SEO and Artificial Intelligence

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How AI is Changing the SEO Rules

Continuing with our look into 2017 SEO trends, we thought we’d talk a little about how AI might change the SEO landscape, or maybe how it already is? As Google attempts to climb into the human mind, what does it mean for online marketers, web designers and users? The possibilities are endless.

First, a little about AI.

Artificial Intelligence is nothing new. When you first hear the term AI, you might imagine the futuristic images of AI we’ve seen in movies such as Minority Report, or Iron Man – where AI takes human intelligence and becomes a conscious machine, more human than technological. While none of need to worry yet about robots taking over the world, we do have to consider AI as having a very real impact on the way we do SEO.

As an intelligent society, our technological advancements, including AI are increasing at an alarming rate:

Human progress takes place at a faster and faster rate as time goes on. Ray Kurzweil calls this the Law of Accelerating Returns. The scientific reasoning behind his original theory is that more advanced societies have the ability to progress at a faster rate than less advanced societies — because they’re more advanced. Of course, the same can be applied to artificial intelligence and the growth rate we are seeing now with advanced technology. (Source: Artificial Intelligence is Changing SEO Faster Than You May Think).

What does this mean for us? Will AI have impact on the decisions we make online today, or is this something we don’t need to worry about yet? Let’s have a look at how AI is changing the SEO landscape.

Search Engines are getting smarter all the time.

If Google can use AI to think more like a human, the possibilities for SEO are endless. Graphics, images, videos, snippets of content – it will all have to have purpose and meaning to get rankings, at least that’s what Hubspot’s Principal Marketing Strategist, Sam Mallikarjunan contents. “Finally all the content you are creating for all these different channels will finally be useful for SEO.” That’s because search engines are going to be able to tap into human ways of thinking more than ever. With Google’s investment in RankBrain, AI is already taking its place among the largest search engine.

How Google RankBrain is changing the SEO industry.

It would appear that Google’s RankBrain is already a part of the algorithm it uses to determine which sites rank higher, or get more SERPs. One of the ways this impacts us is that searches may indeed become more complicated, we might have to stop, and think about our SEO practices in new ways. Ironically, the more sophisticated the algorithm becomes with RankBrain, the more we need to think like our users, our potential customers – perhaps like a traditional marketer has always done. AI and RankBrain should be helping to bolster the natural ‘pain-points’ that we as digital marketers aim to resolve, not reward basic generic keyword searches, or meaningless links, and content structures.

We’ll see more voice searches.

One of the impacts with AI technology and SEO is going to be the way we search for things online. Already, we are using our mobile devices more online, and that includes many more voice searches, but how will AI be able to help us? As consumers, AI has the capability to converse more with us when we are struggling to find answers online, can be much more of a back-and-forth system, and might even be able to anticipate our desires and needs. SEO will have to address this new way of doing things, and get smarter about keywords, local searches and anticipate the problems and solutions users have.

More targeted results.

With AI, a keyword search will now be able to target those pain points, or moments of decision in even greater ways. Exact keyword phrases won’t matter to AI that can learn, and relearn how to think more like us. This should lead to a lot more variations and approaches to SEO that lean heavily on us as digital marketers in the future.

What can we do now to embrace these upcoming trends? We can make sure we create sites that users want to use, that are worthwhile and useful. Just recognising that we need to connect on a human level in the digital world can help shape your inbound marketing efforts moving forward. It’s all about those “micro-moments” in our every day that we should be thinking about when marketing online. How many ways, how many times can we reach someone?

Improved local search capabilities.

One of the many improvements we’ve seen with RankBrain and Google searches is the trend to helping out local businesses attract clients. In the not-so-distant future, online marketers will have more ways to find, market to, and connect with local markets. Here’s an example: What if you could track weather patterns for a local ice cream shop, then target the few miles surrounding that shop, only on hot days with an irresistible ice cream treat? That would work. Already, Google and other search engines are making this a possibility.

It might seem a stretch today, but AI is going to have a dramatic effect on search engine results sooner than later, especially in regards to local search. When a product or service is needed consumers will soon speak to their in-home AI which will then place an order for delivery from the nearest approved vendor. This is one of the reasons voice search is so important to Google.

Jim Hedger, Creative Partner, Digital Always Media. Source: Search Engine Journal, SEO Trends 2017.

Some final thoughts.

AI capabilities are becoming a part of SEO, whether we like it or not, it’s just a matter of time. However, these improvements will help us as digital marketers in many more ways if we stay connected with the possibilities.

If you want to get your site fully optimised and ready to get that Google traffic, why not give us a call at 1300 333 797 or fill out our contact form to find out what we can do for you.