SEO and AI?

by | Jun 19, 2018

SEO is Being Transformed by Artificial Intelligence

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the first steps to enhancing your site and its contents so that more potential customers are able to find your business online. However, to understand SEO better you will first have to understand Artificial Intelligence or AI. Over the past three years, algorithms created by artificial intelligence have taken a much bigger role in deciding which websites rank highly for queries.

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence combines hardware and software in a way that mimics the human brain. The difference is that with AI, you do not have to worry about any flaws in logic and the memory capacity of AI is a lot larger than the human brain. In many cases, the insights gained from AI are quicker, more insightful and on a larger scale than if you were using a human brain.

With these insights, you can build better search engine results. An AI is able to learn over time because if you feed it enough information it will be able to identify similarities. For example, if you give the AI enough pictures of a horse then it will start to identify a horse.

There are generally three different types of AI:

  • Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI): This focuses on only one function.
  • Artificial General Intelligence (AGI): This has a general overall function and is closely associated with the ability of one human.
  • Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI): This is beyond AGI because its neural network operates at a higher function.

AI in Search Engines

Google has an ANI called RankBrain. This system is connection based and it is modeled after the way people learn. This type of learning is called deep learning. The ANI will use what is called back-propagation so that it can pick out the flaws in a system so that it can inform future queries of the flaw in their results.

RankBrain was introduced in 2015 and is now the leader in the industry. RankBrain uses AI so that search engine queries get better responses. Before this system came about Google focused on an algorithm that was made by people. RankBrain took a little while to catch up but now it is the leading search engine technology and it is revolutionizing the system. It is believed that Google is incrementally increasing the value given to RankBrain’s algorithm over the older algorithms build by humans.

RankBrain is set apart from the rest because it learns. To “teach” it, Google will give it data from many different sources and then the algorithm takes over. It starts to calculate everything and teaches itself to recognize many different signals and match them to many different results. It orders the rankings based on this. Interestingly, it is able to look back at mistakes it has made in the past and try to learn from them.

RankBrain Decides Rankings

While RankBrain is changing SEO, the algorithms that were used by Google before RankBrain are still there. The thing that has changed is how those methods are applied now. RankBrain figures out how to utilize these algorithms to obtain the best search engine results possible. RankBrain is not necessarily trying to find the best combination but is trying to find out which site is good and which site is bad.

How Do I Please RankBrain?

AHHHHH the MILLION dollar question for all SEO’s, their friends, their neighbors and anyone else that wants to get traffic from Google to their websites!

To keep from being misclassified as a “bad” site you will want to know how RankBrain qualifies a “good” site.

RankBrain looks at the structure of the site, backlinks, and whether the site answers the query. It does this by looking at the keywords that are used on a site. An example of a bad site is if the site is overly general. If this is the case then RankBrain will flag the site as “bad,” causing it to be ranked lower. RankBrain will look at the backlinks to see if the site is linked to a related topic and not something completely irrelevant to the subject.

Understanding how RankBrain works is a great way to adapt to the new normal of SEO. You want to stick to a certain topic and use good backlinks on your site. This is just a beginning to creating a “good” site but it is a good start.

Of course it is MUCH more complex than this!

Prioritize Quality

It does not matter what part of your site you are looking at you will want to make sure the quality of it is high. The pictures and graphics should have amazing quality as well as the content itself. Focusing on this will help to keep your customers and users engaged and will make other companies more likely to want to link to your page. RankBrain is going to keep track of your traffic and how many other pages you are linked to and will adjust your rank according to this information.

RankBrain keeps a track of how much your visitors are engaging with your content, so keeping users interested is the highest priority.

Consider the User Experience

RankBrain is good at deciding which sites are easy to navigate and which are not. Obviously, it will rank easily-navigable websites more highly, so it’s time to ensure your website is well laid out and it is easy to drill down to the exact information a visitor could be looking for.

Remain Relevant

The tracking of users on your site goes further, allowing RankBrain to see where they ultimately end up after coming to your site with a particular intention. If they come to your website with a query such as ‘buy a Harley in Oxford’, you shouldn’t be pushing content that’s primarily about flower arranging in Bath. Everything from the content written, the sites you link to and the sites that link to you will inform RankBrain whether your page is the best place on the internet to answer the user’s specific query or intent.

SEO remains a game of cat and mouse, but prioritizing good content and solving visitor’s problems is still the best way to rank highly in search engine results.

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