Google the future of search

Google I/O 2024 has concluded, and the excitement is palpable. Significant changes are on the horison for digital marketing, particularly in Search.

The most talked-about update is the official rollout of AI Overviews (formerly known as Search Generative Experience) in the United States as of May 14, 2024, with plans to expand to other countries soon.

When SGE first debuted in 2023, it sparked mixed reactions among digital marketers. Some feared a decline in traffic for their pages and clients, while others welcomed the potential of AI in transforming digital marketing. Regardless of the initial reaction, adaptation is crucial. So, what does this year hold for Search? With Google embracing the Gemini Era, let’s explore what that means.

Key Takeaways

The central theme of Google I/O for Search is minimising the time users spend searching for results through AI innovations.

Highlights include the full rollout of AI Overviews, enhancements like Ask Photos for additional information browsing, email summarisation in Gmail, and comprehensive lesson creation from research materials using Notebook LM.

A significant innovation is multi-step reasoning, allowing Google to tackle complex queries using a combination of key phrase logic, ordering, and search reasoning.

AI Overviews will significantly impact businesses, but there’s no need to panic. Focus on creating comprehensive content, enhancing your E-E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), and maintaining technical SEO.

Expanding Beyond SERPs with Personalisation

While many digital marketers focus on changes to the standard Google search engine results page (SERPs), one major takeaway from Google I/O is that search is evolving beyond a SERP-only experience.

Google Photos, Gmail, and Notebook LM are all receiving upgrades powered by Gemini 1.5 Pro.

For instance, by summer 2024, the Ask Photos function will enable users to search their photo libraries for virtually anything. Google CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated how Gemini could locate a forgotten license plate number by searching through all the photos on a device and identifying the most frequently appearing car.

Similarly, Gmail’s upgrade will benefit busy marketers by summarising recent emails, functioning almost like an executive assistant. With multimodality and long-context capabilities, Gemini can now search and summarise all recent emails to help users stay organised.

Lastly, Notebook LM, a research and writing tool introduced at last year’s Google I/O, is getting a significant upgrade. Senior Director of Product Management Josh Woodward demonstrated how Gemini 1.5 Pro could tailor a science lesson to his son’s learning style by creating a guide with study materials, FAQs, and even quisses from uploaded worksheets. This tool can save time when preparing presentations or consolidating research materials.

What Will Search Look Like in the Gemini Era?

While advances in image generation, music, and video are noteworthy, let’s focus on the main event: the impact of Gemini 1.5 and AI Overviews on Search.

Gemini and E-commerce: Circle to Search

Starting with e-commerce, the Circle to Search feature, now available on Android, allows users to circle an item in an image to get links to that specific product. This feature exemplifies Google’s new approach to search, aiming to simplify the process and provide instant results.

Multi-step Reasoning: Evolution of Long-tail Search Queries

A key advancement is Google’s ability to handle complex queries through multi-step reasoning. Head of search Lis Reid described it as tackling queries that are “ten questions in one.” This is achieved by breaking down the query into key phrases, ordering them, and using Google’s Index to provide a comprehensive answer.

For example, a query like “find the best yoga or pilates studios in Boston and show details on their intro offers and walking time from Beacon Hill” would be handled in a single step, providing a detailed and organised response.

AI-organised Search Results Page

AI-organised search results pages are set to revolutionise SEO. Reid demonstrated how a search query for planning a trip to Dallas could yield an AI-organised results page filled with diverse perspectives and content types. This approach minimises the time users spend on SERPs, offering comprehensive answers immediately.

Lens Search with Video

Google is enhancing visual search with Lens search with video, allowing users to record a video while asking questions, and receive answers based on the visual and verbal input. This innovative feature takes visual search to a new level, making it more dynamic and interactive.

Preparing for the Impact of AI Overviews

The advent of AI Overviews signifies a major shift, but it’s important not to panic. Here are some steps to prepare:

  1. Check Your Focus Keywords: Review the SERPs for your key terms. Determine if there are AI Overviews and whether your content is cited.
  2. Get Mentioned: Aim to be cited as a reliable source by getting mentions and links from credible sites.
  3. Optimise Technical SEO: Ensure your site is technically optimised to show Google that your pages are clear, relevant, and authoritative.
  4. Create Comprehensive Content: Focus on in-depth content that addresses complex queries.
  5. Think Long-term: AI Overviews and other features will evolve, so adopt a methodical approach to analysis and execution.

What PageMax Digital Is Doing

At PageMax Digital, we understand the high stakes of AI Overviews’ impact on client websites. Here’s how we’re preparing:

  • Participating in Google’s betas to gather early information on AI Overviews.
  • Optimising content for Generative Experience Optimisation (GEO) to ensure our clients are cited as authorities.
  • Conducting internal SEO tracking to assess the impact of AI Overviews on various industries.
  • Finding innovative ways to get our clients cited and mentioned.
  • Adopting a continuous analysis and execution approach as AI Overviews evolve.

We also focus on technical SEO and creating comprehensive content to ensure our clients are well-positioned for success.

Conclusion

2024 is shaping up to be a monumental year for Search and SEO. With significant algorithm updates and the transition into the Gemini Era, Google is focused on enhancing user experience through AI. Businesses and website owners should follow suit by providing helpful, actionable content and maintaining technical excellence. Adaptability and quality will be key to thriving in this new landscape.

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