AI Overviews, Google’s generative AI search feature, is now live for all users. Google tested it for months, calling it Search Generative Experience.

AI Overviews summarizes search results for some queries, but Google has not disclosed the percentage. The feature has two versions:

  • An expandable AI answer on top of search results, pushing organic search listings further down the page.
  • A “Generate” button to create an Overview by clicking it.

The latter is less intrusive, but I’ve seen no statistics on which is more frequent.

AI Overviews often contain links referencing the sources. Google claims those links are more “clickable” — i.e., prominent — than conventional organic listings. We cannot verify this information because Google has provided no AI click data in Search Console or elsewhere.

Yet I doubt Google’s claim because frequently the links are not visible without expanding an AI answer. For example, searching “how to choose a career” produces an AI answer but no immediately visible source link.

Screenshot of a Google Overview for "how to choose a career"

Searching “how to choose a career” produces an AI answer but no immediately visible source link. Click image to enlarge.

Content providers can block Google from showing their info in Overviews using nosnippet, max-snippet, or data-nosnippet meta tags. But any of those could impact organic search listings. I suggest waiting a bit before deciding, although it’s worth experimenting if you see a drop in overall organic clicks for an important query.

Keep an eye on your key pages for traffic losses via Search Console and Google Analytics 4. On Search Console, identify the queries that bring fewer clicks and then search on them for potential AI Overviews.

Despite widespread angst, the traffic impact of AI Overviews is impossible to evaluate at this early stage. Last month I addressed a third-party study of SGE’s impact, as it was then partially public.

Organic search traffic has been declining for years owing to all the new sections in search result pages. AI Overviews will likely continue this trend.

Still, monitoring traffic losses is important.

It’s possible to optimize a page to appear in Overviews. Last year, in “SEO for SGE,” I listed a few basics:

  • Create relevant content addressing all kinds of problems of your target audience.
  • Optimize product pages and categories based on users’ needs.
  • Structure the site to surface popular topics.
  • Obtain external links to key pages. Links drive discovery and the Knowledge Graph, among other things. They are especially important for co-citation links, which place your site next to known entities and gradually become one through those associations.
  • Use Google’s submission tools. Ranking organically is the only way to appear in Gemini, hence AI Overviews.

Indexed and Ranked

My main takeaway is this. AI Overviews rely on current rankings for each query. In that respect, SEO isn’t changing. It is still about getting pages indexed and ranked for relevant queries.

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