The advancements of artificial intelligence for SEO

SEO is facing some big changes as a result of new intelligent technologies revolutionising the game. In this article we explore the challenges and how AI can be applied to SEO.

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SEO is facing some big changes as a result of new intelligent technologies revolutionising the game. Read on for a deeper look into how artificial intelligence is influencing the future of SEO.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence is the use of computer machine learning to perform tasks which would usually require human intelligence. From analysing large datasets, using algorithms and performing deep learning, AI is able to perform tasks and complete predictive analysis.

Artificial intelligence has developed greatly over the past couple of years and is becoming a key part of our everyday lives as many businesses start to use it to provide a more personalised experience.

How does Google Search use AI?

Google has always incorporated algorithms into its search engine to automatically generate the best response to a query. However, at first these algorithms didn’t learn on their own, which is where artificial intelligence comes in. Google is using a deep learning model to boost its customer offerings and business performance as well as understanding users and providing a better user experience.

User search queries are being interpreted by a system called RankBrain which came into effect with the Hummingbird upgrade in 2013, it uses artificial intelligence to provide more accurate search results. RankBrain looks at a variety of different ranking factors by utilising its interpretation model to deliver the most appropriate set of results.

Machine learning encompasses crucial ranking components for websites. Search engines can identify poor quality websites, keyword stuffing and many other factors which affect ranking in SERPs. Google uses over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm.

Spoken commands and questions are another way Google has used speech recognition AI and deep learning to deliver search results to users in an instant. Voice search focuses on more conversational queries (long-tail keywords) and the outcome is just one result, frequently seen as Google Featured Snippets. Voice search is predicted to total half of all searches by the end of 2020, therefore it’s important now more than ever to optimise towards it.

How can AI be applied in SEO?

The core tasks undertaken in SEO such as keyword research and content optimisation or topic exploration can be helped with AI tools. Artificial intelligence can ease many manual tasks through analysing large sets of data around keywords and search volume as well as competition. Ranking can be improved by analysing search data to see what other top-ranking sites are doing to appear first in SERPs. The ability to drive strategy through data-powered technology is ground-breaking. 

Another important application of AI in SEO will be the localisation of content. A key deal breaker for local search results is the inaccuracy or unavailability of content in a set geographical area. The ability for AI to enable dynamic translations between different languages, such as with Google’s Cloud Translation API, can have great benefits and deliver a higher quality of translation with ease of platform integration. Automated machine learning translation models can make information more readily available on a global scale.

As well as this, visual search is a topic which has recently taken off, predominantly in the online shopping experience. Through advanced image and video recognition, AI software can instantly find matching products from obtaining visuals by uploading imagery. Also, some websites are using virtual reality in shopping, to display the product with a 360 degree view in a real life setting through your phone!

Visual search also encompasses videos which can be an extremely powerful form of content. Google is getting increasingly better at analysing what visual content is all about especially with YouTube. This means you should be optimising for it - find out more about how to get the most out of YouTube.

What does this mean for SEO?

Search engines will continue to evolve with new technologies, and we must evolve and adapt to these changes by looking to embrace the power of AI. These advanced technologies will help humans optimise visual content in a more efficient way, target conversational keyword clusters, improve voice search, provide better UX, create efficient reports as well as helping to make more informed decisions.

Artificial intelligence tools for SEO will allow us to create stronger longer-term strategies which are comprehensive. However, the main disadvantage of this system is that machines will have to learn from current data and human input, AI may deliver errors leading to bad decisions being made. Therefore, human analysis will always be needed to monitor results; AI will be a reinforcement to SEO practices and not a replacement.

To find out more about SEO and what Croud can do for you do get in touch with us!


Written by Ola Mazur, SEO Account Executive at Croud


Croud is a global digital marketing agency, powered by the best talent, custom-built tech and the world's first crowd-sourced network of digital experts.

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