Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already in use on search engines and has been so for the past few years. RankBrain, which is part of Google, is an AI system that is used quite prominently in ranking websites for search engine results. So, the impact of AI is already here, so the question is how far will it go in the future?
How SEO is Affected
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which is still the primary means of passive marketing on the internet, has already been affected by AI in a powerful way. AI is letting search engines learn more about the queries themselves as opposed to the keywords being used. The AI creates metrics based on user engagement instead of on and off-page tactics which were common a few years ago.
This means that Google’s RankBrain takes the information of the user’s past queries as a significant part of what they are searching for now. Keywords are less effective as more non-traditional factors are given greater consideration which results in a richer, more fulfilling experience for the user.
One area that has shown considerable improvement thanks to the use of AI is content marketing. By taking more of what the page represents and comparing that to the user’s history, effective content marketing has a much greater impact. This is because the content will match to a greater degree the user’s known interest as opposed to just keywords or key phrases.
While AI might reach fewer potential leads, although that is subject to debate, it will engage them more quickly because the content will be better matched to the user. It’s little wonder that more online businesses are focusing on content marketing.
Fear? Not If You Use SEO in Search Engine Ranking The Right Way!
While basic keyword optimization will still be a part of SEO practices, how the keywords will be used is subject to changing. Gone are the days of one keyword reaching all the right people as content is being used with greater weight towards the rankings. The shift will be to content that is more natural, flowing, and informative with long-tail keywords playing a more prominent role.
However, the way search engine rankings will be affected over the foreseeable future will change regardless of how the advances in AI turn out. Rankings are an ever-changing process which means that what works today may not work the same a year from now.
How AI will Expand in the Future
Although new technology that comes from unexpected sources will have an influence on AI, what can be said is that the expansion it is enjoying today will continue to grow at a considerable pace. This means as more information becomes available, AI will affect search rankings to an even greater degree. While traditional means of optimizing websites will start to fade, they are still quite strong today and will be around for a while at least.
The advancement of AI will mean that marketers had better think more about the customers they are trying to reach rather than just focusing on keywords or key phrases.
In my book The Next Big Technological Break I have explained how search engines will turn out to be.
Update: My book is published September 1st 2017
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