Search engine optimization (SEO) is a term that gets thrown around a lot. It is no longer a hip, mysterious thing. Many people know what it is and numerous large companies already have a well-developed SEO strategy in place.
It has become so commonplace that the term no longer holds much weight nor evokes excitement. Everyone already knows about keywords and their use in title tags, meta descriptions, content and the like (even if they don’t know how to use them as effectively as possible).
A solid SEO strategy takes time to develop and takes even more time to start seeing favorable results. Many companies feel confident in their SEO strategy and marketing. In fact, with all the available tools out there to analyze every possible visitor interaction with a website, there is no excuse to not have some sort of search engine marketing strategy, let alone a solid, well-refined one.
At the same time, it’s all too easy to get bogged down by cost-per-click numbers, conversion and bounce rate percentages, total revenue raised and seconds people stay on each page of your website using a plethora of tools. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly coming onto the SEO scene.
Artificial Intelligence and SEO
Data and data analysis are vital in establishing and managing an ever-changing search engine optimization strategy. To disregard data would be to purely trust and rely on the whims of the almighty Google and its constantly changing algorithm. To rank well in search results, your SEO strategy would merely adjust and conform to the techniques and procedures that align with Google’s search formula, de-emphasizing the needs, wants and opinions of your targeted audience.
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Artificial intelligence has been used in the science, medical and tech industries for years, analyzing big data that help producers, manufacturers, and retailers provide quality products consumers want, need and expect.
AI has the ability and power to do the same for SEO.
As mentioned before, search engine marketing heavily relies on number crunching. All the analytics tools out there are handy, but the human brain can only process so many of the stats. The usefulness of the data from these website analytics tools can be maximized with the number crunching power of artificial intelligence.
Just think if your SEO strategy could be even more refined and yield even better search ranking results. That can be achieved with using AI.
AI has been used in digital marketing for many years. Artificial intelligence has armed marketers with the ability to gather ad targeting data, identify cross-selling audience segments, determine the effectiveness and relevance of content and analyze the emotional impact content has on a target audience.
While AI is used extensively in many industries, its use is fairly new in SEO.
How AI SEO Works
Artificial intelligence utilizes super computers to analyze data. These machines don’t have emotions nor can they read, see or respond.
While AI can take the bulk of the data analysis off your shoulders, it is still your job to provide quality, valuable, interesting content.
Although, it has to be said, artificial intelligence can help you come up with content for your website.
AI uses analytics data to construct and analyze patterns in your website visitors’ interaction and experience with your site. The insights generated and analyzed with AI yield a list of future user engagement site behavior and recommended action items to best serve users. AI can even help carry out some of those action items.
The super computers of AI have the ability to execute the more technical action items such as coding, which greatly reduces the need for humans to code software and saves huge amounts of time and money.
To see AI and SEO work together, check out Google’s RankBrain.
RankBrain analyzes keywords against searches to let Google know what type of end results a web user is looking for. Google can then use that data to rank the relevancy of webpages concerning those keywords.
Some of the other benefits AI offers to SEO include:
The ability to publish higher-quality, optimized content
A gauge to measure other websites against the resulting data
The ability to discover and implement the best SEO strategies for your website
Gives your website an advantage over the competitors
What AI SEO Software is Out There?
AI is not heavily used in SEO because there are currently very few options.
To achieve the heightened SEO results offered by artificial intelligence, you can either utilize AI software tools such as SEO Powersuite and Muncheye (just naming a couple that are out there and this should not be taken as a specific software recommendation), or make the hefty investment of purchasing a multi-million-dollar super computer.
User Experience and SEO
Artificial intelligence not only benefits your business by supporting your efforts to rank in the search engines, it helps you better analyze and understand your website’s visitors. This allows you to offer them a better experience on your website.
SEO and user experience (UX) go together. A solid SEO strategy based on careful analytics analysis will boost your website’s search results rankings which will result in more eyes seeing your website. A good user experience will lead to more users visiting, staying on and converting on your website.
UX is becoming a greater factor that Google is using in its search ranking algorithm. While it is still predominantly data based, the Google ranking algorithm is shifting to focus more on the user experience.
Google wants to retain its reputation as a quality search engine, so it’s main goal is to make web browsing enjoyable. The satisfaction and enjoyment of web users will only be met if users are given search results that are relevant, safe, useful and easy to navigate.
To ensure the best web browsing experience possible, the software engineers at Google created a search ranking algorithm that thinks like Internet users.
Now, your web developers can do all the ethical SEO best practices out there to get your page to rank highly in search results, but if users don’t have a good experience on your site, all your efforts will be in vain.
How to Create a Good User Experience
You don’t merely want people to see your website. You want them to visit it, spend time on it and take the desired actions on it.
You can do that by offering a website that people enjoy and find useful and valuable. On a basic level, a website with good user experience has easy navigation, interesting, useful and valuable content, an aesthetically pleasing design and has quick and easy access to other pages and content on the site.
Some specific action steps you can take include:
Optimizing your website for both Google and web users. As hinted above, catering your search engine optimization strategy efforts only to the Google algorithm will probably lower your search results. At the same time, focusing only on the users will ignore some of Google’s page rank algorithm which will keep your page from ranking as well as it could.
Making your site easy to navigate. Web users are busy and they expect to find the answers to their wants, needs and questions immediately. If your site is confusing and hard to navigate, people will leave and never come back.
Creating relevant, useful, valuable content. Google’s algorithm takes into account users’ interactions and experience with a website based on how long they stay on a page and what webpage in the search results a user clicks on.
Featuring an adequate number of high-quality links. If you can’t meet a visitor’s need on that page, direct them to a page (or even another site) that can. The user will greatly appreciate it and your webpage’s authority will be boosted.
Developing a responsive design. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets mean more and more consumers will be viewing your website on the much smaller screen of a mobile device. For a good user experience, make sure your website is mobile responsive, rendering correctly on a desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone.
Using AI to Develop Your UX
Artificial intelligence can greatly help improve your SEO strategy by taking the huge amounts of data from your website and provide more in-depth insights into your pages’ analytics. This, in turn, can be used to design a better user experience.
As Google continues to prioritize the user experience in its algorithm, this data can become critical. It’s one thing to provide a list of items that generally lead to a better user experience (like we did above), but it’s another thing completely to be able to address extremely specific elements of that experience.
As more tools become available that employ some form of AI, we’re going to see a lot more SEO strategies that rely on this level of analytical prowess.
This, in turn, will lead to new types of action plans that can help your rank higher in search results and give your website visitors a better experience.
Can AI even help with your social media? That’s yet to be determined. Until then, download this checklist and make sure your social accounts are fully optimized.