of local business websites in the interface.

Local Attributes in SGE

SGE does not prioritize self-selected attributes added to Google Business Profiles, potentially leading to mismatched results. The lack of attention to local nuances may impact the accuracy of search results.

Takeaway: SGE may not be as “smart” about local nuances as traditional local search results.

Standardization of SGE Results

The presentation of SGE results is not standardized. The format varies, ranging from simple messages to lists of random information. The lack of consistency makes it difficult for businesses to predict how their results will appear.

Takeaway: The lack of standardization highlights the need for ongoing study of SGE and its impact on local search results.

SGE Packs vs. Local Packs: Which is Better?

SGE is currently not providing the same user experience as traditional local packs for basic local search functions. SGE requires users to navigate a new interface without clear added benefits. The absence of familiar features, such as a review interface and prominent maps, may negatively impact user satisfaction.

Takeaway: SGE may not meet the expectations set by traditional local search results