If your company has a website, artificial intelligence (AI) has a powerful influence over whether visitors are directed to your site. Or not.
That’s because Google and other search engines now rely on AI for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). And let’s face it: a search tool like Google is what most of your customers or clients will use to find your company online.
Today, Google’s RankBrain is the dominant search engine technology on the internet. It’s based on AI and it has altered how we address SEO. Rolled out in 2015, RankBrain was designed to create more relevant responses to search engine queries than Google’s previous reliance strictly on human-designed algorithms.
Let’s first define our terms. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a technological advancement that enables a combination of computer hardware and software to function much like a human brain, but with greater speed and a larger memory capacity. That means large amounts of data is processed and an unbiased conclusion is quickly reached.
There are three types of AI, but Google’s RankBrain is what is called “Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), which focuses on one function. It is a connection-based system that mimics the way people learn. And much like the human brain, ANI can learn to understand queries and better respond to them with repeated use over time by identifying flaws in its output to improve future query results.
Google’s established algorithms are still used, but RankBrain adds deep learning to determine which combination of those algorithms will produce the best search engine results.
The exact algorithm mixture varies considerably with each inquiry. For example, on one search RankBrain may learn that PageRank is the primary algorithm to respond to a specific search request. But on the very next search, it may learn that using the META title ranking algorithm will result in the best search experience.
RankBrain’s objective is to use the tools at its disposal to differentiate between good sites and bad sites.
What is a good site?
RankBrain learns which sites answer search engine queries best and analyzes them for common features. This includes the keywords used and the density of those words, but also evaluates the structure of the site. For instance, if a website is overly generalized, RankBrain could flag it as “bad” and rank it lower than a more focused site.
RankBrain also looks at the backlinks. It will understand a transmission repair shop linking to a discount tire site but will downgrade the transmission site if it links to an online golf pro shop.
To avoid misclassification, you need to follow the parameters that RankBrain has found to identify “good” sites:
- Stick to your niche
- Create relevant content
- Use quality backlinks
- Prioritize quality
Whether graphic or written content, quality is a key. Visually striking, substance-filled content will attract more users, which RankBrain tracks and uses to adjust your search engine rank.
Good sites are becoming the new normal, and that fact is changing the world of SEO.