In his latest guest post for B&T, Shout Agency’s Michael Jenkins argues understanding SEO is no longer enough in this Artificial Intelligence times…
The first search engines started before the internet existed. Back in the 1940’s academics came together to build a body of knowledge making it easy for users to find information. These early web pioneers were the first to look at how to index the content.
In 1993 there were only a few hundred websites, which is why they started creating more complicated search engines. The first was Archie. Fast forward to today, where we have over 1 billion websites. It makes sense that to break through the noise, a more sophisticated approach and technology is required.
This is why artificial intelligence (AI) is so important to any business looking to use search engine optimisation (SEO) today.
What is AI? How does it relate to SEO?
AI encompasses the algorithm and data used to determine the best results. The data uses content, links, user behaviour, trust, and citations to help users receive the information they requested. Businesses that want to enjoy this intelligence must have the right combination of data to help customers Let’s discuss some strategies to help you with this process.
Using AI for SEO
- User intent
Keywords still play a big part in search; however, the intent of the users has increased in importance over the past few years. Keywords give a clue as to what information someone wants; however monitoring past behaviours enables search engines to give more accurate results in the future.
We know that algorithms will continue to learn from themselves and adapt to become more intelligent and relevant to the person searching. This is more important than ever for SEO in helping understand our audience and providing excellent user experience.
Marketers can study the paths users take to engage with a brand in order to understand what the best user experience is for each prospect.
In the end, the more you think like your customer, the better your search results on Google.
- Real-time data
The biggest change in Digital Marketing over the past decade is the increase in data accessible to marketers to improve their search marketing. In fact, we now have access to so much data that the challenge is managing it fast enough to improve marketing efforts.
As data becomes more real-time, we will start to see AI aggregate data for us and analyse it as well. Right now, we still rely on humans, however with the right processes and supervision, it won’t be long until AI does this for us.
The key take-out is to get ahead of the curve – start using data immediately to improve your SEO return on investment.
- Branding and content
With the increased power of AI, businesses need to focus more on improving their brand.
Using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will help you connect with customers. Search engines use the engagement you receive as a sign of how often to show your content on search engines.
While search engines learn through AI, keywords and links are still key elements that search engines look for; using content and keyword strategies in a smarter way, looking at the page quality score, by how users interact with the page; ie. bounce rates, time on page, links clicked within the article body and conversion rates.
The site and page content need to answer users’ questions; and the user interface and content strategy needs to be able to house engaging content sufficiently to provide the user with answers to their questions. When these work in unison, Google will reward you.
Therefore, the more you spend growing your brand and the quality of your content, the more you improve your search efforts as well.
- Local search
Improve your local search results as well. Some of the biggest AI changes should be with user location searches on mobile devices. If your retail location wants to benefit from these changes you need to look at ways to improve their local search rankings.
Adding quality local citations and reviews is vital for any business looking to get attention from search engine AI’s. The more positive interactions your customers have, the more attention Google’s algorithm gives to your local store.
- Go niche
If you must explain to a computer what you do and why visitors should visit you, then your website is too vague.
This can present a disadvantage to large corporations who want to be everything to everyone. Conversely, small businesses with distinct specialisation gain. Google’s RankBrain analyses websites to sort out the most relevant and irrelevant site according to your search.
Concentrate your content to your specialisation – and what makes you different to your competitor; to increase your traffic from Google.