Search Engine Optimization January 5th, 2017
Ever since Google’s pivot to artificial intelligence, which came in the form of RankBrain, SEO has arguably never been – and will ever be – the same; at least, in how SEO experts and webmasters traditionally viewed it. It’s arguably a game-changer since it brings something thoroughly new to the table and is apparently a completely different element if compared to Google’s classic algorithms, which are undoubtedly its counterparts.
Of course, with such a significant change, people are already asking whether conventional SEO tactics would still work or not After all, artificial intelligence is inherently designed to learn by itself. Since RankBrain focuses on a query interpretation model, which is basically a more sophisticated way of interpreting people’s online searches. Experts have stated that it takes into consideration a person’s location or preferences more, but these are still subject to debate as Google hasn’t exactly released any in-depth details about it yet.
Nonetheless, there are facts about RankBrain that have already been verified. For one, part of the reason why it was implemented was because it was actually a necessary upgrade. After all, the old algorithms that are unable to learn by themselves are bound to become obsolete sooner or later, considering the fact that online data is only ever expected to expand continuously; in such a way that it would inevitably overwhelm them.
Secondly, RankBrain definitely gives Google’s search engine that much-needed intelligence boost. Queries which it would not have been able to understand or interpret properly in the past can now return more accurate results due to the addition of the said machine-learning AI. It has also been revealed that RankBrain doesn’t actually learn online in real-time. Google’s engineers actually take the time to upload data to it offline.
Lastly, as of this writing, RankBrain places third in the hierarchy of most important ranking factors, which goes to show that SEOs should definitely pay closer attention to it when planning their strategies. This leads to more questions, though, not the least of which is the following.
Many experts claim that optimizing for RankBrain is actually futile, as it’s not actually a traditional algorithm (like Panda or Penguin). Rather, Google’s Al should be viewed by most webmasters as an encouragement to lean more towards creating high-quality content, to the point that creating them would be considered as “optimization” in and of itself.
Gone are the days when it was logical to concentrate on a single keyword or group of keyword phrases and doing your best to keep keyword density at its “sweet spot.” Instead, keyword research now involves really knowing the innate, related concepts that are connected to your target keywords. This undoubtedly makes your endeavors more complex and requires an investment of effort and time, but you can settle for nothing less than that, especially if a self-learning AI is now monitoring and scouring the online searching grounds.
The advent of artificial intelligence in search also underscores the old SEO adage that has never had a shortage of advocates through the years: Always create well-written content that is highly relevant to your chosen topic and offers something entirely new to readers, and its authority should be defined by the links and signals that point to it.
Besides the golden rule said above, you should also start adapting these practices:
1. Follow Google’s SEO guidelines closer
Any deviation from Google’s guidelines in these times could prove to be folly, especially if you are up against an ever-developing AI. Always make it a point to make your pages user and crawl friendly. If you’ve been ignoring the power of schema and structured data markup, now is the time to start adapting them on your website as they are indispensable tools in helping your users reach the content they want more conveniently. They basically teach bots too about the overall nature of the topics discussed in your site
2. Analyze and understand your users better
Not only would this let you create content that would always be tailored to their needs, but it also ensures that you would always be able to come up with newer concepts that would let you create high-quality content consistently. Take the time to find out what the current search trends are, and how user searches reflect these trends. This is one sure way of knowing the kind of content that your target audience likes.
3. Shun gamesmanship
From negative SEO tactics like keyword stuffing and clickbaiting to link swapping and purchasing of backlinks, these on-page and off-page SEO strategies are no longer viable. The dawn of AI on search has pretty much hammered down the final proverbial nail on the coffin of these guidelines-breaking tactics. Their deaths would only be consummated once Google’s AI continues to learn and as the tools it has at its disposal continue to increase in number and develop.
4. Be mindful of web design too
Anything that is not responsive and optimized overall simply shouldn’t be encouraged anymore. Your site should always be able to adapt to changes, may they be in the growth in the number of your posts or to any future updates that Google introduces. It should be able to adjust itself according to the medium that was used to access it. This is because as its AI’s tools become more sophisticated, it would only be easier for it to pinpoint the problems concerning design that your site has.
Definitely. The introduction of AI in online search is a tell-tale sign of this, which is why you can only expect it to become the norm in the future. Of course, you can also anticipate newer SEO tactics to spring up in the future. Since search engines are becoming increasingly smarter, though, it’s only right to expect these strategies to be equally acute and brilliant. What’s certain is that as long as these strategies are whitehat in nature, your chances of ranking high on the SERPs would undoubtedly be better in the long term.