This week, Google hosted its annual Google I/O conference, where they debut new technologies and products for the year ahead.

I watched it live and took copious notes to share with you!

Honestly, there was nothing *that* groundbreaking compared to last year…mostly just building upon what they’ve already created/announced.

However… these updates, coupled with the algorithm changes over the last 8 months, have sparked tons of interesting insights for me…

… and I have LOTS of thoughts/predictions on where the industry is headed!

To summarize my thoughts, I made a list of the 7 updates that will impact content creators the most in 2024.

And honestly, it’s a lot.

So instead of overwhelming you with a giant wall of text, I’ll drip these updates out to you, one by one, over the next week or so.

That way you can digest each update individually, without having to set aside like 90 minutes to read all my thoughts. 😅

So let’s start with one of the biggest updates first! 👇

“AI Overviews” (formerly SGE) will begin rolling out to all US users this week.

If you’re unfamiliar with AI Overviews, they are AI answers to search queries, displayed directly at the top of the Google search results.

Here’s an example:

If you click “Show more”, it will give you links to the websites where it got this information, plus more details:

It’s kind of like a featured snippet on steroids.

This feature launched in beta last year and was formerly called “Search Generative Experience” (or SGE for short).

It has now been renamed as “AI Overview” and it’s rolling out to all English-speaking users in the United States as we speak and will be available in additional countries later this year.

When are AI Overviews displayed?

AI Overviews are not automatically shown for all searches.

They’re reserved for searches where Google thinks an AI Overview will “provide more value” than the traditional search results.

(Aka, if AI can directly answer someone’s question without requiring them to visit a website, they’ll probably do it.)

In some cases, AI Overviews only appear if you click a button to generate them:

And for some queries (like most recipe searches) AI Overviews do not appear at all:

How will this impact traffic to websites?

Google claims that “people are visiting a greater diversity of websites for help with more complex questions” via these AI Overviews…

… and that websites featured in the AI Overviews get more traffic than when featured in the regular search results.

We’ll see if we’re ever given data to back that up.

Buttons to simplify or expand upon the AI Overview are coming soon.

At the top of the AI Overview, you will soon see two buttons that automatically simplify/condense the AI Overview or expand it and make it more in-depth:

This may be a test to see whether people prefer short, medium, or long AI responses to their queries (or if there are different preferences for different types of queries/intents).

That way, Google can learn how to serve better AI responses to searchers.

Erica’s Thoughts:

So, what are my thoughts about this update?

Kudos on the rename.

“AI Overview” is a much clearer name than “Search Generative Experience”, so that’s a good change.

Will they really send more traffic to websites?

I’ve been beta-testing AI Overviews (formerly SGE) for the last year, so I’m used to seeing them inside search.

I’ll be honest, as a user, I am less likely to click and visit a website when I can get the answer to my question right there in the search results.

So…. how do we feel about Google’s claim that they’re sending more traffic to a more diverse set of websites via these AI Overviews???

I think it’s all about the wording here…

Now that Google can answer almost any question you throw at it, directly in the AI Overviews within search…

…. Google is probably drawing upon a wider variety of websites to grab specific, concise answers to a much broader and more complex range of queries.

For example:

On some of my sites, my blog posts don’t rank for their main target keywords anymore (in the regular search results or in the AI Overviews)…

but they DO appear within the AI Overviews for more specific, niche queries, where my content addresses a very specific question directly and authoritatively.

Let’s flesh this out with a real life example.

For the keyword “acorn squash vs kabocha squash”, my blog post is no longer ranking at all (in regular search results or the AI overview)

(The AI overview is pulling from cooking and gardening related websites and the regular search results show generic “winter squash guides” from high authority sites.)

But, if you Google “acorn squash vs kabocha squash nutrition”, then my blog post does rank. In fact, it’s the only link within the AI overview for that more specific query.

So I think Google is getting better at understanding search intent and niche expertise and is adjusting which types of websites they cite for various types of queries accordingly.

It seems like bigger, authoritative websites are scooping up many of the high-volume broader keywords, but specific questions are still linking to websites with niche expertise that can answer the questions better/more directly than large conglomerate sites.

So… if you consider that now AI Overviews can be generated for almost any query imaginable…

… and that smaller sites may be featured in the AI Overviews for hyper-specific searches….

… then yeah, technically Google could claim that they are featuring a wider range of websites now (even if the search volume for many of these queries is super super low.)

Also, there are many examples of websites being featured within the AI Overviews that do not appear in the regular top 10 organic search results…

… so *technically*, Google can say those websites will get more traffic by being featured in SGE (compared to ranking organically in positions 10+).

I’ll stop there for now!

There are 6 more important updates I’ll be sharing with you over the next week…

… then I’ll wrap things up with my higher-level thoughts about how these changes will impact content creators (and what we can do about it.)

I hope you’re enjoying these super deep-dive emails!

Thanks again for being a part of this community ❤️.

Founder of The Unconventional RD

Before you go… here are a few more ways I can help you.

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Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.