What Machine Learning Means for Your SEO
Brace yourselves. We’re facing a time of change in the SEO world, and machine learning is leading the way.
SEO is going to be changing greatly in the next few years, and as long as you stay abreast of the changes, you’ll be able to adjust your strategies to stay ahead.
Before we begin with what to expect, let’s explain machine learning.
About Machine Learning
Machine learning is an advanced level of computer science that allows computers to learn without being programmed. It’s artificial intelligence (AI).
This new technology runs on data from users. It’s why many large corporations have been working so hard to collect large amounts of data about their consumers. It’s all being put to use by the machines that will be able to identify what those types of consumers want online.
What Machine Learning Will Do to SEO
While there is still some time before machine learning runs the show when it comes to rankings and what is shown to Internet users, there are some aspects of SEO that will surely change.
Content will continue to run the roost. That’s what people want when they turn to the Internet. This content will have to be relevant, informative, and interesting to users. If not, it will get left behind.
Publishers need to know their target audience more than ever, so they can tailor their content directly to them. This will be the only way to drive conversions and get their sites to rank highly on search engine results pages.
User experience will trump everything.
Rely Less on On-Page Optimization and Link Building
Title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and alt text will always play a role in SEO. However, with machine learning, they will likely be less of a competitive advantage. That’s because AI algorithms will not only read the words on the webpages, but also monitor user experience and usability. In other words, to get on the first page of Google in the future, knowledge of SEO is not nearly enough; You’ll need to be an expert in SEO, UX, and usability.
Plus, as much as links show Google how great a website is now, that’s all going to change. AI is going to be able to know when links are really relevant by tracking whether users click on the links and if they stay on that page long enough for it to be valuable.
Technical SEO, which includes canonicalization, site speed, broken links, and structured data will continue to be important even with advances in AI.
In fact, structured data may be even more important in the future due to the growing trend of voice search on mobile and devices like the Alexa and Google Home. Voice search results answers are often found by the search engine reading structured data from websites.
What’s Most Important — User Experience
The future is all about the user experience, as it should have always been. Over the last few years, SEOs have focused on what they need to do to show Google they have the best site worthy of top rankings for their target keywords. What SEOs should have focused on was what they need to do to show their users they have the best site. That’s how things will change with the new SEO.
Even though we’re not quite there yet with AI, we can all start implementing these tips now. Content should be tailored to the right audience - the audience that would be most interested in the topic.
The strict keyword enhanced title tags, meta descriptions, and on-page optimization is going to become even less important, and it’s going to be more about user experience and usability. The user experience means everything now and well into the future. If you continue to focus on what your audience wants and provide it, you will be well on your way to staying on track with SEO.
Want more tips to improve your SEO? Click here to grab a copy of our Ultimate SEO Checklist.
Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.