Since Google announced its rollout of AI Overviews, the top question on the minds of all SEOs has been how it will impact their rankings and organic search performance. 

The next logical question is – how can you track AI Overviews in the SERP and report key insights to stakeholders and executives?

Continue reading or watch our webinar below (recorded May 22, 2024) to get the basics on what AI Overviews is and how seoClarity can provide the answers you’re searching for. 


Table of Contents: 


What Are Google’s AI Overviews?

AI Overviews is a new Google search feature that uses generative AI to create quick answers to search queries in the form of a topic preview with links to learn more. 

Powered by Google Gemini, it essentially does the work of piecing together information on a topic from multiple online sources to save the searcher time and provide a general overview – hence the name.

Here’s an example:


And here’s what the AI overview looks like fully expanded upon clicking “Show more”:


As announced on May 14th, Google began rolling out AI Overviews to US-based searchers first, shortly followed by other countries. 

Originally introduced as a part of the Google Search Labs experiment, Search Generative Experience (SGE), that users had to opt into, it will be available to over a billion searchers by the end of 2024.

Here’s a quick timeline of events from SGE to AIO.


Recommended Reading: What’s Next for Google's Search Generative Experience?

Currently, searchers are not able to opt out of AI Overviews. This appears to be a source of frustration for many users who flooded Google’s help forums for advice on how to turn them off or block them.

You can also see how the Google trends chart for “turn off Google AI” spiked over the week that AI Overviews were launched to the public. 

Given the scale of its release and the extensive amount of SERP real estate it takes up, SEOs are rightfully concerned about how it will impact their organic rankings and overall SEO performance.


How Do AI Overviews Work?

Before we dive into how you can measure the impact of AI Overviews, let’s quickly go over how they work. 

Here is the general model that appears to be followed when generating responses:

  1. Query Processing: When you type in a query, the AI processes your words and generates a text response, similar to how ChatGPT functions.
  2. Document Selection: Google’s algorithm then selects a small group of relevant web pages that contain information related to the generated response.
  3. Fact-Checking: These selected documents act as fact-checkers. If any information in these documents contradicts the AI-generated text, the AI adjusts its response accordingly. These are the “sources” you see in each response.
  4. Evaluation: While we’re not entirely sure if this step is being completed anymore, there might be an additional evaluation step to score the response's accuracy and relevance before presenting it.


How to Monitor The Impact of AI Overviews on Your Rankings and Traffic

As a part of our commitment to innovation, seoClarity has been tracking SGE in Labs for months prior to the rollout of AI Overviews. 

This ensured that our platform could integrate AI Overviews as soon as they started appearing in regular search, and immediately report on their impact. 

This rapid integration and reporting has been made possible due to our extensive infrastructure that tracks hundreds of millions of keywords, allowing us to see if and when AI Overviews appear for each query. In addition, we can also provide data on what posts are linked in the result.

Here are the key capabilities in our platform where you can monitor the impact of AI Overviews as they continue to evolve and roll out to more and more users.


AI Overviews SERP Feature

Currently, we are tracking and reporting on data for AI overview summaries generated as a "Top Insights" panel via our new AI overview SERP Feature in the platform.

Clients can use this new AI overview SERP Feature in

  • Rank Intelligence: To filter for keywords that trigger AI Overviews
  • SERP Features: To dive deep into whether their website or competitor's has a link from the AI overview
  • Research Grid Domains: To see how many keywords trigger this for keywords they or their competitors rank for.

As the more widely publicized format of AI Overviews begins to appear in public SERPs for users who are not logged into Google, it will be automatically reported as part of this new SERP Feature.


Visibility Share

Visibility Share is an innovative rank tracking metric that helps you understand your overall pixel real estate on the SERP for your most important keywords.

It measures your result’s distance from the top of the page, identifies which fold your result appears in, and calculates your listing’s pixel height. It also determines if there’s an opportunity for organic placement in the first fold and reveals the number of organic results displayed for your search.

This metric helps SEOs grasp the true impact of AI Overviews on their rankings, showing how results may be pushed down in the SERP.

With Visibility Share, you can conduct early forensics to detect changes in your pixel depth before detailed data on the exact presence of AIOs is available. If you notice a significant increase in pixel depth, you can investigate further and potentially attribute it to AI results affecting your ranking.


Trended CTR

Search Analytics is a fantastic place to check if AI Overviews are negatively impacting traffic for specific terms.

With 450 times more data than what's available directly from Search Console, Search Analytics offers a crucial resource for tracking how these changes impact site traffic (including trended CTR) at the keyword and URL level. 

When SERP real estate is taken up by features like AI overview results, your CTR for regular results typically decreases – even if your rankings remain stable.

Search Analytics provides daily, weekly, and monthly views of CTR, allowing you to see how features like AIO and others affect your results over time. By integrating CTR data with log files, crawl data, and ranking data, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the overall impact of these features.


SERP Previews

Every time we rank check a keyword, we capture an image of the SERP and store it. This allows you to go back and compare what the SERP looked like on specific dates, whether it's Google Desktop, Google Mobile, or any other search engine.

This is incredibly powerful because seeing a rank position is one thing, but being able to visualize your visibility share and pixel ownership above and below the fold provides a much clearer picture. 

Comparing SERP images from different dates helps tell the reporting story and identifies changes in the search landscape, offering insights on how to improve your strategy.

With just one click, you can view the changes between any two dates (i.e. before and after AI Overviews were launched), making it easier to spot trends and adjust your approach accordingly.


The Impact of AI Overviews on SEO So Far…

We asked several clients for their 100 most important keywords and conducted searches to see how often AI overview results appeared. We’ll refer to the results that Google shows AI Overviews for as “queries that deserve summaries” or QDR for short. 

Here are some of the most notable impacts that we’ve uncovered so far as of June 12, 2024 (we will continue to update our findings as we conduct more tests.)

AIO by Industry_May 30 - June 12 (1)

AIO Appears for Nearly 10% of Queries in Our Sample

Based on our analysis of nearly 2700 keywords from ten diverse clients, our analysis shows that AI Overviews appear for 9.78% of queries. The presence of AI Overviews varied widely across industries, ranging from 1% to about 25%.

This 9.78% average is down from our initial findings of 15% and is lower than what we observed in SGE. It's important to note that this figure might be skewed slightly high due to the complex informational queries that these clients value, which, as you’ll see below, tend to produce AIOs more frequently.

These are again, admittedly small keyword sets, but this is an early  glimpse at how often AI Overviews will occur.


Key takeaways on the impact of AIOs:

  • Impact on transactional keywords: After running hundreds of transactional searches, I found that while AIO may still appear for longer-tail queries with some transactional intent, head terms do not appear to typically show AIO results.
  • Impact on keywords with informational intent: AIOs mostly appear for informational queries – especially where people want to do something, get something done, know the steps of something, or complete a task. That being said, it appears that the QDS (queries that deserve summaries) for AI Overviews has gone down significantly compared to SGE when it comes to informational queries.
  • Impact on Your Money Your Life (YMYL) Keywords: We were surprised to see AI Overviews appear for some YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) queries, which include searches related to health, finances, well-being, and mental health—critical information that can significantly impact users' lives. And Google is taking some grief for that on social media with many people voicing their concerns about the danger of the results potentially providing misinformation. 
  • Impact on keywords with local intent: Previously, SGE appeared for local results, but now AI Overviews are no longer shown for these queries based on our sample. I tested numerous searches that typically trigger local map results and the three-pack, but none showed AI Overviews.

Recommended reading: Generative AI's Impact on SEO: 5 Ways SEO Will Change


Why Are AI Overviews So Limited?

Google's announcement and rollout of this feature seemed abrupt, but it's still somewhat limited. We’ve observed that overall AI Overviews appear for far fewer queries, even among informational searches, than did SGE results in Labs.

This indicates that there is some hesitation from Google to launch a full-scale implementation.

Some of the causes for why AIOs aren’t showing up for more queries could include: 

  • Intent mismatch between what the searcher is looking for and what AI Overviews currently generate.
  • Lack of authority and trust in the AI overview results (i.e. sources shown in the AIOs are sometimes from questionable sites)
  • Lack of usefulness - AIOs have fewer filters and features than traditional search results making them potentially less useful for searchers.


How Can You Get Included in AI Overviews?

Everyone wants to know how to benefit from AI Overviews. According to Google, “no action is needed.”

Basically, they're saying there's nothing you can do. The selection is automatic, so it's just going to show links to resources that support the information from a diverse range of publishers, creators, and businesses.

To rank in AI Overviews and appear as one of the clickable sources, we suggest that SEOs continue striving to create high-quality content. If the AI deems your content relevant, it may include it in the overviews. Traditional SEO practices for ranking on the first page of Google are likely less influential here; relevance and quality of content are key.



The main takeaway is: don't panic. Most AI responses target long-tail, low search volume queries, which are generally unlikely to significantly impact most sites.

Instead of planning a funeral for your site’s SEO, assess the importance of these queries for your site. If you notice AI Overviews appearing for specific queries, aim to become one of the sources featured. Focus on making your content clear, complete, and well-structured to increase your chances of inclusion.

Want to learn more about how seoClarity can help you monitor the impact of AI Overviews on your rankings and traffic? Schedule a demo today!

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