Let’s get the facts out of the way. Machine learning isn’t new. Now, we aren’t talking about robots taking over the word here. We are talking about utilizing technology to understand, interpret, and iterate. Companies (like Google) have been using it for years to understand customer intent, adapt technology, and deliver better, more accurate results. This use of AI to adjust algorithms has been happening for years. As SEOs, it is our responsibility to understand all of the possible ranking influencers in Google’s algorithm. As machine learning becomes more impactful, our SEO strategies will need to shift.
7 Things You Should Know About Machine Learning & SEO
1. 15% of daily queries have never been searched before.
In 2015, Google launched RankBrain, the 3rd most important ranking signal. RankBrain is machine learning at its finest. Of the 3 billion searches daily that Google processes, 15% have never been searched before. Using AI, RankBrain consumes and interprets these search queries to identify the best results.
2. RankBrain is designed to learn over time.
RankBrain doesn’t learn instantly. A single search query will not instantly adjust the rankings for a particular search. Instead, Google uses RankBrain to adjust its rankings through its collective learnings over time.
3. Machine Learning greatly expands existing Google ranking factors.
Take links for example. Prior to machine learning, Google engineers crafted a lengthy list of spam sites that you shouldn’t link to or get links from. With machine learning, Google can now identify the factors that lead to a site to be considered “spam”. Moving forward, any site that exhibits these “spam symptoms” will be devalued.
4. Write your content as naturally as possible.
RankBrain is designed to learn how to be more relevant – more human. By writing your content naturally (and not littered with keywords), you can optimize for machine learning without doing anything out of the ordinary.
5. Solve a problem.
Beyond content, Google is using RankBrain to learn more about what customers are looking for. If a customer spends more time on your site and your webpage that is returned in the search results – you are clearly solving the problem at hand. Google will continue to return your site for similar queries. Are searchers bouncing right off after visiting your site? See you later. Google will replace you with another result quickly.
6. Solve for mobile.
As more and more searches take place on mobile devices, Google is looking at your site’s UX across all devices to identify if it is the best result to serve for a given query. Don’t let your site’s infrastructure inhibit your rankings.
7. Be the best.
Google is always looking to provide the BEST results to its customers. The continued advances in machine learning help Google to get there. Though, while machine learning will help yield more accurate, better results – the key factors of good SEO will continue to be important.Solve problems. Write great content. Optimize your site for readability on any device. Following these 3 key principles will keep your site relevant in the age of Machine Learning.
Want to learn more about what RankBrain is? Check out this article by Moz.
Next gen SEO your thing? Me too! Check out my latest article on Ranking for Answer Boxes.