Understanding Googles New AI Overviews


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Understanding Googles New AI Overviews

If you’ve conducted a Google search recently — and it’s probably safe to say you have, you may have noticed a new feature at the top of the search. Google now offers AI Overviews on certain topics, trained on content from multiple sources to provide quick answers for searchers. This means that users have to spend less time searching to get the information they need…and that could be a problem for digital marketers.

How does AI Overview impact the SEO landscape, and what can you do about it? Let’s dive in.

What Is Google’s AI Overview?

AI Overview quickly scans and pulls information from multiple top-ranking sources and then creates a brief paragraph offering a targeted answer to search queries. Of course, if someone is doing deep research into a topic, the AI overview won’t be enough information to cut it. But if someone needs a quick answer to a question that’s been plaguing them, the goal is for the AI Overview to provide all the information the searcher wants, no need to look any further.

The Problem For SEO

Obviously, this presents problems for SEO. If you build your digital marketing around search engine optimization, only for users to stop actually going through the search results on Google, you may find that traffic to your website diminishes. Because this is a new feature, digital marketers are still scrambling to figure out how to optimize for it.

However, this isn’t a hopeless situation. For one thing, AI Overview doesn’t show up on every search. These AI overviews often show up for more complex searches and even then, tend to show up at random based on Google’s algorithm. They also often reference high authority websites for further information, which could be a boon for SEO marketers once they can use it.

How To Optimize For Google’s AI Overview

We’re still figuring out the best ways to optimize for AI Overview. Google has systems in place to choose the most qualified pieces of content to pull from, but they’ve said, “There is nothing special for creators to do to be considered other than to follow our regular guidance for appearing in search…covered in Google Search Essentials.” So this means many of the ways to optimize for AI Overview are the same things you were doing before.

Make Your Website Crawlable and Indexable

In order to be listed on a Google search at all, Google has to crawl and index your site. Crawling is the process by which Google’s search engine bots discover and search through your site. Indexing is how Google then indexes your site so that it can show up in Google searches. So having a site that is crawlable and indexable is the baseline for any SEO. This includes:

  • Make sure your meta tag’s robot property and x-robot’s tags are accessible
  • Regularly monitor your site and server performance
  • Have clear navigation that directs users and bots to your most important pages
  • Have an easy and accessible user interface

Create Specific, Authoritative Content

AI Overview pulls from content that has rich, highly authoritative information specific to these more complex searches. So if you want your content to be used in these AI overviews, you want to provide very specific, authoritative content. Do some research into some of the long-tailed keywords your target audience is likely to search for and create blogs based on those keywords.

Of course, it’s not enough to have your content scraped by Google’s AI. That won’t necessarily lead to more clicks on your website, since users are able to get the information you offer without going to your website. This is where establishing your brand as an authority can come in handy. The more authority you have, the more likely your page is to be linked as a reference in the AI overview. That, in turn, will draw more traffic to you.

Focus on Engaging Topics Rather Than Keywords

SEO has a strong focus on using keywords that are likely to be searched by your target audience in order to push your webpage further up in the search results for that website. But with AI overview, keywords might not matter as much. Instead, your goal should be to be linked as a reference in that overview. For this, you may need to focus on strong topics that are likely to be searched for. This can be a boon for content writers. With a focus on topics, you can prioritize writing a strong, informative piece rather than having a certain amount of keywords.

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