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Tomorrow's SEO: Google's AI Overviews Explained

Tomorrow's SEO: Google's AI Overviews Explained

Join Bastian as he delves into Google's AI efforts and how the AI Overviews (formerly known as Search Generation Experience - SGE) will impact your eCommerce or content publishing business.

Peak Ace

June 11, 2024

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  1. From healthcare to education and jobs - hardly any aspect

    of our everyday lives will remain unaffected by AI. AI is changing everything
  2. All those developments in recent years serve as the foundation

    for today’s massive amount of innovations
  3. 5 peakace.agency Billions of bits of information have been published

    on the internet for decades – and they are all available as training data for LLMs. #1
  4. Machines are now able to take over various human activities

    and make precise predictions. Progress in Deep Learning #2
  5. Significant advances in cloud, infrastructure and consumer technology are making

    it easier and cheaper than ever to develop and deploy AI technology. Resource availability #3
  6. Innovations and advances will not only have an impact on

    AI development, but also on our (SEO) work...
  7. 9 peakace.agency How people are using GenAI Six top-level themes

    give an immediate sense of what generative AI is currently being used for: Source: https://pa.ag/4brddtI - Technical Assistance & Troubleshooting (23%) - Content Creation & Editing (22%) - Personal & Professional Support (17%) - Learning & Education (15%) - Creativity & Recreation (13%) - Research, Analysis & Decision Making (10%)
  8. 11 peakace.agency In a world-first, the EU has passed legislation

    to regulate AI The Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA) is a legal framework for trustworthy artificial intelligence in Europe. Source: https://pa.ag/3ufz2wg The AIA pursues a risk-based approach for AI with a European scope. It is primarily concerned with: ▪ The regulation of prohibited practices ▪ Requirements for high-risk AI ▪ Transparency and accountability
  9. Simultaneously, they're allocating billions for infrastructure, new models and AI-powered

    applications Top tech firms are battling for AI dominance
  10. 13 peakace.agency Around $200 billion USD will be invested worldwide

    by 2025... Amazon, for example, invested $4 billion in Anthropic, Google is adding another $2 billion to the pot... And these are just two of the larger deals in recent months. Source: https://pa.ag/47nSJjv
  11. 16 peakace.agency AI is truly not a new topic for

    Google Google's CEO Sundar Pichai summarised their I/O 2016 conference, stating: “It’s an important shift from a mobile first world to an AI first world" Source: https://pa.ag/3GgHiip In 2016, a few months after becoming CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai made a sweeping proclamation: Google, whose name had become synonymous with search, would now be an “AI-first” company.
  12. 17 peakace.agency And somehow Google still managed to sleep on

    it… ... or at least was caught with their pants down by OpenAI and the Bing integration. peakace.agency
  13. 18 peakace.agency Google's investors were anything but happy This ultimately

    led to Google launching two completely unfinished products one after the other. Sources: https://pa.ag/3SL0o7L & https://pa.ag/46ckFpQ & https://pa.ag/3uct7bl
  14. Search Generative Experience (SGE) "SGE is an early step in

    transforming the Search experience with generative AI. When using SGE, people will notice their search results page with familiar web results, organized in a new way […]”
  15. 21 peakace.agency Source information, can be expanded/ opened with a

    click AI-generated textual summary of the topic (comes in various formats) Entry into conversation mode, incl. AI-generated suggestions/query refinements Thematically appropriate image, usually taken from the first (old) organic result Three (or more) organic results; link directly externally. Main sources for the snippet content
  16. At their recent I/O ’24 event, Google announced a bunch

    of updates regarding Generative AI in Search – including renaming SGE to AI Overview. Except: There is no more SGE!
  17. What are AI Overviews? AI Overviews are LLM-powered snapshots that

    use Google Gemini to create a direct answer that appears at the top of a SERP .
  18. 28 peakace.agency Embedded definitions Directly linking to the result, even

    for non-Wikipedia results. A potential new traffic source?
  19. 29 peakace.agency Different Perspectives for one topic LLMs only ever

    deliver the common middle ground - so different views are needed! (also available on desktop in the near future)
  20. 30 peakace.agency Continued experiments around ad integration and placement Ads

    will appear above, below, and within the AI Overview depending on what you're searching for: Source: https://pa.ag/3J2XMvK & https://pa.ag/3WWZS8t
  21. 31 peakace.agency Maybe it won’t be just ads for monetisation

    moving forward? Google is considering charging for new “premium” features powered by Gen AI. This would be the biggest ever shake-up of its search business so far: Source: https://pa.ag/3xnIgbc
  22. 32 peakace.agency So, what else is new since Google I/O

    2024? Apart from the official renaming of SGE to AI Overviews, not that much, really – except for an actual public roll-out! US rollout first, (starting) this week AI overviews will be available to all US searchers on Google starting this week, which means hundreds of millions of searchers. No additional rollout dates AI Overviews will launch in more countries soon (but no dates are given so far) and be available to more than a billion users by the end of the year. No detailed data in GSC AI Overviews are tracked in GSC with impression, clicks & average position, but won’t be shown separately (like, e.g., Featured Snippets) More features in Search Labs Google is rolling out new AI features, including multistep reasoning & planning capabilities, AI-organised SERPs, etc.
  23. 33 peakace.agency Coming to Search Labs: Adjust your AI Overview

    “Soon, you’ll be able to adjust your AI Overview with options to simplify the language or break it down in more detail. This can be particularly useful if you’re new to a topic […]” [Liz Reid, Google] Source: https://pa.ag/4bs7lRB
  24. Assuming (!) that the loss is similar to that of

    the Featured Snippets rollout back then. Some say, if a keyword is affected: ~30% traffic loss (?) Source: https://pa.ag/3SCy0o0
  25. 38 peakace.agency Pixel height for fully expanded AI Overviews varies

    greatly Current median: 1,050px - but in some cases they’re enormous and more than 4,500px in height: Zoom@33%; 4,580px Zoom@50%; 2,500px Zoom@50%; 1,800px
  26. 39 peakace.agency In February '24 almost 64% of queries returned

    an SGE answer Basis: 100,000 keywords in mid. February 2024 (left chart) vs. 91,000 keywords in mid. October 2023 (right chart) where around 40% of test queries (promptly) provided an SGE snippet: Sources: https://pa.ag/49ku6F3 & https://pa.ag/3QzDiyd Presence of SGE snippet 39,66% 30,17% 30,17% Has_Snapshot No_Generate_Button No_Snapshot
  27. 40 peakace.agency Google scaled back the SGE before rolling out

    the "new" AI Overviews publicly, according to this data from ziptie.dev Sozrce: https://pa.ag/3K76Yjk
  28. When will we even see the whole thing in Europe?

    Source: https://pa.ag/3SGxZzs
  29. The truth is, it‘s still a bit too early to

    say – we just need more data!
  30. 44 peakace.agency Either way, Generative AI in Search is here

    to stay! In Google‘s own words: "User feedback has been very positive so far." With AI Overviews, people are visiting a greater diversity of websites for help with more complex questions. And we see that the links included in AI Overviews get more clicks than if the page had appeared as a traditional web listing for that query […] Sundar Pichai, CEO Google & Alphabet
  31. It is quite possible that it will become much more

    difficult to generate organic traffic for informational content in the future. Hard times for non-original informational content
  32. Anyone publishing the kind of content where the AI Overview

    result (for users) is preferable to clicking on their own website has had problems long before Google started testing SGE... Commodity content has long been doomed to fail
  33. Even if your site is on the first page for

    a query, it doesn't mean that it's more likely to appear in an AI Overview Organic ranking doesn‘t mean AI Overview inclusion
  34. It’s nothing more than the next evolutionary step in Google's

    constant endeavour to answer queries directly
  35. 52 peakace.agency The deal was (unilaterally) changed. Thanks, Google! AI

    summaries fundamentally change the business that Google was built on ("give us content, we'll give you traffic") by taking even more content from the source and showing it directly - keeping more of the search journey on Google.
  36. 53 peakace.agency Welcome MetNet-3 - or do you think this

    is a coincidence? "Currently available in the contiguous United States […] MetNet-3 is helping bring accurate and reliable weather information to people in multiple countries and languages.” Source: https://pa.ag/3uaeqVX Weather integration in AI Overviews
  37. What's more, these widgets cost money, including for design, production,

    maintenance and, if necessary, updating. Product partnerships only scale to a limited extent and always require manual effort
  38. 57 peakace.agency This is also a coincidence... surely? The US

    eCommerce SERPs... outside of the shopping tab! ▪ Price history in the SERPs ▪ The filter bar is switched on by default, showing significantly more popular products ▪ On the other hand, the products pull more content directly from the websites ▪ The buy now button immediately starts the checkout process
  39. 58 peakace.agency A ton of brand-new gen AI features in

    Google Shopping From “Virtually try it on“ to “Bring your vision to life with image gen” (shopping for clothing styles similar to whatever you had in mind) and “More from your favorite brands” – Googles has introduced lots of new shopping functions! Source: https://pa.ag/3TLgbSJ
  40. Google aims to control the entire buyer journey, from research

    to checkout, making it faster and more efficient. AI Overviews are also present for eCommerce queries
  41. 62 peakace.agency Google at their Search On 2021 event: Sources:

    https://pa.ag/3amVV3L & https://pa.ag/46isw5g My team and I spent a great deal of time providing high-quality answers to questions that haven’t even been asked yet. Prabhakar Raghavan (SVP, Google) Reading recommendation
  42. 63 peakace.agency Chat dialogue allows a better understanding of context

    by combining (multiple) queries, user profiles and ranking data: Source: https://pa.ag/3u8gLRs It’s a little bit more time to really go deep in understanding the query […] this is all about being able to have an orchestration between the queries itself and the ranking and the profile of a user to really go deeper in understanding what the user is looking for. Fabrice Chanel (Principal PM, Bing)
  43. Structured Data is far too limited. For example, schema.org only

    recognises ~800 markup types and ~1,400 different properties. Google is preparing to no longer be dependent on Structured Data
  44. Language prediction models based on neural networks that draw on

    the Transformers architecture. Generative Pre-Trained Transformers
  45. 69 peakace.agency What on earth are Latent Spaces? Put simply:

    Latent spaces give a machine a condensed understanding of the world - through spatial representation. And the model learns from this automatically! Source: https://pa.ag/3sBne6X People can understand topics by encoding observed events in the brain in compressed form. For example, we can recognise a dog on the street without remembering every detail of its appearance.
  46. ...but rather a rich experience directly in the SERP that

    you can benefit from without having to leave it. 10 Blue Links will no longer be the default for many queries...
  47. Head Terms Long Tail Head Terms Long Tail Latent Tail

    h/t Tom Anthony The Search Demand Curve will change significantly
  48. 74 peakace.agency AI-organised results? Source: https://pa.ag/4bs7lRB I believe this will

    ultimately also result in a much longer tail of queries to target: