Search traffic affected by AI: Google CEO

Search traffic affected by AI: Google CEO

Main Points:

  • The CEO of Google asserts that AI summaries boost website clicks and user interaction.
  • Sites that are losing visitors, according to him, are “aggregators in the middle.”
  • In order to determine the true impact of AI, website owners should closely monitor analytics.

The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, addressed publisher and website concerns regarding the possible impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on web traffic in a recent interview, in addition to discussing the company’s use of AI in search results.

Google Search History of AI

AI-generated summaries and overviews have been progressively added by Google to its search results.

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The goal of these AI summaries is to give users context and speedy responses right away on the search page. Publishers worry that this might significantly lower website click-through rates.

Pichai Says Traffic Is Driven by AI

Pichai remained upbeat about how AI will ultimately impact the web ecosystem in spite of his worries.

He said:

“I remain optimistic. Empirically, what we are seeing throughout these years is that human curiosity is boundless.”

According to the CEO of Google, the company’s internal data indicates that users are more engaged with AI overviews than they are with standard search results. This includes higher click-through rates on links within these previews.

Pichai stated:

“When you give the context, it also exposes people to various branching off, jumping off, points, and so they engage more. So, actually, this is what drives growth over time.”

Pichai said:

People are exposed to different jumping off and branching off points when you provide the context, which encourages greater engagement. In actuality, this is what propels development over time.

Regretfully, Picahi didn’t offer any precise metrics to back up this claim.

“I look at our journey, even the last year through the Search Generative Experience, and I constantly found us prioritizing approaches that would send more traffic while meeting user expectations.

… what’s positively surprising us is that people engage more, and that will lead to more growth over time for high-quality content.”

When questioned about anecdotal evidence of some websites experiencing a significant decline in traffic, Pichai advised against extrapolating generalisations from specific instances.

In his view, Google has contributed more traffic to the web ecosystem in the last ten years.

According to Pichai, the “aggregators in the middle” are the websites that are losing visitors.

He said:

“From our standpoint, when I look historically, even over the past decade, we have provided more traffic to the ecosystem, and we’ve driven that growth.

Ironically, there are times when we have made changes to actually send more traffic to the smaller sites. Some of those sites that complain a lot are the aggregators in the middle.

So should the traffic go to the restaurant that has created a website with their menus and stuff or people writing about these restaurants? These are deep questions. I’m not saying there’s a right answer.”

Takeaways For Website Owners & SEO Professionals

Pichai’s remarks provide SEO community members with an understanding of Google’s approach and viewpoint, but they should be treated with a measure of skepticism.

Although the CEO presented a positive image of AI’s impact, there was insufficient hard data to back up his statements. In order to evaluate the practical impact of AI overviews on their traffic, website owners need to keep a close eye on their analytics.

The debate over artificial intelligence in search is still very much ongoing as Google keeps adding new features.

Despite Pichai’s optimism, it is still unclear how AI will actually affect the web ecosystem. For the time being, in this quickly changing landscape, publishers and SEOs need to remain alert, flexible, and outspoken about their concerns.


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