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Google launches AI Overviews in the U.S

This week at Google’s annual I/O conference, the search engine announced that they were officially rolling out AI Overviews (previously Search Generative Experience) in the U.S., with the aim to extend this to other countries in the future. With generative AI now incorporated directly into Google Search, there’s a lot to unpack on how this update will affect SEO and organic search results. We’ve previously covered what you need to know about Google SGE, and shared insights from our CEO John Readman and Exposure Ninja’s Founder, Tim Cameron-Kitchen, on what websites should be doing in order to appear in SGE. But now that AI Overviews are finally here, what’s it all going to look like in practice?   

What is Search Generative Experience / AI Overviews? 

AI Overviews are enabled by a customised Gemini model, designed to bring information to users quickly, from multiple sources across the web. Here’s Google’s official announcement and guidance as the rollout takes place: 

  • Starting this week, hundreds of millions of users in the U.S. will have access to AI Overviews, with over a billion people forecasted to have access by the end of the year. 
  • The generative AI feature aims to take care of the legwork of search, by providing an overview of a topic and links to learn more. 
  • People have already used AI Overviews billions of times during testing in Search Labs. Users were visiting a greater diversity of websites and the links included in AI Overviews got more clicks than if the page had appeared as a traditional web listing for that query. 
  • As the AI model develops, users will be able to ask more complex questions with multiple components. The Gemini model’s multi-step reasoning capabilities will be able to compile information that covers all components of a question in one go. 
  • Other upgrades to come include built-in planning capabilities for tasks such as meal prep and travel, options to simplify results or provide more details, AI-organised search results to explore ideas and inspiration, and visual search querying through videos and images.  

What this means for SEO 

So, how does all this impact SEO? Like with most of Google’s updates – including the latest Core Algorithm update that happened in March – there’s a mixture of opinions on whether AI Overviews is good or bad for websites’ organic traffic. Strategic SEO Consultant Eli Schwartz has warned that webpages should expect to see significant decreases in organic click-through rate as generative search begins to take hold, and users become used to getting all the information they need directly from the search engine results page (SERP). But on the reverse side of the debate, there could be even more traffic opportunities for webpages appearing as part of the AI Overviews. Many of the links included do not also rank in the top 10 organic search positions, so websites may have another opportunity to appear on page one.   

Google scaled down the coverage ahead of the launch, so as it stands, the rollout won’t be affecting the majority of search queries just yet. The proportion of results being impacted is looking like:  

  • 14% of queries are currently returning AI generated results automatically.   
  • 28% of queries return AI generated results by pressing the ‘generate’ button. 
  • 58% of queries have no SGE enabled (up from 9% in February). 


Overviews will appear at the top of the SERP in a similar way to featured snippets, and in some cases the AI answer is the only thing above the organic results. This means there might not be much difference than with the usual SERP features we’ve now become accustomed to (such as featured snippets, images etc.). That being said, AI overviews occupy more of the SERP than featured snippets, so we can expect to see organic results pushed further down the page – especially once the multiple-component questions start to be answered. 

What do we think? 

At Modo25, we’re keen to keep ahead of the curve and understand how Google’s updates will impact organic search. Websites ranking on page one should know that there is a risk to their current click-through rate, as other websites may start appearing in AI Overviews, and users will see these before the traditional ranking positions. Organic traffic in general may experience a bit of decline as generative AI starts to take hold, because users may be able to access all the information they need within the SERP, and are therefore less likely to click through to websites. 

That being said, there are new opportunities to embrace here. As we’ve mentioned, websites that aren’t currently ranking in the top 10 positions may be pulled into AI Overviews, providing more click potential. Even if the user doesn’t click through to the links shared in generative search, enhanced visibility will lead to better brand awareness in relation to longer-tail search queries. 

While you can optimise content to increase chances of appearing in generative search, you should avoid making any significant changes to your current SEO practice. Ranking inside the top 10 organic positions remains important, as users will continue to rely on these for a large chunk of search queries (at least for now). 

Here are some of our top tips on how to optimise towards generative search, to maximise your site’s organic potential:  

  • Write and update content so that is concise, up-to-date, and relevant: your website is more likely to be linked to in AI generative search if you provide accurate and helpful information  
  • Consider providing a summary paragraph for each page: this will enable readers and AI models to quickly understand the page’s content, increasing the likelihood of it being used and linked to in AI overviews 
  • Maximise your site’s technical health: AI search will still rely on crawling websites, so technical SEO remains as important as ever.  
  • Utilise Q&A formatting: this will make the link between user search queries and your content explicitly clear, strengthening the chances of appearing in AI Overviews. 

Need some SEO support amidst all these changes?

Google is constantly evolving, and this latest update reaffirms the need to consistently check our SEO practices. Though the rollout of AI Overviews is in its initial stages, we can expect to see more search queries – and users – experience AI generated search over time. If you need SEO expertise, Modo25 can offer a range of SEO strategies and Digital PR services that will maximise your brand’s organic traffic potential. Get in touch with us today at 


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