What does Google’s new AI feature mean for SEO?

As AI moves more and more into the mainstream, you’ll find it popping up in all sorts of places it wasn’t before. If you’ve been wondering, ‘Does Google use AI for search results?’ the answer is: sometimes. But how does Google use AI in search results, and what does this mean for SEO?

Google’s new AI Overview feature

AI Overview is Google’s new AI driven search feature. If you ask Google a question, it uses AI to provide a small overview answer at the top of the search results. For example, if you Google a clear question like “how to boil an egg”, Google’s AI Overview tells you how.


This AI feature is great for broader questions (and if you don’t mind awkward phrases like “desired doneness”), but when you Google more specific or tricky topics, the AI Overview often does not appear.


However, sometimes it does appear – with whacky results. As with any new feature, AI Overview will need some time to bed in and work out the kinks. Though its ultimate purpose is to make searching simpler for people, AI Overview has already been ridiculed for posting its fair share of (often hilarious, but sometimes downright dangerous) misinformation.

It was reported that, in response to the fairly simple question, “what is the safe temperature for cooking chicken”, one user was given the answer 38 degrees Celsius by Google’s AI Overview. The correct temperature, it’s important to note, is that chicken should be cooked at 73.9 degrees Celsius all the way through.

In another example, the AI Overview appeared to tell users that the best way to make cheese stick to pizza was to mix it with glue: “You can also add about ⅛ cup of non-toxic glue to the sauce to give it more tackiness” – another very dangerous and incorrect recommendation, which the AI seemed to have sourced from a joke post on Reddit from 11 years ago.

Google has stressed that it is “taking a responsible approach” to the introduction of its AI tool in search results. They are training AI Overview to “uphold Search’s high bar for quality” and will continue to make improvements to it.

Google’s AI Overview and SEO

Wondering where SEO comes into all this? An important part of Google’s AI overview feature is that it cites the sources used to provide its answer. This means that creating content marketing written with SEO in mind is still incredibly important.

If users want more information – or the reassurance that the information they’re looking for comes from a knowledgeable, trusted source – they won’t take Google’s AI Overview at face value: they will click on sources linked instead. When you scroll past the AI Overview, the top three articles are the ones listed as sources in the AI feature.

Google’s use of AI in search results is still very new, and changes to the AI Overview feature are inevitable. What will not change is the need for businesses and organisations to create specific, well-written website content tailored to their target audience. The need for SEO and good content marketing is still imperative.

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Our industry expert

Amy Scriven

Senior SEO Executive

From writing meta data to conducting SEO keyword research, Amy knows all when it comes to SEO. Her work is crucial to steering our clients’ digital marketing strategy in the right direction, and increasing website traffic and content engagement.

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