Though Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are not considered to be quite so newly developed concepts, we have just started hearing about their implementation and benefits from an SEO aspect.
Namely, Google already utilizes ML in order to determine, for instance, the quality of web pages, or to better understand the meaning of search queries, all in an effort to improve the quality of its work, that is, search results.
All in all, improvements in IA, like natural language processing and deep learning, actually mean that search engines are getting smarter by the day. When we browse the web, Google takes into account a multitude of metrics and relevant factors, like our age, location, search habits, websites like, what other users who entered the same query clicked on, etc.
For searchers who are on the hunt for quality products, reliable services, and effective solutions, these are great news; but what does this really mean for digital marketers?
Industry veterans have already utilized the power of AI to develop their SEO strategies – marketers have been using artificial intelligence while gathering data on ad targeting, in order to determine content relevance, streamline their campaigns, analyze their impact on target customers, and much more. However, the game is about to change; it is going on a whole new level, and here are some of the first changes you will see affecting some of your future campaigns.
Better optimization of visual content
In recent years, Google has been working on improving its understanding of visuals. Search engines, in general, got better at determining what a particular image, audio or a video is all about.
You must have noticed that YouTube videos are favored in search results, and the fact that Google is better at analyzing what a visual is all about, visual content creators had to adjust their work. Like content writers started paying more attention to keyword optimization, the same way visual artists are starting to think about SEO while designing images or filming videos. For instance, when it comes to videos, this all means they will have to think more carefully about its length, optimization of title, description, tags, and so much more; and this 'more' is best explained by Brian Dean from Backlinko.
More focused and relevant content
For years now we have been listening about elevating the quality of content we produce, due to RankBrain, Google's AI change implemented in order to improve the search engine's understanding of contexts behind websites. But how do you produce this “high quality”?
According to Websitesthatsell, they advise their clients to shift their focus from keyword density to creating content that will provide answers to their target clients' questions. Conducting keyword research and focusing a blog post around the most relevant phrase no longer cuts it. You have to think much bigger than keywords; in fact, much bigger than a blog post, or even a web page – now the wisest move would be focusing an entire website around a certain topic.
This will not only help the search engine gain a better understanding of what your website/business is all about, you will also 'niche' yourself, narrow your competitor's pool and have a higher chance at ranking… well, higher.
Optimization for desktop, mobile and voice search
Last year, Google released a study which revealed that more than 40% of searches are conducted on mobile devices. If you are not optimizing for mobile phones, it is like you are sitting with your hands crossed doing nothing.
Furthermore, what this mobile optimization brought to the SEO industry are new possibilities for marketing – you will see more and more businesses investing their resources in mobile marketing and developing mobile apps.
With mobile brought on the rising popularity of voice searches; slowly but surely Siri, Cortana, and Google Now have become virtual assistants many cannot imagine their every day without. As a result, SEO professionals have to optimize for longer and more conversational queries, since voice searchers are not as concise as the one we type in the search bar.
So far, it seems that voice is the future, and websites are to be optimized accordingly.
Strategic approach to link building
It will no longer be just about high domain authority – smarter search engines will take into account the time people spend on your website, that is, whether they actually stay around long enough to read what you’ve produced, as that is the metric that tells them if your content is of high quality.
When it comes to the relevancy of your backlinks, it is best to focus on those that are in the same industry/category as your website. While you are creating content in one niche – you should be building links in the same niche as well. It is high time that building link turns into building real relationships.
Taking all of this into consideration, we can safely say that black hat tactics are about to become a part of history. Short-term, unethical methods designed to outsmart search engines will no longer work, because they will not be so easily tricked in the future. Evidently, investing time into long-term tactics will yield better results and will reward you with higher placement in search results. We expect to see SEO become more natural and intuitive, meaning the content you produce will have to be more natural and relevant to appeal to search engines.