Artificial intelligence and machine learning have transformed every facet of our lives. Search engine optimization is no exception to this rule. SEO trends are rapidly evolving. This is quite evident from ever changing search engine algorithms which make life difficult for search marketers. Gone are the days when you can stuff your content with keywords and secure top spot on search results. It is not that easy anymore.
Today’s search engines are smarter than ever before especially, after the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Just like in app development, the main focus is on fulfilling user intent, relevancy and authority along with hundreds of different ranking factors before ranking web pages. If you are interested in knowing how artificial intelligence will impact SEO, then you are at the right place.
In this article, you will learn how artificial intelligence is transforming search engine optimization.
1. Better User Experience
The sole purpose of all these algorithm updates is to deliver a better user experience. Search engines like Google are more focused on giving searchers the information they are looking for while keeping them on their website. Due to this, Google has introduced several new features such as rich snippets, knowledge graph and more.
With users getting the answers there and then they do not have to click on any search listing, which improves their user experience. On the other hand, this is bad news for businesses as their organic reach is declining because users are not clicking on their search results. According to a study, more than 50% of Google searches end without a click.
Instead of striving to rank on the first page of Google, businesses should look to get featured on these snippets and knowledge graphs. For that, they will have to fulfill user intent and tailor their content in such a way that it answers user queries. In short, they should start putting users first and think from a user perspective.
RankBrain is a part of Google core algorithm that it uses to rank web pages. It uses machine learning to understand the meaning of a searcher’s query. In fact, it can also identify the context behind a searcher query and deliver appropriate results. This means that Google now looks far beyond exact match keywords and focuses on synonyms and related phrases and words. This will force search marketers to shift their focus from keywords to related key terms.
This allows it to deliver better results even if you type in a long and complex query as it can now understand the context and simplifies the query before fetching the results. We might see other search engines leverage machine learning to develop a better understanding of searcher’s queries so they can deliver the results users are looking for and fulfill searcher’s intent.
3. Content and link Quality
With Google investing heavily in artificial intelligence and machine learning, we might see its applications going far beyond RankBrain. Search engines like Google will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to evaluate the quality of content as well the quality of links created by search marketers.
Content and links are two important pillars of most SEO strategies. With search engines judging pages based on page and domain level authority and trustworthiness, digital marketers will have to acquire backlinks from authoritative websites in order to rank higher in search engine ranking pages. Professionally written content backed up with facts and figures from reputable sources will rank higher.
Search results tend to vary significantly from location to location. If you search for the same query in two different locations, your search results will vary. Search engines also analyze searcher history and demographic information to show personalized results to users. In the future, we might see search engines using artificial intelligence to make intensive predictions about users based on their search data and history.
This means that the day when we will see predictive searches and recommend searches before we even need is not far away. Search marketers need to understand that and can capitalize on this opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, search engines usually tend to stay tight lipped about these advancements so search marketers might have a hard time optimizing their content for these queries.
5. Smart Results
Google is no longer just a search engine. It is now directly competing with businesses. How? By keeping users on Google. It has made drastic changes and introduced new features so they can provide information users are looking for on search results. Knowledge graph and different types of features snippets are the best example of that.
Moreover, Google is also featuring videos and even podcasts thanks to natural language processing capabilities. This means that search engine ranking pages no longer consist of only organic results. This increases the competition and makes it harder for businesses relying only on organic results to rank on Google but it also provides them opportunity to adapt to changes and optimize their content in such a way that it gets featured in rich snippets and knowledge graphs.
6. Real Time Changes
What makes artificial intelligence special is its ability to analyze large data sets quickly. With Google using AI to its full potential, we might see more frequent algorithm updates. Unlike the past, these updates might be smaller in nature, but they will become more frequent. Back in the day, the frequency of updates especially major updates tends to be lower and we used to see major updates after six months. This will no longer be the case.
7. AI Content Generators
Artificial intelligence will not only be used by search engines. It will also be used by search marketers. We might see more and more search marketers using AI powered content generators. Even though the content produced and distributed through these AI based content generators fall short when it comes to quality and needs some more time to mimic content produced by humans but the pace at which artificial intelligence is evolving, we might see this happening very soon.
How will advancement in artificial intelligence and machine learning transform search engine optimization? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
About the Author
Irfan Ak is a digital marketing strategist, growth hacker, digital transformation expert of Branex & a guest blogger on various websites. He has worked with various other brands and created value for them.