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This June, we conducted an analysis of nearly 5,000 keywords in collaboration with Ziptie. These keywords ranged from top of funnel blog content to bottom of funnel industry-specific terms.

Our goal was to assess the likelihood of an AI Overview appearing. We analyzed factors such as search intent, keyword difficulty, volume, and length in relation to AI Overview.

The insights gathered will help us make strategic recommendations for our clients on where to focus their resources as AI Overview launches worldwide, but why not share them with the whole class!

AI Overview vs Search Intent

One of the key aspects we examined was the percent likelihood of AI Overview appearing across various stages of the marketing funnel. In other words: How often does AI Overview appear for transactional intent vs informational, top of funnel queries?

  • Top of Funnel

Top of funnel keywords were the most likely to have AI Overview appear coming in at 24% of the time. These keywords are primarily informational or educational content aimed at a broader audience. This was also the largest segment of the data set giving more weight to their results. 

  • Free

Free keywords had AI Overview appear only 2% of the time, the lowest of any keyword type. While many SaaS brands have abandoned their “free” initiatives (calculators, limited version of a feature, etc) in favor of higher quality leads, there are certainly opportunities left untouched. Offering a free tool that is built from your software to give site visitors a chance to engage with you and your product is a powerful experience. Free tools are also a great strategy to gain relevant and quality backlinks (eg: Ahrefs Backlink Checker).

  • Comparative

Comparative keywords (examples: best project management software, project management tools  are an evolving search intent as Google tests showing AI Overview, Reddit, review sites, and listicles. Comparative keywords from our data set had AI Overview appear only 4% of the time. 

  • Bottom/Transactional

Bottom of funnel, or transactional keywords had AI Overview appear only 5% of the time. This means that at the moment, your product, feature, and industry keywords are the least likely to have an AI Overview at the top of their search results. 

We shared preliminary results on LinkedIn and asked for input from fellow marketers. Here were some responses:

AI Overview vs Keyword Difficulty

We explored the relationship between keyword difficulty and the presence of AI Overview. Our findings suggest that higher difficulty keywords are less likely to feature AI Overview. The sweet spot being difficulty 70-79 where AI Overview appears 2% of the time. 

Another interesting insight from our data is that 66% of keywords with difficulty between 70 and 100 were bottom of funnel in search intent. This would help explain why the likelihood of AI Overview appearing for higher difficulty keywords from our data set. 

AI Overview vs Keyword Search Volume

Analyzing keyword volume in relation to AI Overview, we found no strong correlation. Popular and unpopular keywords have about the same likelihood of showing AI Overview.  This is interesting because many assumed that lower volume keywords would display AI Overview less often – this is not the case.

AI Overview vs Keyword Length

Contrary to common belief, AI Overview appears consistently across both longtail and head keywords. This finding debunks the myth that AI Overview is less likely to show up for long-tail keywords, indicating a balanced approach to AI integration across different keyword lengths.

Key Findings and Recommendations

1. Prioritize transactional keywords 

Targeting transactional keywords is a fundamental part of a complete SEO strategy. Fortunately, AI Overview is less prevalent in this space allowing organic results to appear closer to the top of the page.

This strategy not only drives direct responses, but also enhances your site’s visibility for users ready to make a purchase. Flow’s Decoding the Success Secrets of High-Ranking SaaS Landing Pages shares actionable insights from a multi-year study of software landing pages.  

2. Diversification of content types and distribution channels

Search is everywhere today. This means content of any type can be searched across platforms. It’s more and more important to show up not just as the first blue link in search, but also as a video, image, podcast, and etc.

While this study did highlight the relatively high rate of AI Overview appearing for top of funnel terms, that doesn’t mean you should abandon these topics. For a holistic strategy, targeting every part of the funnel will help people who engage with your brand to seamlessly become a customer.

Instead of hiding from AI-assisted search, look to see how you can appear in results and integrate it into your search strategy. Flow’s guide for Ranking in Google’s AI Overview is a great read to get started. 

3. Brand and content alignment is essential

To appear in AI Overview, it’s essential that AI systems know and understand your brand and offerings. This is done through a series of activities like using structured data to communicate with search and LLMs, creating high value content that ranks on page one, getting others to talk about your brand, appearing in listicles and review sites, and so on. 
The key is to be consistent across platforms and throughout your site while showcasing your E-E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). By ensuring all content and interactions reflect these principles, you can build a strong foundation of credibility and reliability. If you find yourself struggling with appearing in AI Overview, or any AI results, reach out to our team for a consultation.

What this means for SaaS marketers

In conclusion, our deep dive into keyword analysis provides essential insights into the likelihood of AI Overview appearing across various keyword types and stages of the marketing funnel. 

By zeroing in on high-intent transactional keywords, diversifying your content strategy, and aligning closely with AI systems, SaaS companies in HR and Workforce Management can fine-tune their content for better visibility and engagement. 

As AI continues to evolve, staying ahead of these trends isn’t just beneficial—it’s crucial for maintaining a competitive edge in the market.

Methodology

Ziptie.dev Collaboration 

ZipTie is one of the first tools available on the market that offer testing with AI Overview. In June 2024, we reached out to their team about collaborating on this project to examine the state of AI Overview for HR and workforce management keywords. 

Our aim was to analyze 5000 keywords across the marketing funnel to understand how the introduction of AI Overview to Google’s search results might affect SEO strategies. ZipTie’s tool allows you to get an overview from your set of keywords which can be helpful for a specific site analysis. 

Note: These charts are representative. 

ZipTie also provides insights into competitors from your keyword set (image below). These charts can help you identify which competitors are appearing the most in AI Overview results vs organic search results. 

The final aspect to highlight about ZipTie’s offering is a full query list that shares the date it was last checked, your ranking, if AI Overview appears, if your domain is cited, or if you appear in the featured snippet. These are all useful data points to monitor regularly for target keywords to help adapt your strategy to changes in search. 

Methodology

4,713 keywords relevant to the HR and workforce management industry were analyzed in ZipTie.dev, exported, and blended with keyword data from Ahrefs. Each keyword was manually assigned a keyword type between bottom of funnel, comparative, free, or top of funnel. Then we performed analysis on key data points (search intent, difficulty, volume, and keyword length).

Sample of Keyword Set

Top of FunnelFreeComparativeBottom of the Funnel
okrs explainedfree recruitment softwarebest app for work communicationlearning platform
retention of stafffree instant messaging for businessbest app for work group chatsonline training courses
increase employee retentionfree job scheduling softwarebest company communication appstime tracking software
neurodiversity at workfree timesheet appcollaboration tools for small teamstalent acquisition software
wellness programsfree estimate templatesemployee wellbeing appsteam chat software

Author

Helene Jelenc
Helene is one of our SEO specialists with a background in anthropology. When she isn’t writing about the interplay of culture and search, you can find her traveling to old cities and hanging out with her chickens.
Flow Blog

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