The year 2016 brought about a major change in Google’s search algorithm with the implementation of RankBrain, a type of artificial intelligence (AI) being developed to aid web searching. Although the goal of this technology is to improve user experience by providing more relevant search results, SEO experts need to understand how AI is affecting search in order to optimize for it.
SEO consultants should be focusing their content creation and marketing efforts to better serve RankBrain and create the type of optimization required to capture the attention of a search engine that can learn from user actions.
Greater Focus on Quality and Relevant Content
Quality content has always been important for generating optimization; however, the introduction of AI makes this even more so. Search engines are becoming more sensitive to the value that users assign to various content, evidenced by what users click on and how long they remain on a page. Everything from context and relevance to formatting and readability has become a more critical part of generating useful posts that readers will find valuable and by which SEO experts can gain greater optimization. Blog posts that thoroughly answer specific user queries are now essential, since irrelevant, keyword-centric posts will continue to lose their value.
Relevant Internal Link Building Requited
Similarly, internal link building has also become more important with today’s thinking search engines. SEO consultants can expect that in assigning relevance and importance to blog posts, search engines will become more sensitive to the information these links lead to, their value, and what users do after following them. Domains that use internal links to connect to poor quality content just to add another link are specifically being targeted in the effort to reward only web pages that link to other quality web pages. Relevant, topic-oriented, selectively arranged internal links are what will provide the greatest benefit.
Visual Content More Important
AI also brings improvements in analyzing visual content. Users have become increasingly visually oriented, seeking more image and video content. Optimization of this content is more important than ever, especially since it can now be interpreted by more capable, thinking search engines. SEO experts must brush up on the best ways to use images and videos with optimized titles and descriptions, including relevant tags. Effective keyword targeting can be used to aid in proper search engine interpretation and effective delivery of this content.
Optimization for Mobile and Voice Critical
The trend toward mobile use continues to grow every year and along with it, the use of convenient voice search. Google estimates that as many as half of all searches are now made from mobile devices. For the past few years, there has been great emphasis for SEO consultants to focus on creating the most mobile-friendly websites and advertising. This effort has now gone steps further. Voice search is more casual and conversational than text and is becoming more popular with all users, adding to the ways in which websites must be optimized.
Although some of this focus is a continual fine-tuning of what today’s SEO experts already know about effective optimization, factors such as content and link relevance along with quality are going to become even more important with RankBrain. Optimization for voice search and an even better mobile experience are essential. Today’s SEO consultants need to understand all the ways that AI can interpret user queries and content relevance, then make content more focused on giving users what they want!