What is SGE and Should I Be Worried

February 7, 2024

What is SGE, smartphone displaying Google AI
5 min

I know, I know - another acronym.

SGE stands for Search Generative Experience, and it’s got web developers around the world sweating.

Google accounts for about 95% of web traffic, and SGE is a major change in how Google works, so a little bit of worry makes sense.

 Should the self storage industry be worried too?

There is no magic SEO formula.

SGE is the newest development in self storage SEO.

Instead of serving up a page of ten links, Google is experimenting with using AI to directly answer the questions people are searching.

Google has been moving in this direction for a long while. Google will often pull a (hopefully) relevant paragraph from a blog and highlight the relevant text.

Example of a search result page "what's in root beer?"


SGE is a further evolution of that practice. Instead of pulling a snippet from a relevant website, Google’s AI will simply answer the question in a chat format.

Searchers will then be able to ask further questions, or follow the chatbot in a different direction entirely, their query answered without ever clicking on a link.

That’s why web devs are getting nervous. If Google’s AI answers someone’s question without sending them to a specific site, sites can’t sell ads or make sales - lots of websites can’t make money if no one clicks on them!

You can read Google’s SGE blog here.

Self storage isn’t like other industries, though. Our websites don’t make money by selling ads or sponsoring links.

Self storage websites make money by renting storage units - and SGE can’t rent anyone a storage unit (yet!).

red button and the words "Don't Panic!"

Will SGE Affect Self Storage?

Google’s new Search Generative Experience will affect pretty much every business that has a website - so pretty much every business.

Yes, SGE will affect self storage, but not very much.

Quick SEO Lesson:

Google gives different results depending on what it thinks the searcher is looking for.

If the searcher wants to learn something, that’s an informational query. Google will give blogs, news sites, or (now) SGE results to answer that question.

If the searcher wants to purchase a product or service, that’s a transactional query. Google will give shopping site results or, if the search is local (ie, can’t be delivered to your house), Google will give Local Pack results.


If someone is trying to rent a storage unit, Search Generative Experience can’t do that. Google will send the searcher to storage websites instead. 

Turn your web presence into unit rentals with the Ultimate Guide to Self  Storage SEO!

Now, if your website provides a lot of information about storing in your area, you may see a dip in visitors. And if that informational content was converting visitors into rentals, you may see a corresponding dip in rentals.

This is not the case for the vast majority of storage websites. 

You might see your traffic go down slightly when SGE is rolled out across the board, but that should not affect your unit rentals. If someone is ready to make a purchase, Google will still be sending them to a quality self storage website.

If your website is in the top three of local results, you can still expect to get your share of renters.

What is SGE and Should I Be Worried (1)

Note: There have been some serious market headwinds over the last year, and some areas are seeing demand falling. Other areas are doing fine! As of February 2024, these changes are due to market factors and not SGE.

For a more in-depth look, check out our self storage market forecast for 2024.

Do I Need to Change My Website for SGE?

You can find marketers and SEO experts all over the place telling you exactly what you need to do for SGE, but this is all brand new. We can make some educated guesses as to what SGE will bring, but anyone who promises to make your website show up in SGE results is exaggerating (to put it nicely).

If you had a well-designed website before SGE, don’t panic and don’t make any big changes.

The Ultimate Guide to Self Storage SEO

When Google makes a change, it’s almost always trying to find a better answer for the searcher.

Google, notoriously tight-lipped, put out an entire presentation on the subject of SEO. The message was this: Don’t chase Google’s algorithm when you know where it’s going!

Google is one of the biggest, most powerful companies on the planet, and their top-tier engineers are using the best and newest technology. Smaller companies (like storage operators) have little hope of keeping up with the incredibly complicated metrics Google uses to decide which sites rank well.

Luckily, you don’t need to! Google wants to give searchers what they are looking for. All a good storage website needs to focus on is being a good solution to the customer's problems.

SGE is exactly the same. 

What is SGE and Should I Be Worried 4

Don’t spend too much time or energy wondering how the latest AI large language models are going to parse your content, and what sort of snippets might get a customer to convert. 

Even if you manage to capture the AI's attention for a storage-related topic, SGE isn’t going to funnel you any rentals. Information is global, and your customers come from within ten minutes of your store.

Turn your web presence into unit rentals with the Ultimate Guide to Self  Storage SEO!

SGE Isn't Special

Google’s Search Generative Experience is the next step on the path Google has been following all along.

It’s not like going from a car to a plane - it’s more like going from a gas car to a hybrid. Unless you’re a gas station, you won’t notice much change.

SGE uses the same ranking signals that modern self storage SEO does because those ranking signals are how humans communicate their preferences.

Reviews, purchases, photos, time on site - whether it's an AI or Google’s pre-existing algorithms, these factors differentiate between a useful site and a less-useful one. 

Verdict: Will SGE Change Self Storage Websites?

No. SGE will play a limited role in transactional queries and should not significantly impact the ranking of self storage websites.

Looking to learn more? Check these out!

At StoragePug, we build self storage websites that make it easy for new customers to find you and easy for them to rent from you.

Learn the SEO tactics that really work!

Download our Ultimate Guide to Self Storage SEO here.

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