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Google Search is undergoing a significant transformation with the rise of AI Overviews. These AI-generated summaries, powered by Google’s Gemini project, are increasingly prominent in search results, particularly in New Zealand. This shift marks a new era in search, where generative AI is fundamentally changing how users interact with Google.

AI Overviews: previously known as Search Generative Experience

Previously known as the Search Generative Experience (SGE), AI Overviews officially launched in May 2024. These summaries are designed to revolutionise user interactions, integrating multimedia content and offering a richer Google search experience.

Let’s take a closer look. The screenshot below illustrates an AI Overview summarising the latest social media trends for 2024.

This Overview efficiently condenses complex data into an easily digestible format, delivering timely and relevant information directly within search results.

How does Google generate AI Overviews?

At the heart of AI Overviews lies a sophisticated blend of algorithms and Google’s massive web index. Its systems analyse vast amounts of data, assessing the relevance and authority of content based on factors like source credibility and content freshness.

Next, natural language processing (NLP) takes centre stage. NLP allows systems to understand the meaning of words and phrases, effectively summarising and highlighting key information from the identified content. 

This process also involves extracting valuable data from various sources and synthesising it into a coherent summary that directly addresses user queries.

What triggers AI Overviews?

Not every search triggers an AI Overview. They are designed to enhance the experience for specific queries, typically those that:

  • Demand Comprehensiveness: Queries that require a broad understanding of a topic or complex questions that benefit from enriched content like videos, comparisons, and lists. 
  • Seek Information: Questions seeking factual answers or detailed explanations, like historical events or scientific concepts.

What doesn’t trigger an AI Overview?

Conversely, some queries are less likely to activate AI Overviews due to their intent:

  • Hyper-Specific: Questions seeking precise data or facts, such as ‘What is the population of Tokyo?’ are best served by direct answers rather than summaries.
  • Transactional: Google searches aiming to complete actions, like buying a product or booking a service.
  • Local Searches: Searches that focus on local businesses or services, such as ‘digital marketing agencies near me,’ are best served by direct listings and maps.

How will AI Overviews impact website traffic?

While AI Overviews offer increased content visibility and user engagement, they can also challenge the visibility of traditional search engine results. To navigate this change, website content must be optimised for both AI Overviews and traditional SEO best practices. This means creating engaging and authoritative content that generative AI can effectively summarise.

Tracking Clicks from Google AI Overviews

An AI Overview’s prominent and condensed format naturally draws more clicks than a traditional web listing, typically achieving a 4% higher click-through rate (CTR).

However, this same layout can lead to more non-click search sessions as users frequently find the necessary information directly within the overview. Consequently, this can decrease the organic traffic to websites ranking below these AI-generated snippets.

Marketers can utilise tools like Google Search Console alongside other analytics to monitor traffic trends and adapt their strategies.

How are AI Overviews affecting advertisers in New Zealand?

The presence of AI Overviews in New Zealand search results presents both challenges and opportunities for advertisers. Advertisers can improve brand visibility and user engagement by strategically creating content that aligns with topics and queries likely to trigger AI Overviews.

Google’s AI engines versus Claude, ChatGPT, and Bard…

Google’s AI Overviews differ from competitors like Bing’s Chat and OpenAI’s ChatGPT by seamlessly integrating information directly into search engine results. This user-friendly approach provides a one-stop shop for information gathering, a crucial advantage for marketers leveraging AI capabilities across platforms.

How are AI Overviews and Google Gemini linked?

Google Gemini, a large language model, powers the informative summaries in AI Overviews. Using its advanced NLP capabilities, Gemini analyses search results to generate summaries tailored to the user’s query, which may include factual recaps, comparisons, or videos. This initiative positions Google Search to embrace and lead advancements in generative AI technology.

What’s the accuracy and reliability of Google’s AI Overviews?

Google strives to enhance the accuracy and reliability of AI Overviews through ongoing algorithm refinement and extensive testing, ensuring most overviews deliver high-quality information

However, challenges persist in maintaining neutrality and factual accuracy in opinion-based and sensitive topics. Google’s core information quality systems help mitigate misinformation, and user feedback helps to continuously improve content relevance and accuracy.

How can I give feedback on a wrong result?

Google values user feedback, providing a direct avenue for users to influence the accuracy and relevance of content. 

The screenshot below illustrates the user interface for submitting feedback directly to Google, ensuring the AI continues learning and improving from user input.

Will AI Overviews eventually replace traditional search results?

AI Overviews are not intended to replace traditional search results. They are designed to coexist, catering to diverse user needs and preferences. This development highlights the importance of adaptable SEO strategies encompassing AI Overviews and traditional search practices.

Stay informed and competitive.

The search landscape is no longer static. It’s a dynamic ecosystem fueled by innovation. AI Overviews present exciting opportunities for businesses and marketers to enhance content visibility, engage users, and ultimately achieve marketing goals. Embrace the change, leverage the power of AI, and watch your brand thrive in the new era of search.

The Search Republic team is dedicated to helping you maintain a competitive edge. For more insights and support on AI Overviews and other SEO-related topics, contact us at 6499502633 or via email. Explore our blog page for further industry updates.