There are over two hundred factors taken into consideration in Google’s SEO algorithm, and this sounds like complex science. What makes SEO so challenging is not only the large number of factors but rather their constantly changing nature. With technology evolving impressively every day, SEO is becoming more and more an “adapt fast or get buried on the last page of results. business. It is mandatory nowadays to keep up with latest tools and developments in the industry, as being connected to advances and trends will prepare you for future changes and will also allow you to establish a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
It’s impressive how technology’s latest discoveries and advances influence the online environment. There is a constant strive for improving search results’ quality, and at shorter and shorter intervals several ranking factors fall into oblivion while some others, completely new arise from out of nowhere. Staying ahead becomes a rougher and rougher challenge, but those who are connected to digital environment’s pulse are the winners.
Buzzwords such as machine learning, AI, natural language processing, VR have become familiar for more and more people lately and stay among the top titles on tech news headlines. But what is the link between these concepts and SEO? You would be surprised that these tech concepts represent strong influence factors for the online environment and some of them are even included in Google’s ranking algorithm. When talking about tech discoveries influencing SEO, it’s essential to remember that none of the concepts/discoveries exists isolated, but in a deep interconnection with other tech discoveries and also with the online environment.
Let’s see how machine learning revolutionized and continuously revolutionizes SEO. Before, let’s discover the mechanisms behind machine learning and how exactly they influence SEO.
What is Machine Learning and how does it impact SEO
In 2014 Google decided to incorporate machine learning into their primary product, search. Given the fact that Google had been fascinated by machine learning for a while already, the results of this implementation continue to impress everybody. This experiment has proven to be effective, as RankBrain, a machine learning AI system became part of Google’s ranking algorithm. Google declared then that they even consider it among the most important ranking factors. To understand RankBrain’s impact on the online environment and SEO mainly, we have to take a look at how technology and Al particularly have developed over the last years. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, is strongly fond of the idea that human progress takes place at faster and faster rates as time passes – he calls this the Law of Accelerating Returns. There is a simple principle that stands behind this law: the societies that are more advanced have access to more tools, and they can quickly progress at a faster rate. It looks easy and true, but when we try to predict how technology and society will evolve in the next years, it’s hard to envision something. The secret is that our reasoning is linear and it applies to the way we perceive technology too.
If we try to imagine how technology will look in twenty years, we look at the times that have been twenty years ago and based on this change, we imagine a vision for the next decades. Referring to computing’s evolution since early 20th century up to the present day, when we transpose this into a graph, we will observe that its evolution is based on an exponential function. The exponential function’s graph applies to technology’s development overall too.
What is RankBrain?
RankBrain is the machine-learning artificial intelligence system that has been developed by Google and integrated in the search engine’s algorithm. The most interesting part about RankBrain is that it can learn from its experience constantly, it can figure out how to do something and it can learn to make connections between several elements. RankBrain’s main role is to help the search engine how to interpret search queries and how to provide more relevant search results to users.
How RankBrain works?
RankBrain is able to figure out the meaning of ambiguous queries. Opposed to breaking the query into words and searching for these words on millions of web pages, RankBrain “understands’ queries’ meanings. Hummingbird from Google was the first step taken towards this Nowadays, when a query is typed into the search bar, RankBrain is capable of making analogies and connections to return relevant results based on the analogies and connections previously made.
RankBrain helps ranking search results based on a unique combination of factors that is situation-specific each time a query is introduced in the search bar. RankBrain takes into consideration those results that do well with searchers (plenty of clicks and very few bounces) and finds out the common traits they have This way, RankBrain can “figure our, for example, that for some search queries, videos perform better (they contain more relevant information) and that in some other cases pages with a lot of text are best regarding relevance. When the keywords in the query are hard to be found on multiple result pages, RankBrain finds in its associations and analogies database and searches upon these terms.
How does RankBrain affect SEO
If each of the previous Google updates had some clear and universal criteria such as uniqueness of the content, proper link building or mobile devices optimization, for RankBrain things are different. There is no universal manner of how a page could be optimized for RankBrain. Moreover, the ranking criteria for two queries can be extremely different, and this makes the game incredibly hard to play. The most important aspect regarding search engine’s “intelligence is that the era of search-bot-oriented techniques is over. One cannot trick the bots anymore with keyword density, content length or a large number of backlinks. Nowadays, the search engine is smarter!
Although we stated earlier that there is no universal recipe on optimization for RankBrain, there are several things you can do to be in “good terms’ with RankBrain. The fact that search-bot era is over does not mean that you should give up writing around specific keywords. Do not avoid keywords, as they help RankBrain to make associations and connections and to position your content somewhere on the shelf. RankBrain is built around analogies, associations, and connections, so use this to your advantage. More than using the proper keywords in your content, also include a large variety of phrases that are related to the main keyword. Mobile optimization, meta descriptions, and quality headlines are still required if you want your pages to show up among the top results and make sure your website loads fast. PPC and social media channels can make an impact on your traffic, so don’t hesitate to use them to extend your SEO efforts. External and internal links have their importance, so don’t forget to link to relevant content in your pages.