It looks like all the negative feedback around the lack of links within the AI-generated answers that Google’s Search Generative Experience generates has made a difference. Google is testing links directly in those answers in the SGE results.
We are seeing these links in the form of classic-looking citations, in the form of button overlays and in the form of quotation overlays. I first broke this news at Search Engine Land but since then, we have seen additional link formats, which I have below.
Shalom Goodman was the first to spot the test and notified me of it on Twitter, he sent me these screenshots via email showing the links directly in the generative answer (click to enlarge them):
Those are two examples from Shalom, but this was what it looked like before Google added these links:
Here is a screenshot from Brendan OConnel on Twitter showing the button arrow down interface for the source:
Here is a GIF of that in action from Mike Futia on Twitter:
Glenn Gabe posted a screenshot on Twitter without the “bearclaw”:
I haven’t dug into SGE queries much over the last few weeks but this is the first time I’m seeing these kind of in-line citations shown contextually for any kind of keyword. New? Or am I just late to the party? 😆 pic.twitter.com/tawGjofco8
— Blair MacGregor (@blairmacgregor) August 1, 2023
There is also this quote variant UI from Pete Meyers on Twitter:
Later on yesterday I started to see it myself, including on mobile search, here is my screenshot I posted on Twitter:
It is excellent to see Google testing ways to make the AI-generated answer in the Google SGE results more interactive and clickable.
Brendan OConnell also sent me this nice graphic summarizing the changes:
The issue of not linking to the specific product or company mentioned in the AI-generated answer still exists as Lily Ray pointed out:
Just curious, as I’ve seen you raise this point before. In ordinary web page snippets, there aren’t links to sites or products mentioned in snippets either. Why would you want SGE to do that? Would you want the same in web page snippets, too? Would you want a resource in SGE to…
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) August 1, 2023
Forum discussion at Twitter.