Google SGE: What is it & how will it impact apartment searches?

Apr 19, 2024

An burst of multicolored pigment against a dark background, overlaid with a Google search field

Have you heard rumblings about Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) and its potential impact on the apartment searches? You’re not alone.

SGE is a search engine evolution with the potential to revolutionize the way renters find their perfect homes. But what exactly is SGE, and how will it change the game for multifamily marketers?

This guide aims to demystify SGE in a clear and helpful way. We’ll break down the core concepts, explore how SGE is poised to enhance the apartment search experience and provide actionable insights on how you can use this technology to reach a wider audience and showcase your properties.

Keep reading to get the basics on how you can harness the power of SGE. At the end, you will be able to click through to a related article about its impact on SEO and PPC.

Update: On 5/14/24, Google rolled out AI Overviews — formerly known as SGE — to everyone. You can read the announcement here.

Google’s help center article says “AI Overviews and more is an experiment in Search Labs that lets you see AI Overviews on more Google searches and offers access to additional generative AI features in Search. [It] has replaced the Search Labs experiment known as SGE (Search Generative Experience).”

Understanding Google SGE: A smarter search engine

SGE stands for “search generative experience,” so essentially, Google is making it possible to browse the internet with generative AI-powered capabilities.

Using SGE, you can:

  • Ask more complex and descriptive questions
  • Get answers immediately, above zero-rank results, and explore related links
  • Take the next step easily, by taking the suggested next step or using conversational follow-ups

In beta phase, SGE provides AI-powered snapshots above searches to help you quickly access relevant information, then offers suggested related questions to help you quickly deepen your understanding.  

Photo showing a woman presenting a screen with a Google SGE search on it

While still in beta, SGE has the potential to revolutionize the apartment search experience for renters and marketers alike.

SGE aims to go beyond keywords, analyzing user intent and behavior to deliver hyper-targeted results. Think of it as a search engine that more accurately tailors results to you. Looking for a pet-friendly apartment near a park? SGE might prioritize listings in walkable neighborhoods with dog parks nearby. Intrigued by a vibrant nightlife scene? Your search results could showcase apartments close to trendy bars and restaurants.

Learn how to access the Google SGE beta.

The impact of SGE on apartment searches

How will SGE translate into a better apartment search experience for renters? Here’s what we can expect:

  • Rich search results: Forget sterile listing pages. SGE has the potential to integrate interactive elements like 3D virtual tours, neighborhood noise level data and commute time visualizations directly into search results. Renters will virtually experience an apartment and its surroundings before ever setting foot on the property.
  • Focus on lifestyle needs: SGE can go beyond basic features like square footage and number of bedrooms. It can consider a renter’s lifestyle preferences, making the search process more efficient and enjoyable.
  • Prioritizing user experience: Since SGE prioritizes user intent, apartment websites that offer a seamless user experience with clear and informative content will rank higher in search results. This will incentivize multifamily marketers to focus on creating valuable content that caters to the specific needs of their target audience.
  • Voice search integration: The rise of voice search assistants like Google Home is another factor at play. With SGE, users might be able to ask natural language questions like “find me an apartment with a balcony in a quiet neighborhood with good schools” and receive tailored results through their smart speaker.

Optimizing your website for the SGE era

As SGE continues to evolve, multifamily marketers need to adapt their strategies to stay ahead of the curve. Here are some ways to ensure your website is prepared for the future of search:

  • Focus on user intent: Go beyond keyword stuffing and prioritize creating content that genuinely addresses the questions and concerns of renters.
  • Provide rich content: Incorporate high-quality visuals, informative blog posts and virtual tours to enhance the user experience and give prospective renters valuable information.
  • Go local with SEO: Since SGE personalizes searches based on location, optimize your website for local SEO by including relevant city and neighborhood keywords.

Do some of these sound like familiar territory? That’s a good thing! As with any successful marketing strategy, creating a user-centric experience is key. If you’re already developing content that gives renters the information they need to make informed decisions, you’re on the right track for both customer satisfaction and search success.

Generative apartment search is just getting started

The arrival of SGE marks the next significant shift in the way people find apartments. This technology has the potential to transform the rental search experience, making it less challenging and more intuitive.

Imagine a world where apartment searches involve rich, interactive experiences. Virtual reality tours could allow renters to explore apartments remotely, while AI chatbots could answer questions and provide personalized recommendations. Voice search could become even more intuitive, allowing users to have natural conversations with search engines about their apartment needs.

It’s important to remember that Google is constantly evolving, and SGE is likely just the beginning. Here at REACH, we’re closely following the development of generative search and will keep you updated. By staying informed and adapting your strategies, you can ensure your marketing reaches the right audience and positions your properties for success in the ever-evolving world of apartment search.

Read next: How will generative search affect apartment SEO and PPC?

Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives is the manager of marketing content at Yardi. She leads content initiatives for REACH by RentCafe. Writing may be her first love, but data is a close second. Geneva is based in Santa Barbara, California.

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