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Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its effect on search engine optimisation (SEO): What you need to know

Top-10-SEO-founder-Senka-Papucic-The-Australian-Business-Executive
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As with almost all developing technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a significant force being used by global search engines. AI will assist greatly in making search results more accurate for internet users. Therefore, understanding AI and its significant influence with search engine optimisation is now a necessity for all business owners wanting to lift their game by being visible to their future clients in 2020. 

First of all – what is Artificial Intelligence? 

From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to the practical application of the self-driving cars of today, Artificial Intelligence has almost always captivated the human mind – both in literature and in real-world constructs. But what is AI, exactly? 

Essentially, AI allows machines to learn and develop from experience in much the same way humans do. Rather than performing just one or several tasks repetitively as per a specific program, AI allows for the experience to contribute towards a machine’s future decision-making processes. Relying heavily on natural language processing and deep learning, these technologies enable computers to be trained to perform many specific tasks by recognising recurring patterns in the vast amounts of data they process.

What makes AI so important? 

As the name suggests, AI adds an ‘intelligent’ aspect to currently existing products to almost everything from consumer products to internet search engines. From a search engine optimisation point of view, the relationship between artificial intelligence and SEO not only dovetails seamlessly but improves the experience for the end-user. However, AI is generally not developed and sold as an individual product but instead used to enhance existing products. For example, Siri was added to updated Apple products rather than being made available as a standalone service. 

The combination of similar technologies such as conversational platforms, smart machines, automation, and bots, along with vast amounts of data can be used to improve a variety of applications – both domestic and professional – ranging from intelligent security systems to investment analysis products. 

How will AI help improve SEO? 

Search engines sift through numerous data points to provide the most useful and relevant web pages for their user – and Artificial Intelligence thrives on data. The more data it acquires, the more comprehensive its algorithms become, and therefore the more it learns and can predict. Just as an algorithm can learn to play chess, it can also determine which products or services a specific web user may be interested in. These algorithms adapt to each new piece of data they receive, ensuring they are always learning and applying new information to future decisions.

When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, SEO becomes significantly more adaptive and reactive to web user’s queries, learning more about each user and applying their interests to search results. This incredible level of accuracy is achieved through deep neural networks of information available from various interactions with multiple applications. For example, many people now use Google as their primary source of information and organisation. The more people use Google’s products such as the Google Home smart speaker, G-Suite, and of course, the global search engine where it all started, the more accurate the algorithm becomes.  

Due to this level of accuracy, AI is very likely to determine the entire future of SEO and associated practices in a variety of ways. Through my detailed work, discovery and working closely with Google Analytics, I have been watching how social signals were strong earlier in the year and now seem to be weakening. The way topics are weaved and expanded upon within niche markets is becoming more critical than ever before.

How videos and images will affect Artificial Intelligence and SEO 

For many years, search engines based their results entirely on text-based searches only. Although audio, video and images have almost always been essential in the online world, search engines were unable to process this media in their search algorithms until fairly recently. However, as technology is now advancing at such an incredible rate, the relationship between AI and SEO will see such media becoming more relevant and usable in web searches. 

Rather than only processing the manually inputted SEO data such as meta tags, text descriptions, and subtitles to find specific keywords, search engines will soon become smart enough to process the audiovisual signals often found in non-textual media, and rank the results accordingly. 

The ability of AI to discern the content within audio, image and video files will ultimately lead to a new type of video creator, specialising in the creation of search engine optimised video content – in much the same way traditionally text-based SEO techniques had on writers.

What will the role of AI in SEO be in 2020 and beyond? 

Naturally, search engines play the most crucial role in SEO. As search engines become smarter, so too has their level of influence increased. Because of this, SEO professionals have had to adapt and refine their methods continually. By 2020, it is estimated that at least half of all Google searches will be voice queries. The search engine giant is addressing this rise in voice search by updating their Google Assistant to increase its understanding of the natural conversation.

Not only is Google improving their voice search capabilities, but all other aspects of online search and results displaying. Context of searches and results are becoming more pre-emptive, making for a smooth search process for web users.

As Google and other search engines increase their capabilities, so too must business seeking to increase their online presence. As developments grow in artificial intelligence, SEO methods must adapt, also.  

Artificial Intelligence and SEO working side by side 

Thankfully, AI can also help with search engine optimisation. Although discovering precisely what words and phrases you need to optimise are vast pieces of the SEO puzzle, Artificial Intelligence tools can help with that, as one of AI’s greatest assets is finding patterns in huge sets of data – including search volume data.

Using AI tools can not only help you to create new content but also optimise existing content to improve your search rankings.

These days, local search is essential – especially for local businesses with a physical location. Ensuring your business is accurately displayed in local search results can be tricky. Still, with the help of artificial intelligence, this information-based issue can often be dealt with quickly and easily.

Topic clusters and pillar page creation is also a highly effective SEO method, as it helps the business to own entire areas of the subject matter by producing content based around several search terms. Although this task can be time-consuming, AI is enabling the process to become streamlined, thus increasing productivity.  

How AI and SEO can increase your business 

In the digitally-focused world, we now live in, having your business website ranked highly in Google search results is one of the most powerful things your organisation could do. As the number of potential customers turning to Google to find products and services they require is ever-increasing, having little or no web presence is now tantamount to throwing money away. By ensuring your website keeps up with the rigorous demands of search engines and web users, you can enjoy increased profits and peace of mind, as your new future clients keep finding you.

Senka Pupacic is the founder of Top 10 SEO, www.top10insydney.com.au.

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