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AI Overviews: What They Are and How They Impact Your SEO

By Samuel Klusmeyer - Last Updated on 06/12/2024
Google announced its newest feature 'AI Overviews' on May 14th, 2024. Like all of Google's AI announcements, understanding how this new feature impacts your business is key to increasing your visibility. 

Keep reading to learn what AI overviews are and how you can use them to improve your SEO. 

What Are Google's New AI Overviews, Exactly?

AI overviews act like an evolved version of the featured snippet in many ways. They provide concise answers to questions at the top of search results and links to relevant websites. 

Unlike snippets, they use Google's generative AI 'Gemini' to create query-specific answers instead of directly quoting website content. Additionally, they will only appear when the Google algorithm believes '... that generative responses can be especially helpful.’

In Google's AI overview announcement, they state the main benefit is providing answers to complex questions. Google states that you can '…ask your most complex questions, with all the nuances and caveats you have in mind, all in one go.’

AI Overviews Often Provide More In-Depth Information Than a Featured Snippet.
AI Overviews Often Provide More In-Depth Information Than a Featured Snippet.

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How Do AI Overviews Affect Your SEO?

According to Google, links '…in AI Overviews get more clicks than if the page had appeared as a traditional web listing for that query.' Notably, the launch announcement doesn't state that overviews are a ranking factor. 

In other words, AI Overviews DO increase traffic to your website which can help you rank. However, the amount of overviews you have won't directly affect how the algorithm sees your website. We can see the same effect with featured snippets.

So, how can your business start appearing in AI Overviews? At the time of publishing, Google provides one piece of guidance. They state 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.' 

This is the same general advice Google gives for 90% of its features. Still, we can take comfort in the fact that SEO best practices have not changed with the launch of Google's AI Overviews. 

Search optimization is much more complex than Google's Search Essentials. So, we typically recommend managed SEO from a team of experts like ours. You can also sign up for a free SEO audit from our team. 

How Can You Prevent Your Content From Appearing in AI Overviews?

AI can hallucinate or incorrectly see bad data as good data, so we recognize that some businesses may want to turn off Google's AI overview search feature for their site. 

According to Google's documentation, hallucinations are 'caused by a variety of factors, including insufficient training data, incorrect assumptions made by the model, or biases in the data used to train the model.' AI Overviews aren't immune to hallucinations. 

Search Engine Land has already reported several instances of incorrect or misleading answers in AI Overview results.

For now, Google is employing its old 'no snippet' meta tag and max-snippet rules to control how AI overviews see your website. These tags are currently the only way to prevent your website from appearing in an overview. 

Google doesn't tell us if these tags impact AI Overview results differently than they will snippets. So, implementing these tags without removing your ability to appear in featured snippets will be tricky. We hope that Google's documentation will improve in the future. 

In many cases, a developer must install the 'no snippet' meta tag manually. Reach out if you need help installing it on your website.

JTech Can Help You Appear In — Or Remove Yourself From — Google's AI Overviews

Our team has been helping our clients improve their online presence since 1997. We're constantly tracking algorithm changes and adapting to a shifting digital landscape. This work allows us to offer the best possible web design and digital marketing services. 

Our research also allows us to give our clients insight into developments like Google's new AI overviews. We hope that you can use this breakdown to improve your business. 

If you need help with website design, web support, or SEO, schedule a discovery meeting with our team. We would be happy to help your business grow. 

  1. Generative AI in Search: Let Google do the searching for you — Google
  2. Featured Snippets: A Shortcut to the Top of Google — Ahrefs
  3. AI Overviews and your website — Google
  4. Google Search Essentials — Google
  5. What are AI hallucinations? — Google
  6. Google AI Overviews under fire for giving dangerous and wrong answers — Search Engine Land
  7. Control your snippets in search results — Google
  8. Featured snippets and your website — Google
Samuel Klusmeyer: Content Specialist

About Samuel Klusmeyer

Samuel Klusmeyer is a content marketing professional with 6+ years of experience writing helpful, search-optimized content that converts. Sam helps clients optimize their website copy or write new copy that speaks directly to their target audience. He leads JTech's internal content marketing efforts — including emails, social media accounts, and E-E-A-T-optimized website articles.