How Machine Learning is Changing SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | March 27, 2017

It’s already been the case that companies looking to boost their rankings on Google have had to go the route of SEO. By using search engine optimization in their posts, they’re making it far likelier for their site to show up higher on the Google search results. There are things like pay-per-click, using focus keywords in posts. Now there’s even the aspect of using your video descriptions for SEO and so being able to show up at the top of both Google and YouTube’s results.

Beyond all of that, though, there’s a new kid on the block that companies are starting took into. What is this mysterious thing? Well, it’s machine learning. In this article, we’re going to take a look at what machine learning is, how it’s changing SEO practices, and in the process how it can benefit you and your small business. Let’s get started with what it is.

What is machine learning?

In simple terms, machine learning is the science of self-programming computers. You might think this is the first step towards Skynet, but it’s actually a pretty cool development that promises to shift the landscape of SEO and search.’

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that allows computers to learn without being programmed by someone. Machine learning focuses on the development of computers that can learn and change when they’re introduced to new data.

Even so, there’s a lot of programming that goes into not having to program. Computers (as well as the applications they run) are being designed to change and be adaptable overall. Programmers ultimately want their computers to act without being intentionally programmed to do something. A form of artificial consciousness or artificial intelligence is what this is.

One of the most common ways that you might see machine learning is in self-driving, semiautonomous cars. These cars were extensively programmed by a team of programmers, but they ultimately learn as they drive. What’s more, should these cars be connected via some sort of network, then they can all learn simultaneously when one of the cars learns. In this way, they function as a sort of hive mind looking out for each other.

How is machine learning affecting SEO?

Now that we have a good idea as to what machine learning is, let’s take a look at how it’s affecting SEO as a whole.

At first glance, machine learning doesn’t seem to have absolutely anything to do with SEO. SEO, however, can not be bound. What used to be the sole use of specialists who understood SEO exclusively, it’s now become a massively democratized platform where keywords rule and search results are everything.

It actually makes sense that SEO would have to do with machine learning as SEO has to do with just about every industry and discipline right now.

Machine learning has changed SEO in a big way. In fact, machine learning is now the third most important factor in Google’s algorithm, RankBrain. What RankBrain is is a way for an algorithm to learn from queries based on interpreting them instead of just following the literal query.

In simple terms, RankBrain is a way to answer ambiguous questions in an algorithm. This is still in the initial phase, but we’re already seeing some changes going on at the lower level here.

Machine learning is truly revolutionizing the way companies and small businesses adjust their SEO strategies to better reflect how this emerging technology works instead of how it used to work in an ordinary way.

Time will tell just how pivotal things like RankBrain become, but judging from the fact that it’s an algorithm by Google it’s likely to do pretty well. If search engines are even adaptable and capable of changing how they interpret questions, then we’re truly living in a brave new world. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it should be more than enough to take you into the world of machine learning and SEO.