The AI Overview Experience: The New Shift in Google Search Results

When was the last time you searched on Google for the results of a question or query? If it’s been a while, then you might not necessarily be aware of the new AI Overview method that’s been added to search queries for months. It uses generative AI to provide answers to more complex questions posed in Google searches that might otherwise lead to confusing results.

This all sounds well and good, but why does this matter? What’s the point of covering incremental changes in the way Google rolls out its new AI Overview tool?

Well, to best serve our clients, we need to know how Google interacts with everyday users. This search could impact the use of ads which many businesses depend on. We also think it’s valuable to cover some of the missing data and problems with this kind of AI Overview, as well as ways to harness its interactivity.

What Is AI Overview?

Before we can understand the shifting nature of the AI Overview Experience, we need to talk about what it is. Here’s a quote from a Google spokesperson.

“AI Overview uses the new Gemini model customized for Google Search. It brings together Gemini’s advanced capabilities–including multi-step reasoning, planning and modality–with our best-in-class Search systems.” 

This can be helpful for more complex searches such as questions with multiple steps and searches for health complications. With an AI language model, searchers can get responses that are both detailed and coherent, all at the top of a page with additional search results.

But this feature isn’t included in all searches. Sometimes it can be very wrong, like the time it gave some bad advice on how to pass a kidney stone. It seems Google is still working out where to best fit this model in, and how to iron out the kinks.

More AI Overviews in More Places

It seems AI Overview is here to stay! Liz Reid, Google’s new head of Search, announced that AI overview will be rolling out to all US-based searchers and will be reaching more countries soon. By the end of the year, it will be available to more than a billion users.

Businesses that rely on search engine optimization must adapt to this new technology since it’s only becoming more available over time. Whether or not users of Google enjoy this new feature is still up for debate, but it will be appearing more often for the time being.

Does this replace the featured snippets that we often see at the top of a search? No, Google is clear that this AI Overview is not a replacement for the featured snippets that appear for some searches. They will both appear depending on the type of query that is made. Like the snippets, searchers do not have a way to opt out of AI Overviews for now.

Does the AI Overview Impact Ads?

For many businesses that rely on Google advertising, this is a lingering question. At the moment, the answer is no.

Liz Reid mentioned, “As always, ads will continue to appear in dedicated slots throughout the page, with clear labeling to distinguish between organic and sponsored results.” For the moment, anyone investing in a Google advertising strategy can take a deep breath and rest easy.

Ads will continue to show on Google results even with the AI Overview answering queries at the top of the page. According to Google, people are clicking ads and finding them helpful either above or below the AI Overview, which means they’re more likely to stay where they are.

The Missing Data on Clicks

Many search engines are starting to implement artificial intelligence into their models. Microsoft is using Copilot in Bing Search, just as Google is using Gemini. However, the data of how many clicks these AI Overviews receive is still not known to the public, even as Google collects it.

There’s no way to see if a site’s information was used in an AI Overview, if there was an impression, or even if someone clicked on it.

This is making some people skeptical of the clicks that AI Overviews generate. If it produces a lot of clicks, why not share that information? But until this reporting gets broken down in the Search Console for users, we will have to keep guessing.

Staying Up to Date

With AI being fully integrated into our search platforms, we need to stay up to date on how it finds and sorts data. In order to properly use paid advertisements successfully, or to rank highly in Google Search results, we’ll need to stay aware of how AI is impacting all of this.

As always, iMarket Solutions will keep you updated. Being dedicated to contractor success means that we approach it from all angles, being aware of even the most minor changes to search engines like Google and Bing.

Contact iMarket Solutions for up-to-date information on Google best practices and search engine strategies that work.