Google AI Overviews Shows For Only 15% Queries, Down From 84%

Jun 5, 2024 - 7:51 am 5 by
Filed Under Google

Google Robot Falling

New data from BrightEdge shows that Google is showing far fewer AI Overviews than it did when it first launched them as a beta under the Search Generative Experience. Google went from showing AI Overviews for 84% of queries to showing them for less than 15% of queries.

As you remember, Google launched AI Overviews a couple of weeks ago in the US. Then over time, many started to see and share weird and embarrassing (sometimes harmful) examples of AI Overviews, which led to Google updating its help documentation and Google's CEO going on defensive.

Then last week, Google downplayed the AI Overviews issues and issued a new AI Overviews update - the Ray update.

With that, Google has been showing far fewer AI Overviews in the Google Search results. "Google has gradually been reducing AI in search results from 84% to under 15%," BrightEdge wrote. In fact, BrightEdge said, "since mid-April, Google has slowly been removing Opt-in results to the point where they now barely show up."

The rationale, "The likely reason is to reduce the risks of incorrect AI answers while refinements are made in a public environment," they wrote. Of course, I do not disagree. But I'd add in there, also the cost of running these, plus they likely don't work so well with Google Ads, and thus generate less revenue than a search result page without AI Overviews, at least at this point.

Here is a chart showing the decline over time:

Google Reduces Ai Overviews Search

Here is some data from BrightEdge on the factors that influence when an AI Overview shows up:

  • AI Overviews are 195% more likely to appear when Featured Snippets are present. Questions are more likely to trigger an AI Overview.
  • Local queries are the least likely to have AI Overviews.
  • Sitelinks are also less likely to trigger an AI Overview. These results are usually associated with brand terms, indicating that Google is reducing the risk of providing misinformation for brands.

Here is a chart on that:

Google Ai Overviews Factors

Here is when they show by industry:

  • 63% of keywords in healthcare show an AI Overview.
  • In B2B Tech, 32% of keywords show an AI Overview; in Ecommerce, 23%.
  • Restaurants and travel show very few AI Overviews.

Google Ai Overviews By Industry May 2024

Wired also covered it, as Search Engine Land and others, and in the Wired story, Mark Traphagen told Wired, "They have really turned up the safeguards," adding "They're all from well-known, credible sources."

I do suspect Google will slowly being to show them more often as:

(1) They figure out how to get people to click on the ads with them there

(2) They get more confident in the results being safe

(3) They become cheaper

(4) And maybe when the clicks to publishers in the free listings and those AI cards get clicks

Also, here is an update from SEOClarity:

I did find the 15% number interesting, in that, Google says 15% of all queries are new and they have never seen them before.

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