Over the last decade, there have been many orderly changes brought by Google in the search arena. Most of them have been aimed at offering relevant results to the end user. However, as the technology is evolving, several transformations are coming in.
Many technology evangelists have the view that in the next few years, artificial intelligence will alter the way we look at technology. One of the areas getting affected by machine learning is SEO. Last year, Google confirmed a machine learning artificial intelligence system called Rankbrain. This system has been put in place to help the search engine process search results and provide relevant information to users.
The vitality of RankBrain in search results is evident from the fact that after links and content, it is the third most important factor in ranking algorithm. So what does this mean for Keywords?
Well, as the trend is emerging keywords will become less effective over time. Yes, they will.
Google has already hinted at the move away from keywords with subsequent algorithm updates of Panda and Penguin. The fact of the matter is that within Google, several algorithms exist. The main aim behind the conception of RankBrain is to learn to mix these core algorithms in the best possible way to give most relevant search results. For example, in some search results RankBrain might give META Title the highest preference, while in others it might give PageRank an upper hand. This means that search results will never be the same again.
There are many verticals at play here and Google is making it even harder for SEO managers to manipulate the system. In order to understand the approach being taken by RankBrain in a particular search result, one needs to carefully measure Google Algorithmic Shifts. With careful analysis of this, a pattern might emerge, which could throw some light on which particular algorithm is being promoted or demoted. This knowledge would help you focus on that part of SEO for a particular search result.
Nowadays, rather than looking for relevant content, users are being fed content through respective recommendation engines. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook are also employing the same strategy, where they are highlighting content in accordance to the user preference. As more and more users are going online and accessing information on a larger scale, big data is helping data scientist formulate better machine learning algorithms to find out the next article or video the users would like.
Currently, RankBrain is on a learning spree, going through hoards of data, observing and responding to user behavior when they interact with the SERPs. Google wants to limit the fluctuation of website ranking after every algorithm update. It has always said that website should just focus on serving useful and relevant content, instead of just SEO focused stuff.
A recent study has suggested that the correlation between keywords and high search rankings has seen a substantial decrease. Click to tweet
Nowadays SEO managers are focusing more on long tail keywords, but soon even those will become redundant. Machine learning will give Google a better idea about the authoritative sites for a particular search phrase, regardless of whether that website uses that specific phrase or not.
As already discussed, RankBrain is learning what good sites are for a particular search phrase and which are the bad ones. It is learning the ideal setting for each search environment, which will allow it to tweak the prominence of each algorithm. These settings will be unique for each vertical. This means that the parameters for a health-related search phrase would be different from that of technology related search phrase.
This is where niche websites will get benefitted the most. For websites, which work across a range of sectors, only time will tell the way RankBrain affects them. This is where content creators and webmasters need to alter their approach. When the last major algorithm update came from Google, it created huge ripples across the search arena, with many web properties losing their search rankings overnight. The next big change will soon be upon us and we must be ready for it beforehand.
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