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AI Overviews - what are they are how to optimise for them

How Will Google AI Overviews Impact Website Traffic

In May 2024 Google rolled out AI Overviews in the US – this is the AI-generated feature of the new Generative Search engine (known as the Search Generative Experience SGE). Google will roll out AI Overviews to the rest of the World in coming months.  Now is the time to adapt and prepare for this exciting new era of AI Search.

What are AI Overviews? (AIOs)

The goal is to make searching for information on Google a quick, slick experience.

As users have become more adept at searching for information, goods and services online, the search queries we type in have got more and more specific, often using whole sentences rather than just 2 or 3 words.   Google has needed to evolve to continue delivering a seamless search experience, and so now with AI, Google will do the googling for you.

Rather than you having to refine the search to get a more accurate response, Google will use a combination of keyphrase logic, ordering and search reasoning to give you a comprehensive response. You won’t need to scroll through a list of websites to decide which is the best fit, Google will present you with what you need with additional links to explore further resources.

Well, that is the goal at least! Google has received quite a bit of negative press since rolling out AI Overviews in US for providing erratic and inaccurate answers, so I think it’s fair to say that trust is AI-generated responses is likely not as high as Google anticipated.  There is no doubt, Google will be continually making improvements and adding new features as they receive more feedback from users and advertisers.

AI Overviews will not, however, appear for every search. Currently they are appearing for around 40% of searches in the US, but this may well change.
Feedback from users has, in the main, been positive but many websites are reporting huge drops in organic traffic. In response to this , Google has been making the AI Overview response shorter and smaller to give other websites a chance of getting some visibility and traffic.  It remains to be seen just how much it will impact brands, websites and advertisers.

Google has recently announced that organic web links will be added to AI Overviews. These are called Link Cards and appear as a carousel of web page thumbnails with an image preview. It is expected that sites with high authority and high consumer trust are going to be the AI Overview Link Card winners for this prime real estate position, but if you are in a niche sector, and you are have topical authority in that niche, you have every chance of winning that prime position.

Initially it was thought that these would disappear from the Generative Search page, however, at the moment, these are still appearing, but directly below the AI Overview, so not as prominent a position as they used to appear at the very top.

Shopping Ads

There are appearing 80% of the time above the AI Overview, displaying in a carousel as we see them now.

Text Ads

Most often, text ads are appearing at the bottom of the page, but some are appearing at the top. Sometimes no ads display at all!

Google Business Profile

Thank you Google! A chance for businesses targeting a local audience to still have Page 1 visibility and attract local traffic. Due to an algorithmic shift, Google Business profiles are driving much more local traffic than before, especially for ‘near me’ searches. Google has, however, recently announced the closure of the message feature on the profiles – I question why as clearly this is a quick and easy way for users to connect with a local business and Google wants us to make it easy for customers to get in touch with our business? Perhaps this decision will be reverted in time!

Video Filter

There has been an increase in the number of video snippets appearing in search results, and this is set to continue as the use and engagement of video media rises to exponential levels since the launch of TikTok. Google also has the Video web filter which will only display video results, so your videos may have more chance of ranking well in this feature compared to the highly competitive Google Page 1.

Image Filter

Google Image Search is another web filter and is a popular search filter and is used to find specific images across the web. Google Images also features shopping ads as well as free listings. Optimising your web images for search is crucial as this can be a great way to generate organic traffic to your website.

Our blue link search results (natural organic search results) will still appear on Google, however they will be way down the page, lower than the AI Overview. Drops in organic traffic are expected for the vast majority of sites.

Web Filter

To help compensate for this, Google launched a new web filter called ‘Web’ which can be found at the top of the Google search results page. Here Google has filtered out all other web results – so there is AI, no images and no videos or People Also Ask options. It remains to be seen how much traffic can be generated from this filter.

There will still be ads above and below the AI Overview, and there is also going to be an opportunity to feature paid and organic links in the Google AI-generated response to queries.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO is becoming known as Generative Engine Optimisation (GEO).

We introduced the Search Generative Experience and how the new AI search page would look back in October 2023. It’s not far away from this. Google is constantly evolving and now with the launch of the AI Overview in the US, more features will undoubtedly be added over time.

Check back at this insightful introduction to the new AI landscape – Search Generative Experience – Adapting Your SEO Strategy For the New AI Search.

This blog also shared how to prepare your site for SGE with tips for optimising for the new AI Search landscape. 9 months on, these predictions have become a reality, and the AI search page is looking very similar to last year when it was experimented on in the test environment.

My recommendations for optimising for AI search remain the same, with a strong focus on quality content and increasing engagement with your audience across social channels.

Whizz Top Tips for Optimising your site for SGE

  • Write for users, not search engines.
  • Optimise for mobile users.
  • Tap into new opportunities for generating traffic on long-tail keywords and searches that are most relevant to your niche.
  • Add structured data markup to important content, such as products, events, search queries and reviews.
  • Optimise images and videos to the recommended formats and sizes.
  • Follow Google’s Quality Content Guidelines E.E.A.T to make your content the best it can be for your users.
  • Refresh your meta titles and descriptions to align with your new keyword strategy.
  • Become an authority in your niche – create a content hub/resource centre that focuses on your niche and share your expertise.
  • If targeting locally, optimise and regularly post content into your Google Business profile.
  • Generate positive independent reviews.
  • Increase interactions and engagement on social channels.
  • Increase quality backlinks.
  • Focus on engagement metrics in G4 analytics.

If you would like to learn more about SEO/GEO and how to fuel the fire with a successful strategy to future-proof your website once AI search arrives in the UK, please get in touch today!  Call Whizz on 07814 391221 or visit for further information

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    Google AI Overviews and What It Means For Your Business
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