Machine learning has been there for many years, but over the last two years, it has made more news. Though we have much heard about this technological advancement but do we really know about it and how it will impact the search engine results? What skills do we need, and how is it going to impact the way we do optimize a website?
machin learning in SEO

As machine learning is in its infancy, most of us (SEO professionals) depends on the same tried and true methods for optimizing and improving the ranking of a website. But as time goes on, these methods will be longer working. They will become futile. We will have to upgrade our skills and adapt machine learning in our SEO strategy. Those not adapting to this will be left far behind, and more likely disappear from the market.

If you are not aware of this, it is time to start paying close attention to it and building your knowledge of how machine learning and AI technologies work, and how they are going to influence SEO business.

RankBrain, a machine learning artificial intelligence which is part of Google’s ranking algorithm and helps process search results. A year later, it is now used for all Google searches.

But how does the machine learning impact rankings, and what approaches can be taken to adapt to this anticipated model for SEO ranking?

How Machine Learning(AI) Affect SEO

Is there really a new SEO model for SEO ranking? If yes, what is this model? No one knows. But one thing is apparent: Google has started using RankBrain, machine learning artificial intelligence system as part of its ranking algorithm. And this will, for sure, have some consequences on rankings and search result pages.

With this, we are going to see pretty ups and downs in the rankings in the near future. You could notice a huge drop in your clients’ visibility, traffic, and conversions. Many SEO companies in India, in fact across the globe will be hugely impacted. But those who are slow to adapt to this new model for SEO ranking will be hit hard.

The strategies that work will turn futile. You will start losing the traffic even for the keywords that you rank well. This means engagement and relevancy will be the key to traffic. According to Search Engine Land, “Even the page that ranks – if it fails to attract engagement – will meet a slow death. It will lose 3 percent traffic every month – too small for you to notice until it is too late.”

But before the real damage happens, your website will show some signs to take actions immediately. These are:

The dwell time will go down: This means users stay on a page of your website for less time. This will continue until you make your content engaging and more relevant to visitors.
The traffic will dip: Even the page on your website ranks for your keywords, it will continue to lose traffic. This may be because the content does not attract engagement. Eventually, there is a big drop in conversion: If your traffic is constantly dropping and whatever traffic comes does not spend time there. This means people are going away and looking somewhere else. And so ranking will automatically go down.

Steps You Can Take to Reduce Its Impact

With technology fast changing and machine learning is included in the ranking algorithm, SEO is going to be much more challenging in the coming days. Many of tried and true tactics and tricks used turn futile. They longer will be any effective.

Nevertheless, there are some areas that will be most affected, and these are what we need to pay more heed to in order to have an effective SEO strategy even in 2019 that is more likely to witness more focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Content Quality:

There are many factors such as quality links, technical things, on-page optimization that affect the ranking of and traffic to a website. But they will become less important in the days to come. What will work as a driving force for search engine optimization is content – quality content that engages, and addresses the pain points of users.

The world largest search engine, Google utterly wants to satisfy the user needs in the most convenient way possible. So it gives more importance to content that solves a problem and is engaging. This means users feel elated reading it.

Users should be the center-stage of content. And you should take into considerations while creating content, all those that entertain audiences, and motivate and provide them with the best solution to their problem. Other factors that need to be considered may include content’s structure, visuals, design, linking, etc.

As AI and machine learning is all set to be used to assess a page’s quality in the days to come, and most importantly the ranking of a page will be defined by the quality of content, its usability, etc,  content will become a most crucial factor.

It is good news for SEO companies that use quality content for SEO. There are many SEO companies India and other parts of the world that are still astoundingly focused on technical SEO.
So it is important to make sure that content:
  • Is of high quality and relevant
  • Satisfies user intent Provides a positive experience
  • Is useful enough to move users forward to a conversion

On Site SEO and Backlinks:

As machine learning algorithm comes, traditional methods that we have been using for quite a long time will be of no use. Though things like title tags, meta descriptions, alt text, etc will do they are supposed to but won’t make any difference in the real result. This means they will not be the factors that make or break the SEO.

AI algorithm will be more capable to identify elements such as design, content, and user experience, and where they fail. So it is crucial for both independent professional providing SEO services and SEO companies – be it in India or somewhere else – to constantly upgrade their optimization methods to be ahead of the curve.

Black hats and grey hats methods will entirely become futile. Google AI-based algorithm will be more able to figure out paid links and punish websites and webmaster for using paid links and other such tricks for an increase in ranking.

With AI machine learning based ranking algorithm, Google will be smarter and quicker to distinguish good organic links from bad ones. The main focus will be on analyzing a site’s referring backlinks cloud and lower the SERPs of a website with the cloud that is not organic and is manipulated.

Technical SEO

Technical knowledge will be of no use with the AI algorithm that will set elements like sitemaps, robot.txt files, and scripts and fix the problems if any found. As of now, it is Google Console that tells about any such problems to website owners who fix them.

With AI machine learning, less human effort will be required for managing technical aspects of SEO. But this does not mean SEO is going to be out of the picture.

Instead, you as a website owner need to adopt AMP, install structured data, and optimize for voice search devices, such as Google Home, Alexa, and Amazon Echo. So your website can be assessed before AI analyze and rank it.

User experience

user experience
Unlike other factors that, though, will play their role and can be ignored altogether, the factors that affect the user experience will hugely increase in importance. Great user experience will be a key factor for ranking a page in the search engine results.

Google will keep improving in AI algorithm that will be able to judge UX instantaneously and rank the pages accordingly.

With the AI machine learning algorithm, many of the factors that Google, the largest search engine, use to index and rank a website, will become of no importance. Though it is very difficult to say that a completely new model for SEO ranking has emerged, there is going to be a colossal makeover to the model for SEO ranking. 

A Major part will be new so it won’t be an exaggeration to say that machine learning AI algorithm has created a model for SEO ranking. And many SEO companies in India, mainly those that depend more on technical aspects for improving rankings of a website than engagement need to upgrade their method for ranking optimization

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