Current methods for analyzing sialic acid diversity in modifications and linkages require multistep processing, derivatization, and chromatographic analyses. We here report a single-step optical method for identification and quantification of different compositions of sialoglycans on glycoproteins and in serum. This was achieved by measuring and quantifying nanometal surface energy transfer (NSET) signals between quantum dots and gold nanoparticles bound to specific sialic acid binding proteins (SBPs) and sialic acid moieties, respectively. The biosensing process is based on the NSET turn-on by external sialic acid species that compete for binding to the SBPs. Selectivity of the biosensor toward sialoglycans can be designed to detect the total amount, glycosylation linkages (α2-6 vs α2-3), and modifications (9-O-acetyl and N-glycolyl groups) in the samples. This nanobiosensor is a prototype expected to achieve limits of the detection down to the micromolar range for high-throughput quantification and analysis of different compositions of sialoglycans present in biological or biomedical samples.