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Overview

On May 14, 2024, Google rolled out AI Overviews (AIO), a feature that offers a Generative AI summary of information above organic search results for certain queries.

Here's an example:

AI overview example-1

To understand the initial impact of Google's AI Overviews on organic keyword rankings, we asked our clients to send us a sample of the keywords they were most concerned about in terms of the potential effects of AIO.

Our early research, based on 2,700 keywords, provides an initial look at the findings, segmented by industry, keyword intent, and keyword type (e.g., YMYL, local, and buying guides).

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Key Takeaways

  • Prevalence of AI Overviews: Currently, AI Overviews appear in 7.6% of the searches (down from 17.4%).
  • Limited Initial Release: The initial release of AI Overviews is highly limited, predominantly affecting informational queries.
  • Future Tracking: We will continue to track the number of queries that display AI Overviews as more data becomes available.
  • Immediate Testing: As soon as you have access to AI Overviews, we suggest testing the queries that matter most to your business.

 

AI Overviews Appear in 7.6% Of Searches (Down From 17.4%)

Of the thousands of queries we tracked before May 30, 2024, 17.4% resulted in an AI Overview response. 

On May 30, 2024, however, Google released an AIO pullback announcement stating that they made over a dozen technical system improvements to address concerns over "odd, inaccurate, or unhelpful AI Overviews." 

Since this announcement, diverse types of client sites that all had over 20% AIO for their keywords before May 30 saw an overall drop of 20% of those keywords showing AIO.

For clients we analyzed post-May 30, the average appearance of AIO is now down significantly to 7.6%.
 
We will continue tracking AIO and updating this figure as we gather more data.

 

AIO Impact by Industry

The presence of AI Overviews varies significantly across different industries. Based on our analysis, here's a breakdown of the impact by industry:

AIO by Industry_May 30 - June 12 (1)

 

Prior to Google's system updates on May 30, our data showed that Automotive, Technology, and Healthcare had been impacted the most by AIO so far.

Since then, however, AIO now appears to impact the Home Warranty, Technology, and Social Media industries most significantly.

Note: Many more industries were represented in our sample, but we focused on those with the most keywords. This data will be updated in the coming weeks. 

 

Impact By Intent: AIO Primarily Appear for Informational Queries

Transactional: AI Overviews do not currently appear for most transactional head terms but may show when there's a mix of commercial and informational intent.

Informational: Although informational queries produce AI Overviews, the frequency is lower than what we observed in SGE (Search Generative Experience) – the experimental version of AI overviews available only to users who opted into it in Google Labs since May 2023.

Recommended ReadingWhat’s Next for Google's Search Generative Experience?

Compared to SGE, informational queries deserving summaries (QDS) have decreased, but AI Overviews still appear primarily for keywords with strong informational intent, especially where users seek to perform a task or obtain detailed steps (as of May 30, 2024).

 


AI Overviews Impact 44% of YMYL Keywords

YMYL (Your Money/Your Life) queries are those that could affect a person’s physical or financial well-being.

Based on our analysis of 50 YMYL keywords tested on June 3, 2024, AI Overviews appear in 44% of these queries. Specifically, 58% of "Life" keywords (15 out of 26) and 24% of "Money" keywords (7 out of 24) now show AI Overview results.

AIO YMYL - June

This analysis was conducted just four days after Google announced significant changes to enhance the accuracy and reliability of AI Overview results. 

Notably, all source links in these AI Overviews now come from reputable sources such as the Mayo Clinic and CDC, and most are from pages already ranking in the top 10 organic search results.

 

AI Overviews Don’t Appear for Local Keywords

Previously, Search Generative Experience (SGE) appeared for local results. But, based on our sample, AI Overviews are no longer shown for these queries. 

Recommended Reading5 Research-Backed SGE Insights All SEOs Should Know

We tested numerous searches that typically trigger Local Map results and the Three-Pack, but none displayed AI Overviews (as of May 30, 2024).

 

AI Overviews Appear Inconsistently For Buying Guide Keywords

SGE results also used to appear for short queries like "child’s bike buying guide," but AIO for such queries are now less common. 

AI Overviews may still show for longer queries like "guide to choosing the right bike for a child," though not consistently (as of May 30, 2024).

 

Research Methodology

These insights are based on the analysis of 2,700 keywords from diverse clients, each submitting their  most important keywords. 

Note: The figures in this study may be skewed slightly high due to the complex informational nature of the queries these clients value, which tend to produce AI Overviews more frequently.

 

Next Steps

Clients can send us their most critical keywords, and we’ll provide an analysis of which ones are currently getting an AI Overview (AIO) response.

To monitor the impact of AI overviews on your rankings and traffic, we’ve outlined several ways to do so using the seoClarity platform – including using our new AI Overviews filter in SERP Features which tracks AIO summaries generated as a "Top Insights" panel.

Not currently an seoClarity client? Learn more about how our platform can help you monitor and strategize for AIO by scheduling a quick demo.

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Mark_Circle_HeadshotAbout the Author: Mark Traphagen

 Mark Traphagen is Vice President of Product Marketing and Training for seoClarity. His previous careers as a salesman and then a teacher were excellent preparations for what he does now. Mark's deep dive into online marketing began about 14 years ago when he was tasked with turning around a failing independent bookstore. He took the store online and developed practices of content marketing, influencer relationships, exceptional customer service, and community building that brought the store to profitability in two years. Since that time he has dedicated himself to learning what really works for online business success. He is a sought after speaker at conferences such as PubCon, State of Search, and SMX, and a featured writer for major online publications such as the Moz Blog, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, and a VIP Columnist for Search Engine Journal.