AI Overviews and the Google Apocalypse: What Local Business Needs to Know

ICYMI, Google dropped its most massive upgrade yet last month with AI Overviews. We’re calling it the Google Apocalypse here at The Rocket Group, because the impact AI Overviews can have on your business is huge.

What are AI Overviews?

With AI Overviews, search results look quite different. Rather than serving up a list of sponsored and non-sponsored website links in response to a search query, Google now provides neat little boxes of information pulled from a variety of sources across the web. These boxes may contain the answers searchers are looking for, reducing their need to click on a website.

The world has already been trending toward zero-click searches with Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business). Many searchers can find hours, contact info, ratings, etc directly in search results. In fact, as many as half of all searches were “zero-click” prior to AI Overviews.

But now – expect the number of zero-click searches to go up, which could mean a big decline in organic traffic on your website. You know, that holy grail traffic that converts so well and grows your business. Don’t get lost in new world of AI search. We’ve got tips for you to stay relevant in the search space through this crazy Google Apocalypse and beyond.


Update your Google Business Profile.

No source is more important for local SEO and the world of zero-click searches than your Google Business Profile. It’s a critically important source for AI Overviews. If you have a GB profile, optimize it. If you don’t have one, get one.

Remember, if you have multiple locations, you’ll need separate profiles for each. You’ll want accurate Name/Address/Phone number info, hours, web address, and photos at a minimum. 

Invest in listings management.

AI Overviews is pulling info from multiple sources – so make sure you have correct NAP and hours info on Yelp, YP, City Pages, and all other public database-driven online directories. The best way to do this may be through a paid service.

Invest in Google reviews.

Ratings, ratings, ratings. It’s all about your star ratings. That’s been true for years, but with AI Overviews – it matters more than ever, especially for local business. Invest in a service that integrates with your customer management or point of sale software and automates review requests after purchases. If you don’t ask, you’re primarily going to hear from Negative Nancys. But when prompted, many people are willing to take the time to leave a review, especially if it’s made easy for them. 

Write for humans, structure for robots.

Infuse your written web content with “AI optimized” keywords – that’s a fancy way of saying use the same language as your customers. Keep it at a simple, elementary school reading level, and replace industry jargon with plain language.

But, behind the scenes in your code, structure your site for search engine robots to make it super clear what your website is about and what each page conveys. Your taxonomy and how you tag your posts makes a difference in how google classifies your site. Include Schema mark-up for additional clarity.

Make your website accessible.

All sorts of users with varying levels of ability may be visiting your site. Ensure that your site offers a clean experience to all individuals with alt tags on images, meta descriptions, clean links, and readable and contrasting fonts. Highly accessible sites are rewarded with better rankings and potential inclusion in AI overviews boxes.

Skip the spam – even in your domain name.

Google AI is over spammy keyword placement. You no longer need title tags that say “Duncan Hines | Best Missouri Lawyer | Jefferson City, Missouri.” With clear content and taxonomy, just keep it descriptive. “Duncan Hines | About Our Firm” is better. Google has confirmed that it will penalize for spammy keyword overuse.

Consider paid search as a stop gap.

You may already be noticing a decline in organic traffic – but even if not, a temporary paid search campaign may help close the gap. Clicks from paid search ads do not convert as well as organic ads, but this tactic can still help you maintain a brand presence in the Search Engine Results Page. Maintaining a strong SERP presence matters since the amount of zero-click searches is on the rise.

Get professional help.

Did you find any of the above recommendations confusing? You’re not alone. This AI Overviews SEO stuff is tricky, and it requires technical, web development knowledge along with access to paid services to maximize success and minimize negative impact.

The Rocket Group can help you survive the Google Apocalypse and thrive in the new age of search. We’re offering a free consultation and web presence audit along with affordable packages utilizing our partner tools for Google Business Profile management and digital marketing. Reach out today to schedule a meeting.

Gus Wagner

Gus Wagner is the President.Owner of The Rocket Group – an award-winning marketing and communications firm headquartered in Jefferson City, Missouri which serves clients across North America. The Rocket Group has specialized in building effective tools across traditional means and new media for clients in businesses, organizations, and nonprofits since 2001. Gus is also a five-time certified Social Media Strategist, a former Chief of Staff in the Missouri State Senate, a retired national champion amateur hockey coach, and a would like to be a singer/songwriter.