Things at Google are getting more and more interesting in the AI/machine learning world. These days, Google is using AI/machine learning models in its search algorithms to make search results for consumers more accurate. Google is currently using an AI system called RankBrain which is apparently its third most important ranking signal for websites. The depth and complexity of how RankBrain works makes SEO for business websites a tricky thing. But there are some current trends in AI and SEO that are making businesses turn their heads.
For starters, companies need to focus on content. The reality is that as Google RankBrain is getting better and better at evaluating the content on pages as its users’ searches, the old systems of content manipulation simply aren’t viable anymore. Some larger companies with deeper pockets have started using AI to analyze the consumer traffic on their sites, and then generating content that fits well with those user activities. The problem with these systems is that they tend to create wooden content that isn’t particularly interesting for consumers – even if they’re looking for it – and therefore may actually pose a problem for the site. Most analysts agree that if a company has come up with a way to maximize AI for SEO, that expertise won’t be very open for public view.
Second, some marketers are suggesting the AI could be used to develop content matching. For example, if the user was entering specific texts, marketers could potentially use AI to match patterns of searches in order to design pages that were user-specific. While this might have some front-end usefulness, the reality is that the content itself would keep the user coming back. If the content didn’t really deliver what the user intended, visits to the site would drop drastically, and the loss on engagement would result in a drop in the search engine rankings. Further, Google announced its Project Owl last month which incorporates real users to evaluate if pages are high or low quality. This means that, even if an AI system could somehow manage to keep their page on the top of the rankings, there would still be ways for Google to find it and drop it down the rankings because of low quality, computer generated content.
Third, there is a potential for some really cool predictive work. AI can analyze what searchers are interested in, get a grid for understanding their thinking, and then predict what would likely be the next potential product or service that user is looking for. While this would be a remarkable tool, it nevertheless requires a human component to really make use of the data that is gleaned from the user activity.
No matter what, the future for companies is on the internet. The SEO world may or may not be useful, but it’s here to stay so long as profits are rising. No matter what, though, as Google says, content is king, so write and report useful content.