Late in 2015, Bloomberg broke the news that Google had turned its popular search engine over to RankBrain, a machine-learning artificial intelligence system to process search results. The move was significant because in using a machine-learning system, artificial intelligence (AI), Google was putting into place a system that would teach itself new things rather than being told or programmed.
Today, SEO marketers are studying the AI, learning how it could be used to reinvent search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and techniques.
What Does RankBrain Mean for SEO Today?
First, let’s define the terms we’re discussing.
- Artificial Intelligence: True AI is the stuff of fantasy and science fiction novels. In reality, it refers to computer systems learning and connecting or making connections. AI is like the human mind in that it acquires knowledge from being taught and building upon what it has learned already.
- Machine Learning: An application of AI that refers to getting computers to act without being programmed to do so. Algorithms are a crucial component in any such machine-learning system.
Technology gurus across the world are already hard at work studying and trying to devise AI methods to provide improved products and services. For this to happen in the era of big data is highly convenient. More people than ever are searching for everything on Google, communicating on social media, buying online, and more.
The information available on the internet is a goldmine for large corporations and marketers. Its true value lies in how and where it is used.
How AI Can Greatly Benefit SEO
With so much data and so little time, today’s search marketers have a lot on their plates. Their daily tasks include:
- Track website performance using analytics and metrics to ascertain new insights.
- Study audience behaviors so user experiences can be improved and customized.
- Produce fresh, relevant content that earns traffic and money.
- Manage and work within budgets.
- Complete a myriad of other organic search tasks.
Looking at that list, you realize that the resources and time is just not there to complete all of these tasks for multiple clients on a daily basis. Corners would be cut, with the focus on what’s considered most important for the individual client.
What if AI could be of assistance in any of these tasks?
- Track website performance: AI could analyze the data and let the user know of any deviations or trends to act on immediately. AI could provide excellent source code review services to ensure there’s nothing in a website’s code to harm its SEO marketing efforts.
- Study audience behaviors: With machine learning, customization of the user experience could be done on the fly based on a user’s past interaction with the website.
- Produce fresh, relevant content: AI can establish trends and make suggestions for desired content.
- Manage and work within budgets: AI can determine the best uses of time and money.
- Complete a myriad of other organic search tasks: Human brains can’t multitask but AI can. It literally has the ability to complete a vast number of tasks simultaneously which frees up our time.
AI, all by itself, can learn and complete tasks on a scale so large it would take hundreds of human analysts and an endless budget to even compete. It can also identify an insight where we humans might just make an observation. And there’s a huge difference between the two.
As an SEO marketer, you might notice in the data you’re studying that end users are having trouble accessing something on your website. That’s an observation. The AI would come up with that same observation but take it further to identify that technical changes should be made, helping users access the data to accomplish their goals which reduces the bounce rate and could increase conversions. That’s an insight.
What Should SEO Marketers Be Doing Right Now?
SEO marketers would be wise to find or develop platforms that use machine learning to analyze all data from content, search, and social marketing from a variety of analytic and metrics sources and then produce valuable insights based on that data. Information should be studied from across all geographic locations, demographics, and devices, so nothing would be missed, no corners cut.
Marketers should also strive to learn all they can about top search engine algorithms like Google’s so they can use their insights wisely with those algorithms.
What questions should marketers be seeking the answers for?
- Is there a benefit to this data?
- Will it save time or make us more efficient?
- What sources of data were used in the calculations?
- Is the information correct, current, and collected consistently for study?
- What AI applications are being used to ascertain insights?
- Does this data change how the business currently operates?
- Does this data solve problems?
The future of a collaboration between AI and SEO is improved results. We simply need to devise ways to harness and use the power of AI to our advantage. We start by understanding our own data and where we get it, considering then how to best use it.
A new era of opportunity has been created for SEO marketers with the right attitude and the desire to be a perpetual student. AI can help marketers move beyond observation to identifying real usage patterns. The results will be the ability to swiftly give users exactly what they are seeking, an increased audience, and increased search engine visibility – SEO success.