Generative AI is Why Your Google Search Looks Different

If you’ve opened Google and asked, “Why does my search look different?” Generative AI is the answer! We’re breaking down all the changes in this blog.

Why does my google search look different

If you’ve opened Google recently and asked yourself, “Why does my Google search look different?” You’re not alone. We asked ourselves the same thing and then did a deep dive into what was going on with Google’s latest search updates.

Turns out, Google has been working hard to make our lives easier. That includes adding generative AI to their search results pages. Keep reading to learn more about this update and what it could mean for small business owners

Why Does My Google Search Look Different?

When you pull up Google to do a search, you might see something new at the top of the search results page. Google announced that they’ve rolled out generative AI within Search to help aid with inquiries. Per Google, this new type of search can help to “unlock entirely new types of questions you never thought Search could answer, and transform the way information is organized, to help you sort through and make sense of what’s out there.”

Generative AI in Google Search

In essence, Search will be able to better understand longer, more complex questions. Say you want to know, “Which ballpark has better food options, Great American Ballpark or PNC Park?” Before the use of generative AI, you’d probably have to break that down into multiple questions or go to each park’s webpage and hunt down what food choices they offer before making the comparison yourself. But with the help of AI, Search can make these comparisons for you right on the screen. Google is calling this new feature AI Overviews.

What Exactly are AI Overviews?

AI Overviews are AI-powered snapshots at the top of Search that offer a quick overview of a topic along with links to learn more.

It is meant to get you answers faster, without having to dig any further than the search results page of Google. Google has found that “with AI Overviews, people use Search more, and are more satisfied with their results.”

After you’ve gotten the first overview for your inquiry, you’ll then have the option to ask a follow-up question without starting a new search. Take our previous ask about ballpark food for example. Once you see the comparisons, you might ask “When do the Reds play at home next?” because you’ve decided Great American Ballpark has more food you’d like to try and you’re looking to make it to the next game. This new capability is a lot more like you’re having a conversation, instead of just making a series of queries. You ask a question, get a response and then can keep asking questions based on the responses you’re getting back.

With this conversational approach, Google adds a personal element to the search experience. So, it’s no wonder that people are finding their results more satisfying.

Generative AI and Shopping

Not only does generative AI help you make comparisons and find information easier, but it also helps you shop.

Google has announced a new “immersive shopping experience” when it comes to retail ads. Google stated, “Generative AI can help businesses better convey offerings and inspire confidence in consumers right from the ad.” Here’s how:

  • Video-powered search ads – Retailers now have the ability to integrate short-form product videos into their ads. Shoppers can interact with videos, view styling suggestions and other related products. The videos will also show a short summary underneath with relevant product details.
  • Expansion of virtual try-on – Google already launched virtual try-on technology last year, which increased click-through rates and boosted high-quality views by 60%. The newest update has expanded the tech to apparel ads. Allowing shoppers to see how tops fit on different body types to hopefully enhance buyer confidence.
  • 3D shoe spins – With help from generative AI, Google will now create 360-degree views of shoes using a set of images provided by retailers.

What’s Still to Come? Generative AI and Ads

Google has also announced that they will now be including ads within their AI Overviews. Don’t worry, you’ll still receive an answer to your query, but under that answer, you will see ads related to that answer.

Say you ask Google how to remove a wine stain from your favorite white shirt. AI Overviews will display an AI-generated answer with tips from around the web but will also display popular stain treatments that you can purchase.

This combination allows searchers to make an informed choice all within just a single search, instead of searching specifically for “home stain treatments for wine” or “which stain spray is best for wine.” Again, this gives you whatever answer you may be searching for without ever leaving the SERP.

What Does This Mean for Small Businesses?

So now that we’ve talked about generative AI and the changes to Google search, let’s talk about what this means for small businesses.

First, Google’s main priority is always to keep searchers on the search page. They don’t really want you to click into other links and the new AI overviews just reinforces this. That means the content you create for your site is going to get pushed further down in the SERP. And if a searcher is satisfied with the answers given in AI overviews, they might never venture further down on the page to click on your site. This is going to impact SEO and site visits.

Conversely, if Google deems your content as authoritative and helpful, it has the potential to show up in the AI Overview, making your site the “first ranked” site on the SERP and more likely to be clicked on if a search needs more info.

The addition of ads into AI Overview also has the potential to make a huge, positive impact on small businesses. Potential customers will be exposed to your products before they even know they want to purchase something. This adds an entirely new element of discoverability and brand awareness.

Final Thoughts

Google has clearly been working toward a lot of useful applications for their AI models to compete with other tech. This means a lot of big changes for those who use Google every day and even more changes for small businesses who rely on Google.

While something like the addition of ads within AI overviews might be extremely helpful in building brand awareness, your organic content being pushed further down the page isn’t as helpful. We’re outlining the ins and outs of these changes so you can think about how they might impact your marketing in the future.

And if you need even more help figuring out what type of digital marketing is best for your business, visit RevLocal’s services page or give us a call to receive a free, no-obligation consultation.

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