How AI is changing the SEO industry
For a few years, the ‘ultimate’ Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for those not well-versed with it had been clickbait-y titles. No matter where you are on the internet even now, you will see titles such as “Best ever...”, “You don’t want to miss…”, “breaking the internet…” paired with n number of word combinations. But times have changed, and continue to do so. Gone are the days when these titles would guarantee some level of traction on their own along with minimal other tweaks.
The arrival of Artificial Intelligence, however, has changed the SEO game on its head. Apart from the variable of the keyword, AI analyses a number of parameters and search patterns of users to help content publishers get the maximum positive traffic. There are several steps and layers to getting the SEO for your content just right, and with the advent of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the SEO game just got a lot more effective, and interesting.
Algorithms and search ranking
To start with, you always have to keep in mind algorithms such as that of Google’s, carried out via Googlebot, and also check whether your website has been indexed in the first place. The company uses ‘RankBrain’, which is an AI machine-learning system to sort through all its search results. The system is able to process information and equate it to previously learned keywords in order to be able to better determine what results to display.
Google also maintains a practice of changing its algorithm quite often, in order to avoid being misused. The tech giant recently announced its latest algorithm ‘March 2019 Core Update’. Additionally, in a new research paper published by the company, it has described a drastically different way to improve how web pages are ranked. The company however, has not confirmed whether or not it has implemented this in its March algorithm.
The newly researched algorithm for ranking web pages is based on a method called ‘Groupwise Scoring Functions’ (GSF). This is done by determining the relevance score of a document based on groups of documents in the same list, as opposed to solely on the document itself. These scoring functions attempt to group search results based on the user’s intent. For example, if someone were to search for Beyoncé, they’d probably be interested in her latest tour dates, albums and other information. However, if they were to search for Ella Fitzgerald, it would most likely be for her biography and the list of songs by her. This is the level at which GSF is able to discern between searches, and it will definitely change and refine the way results are displayed, catering more to audiences’ needs.
Keywords and trends
The media and other communications-centric industries that focus on content can use tools such as Unfiltered and Google Trends to find out about the latest online trends and news from a particular location. Through these, they can create stories based on the keywords they find and stay ahead of the SEO line.
‘Unfiltered’ is a platform that pulls data from Google News from all publishing locations and across languages to give you information about what is trending around the world. With the platform, you can compare perspectives as well as other aspects to find out whether different locations have the same trending topics. Content creators can use this information to drive insights accordingly and pick a topic that will not just help their SEO rank in isolation, but reach the audiences that are looking for it. At present, the platform shows the top 100 topics per location.
Google Trends is another such platform that helps people shape their content based on trending themes across languages and locations, but in a different format to Unfiltered. Google Trends gives users insights about the most popular keywords and uses graphs to compare the search volume of a number of different search terms over time. It is based on Google algorithm, which, as we know, is taught to rank the latest and most relevant information on top.
For example, in the last seven days, ‘Taylor Swift’ is the most searched keyword in the United States. Based on this information from Google Trends, content creators know that the singer is gathering a lot of attention at the moment and can find relevant ways to write stories about her, or at least include her name as part of an interesting piece to cater to those who are searching for things about her.
These tools are paving the way for better content. Content is king, but only if the patrons are interested in it. The clarity content creators can get from platforms with information on top keywords and trending queries is what will help them stay relevant in times to come. It is important to understand the technology that finds keywords and trending topics in different regions. However, it is equally important to familiarise yourself with the technology that determines where and how you land up in the right search results. This is the age of hyper-personalisation. Thus, ‘to cater to the crowd you must stand out from the crowd’. To do this, one needs to have all the aspects of SEO covered - apart from that catchy title and great content!