What is Google’s AI Overviews?

AI Overviews is Google’s new search feature that generates natural language responses to answer user queries of all kinds. Formerly called “SGE” (Search Generative Experience), Google rolled out the feature in May 2024 across the United States.

AI Overviews can answer questions quickly, including recipe ideas, how-ideas, how-tos, and much more. Google harnesses a new and improved Gemini model that powers the new AI feature.

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What Implications Does It Have on Search?

For marketers, content creators, and consumers alike, it is no question that AI Overviews will have big effects in the search engine. Additionally, AI Overviews appear for both mobile and desktop users so impacts can be expected regardless of device type. Industry professionals are still gathering data about the new AI feature, however, here are some potential implications AI Overviews will have on search.

1.Change to Google’s revenue model.

AI Overviews is highlighted at the top of search results, which could mean Google may be shifting away from PPC channels to attempt to create a better experience for users. Now, users get easy-to-digest content quickly without ever leaving Google. This can be a detriment to publishers and content creators since it lessens their visibility as a source.

2. Potential losses in ad revenue for publishers.

According to Raptive, an advertising services firm, the introduction of AI Overviews could result in a $2 billion annual advertising revenue loss to the publishing industry.

3. Organic traffic declines expected.

Organic search traffic increased by SEO is expected to be impacted, with losses in traffic anywhere from 20 to 60%, which was identified in beta testing for SGE. Other search professionals theorize some websites may lose up to two-thirds of their search traffic.

4. Clicks potentially reduced.

Clicks to original sources or publishers may be reduced. Since each AI Overviews is uniquely and sporadically generated for the user, it could also make predicting CTR (click-through-rate) challenging for marketers.

5. Change of the Search Ecosystem.

Many SEO and industry professionals expressed concerns over AI Overviews assuming it “rips off publishers,” stating that Google “steals” this content from content creators without crediting back sufficiently to the original source. Google counterargues that what they are doing is no different than they have done in the past— harnessing publicly available information.

Will AI Overviews Impact SEO?

AI Overviews will have implications on SEO results and strategy. AI Overviews may prevent some users’ need to click to a website if their question is answered by the AI Overview, hurting content creators. Due to this, SEO professionals may see a dip in organic traffic across pages. Digital marketers will be tasked with encouraging users to click into their websites with helpful and well-optimized content and metadata that is catered to the user and has their best interest in mind.

Who Will AI Overviews Impact the Most?

AI Overviews is still being rolled out to all U.S. users and has only launched in specific topic areas, however, SEO professionals have started uncovering early trends. Magazine sources, publishers, and other providers of informational content may be impacted the most by the new feature. Instances where Google pulls a blurb to answer the user’s question quickly will be at the highest risk. Conversely, web sources using transactional language and transactional keywords will be at the least risk since Google may detect a purchase is involved and not pull the information into AI Overview.

What Can We Do About It?

Google has provided recommendations for appearing in AI Overviews, although this guidance is not a guarantee for the resource to show up. Google advises SEO professionals to follow Google’s best practices for appearing in search, namely their Google Search Essentials. Forthea is a trusted digital marketing partner for its clients, staying up to date on Google Search Essentials best practices and core requirements.

How Forthea Can Help

At Forthea, we help our clients stay ahead of the curve by informing them on industry updates to create long-term successful strategies and results for their businesses. With our dedication to continuous improvement, we embrace Google’s innovative mentality to improve the user experience and constantly educate ourselves and our clients on search engine best practices and industry updates. Find out more about how Forthea assists its clients through effective digital marketing strategies today!

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