AI is transforming search, and while it brings significant changes, it is not necessarily a negative situation for businesses. The key is to adapt to these changes by targeting keywords with high conversion intent.


This update will make as much a difference in the way we optimize for search as COVID had an impact on making businesses include the ability to add delivery and online portals.


Local businesses that optimize their online presence effectively stand to gain immensely from AI advancements. Those who ignore or dismiss these updates risk falling behind.


However, it is important to note that there is some pushback against AI-generated results, leading to increased traffic on alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo. Therefore, ensuring your business is listed and optimized on alternative search engines is crucial for maintaining a broad and effective online presence.

Introduction to Google AI Results

On May 14th, Google introduced a major update to its search results: AI-Generated Overviews, now available in the US. This feature, previously called the Search Generative Experience (SGE), uses advanced AI to provide detailed summaries directly on the search results page.


The feedback on this feature is mixed due to the feature still being in beta mode. Because of this, you can see an increased spike in Google trends asking “how to turn off AI search”. Since it isn’t possible to turn off the AI Overview results, without a 3rd party plugin, I would suspect this also means there could be an increase in alternative search engines like DuckDuckGo that don’t have these AI results types.


how to turnoff google ai


This update utilizes a specialized version of Google’s Gemini language model, enabling users to access comprehensive information without needing to navigate multiple links. However, one of the issues with this feature is its poor, mixed, and sometimes completely incorrect search responses.


Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” With this recent update, some searches are being deemed as not useful by users. 


This is a massive opportunity for businesses to stand out by being an authoritative source of information for these new result types.


For local businesses, understanding this new feature is crucial. By leveraging AI-generated results, businesses can enhance their online presence and attract more customers. This guide explains what Generative AI is, and how it can be a valuable asset for your local business.


How Local Businesses Can Grow Using Generative SEO


AI-powered search features offer significant growth opportunities for local service-based businesses like plumbers, tree services, and CPAs. By adopting early and optimizing for both AI Overviews and traditional search results, your business can gain a competitive edge in search rankings and visibility.


Many SEOs are concerned about a potential decline in “Top-of-Funnel” search traffic. AI Overviews aim to summarize broad, informational queries directly on the search results page, reducing the likelihood of users clicking through to individual websites. There was not a lot of value to these lower-intent keywords, but if you had a KPI of “visits” to your website and use this strategy you can expect a decrease in this number if your search gets AI Overview placed on top of your results.


This still does not mean that you do not want to rank or be a source for this information, you will, however, you just do not want to put as much effort into these keyword ranking metrics as you used to.


I think the search results that populate with AI Overviews are results that commonly had people going into a website and backing out, topics that require multiple viewpoints, or short answers.


I recommend that you focus on targeting searches that are already educated and “deeper” in the buyers’ journey and be more specific in your search targeting.


This is because as users become accustomed to AI-enhanced searches, they are likely to perform more specific searches, resulting in an increase in low volume. long-tail keywords. This shift might challenge businesses that only optimize for broad “near me” searches. However, it creates an opportunity for those who target more specific, high-intent keywords to attract discerning customers who are less focused on price comparison.


With lower volume and a more diverse keyword list comes its challenges in that it will be more difficult to track these keywords and provide proper reporting beyond Google Search Console which surprisingly enough, I have found nearly 50% of clients that start working with us do not even have this tool setup at all.


I anticipate there will need to be a completely new way of tracking this information on Google’s side, which means it is extremely important for local businesses to keep track of search locally vs depending on 3rd party tracking tools.


This shift presents a valuable opportunity for local businesses to boost their visibility. To take full advantage, ensure your website and Google Business Profile are fully optimized with accurate information, detailed service descriptions, and positive customer reviews. Appearing in AI-Generated Overviews can lead to increased customer inquiries and a stronger online presence, making it easier for potential clients to find and choose your services.


By focusing on Generative SEO, businesses can not only adapt to the changes in search behavior but, also position themselves to thrive in an AI-driven search landscape.


SEO will remain vital as long as users continue to search for information online. Adapting to AI-driven changes and optimizing for both AI and traditional search results will help businesses stay competitive in this evolving landscape.


Steps to Optimize Your Business for AI Search Updates


  1. Enhance Your Google Business Profile: Make sure your Google Business Profile is complete and regularly updated with accurate information, photos, posts, and reviews. On your Google Business Profile post weekly updates about your services and FAQs about your business to address prospect’s questions. Respond to every customer review that posts to boost your profile activity and show prospective customers you are responsive.
  2. Maintain Accurate Business Listings: Keep your business information current on platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and other directories. For instance, if you own a tree service, ensure your contact details, service hours, service area, and physical locations are consistent across all platforms.
  3. Optimize Website Content: For example, if you are a CPA specializing in an industry make sure to be specific and have a page dedicated to that industry. If you do not specialize you need to look at your book of business and identify who is your most profitable type of businesses, to determine who you like to work with and create a landing page specific to this industry, address their problems and the features they are looking for like bookkeeping, Text support, or integration with their industry-specific software. Make sure your website is indexing and you are not having any issues showing up on the search.
  4. Focus on E-E-A-T: Follow the E-E-A-T model (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) for your website’s content. High-quality, credible content ranks better in search results. If you are a tree service provider, share video and written content about tree maintenance tips, showcasing your expertise and experience in the field. Having a strong social media presence and brand will be even more crucial to rank and increase the authority of your content.
  5. Encourage Positive Reviews: Positive customer reviews are crucial for search rankings and can significantly influence user decisions. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews. For example, if you’re a plumber, have a follow-up after-service with your clients to ask them to write about their positive experiences on your Google Business Profile.


Work with an Agency that is Nerdy about these AI SEO Updates


Navigating the complexities of an AI-driven search landscape can be challenging. Partnering with Lead Nerds ensures you stay competitive and visible.


At Lead Nerds, we specialize in helping local businesses thrive in the ever-evolving search environment. Our expertise includes developing comprehensive SEO strategies tailored to the latest AI trends, optimizing your Google Business Profile, positioning your business to maximize the benefits of AI-Generated Overviews, and navigate the gaps in these early stages of implementation.


Let us manage your Google Business Profile and SEO needs so you can focus on what you do best: running your business.


Schedule a call to talk to me today.