Ben Crosby

Google’s AI Overviews are here, and they have marketers divided. On one hand, they promise to revolutionize the search experience by providing users with quick, AI-generated summaries powered by Google’s specialized Gemini large language model (LLM). On the other, some are concerned with what this new landscape means for organic web traffic and SEO strategies.

So, will this move boost search traffic altogether and deliver targeted content to the right audiences? Or is it the dawn of an AI seachange?

What Are AI Overviews?

First, let’s take a moment to explain just what AI Overviews are. As the successor to Search Generative Experience (SGE), Google’s AI Overviews aim to answer user queries quickly and efficiently by generating brief synopses of content found on various web pages. These summaries highlight the important information similarly to the “featured snippets,” and they also include links to the sources used. 

However, some marketers are concerned that this means users will simply bounce off of AI Overviews once they have their answers without ever clicking on the source web page. 

Will AI Overviews Take Over Your Web Traffic?

The short answer is yes. But also no.

Let me explain.

You might see a small dip from this new update, but this will potentially be made up by the increase in Google’s overall search traffic driven by an improved user experience. Plus, the sources cited often show organic results due to the high-quality content they contain.

And if that doesn’t ease the AI anxiety, Google itself has a vested interest in keeping SEO alive and well — as Neil Patel pointed out — especially when most of its AdSense customers rely on organic traffic.

What About Ads?

It’s Google, so of course they’re going to keep paid ads intact. 

They might even incorporate paid ads into AI search results to generate more revenue. According to the search engine’s May update on generative search, links included in AI Overviews tend to get more clicks than if they appeared on a traditional results page, which could be a better deal for advertisers. As long as you keep a close eye on your web analytics, including Google Ads data, you should be able to gauge the veracity of this claim for yourself in the coming months.

Can You Optimize Content for Generative Search Engines?

So if you don’t have to worry about AI Overviews coming for your visitors, how can you ensure your site appears in these summaries? 

Google says its systems automatically determine which links appear in Overviews, and that, 

“There is nothing special for creators to do to be considered other than to follow our regular guidance for appearing in search, as covered in Google Search Essentials.”

But of course, we won’t leave you out to dry like that.

As with any SEO effort, you can improve your chances of landing in the top results and summaries by:

  • Ensuring content is high-quality, well-researched and authoritative.
  • Using structured data to help AI understand your content better.
  • Integrating multimedia content, such as videos and infographics.

Most importantly, keep an eye on your SEO and paid ad performance. By monitoring your search rankings and adjusting your strategy as needed, you can continue to optimize your content for this new landscape of AI search engines.