How Does Google’s Use of Machine Learning Impact SEO?

At Little Ripple Marketing we are constantly researching new and innovative technologies to stay ahead in the world of digital marketing. Machine learning is an area we hear a lot about these days. It has been harnessed to advance artificial intelligence and automation. We see articles and news reports depicting an arms-race between major international corporations who compete to bring the next advancements in the area. Although it is still speculation we are told that these technologies will revolutionise the way business is done in the future.

Google has been at the forefront of innovation in these industries for a long time and continues to be so. When we are bombarded with ambitious claims and are told stories of how the future may look it is important to stay grounded. As of now, the key insight is that machine learning is just a tool. Although it may have promises of a powerful future, we must deal with it now as it is. For SEO it is important as Google use machine learning to impact Search.

As it is a tool it is important to see who is using it and how. Google are obviously the wielders of the tool that concern us, and their intentions reveal how they are going to use it. Google has two major goals that speak to their intentions. They want to improve user satisfaction and they want to increase or maintain their market share. These goals are very closely interwoven. When these intentions are understood it allows us to look at the situation practically and begin to assess the impact this may have on SEO.

Where Is Google Currently Applying Machine Learning?

There are two major areas Google are investing in right now based on the research we have done.

Firstly, they are trying to improve their understanding of a user’s query intent. This means they are not simply matching the words a user types in search. They are trying to decipher intention behind those words to better understand what the user is actually asking for. Traditional algorithms are highly reliant on matching specific keywords in the query to keywords found on websites. This can limit the user experience to simply a matching exercise. Google hope to use machine learning to gather data about intent so that they can better tailor Search.

Secondly, they are using machine learning to find the best content to match the intent. They are making sure that websites that match searches are matching because they contain not only specific keywords but because they have relevant content for the user.

These two related areas will have a vast impact on SEO. What it essentially boils down to is that we are going to see an increase in searches arriving at quality content over spam. Looking forward websites will be rewarded for engaging their customers. This offers exciting prospects for the future of Search and SEO.

This means that businesses are going to have to stay on top of SEO and have plans in place as changes come through related to machine learning. At Little Ripple Marketing we are excited to see innovation in the industry and will strive to make sure we stay ahead of the curve. For us this means researching and implementing new techniques as we adapt to Google’s ever-changing algorithm

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