Search Engine Optimization
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AI Overviews from Google and Their Impact on SEO: A New Era Begins

Google is revolutionizing the SEO world with its new documentation called AI Overviews.

We have officially entered a new era of search. Starting this week, Google is fully incorporating AI Overviews into the search experience in US search results.

As SEO professionals, we’ve been waiting to see if Google would implement the Search Generative Experience (SGE).

At this week’s I/O event, Google announced that AI Overviews will be fully rolled out in the US and more countries. Google is fully committed to the new experience, regardless of its impact on search quality.

If you’re new to this news, here’s some vital information you should know about Google’s AI Overviews:

  • AI Overviews are LLM-powered snapshots at the top of search results. They use Google Gemini to create a direct response for users on the search results page.
  • These results are intended to help users conduct longer searches. Think of searches for a specific need that has never been written about. Google uses an example where a user searches, “Find the best yoga or pilates studio in Boston and tell me about promotional offers.”
  • AI Overviews respond directly to queries, including citations to websites that helped create the answer. This is likely part of their training to make the AI-powered response.
  • The data shows that websites that rank first in organic results don’t always match the AI Overviews. Even if your site is on the first page for a query, it doesn’t mean it’s more likely to appear in an AI Overview for the same query.
  • Google claims that websites appearing in AI Overviews “get more clicks than if the page appeared as a traditional web listing for that query.” (I find this hard to believe, I note!)
  • AI Overviews can be automatically generated after a search or can be on-demand. The latter experience includes a “Create” button that users must click to trigger the overview.
  • It is still unclear how Google plans to monetize this experience. It’s no secret that they must determine how to get ads into these new search results.
  • Google will provide data in the Search Console about the clicks and impressions your site’s AI Summaries receive. However, it won’t distinguish whether the data came from a result of AI Overviews. We know that Bing Webmaster Tools offers performance that includes AI conversations without going into too much detail in the performance section.

You can find the link to the Google reference page of Artificial Intelligence Abstracts here.

Let’s examine it in a little more detail:

How Do AI Overviews Work?

This feature can lead to a loss of organic traffic for informational websites, video content producers, e-commerce stores, and other businesses. It has been observed that it rarely appears in search queries that trigger ads. I predict that Google will keep this at the forefront not to jeopardize advertising revenues.

 

Which Sites Will Be Affected?

AI Overviews don’t seem to be limited to sites that provide information. According to Google’s documentation, this new feature will also affect publishers, content producers, retailers, and businesses. This emphasizes the need for a paradigm shift in SEO strategies.

Automatic Inclusion

This new feature will include sites optimized for Google’s standard search index. Google states that AI Summaries have no special filtering. It seems like it will be enough to follow Google’s search guidelines. Of course, the next race appears to be for a place in the AI Overviews.

Exclude Your Site or Any Page

I don’t think this is a good idea; you can use the “nosnippet” meta-robot tag if you don’t want to appear in AI Overviews.

Topic Targeting and Semantic Annotation

Google uses various techniques to tag your content according to topics. Semantic annotation associates page content with concepts, allowing Google to make sense of pages. This method, which has been used since 2015, is supported by AI innovations such as RankBrain and neural matching. These technologies are essential in understanding the context of queries and pages.

AI Overviews also uses semantic annotation to connect topics and websites. This makes it easy to infer that semantic SEO was important before but has now become vital.

New Era in SEO Strategies

This new era for SEO experts requires focusing on topic targeting and keyword-oriented strategies. We must abandon old-school SEO practices and adapt quickly to this new era.

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