SGE is (Sort of) Rolling Out

It’s officially here. The moment many SEOs and digital marketers have been anxiously awaiting. Google is testing AI overviews from SGE in search results for select users in the US – even those that didn’t opt into using SGE. In a sense, SGE is (sort of) finally rolling out – with a minimally invasive soft launch.

Here’s a quick TL;DR list of what you need to know:

SGE Timeline

I put together a quick timeline of Google SGE as a refresher:

November 8, 2023

Google expands access globally

Google expands SGE to more than 120 countries and adds 4 languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Korean & Indonesian).

November 8, 2023

A busy first year

As the timeline above shows, SGE had a busy first year as an experiment. After expanding to different age groups, across the globe, and to multiple languages quickly, the end date went missing in late December 2023 (below). Personally, I felt an early 2024 launch was enviable. But then things seemed to slow down.

SGE cards in Search Labs showing end dates
End dates missing from SGE in Search Labs

SGE seemed stuck in the sand

In mid-January Google slipped a small update on SGE in with their announcement about Circle to Search and AI-powered multisearch (below). Within the SEO community there was a lot of speculation about what the update meant. Some took the “we’ll introduce [AI features] into Search more broadly” part as a sure sign SGE was alive and well. But from my observations most industry experts took this update as a sign of Google stalling. Later that same month, Search Engine Journal featured an article on why SGE is stuck – claiming that it was clear SGE wasn’t coming to search in the near future.

Google Logo in the sand (generative AI image)
Excerpt about SGE from Google announcement (1/17/24)

This isn’t the SEO apocalypse

Seasoned SEOs and armchair experts alike have made numerous claims that SGE will be an SEO apocalypse. Fearmongering related changes in the Google Search landscape aren’t new. And I get that SGE may hurt some businesses and individuals. But I don’t this soft launch – or a more extensive rollout of SGE – will be the end of SEO. Admittedly I’m surprised I haven’t seen more uproar over Friday’s announcement. Maybe some aren’t viewing it as a soft launch like me. Or maybe the ones worried about SGE were excited to start their weekend. In either case SGE is here – though not with the bang I was expecting.

You might also be interested in: learning more about what Google SGE is and how to prepare for it.

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