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How Google’s AI Overviews are Shaking Up SEO

At Google I/O 2024 in May, the search engine announced a raft of advanced AI features coming to its search pages. The one that has everyone talking, though, is AI Overviews.

AI Overviews is replacing Google’s SGE (Search Generative Experience), and is designed to enhance search results with more concise and relevant information. Now when you ask Google a question, AI Overviews will draw on multi-step reasoning to provide you with an overview of a topic by generating an answer from a variety of sources.

AI Overviews are set to roll out in Australia and New Zealand by the end of 2024, and have started to appear in the U.S. and U.K. 

Not only will this turn the world of SEO and organic search on its head, but it has content marketers, publishers and news outlets scrambling as well. Google assures us AI Overviews ‘will have a higher click-through rate than traditional web results’, but many SEOs aren’t convinced.

Here we’ll take you through some of the ways AI Overviews is set to change the way we search.

So what was Google SGE?

Unveiled at last year’s Google I/O, SGE (Search Generative Experience) was introduced to enhance search by incorporating AI-generated content directly into search pages. 

Developed by Google’s Search Labs, it aimed to provide users with more detailed and contextually relevant information without needing to click through multiple links. 

However, as search behaviour evolved, SGE became less effective in meeting user needs for quick and concise answers. The rise of more advanced AI technologies rendered SGE redundant, prompting Google to shift focus. AI Overviews now offer streamlined, precise summaries, making search interactions more efficient.

What are AI Overviews?

AI Overviews are designed to enhance the search experience by offering users quick, comprehensive summaries of their queries. These overviews pull information from multiple sources, presenting it in a clear and easily digestible format at the top of search results. 

The primary objective is to improve user satisfaction by providing immediate answers. This shift aims to streamline the search process, making it faster and more efficient for users to access relevant content.

Impact on Search Behaviour

With AI Overviews, users can quickly access the information they need, which greatly reduces the necessity of browsing through multiple pages. This shift has the potential to significantly impact click-through rates (CTR) and organic traffic for websites. 

As a result, businesses may experience a decrease in traffic even if their search rankings remain stable. The implications for SEO are substantial, prompting a need for marketers to adapt their strategies. Emphasising high-quality, authoritative content and exploring new ways to engage users will become increasingly important in this evolving digital landscape.

Challenges and Opportunities

While AI Overviews present challenges, they also offer opportunities for savvy marketers:

  • Decreased Organic Traffic: One of the most immediate concerns is a potential drop in organic traffic. As users find answers directly in search results, they may not visit individual websites as frequently. This shift necessitates a reevaluation of traditional SEO metrics and success indicators.
  • Content Quality: With AI Overviews pulling information from high-quality sources, there’s an increased emphasis on producing valuable, authoritative content. It’s no longer just about ranking; it’s about being the source Google trusts to summarise in its overviews. 

A common mistake people across all industries make with AI is thinking it will do all the heavy lifting for you. Those who choose that approach will be left behind, so in order for your content to get ahead it’s vital to adopt new strategies, such as:

  • Focusing on Long-Tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords are more specific and less competitive, making it easier to rank higher in search results. They often align closely with user intent, which can help drive more targeted traffic to your site.
  • Enhancing User Experience: Ensuring your website offers an excellent user experience can encourage visitors to stay longer and explore more pages. This positive engagement signals to Google that your site is valuable, which can improve your overall SEO performance.
  • Building Authoritative Content: Creating in-depth, well-researched content that positions your site as an authority in your niche will be crucial. This strategy not only helps in being featured in AI Overviews, but also builds trust with your audience.

How We Can Help

Navigating these changes requires expertise and strategic planning. At Kia Ora Digital, we offer a range of services designed to help you thrive in this new SEO landscape. Our team can assist with everything from content creation to technical SEO, ensuring your site remains competitive.

  • SEO Strategy Development: We start with a comprehensive analysis of your current SEO strategy, identifying strengths and areas for improvement. Our data-driven approach ensures that your strategy is aligned with the latest best practices and algorithm changes.
  • Content Creation and Optimisation: Our content team specialises in creating high-quality, authoritative content that meets both user needs and search engine criteria. From blog posts to product descriptions, we ensure every piece of content is optimised for maximum visibility and engagement.
  • Technical SEO: Technical SEO remains a critical component of any successful strategy. We identify and fix issues that could hinder your site’s performance, such as slow loading times, broken links, and poor mobile optimisation.
  • Link Building: Building a robust backlink profile is essential for improving your site’s authority. We employ ethical link-building practices to earn high-quality backlinks from reputable sources, enhancing your site’s credibility and search rankings.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Understanding how your site performs is crucial for ongoing success. We provide detailed analytics and reporting, helping you track key metrics and adjust your strategy as needed.

The Future of SEO and AI

The integration of AI into search engines is an evolving process, and staying ahead of these changes will require continuous learning and adaptation. By focusing on quality content, user experience, and technical excellence, businesses can position themselves to succeed in this new environment.

Leveraging AI tools for content creation, keyword research, and data analysis can give you a competitive edge. These tools can help you identify trends, optimise content, and make data-driven decisions.

Get Your Content AI-Ready Today

Google’s AI Overviews represent a significant shift in how search engines operate, emphasising the importance of high-quality content and user satisfaction. While this change presents challenges, it also offers opportunities for those willing to adapt and innovate. At Kia Ora Digital, we’re committed to helping you navigate this new landscape and achieve lasting success.

For more information on our services and how we can help you to optimise your SEO strategy, contact our team today. Together, we can ensure your business thrives in this evolving digital ecosystem.

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