SEO writing

Get Ready for Google SGE and AI Overviews: Don’t Panic, Adapt

Victoria Kurichenko

written by

Victoria Kurichenko

posted on

June 8, 2024

If you manage a website, there’s likely a reason why you do it.

Perhaps you want users to fill out a contact form, sign up for your email list, or buy your product.

So, the purpose of a website is to help you achieve your business goals.

Agree?

However, the success rate will depend on how many people will stumble upon your website.

As an SEO specialist, I’ve focused on helping websites attract organic traffic for years.

Compared to other traffic generation sources, like social media or paid search ads, SEO seems more sustainable even though it requires a lot of work.

The payoff? Consistent traffic, even without constant new content. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?

That’s why I was, and technically still am, a big SEO advocate.

However, SEO has evolved significantly in recent years.

With the introduction of SERP features like knowledge graphs and search snippets, two-thirds of Google searches end without a click, according to the study.

Google search CTR study
Results of the study conducted by Rand Fishkin.

The study results and implications are astonishing!

Two out of three users get answers to their questions right on Google without a need to navigate elsewhere.

It’s definitely an improvement in user experience.

However, what about website owners?

Did Google think about content creators and site owners when implementing SERP snippets?

You might disagree, but I’d say “no,” as maintaining search visibility becomes more difficult over time.

With the introduction of the Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) in 2023, we get closer to conversational search, where websites might become even less important.

What’s Google SGE?

Google SGE is a new feature that uses AI to provide you with summarized answers to your queries directly on the search page.

SGE can provide concise overviews of complex topics, highlight key points from lengthy articles, and even suggest follow-up questions.

This can impact everyone by making it much faster and easier to find the information you need online.

If you aren’t familiar with this topic yet, here’s a short introduction video from Google.

On May 14th, Google rolled out the AI overviews in the USA.

This lets users see summaries and insights generated by AI alongside their search results, while Google gathers valuable data on how users interact with this new technology.

Here’s what Google claims will change when they roll out SGE globally:

You can ask complex questions, such as this one: “What are the best yoga studios in Toronto with beginner-friendly programs?” and get AI overviews with summarised answers and links.

Google SGE and AI Overviews

In the future, searching the web will feel more like a chat.

Instead of starting a new search every time, you can simply ask for more details on your current search with a tap.

This is a big improvement, right?

It suggests that Google might lead us toward a future where searching will be like having a conversation with a super-informed AI helper who knows everything about you.

Google conversational search
Google conversational search

Google search ads won’t disappear!

They’ll continue to play a vital role in helping businesses reach their potential customers and, of course, making Google a lot of money!

Google claims search ads will have their dedicated spots on the search result page.

On that point, I agree with them.

But the real question is, how much will organic search results suffer if these AI summaries and ads take over the top of the page?

SERP with SGE and ads
SERP with SGE and ads

According to Google, one of the most incredible SGE features is video search, which basically lets you record a video, upload it to Google, and get instant help — no typing required!

Let’s say you have an issue with your camera that you don’t know how to fix.

Instead of searching for solutions online, you can just film it, upload the video to Google, and receive step-by-step repair instructions in seconds.

Google SGE video

What Google SGE means for website owners

Since I’m based in Canada, AI overviews still don’t work for me.

However, if you live in one of the eligible countries, follow these instructions to activate it yourself.

Nevertheless, I’ve been following the news about Google SGE, checking users’ feedback on social media, and wondering how to prepare.

I believe Google SGE presents both opportunities and risks for site owners.

In my opinion, website owners will definitely see a traffic drop for informational keywords since users will likely get answers to their questions right on the search result page.

Here are a few examples of informational keywords:

  • How-to keywords: “How to change a tire,” “How to bake a cake.”
  • Definition keywords: “Photosynthesis definition,” “What is the capital of France?”
  • Question keywords: “Why is the sky blue?” “What causes the common cold?”

So, if your content creation strategy prioritizes informational keywords only, your website might be affected.

Here’s what you can do:

First, target more specific queries (long-tail keywords) that search engines might not be able to answer directly on the results page.

Second, balance informational with transactional and commercial keywords that target users who are ready to make a purchase.

Check my SEO ebook to learn more about keyword research and SEO optimization.

Last but not least, align your content with Google’s EEAT, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust.

It’s a concept that Google uses to evaluate the quality and credibility of web content, specifically to assess if search results are helpful to users. While not a direct ranking factor, EEAT plays a significant role in how Google ranks content.

There’s one more thing I want to highlight about AI overviews:

At this point, there’s nothing you can do to get featured in AI overviews!

According to Google:

“AI overviews appear in Google Search results when our systems determine that generative responses can be especially helpful — for example, when you want to quickly understand information from a range of sources, including information from across the web and Google’s Knowledge Graph.

No action is needed for publishers to benefit from AI Overviews.”

I assume Google might use information from various search results (not only the top-ranking pages) to generate AI overviews.

This might help some website owners get more traffic. However, this could also mean increased competition for visibility, as AI-generated summaries might divert attention from individual search results.

The bottom line

With the full-scale introduction of Google SGE, SEO will never be the same.

Online user behavior and the conventional way of finding information on the web will shift towards conversational search.

Since SGE is still an experimental feature, no one knows how it will eventually impact site owners and which industries will be affected the most.

You’ll likely hear many opinions, thoughts, and recommendations from experts on how to prepare for SGE.

The truth is, no one knows anything for sure!

When Google rolls out SGE worldwide, AI overviews may look and work very differently.

That’s why I prioritize diversification.

Instead of focusing solely on rankings, it’s crucial to create high-quality content that provides value to users across various marketing channels, including social media, email marketing, paid ads, and influencer marketing, to name a few.

This way, you’ll be prepared for any changes in the search landscape and ensure your content reaches your target audience.

Victoria Kurichenko

Hello there! 

My name is Victoria.
I am an SEO expert, Medium top writer, solopreneur, and the founder of Self Made Millennials. I help companies create optimized content and attract potential customers through organic search results. In addition, I share how content creators can monetize their writing skills.

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