AI and SEO
Last week, I got a message from someone on Facebook about AI and SEO that I found to be pretty funny.
A new friend sent me a message that included a screen shot of a message someone sent him…
“Don’t do SEO. It’s dead. It’s all about AI now.”
I was left with no other option than to laugh out loud.
Whoever sent this message was missing the point overall…
What role does AI play in SEO in 2018?
AI and SEO are not conflicting ideas… in fact the opposite.
Where this person is wrong is in believing that the idea of AI kills SEO as a practice.
In reality, SEO has evolved to the point that AI is a part of it.
Key AI Components in an SEO Strategy
To understand the necessary tactics to get the most “AI band for our buck” in SEO is to understand Google’s intention.
Think about the kind of results you got from Google just a couple years ago.
A simple list of 10 blue links, right?
What do you get now?
A pretty complex, involved, and most importantly… informative experience.
See, this bet that Google took to completely morph what everyone knew Google to be was 2 things… 1 was Google sensing a change in the needs of the market, and 2 was Google forcing the behavior.
AI in Action with Google
Knowledge Graph: I remember sitting at my desk in in 2012 and being taken back. This was truly a game changer. It was as if Google was saying “If you think 10 links is cool… check this out.” In an instant, Google went from providing a list of articles to a full immersive informational experience. They started pulling information from data sources depending on the search.
Tensorflow: This is the cool piece of tech that doesn’t get much attention, but holds the key to success in merging AI and SEO. Tensorflow is the platform that allows machine learning at Google to happen. Engineers are working to build the famework to make associations between words and intentions which is the intention of AI and SEO.
Intent-Based Results: In this is an example of Google adapting with the changing needs of the market. Think about a couple years ago… If you were looking for a Sushi restaurant, you’d search for “Sushi Restaurant in X Town”. Now, you can search for “Sushi near me” or even just “Sushi” and Google understands what it is that you’re looking for. It understands your intent and modifies the results.
Implementing an AI-focused SEO Strategy
Back to the story in the beginning…
The person was partially right.
SEO is dead in the sense that getting ranked for a keyword as an ideology is antiquated.
But, being a part of “the machine” and having your website appear for someone’s intent based search is THE modern approach to SEO.
To get started with AI-Focused SEO, begin with thinking of all the ways your audience may search/need what it is that you offer. Are they looking for a listing? An image? A Page? Remember that what Google offers now is a very robust user experience, so really take the time to dive deep and think about what would be relevant to what that person is searching for and (more importantly) what they’re looking to do.
Then, assuming your traffic makes it’s way to you… Identify the best course of action. This is two fold in that one reason is the inherited conversion rate benefit. But, when you create the path of least resistance for your potential customer, you also show all the signs to Google of this as well. This will be apparent in your Bounce Rate, Time on Site, Pages per visit, and etc.
Finally, think beyond your site. Remember, Google’s intent is to create a great user experience and they will deliver any asset they can find that’d be relevant to their searcher. So make sure your Social Media is active, you’re available in the relevant resources, and just overall, be active as part of the online community.
The real role of AI and SEO
Put simply… Intention.
To succeed, you must think beyond “keywords” and think “solutions.”