In 2015 Google first confirmed its use of “RankBrain.1” RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system that helps analyze user intent and increases the relevancy of search results. Since then, advances in Ai, particularly in language processing and deep learning, has continued to improve search engine results. Google learns over time, based on what users interact with on any search result, and adjusts rankings accordingly.
Did Rankbrain Replace the Algorithm?
No, google states it is the third most important factor in search ranking. Rankbrain did not replace google’s algorithm, it simply improved technology that already existed.
Is Google’s Move Away from Transparency Purposeful?
Google’s own search engineers appear increasingly unable to explain the search engine’s algorithm since the shift to Ai. For example, their engineers have given conflicting information as to whether click rates influence search rankings.2 It is difficult to ascertain if the lack of transparency is purposeful or due to a lack of understanding.
What does this Mean for Marketers?
Search engines are getting smarter, so how do Marketers keep up? Here are some tips for how to react to recent changes.
- Focus on Quality, Relevant Content – Trying to “fake” content to match keywords won’t cut it anymore. Make sure the content legitimately matches what users are searching for, because if not, Google will figure it out!
- Optimize for Image Relevancy– Ai is making it easier to determine visually what an image is. It’s long been known that image tags are important, but in the future text inside of an image and the actual content of an image will become ever more important.
- Use Natural Language – Think of your keywords as more of a “category” of sorts. Write about the topic the way you normally would to a client or friend. Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past, and that’s where you should leave it.
- Know Your Audience – Google has become better at knowing its user, so understanding the user behind the query is key. Try and understand their problem and give them a solution.
Ai SEO is still in its infancy, but the next few years will be critical for Marketers. That said, some fundamentals of SEO have not changed. Search engines goal is to provide quality content to the user, they are just getting better at doing that.