Google Declines to Provide AI Search Traffic Data in Search Console

May 21, 2024 at 4:04:28 PM

Google Declines to Provide AI Search Traffic Data in Search Console

Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, has avoided committing to providing Search Console data on AI search traffic. This has caused frustration among publishers who rely on search traffic for revenue. As AI becomes more integral to search, collaboration between Google and publishers is essential.

In a recent interview, Pichai sidestepped questions about providing more granular data on traffic from AI-generated search previews. Publishers are concerned about the impact of AI previews on their click-through rates and overall traffic. Google could alleviate concerns by breaking out traffic metrics for AI-generated results separately from traditional search clicks, but the company won’t commit to providing that data.

Pichai suggested that Google needs to provide a “balance” in its data, arguing that website owners might try to game the system if it provides too many specifics. Google’s lack of commitment to transparency will likely frustrate publishers who feel they have a right to know how much of their traffic is affected by Google’s AI implementations.

Google’s reluctance to share this information also raises questions about anti-competitive practices. As the dominant search engine, Google holds power over web traffic flow. By keeping publishers in the dark about AI-driven metrics, the company could be seen as using its market position to unfairly disadvantage content creators. This issue will likely attract further scrutiny from antitrust regulators.

If publishers feel they’re not fairly compensated for their content or given the data they need to make informed decisions, it could disincentivize the creation of high-quality, original content. This could lead to a poorer experience for internet users and less diversity of information online. Google must find a way to collaborate with publishers and provide them with the insights they need to thrive as AI becomes more integral to search.

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