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WNMC24: Google AI Overviews

WNMC24: Google AI Overviews

Slides from my presentation at the 2024 WAN-IFRA World News Media Congress where I showed what we currently know about the impact of Google's new AI Overview feature.

Barry Adams

May 29, 2024

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  1. Barry Adams ➢ Dutchman in Northern Ireland ➢ Active in

    SEO since 1998 ➢ Specialised in SEO for News Publishers since 2010 ➢ Newsletter: SEOforGoogleNews.com ➢ Co-founder of the News & Editorial SEO Summit
  2. SGE: Search Generative Experience • Launched as a Labs feature

    in May 2023 • Only for opted-in users; ➢ Logged in to their Google account ➢ Opted in to SGE via labs.google.com ➢ Based in the USA ➢ Using the Chrome browser
  3. AI Overviews often cite sources • Most AI Overviews have

    at least 1 cited source link ➢ Average number of cited links: 6 ➢ Most cited links are pages ranked on the 1st page
  4. AI Overviews are still limited in scope • Currently only

    in the USA (?); ➢ For users logged in to their Google Account ➢ Using the Chrome browser ➢ Not in Incognito mode
  5. Can we monitor AI Overviews? • Difficult to track with

    3rd party tools; ➢ Only shows for logged in Google accounts ➢ Large-scale data harvesters don’t use Google accounts ➢ Data harvesters use Incognito mode to avoid personalisation
  6. When do AI Overviews trigger? • Estimates range between 1.5%

    and 42% of Google queries; ➢ Average 14% of queries show AIO by default ➢ 28% of queries have a Generate option to create an AIO ➢ 58% of queries have no AIO feature ➢ Varies by search intent ➢ Limited data available, mainly anecdotal
  7. AI Overviews and News • Theory: AIO and QDF are

    mutually exclusive; ➢ QDF: Query Deserves Freshness ➢ QDF is a query/topic classifier that triggers a Top Stories box ➢ QDF = AIO ?
  8. Impact on Traffic? In a nutshell: We don’t know (yet).

  9. Some early anecdotal data • Average traffic impact of AIO;

    ➢ AIO present, page not cited: -2.8% ➢ AIO present & page is a cited source: -8.9% Source: https://www.growth-memo.com/p/the-traffic-impact-of-ai-overviews
  10. AIO is an evolution, not a revolution • Traffic impact

    will not be disastrous; ➢ But it will be noticeable • News will be least affected; ➢ But evergreen content will be impacted • AIO will get better; ➢ Errors will be ironed out, but never totally disappear • It’s yet another feature on Google’s cluttered results; ➢ Another avenue to maximise ad revenue • AIO is Google trying to stay in the AI race; ➢ Intended to satisfy shareholders
  11. Fighting against AI Overviews? • Prevent your content from being

    used to train Google’s Gemini LLM: User-agent: Googlebot-Extended Disallow: / • Probably a good idea; ➢ Prevents your copyrighted content from being used
  12. Fighting against AI Overviews? • Prevent your webpages from being

    linked as a source in an AI Overview: <meta name="robots" content="nosnippet" /> • Probably a bad idea; ➢ Also impacts presentation in all other Google surfaces
  13. It’s been a gradual decline for years • Google says

    they send more clicks to publishers… ➢ Yet we see dwindling numbers from Google year after year • Google says they share more ad revenue with publishers… ➢ Yet our advertising income continues to decline, while Google’s profits soar
  14. AI Overviews are not the death of search • AIO

    is another brick in Google’s wall; ➢ Evolution, not revolution • Google has too much control over the world wide web; ➢ It needs to be regulated or broken up • Don’t try to go at it alone; ➢ Google loves to divide & conquer