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SEO Strategies in the Age of Google AI Overviews

For decades, websites have allowed Google to index their content in exchange for visibility and traffic. However, Google’s recent introduction of “AI Overviews” marks a significant departure from this arrangement. This new feature provides direct, concise information in search results, eliminating the need for users to visit the original websites.

As a business that relies on web traffic from Google, will you face diminishing returns in a landscape increasingly dominated by Google’s AI-driven initiatives? Is this type of search actually what your customers and clients want? We talked to SEO expert Michelle Symonds, founder and CEO of Ditto Digital, to find out more.

Image of human hand and robot hand touching to illustrate Google AI Overviews

How do you think Google’s AI overviews will change the user experience for everyday search engine users?

In my 15 years as an SEO specialist, I have analyzed large datasets of user behavior that show two main types of information searchers: those who want a quick answer to an immediate question and those looking for content from experts. The first will be satisfied with an AI overview; they are not interested in a detailed expert opinion or an answer to a complicated or nuanced question. The second type of searcher needs trustworthy content to help them make an important decision that cannot be reliably found in an AI overview.

So, in my view, there is room in online search for both Google AI Overviews and well-researched content from respected experts in their field. These serve different user needs at different times … AI Overviews and expert content are not mutually exclusive but can co-exist together.

In what ways should businesses adjust their SEO strategies in response to AI-driven search engine changes?

At Ditto Digital we are already adjusting SEO strategies for our clients by putting more emphasis on meeting Google’s EEAT guidelines (Experience, Expertise, Authority, Trust). Businesses should make sure that content clearly demonstrates … first-hand experience in a particular field, by including real people, real stories and real experiences. This clearly establishes that the content was human-generated.

We know that Google is able to identify AI-generated content and is actively penalizing sites for over-using generative-AI, so this clear emphasis on human-generated content will be an advantage for businesses.

What long-term trends do you anticipate emerging from the integration of AI in search engines, particularly in terms of web traffic distribution?

In terms of web traffic distribution, the AI overviews will definitely have an impact on traffic to websites. However, the loss of that traffic will, in my view, have minimal impact on sales and leads because visitors seeking a quick, trivial response are unlikely to convert anyway. If, however, users are further along their consumer journey and want more detailed information then they would visit a website. So, in a way AI in search is just filtering out the non-converting traffic. When people want to engage with a business then detailed content will be available on the website to engage the audience and raise brand awareness. Losing web traffic because of AI overviews is far from a negative impact and could simply be a way of Google filtering out a non-target audience for us. I see that as a positive.

How’s your content strategy? If it’s ready for review– or if it’s nonexistent– contact us today.