Page One Power Blog > Google SGE Goes Live (Clone)

Google SGE Goes Live (Clone)

On May 14, 2024, Liz Reid, VP and Head of Google Search, announced that the search engine officially launched AI Overviews in the US. In the announcement, Reid stated that users can now rely on Google to search for them. Let’s dive into the logistics. 

You may be familiar with AI Overviews if you opted into the Search Labs experiments. Google began testing AI Overviews as part of the Search Generative Experience in May 2023. Then, in May 2024, Google began testing AI Overviews for a subset of users. 

AI Overviews provide a “quick answer” to specific queries using generative AI. This AI is powered by Google Gemini, a technology that combines multi-step reasoning, planning, and multimodality with the power of Google Search. Reid stated that Google customized a new Gemini model for Search, enhancing its capabilities and making it more efficient in providing accurate and relevant answers. 

Reid stated:

“With AI Overviews, people are visiting a greater diversity of websites for help with more complex questions. And we see that the links included in AI Overviews get more clicks than if the page had appeared as a traditional web listing for that query. As we expand this experience, we’ll continue to focus on sending valuable traffic to publishers and creators. As always, ads will continue to appear in dedicated slots throughout the page, with clear labeling to distinguish between organic and sponsored results.”

Google’s primary aim with AI Overviews is to enhance users' search experience. By leveraging its multi-step reasoning capabilities, the feature can process complex queries, eliminating the need for users to break up their questions into multiple searches. This user-centric approach underscores Google's commitment to providing the best search experience. 

Reid included an example in her announcement:

“For example, maybe you’re looking for a new yoga or pilates studio, and you want one that’s popular with locals, conveniently located for your commute, and also offers a discount for new members. Soon, with just one search, you’ll be able to ask something like “find the best yoga or pilates studios in Boston and show me details on their intro offers, and walking time from Beacon Hill.”

Other features of AI Overviews include:

  • Filters to simplify language or provide more detail;
  • Planning capabilities for daily life tasks;
  • AI-organized search results;
  • Google Lens Ask with Video.

Barry Schwartz, of SEO Roundtable and a contributing editor at Search Engine Land, spoke with Hema Budaraju, Senior Director of Product, Search Generative Experience, Google, about AI Overviews. Budaraju told Schwartz:

“The link cards within AI Overviews generate a higher click-through rate than traditional web search results. However, Google will not break down impressions and click data for AI Overview links in Google Search Console.”

Additionally, Budaraju stated that users won’t see AI Overviews for every query. They are “reserved for more complex questions where Google feels it can add value beyond search results.” However, he was unwilling to share what percentage of queries would generate an AI Overview. 

Additionally, Schwartz discovered that Google Search Console will not distinguish between impressions generated by traditional search and AI Overview. As of right now, we are unsure why Google made this choice. 

Unfortunately, websites cannot opt out of AI search results without opting out of regular search results. Since AI Overviews are a part of Search, site owners would need to opt out of Search altogether by using robots.txt or meta tags. However, Google now provides documentation preventing content from appearing in AI Overviews. 

“AI Overviews offer a preview of a topic or query based on a variety of sources, including web sources. As such, they are subject to Search's preview controls.”

The documentation also states:

“If you implemented preview controls and you're still seeing your content appear in AI Overviews, try the following steps:

  • Make sure that the preview control is correct and visible to Googlebot. To test if your implementation is correct, use the URL Inspection tool to see the HTML that Googlebot received while crawling the page.
  • Allow time for Google to recrawl and process the change in preview controls. Remember that crawling can take anywhere from several days to several months, depending on how often our systems determine a page needs to be refreshed. If you've made changes, you can request that Google recrawl your pages.

If you tried the troubleshooting steps and still find issues, post in the Google Search Central Help Community.”

AI Overviews, while taking up significant space in search results, present a new opportunity for SEO professionals. By understanding and adapting to this feature, they can develop specialized strategies to effectively rank in SGE results, empowering them to navigate the evolving landscape of search engine optimization. 

Kaitie Frank
Kaitie is a copywriter and content writer for Page One Power who specializes in SEO-optimized content. She has written for various niches and prides herself in knowing random tidbits of information. In addition to putting words to paper, she indulges in physical fitness and telling her cat why he is, in fact, a good boy.

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