Want to know the future of SEO?The nature of future searches can hint at it

SEO is constantly evolving and is one of the most fast-paced industries that keep marketers on their toes always.  Google’s constant fine-tuning of its search algorithm brings changes to SEO and the reason why everyone keeps anticipating what the next change would be. It is not only for Google that SEO changes keep happening, but users also contribute to the changes. By looking at the way users perform searches on the internet, you will understand that this too has undergone a sea change. Searches have drastically changed from just typing some indicative and suggestive words to framing questions in the way we speak.

Search intent has become more important for search engines that try to discover what exactly searchers are looking for. Once again, things are set to change with Artificial Intelligence coming into prominence and influencing the way SEO works especially with respect to search analysis by search engines.  In this article, we will try to explore what is in store for SEO when AI starts dominating the scene. How AI is likely to affect searches for better or worse and what would be its impact on SEO are some of the questions to answer.

RankBrain – The AI tool

Google uses various tools for sorting through its search results among which RankBrain; a machine learning system based on artificial intelligence tops the list. RankBrain is a utility that helps to process search results. It has been quite some time that we have started experiencing the effects of artificial intelligence in searches as understanding user intent behind searches is becoming more important. RankBrain helps search engines to discover the context of search queries and instead of just processing the words in the search query it tries to understand what the user actually wants. As voice searches that use more natural language gain popularity, the need for understanding user intent acquires a lot of importance.

It is all about Big Data

According to the experts at Tucson SEO Pros, Big Data is at the heart of AI and machine learning.   The link between big data and AI is important for its functioning and to assist in machine learning that has changed the way humans conduct searches on the internet.  As the human desire for accessing more information keeps growing rapidly, the need for processing huge data very quickly also keeps increasing. Since the demand for data processing exceeds the human capabilities that can process only limited data, the use of AI has become inevitable. AI is capable of doing so many things that are out of bounds for humans, being beyond their capabilities.  The future of search is moving in a direction n where AI is the only resource for answering the queries by replacing humans and even doing things in a much better way.

The trend of replacing humans to perform tasks that they are currently doing becomes evident from the use of bots for writing content that made its way past the initial screenings and eventually qualified for a literary prize in Japan. Indeed, the content quality is not as good as that of seasoned writers, but the experiment has just begun and who knows that in the next few years, a bot created content might become a viable option for businesses searching for quality content for SEO as good as those created by humans.

Going beyond human abilities

AI has given a shot in the arm for search engines as it can overcome human limitations in processing searches and stretch the capabilities of search engines to incredible limits. AI will not only make the search process automated but also make it smoother and quicker. While AI does all the heavy lifting, the creative inputs would come from humans like the topping on the cake. Although imparting some amount of sentiment and emotional intelligence to AI is a possibility, it would never be the same as humans because, in the end, it is a machine.

A case in point is the spread of fake news in recent times that we are facing. It is the handiwork of artificial intelligence capable of producing news items by accessing information from the database and interpolating it but without the ability to judge whether it is real or fake. Although the presentation is smart, it lacks authenticity because of its limited abilities to distinguish between real and fake. As long as the gap exists, the need for human assistance in implementing SEO campaign will remain albeit in a lesser amount. AI will fill up many gaps created due to human limitations, but it is yet to replace humans altogether.

AI will change the face of SEO

With AI spreading fast across the SEO landscape, the world of SEO is set to undergo a paradigm shift in the next few years.  Despite concerns about spun content and over-reliance on automated systems involved in AI led campaigns, one thing that is likely to happen is that we would experience more humane campaigns created with the help of automation.

Humans can now bank on the enormous data crunching abilities of AI and quick machine learning abilities that help to understand user intent correctly. When you combine user intent with big data, you would be able to create the most relevant content pin-pointed towards a particular segment of the audience as you know exactly what they want and what to serve them to fulfill their expectations. The machine support should enable you to launch the most potent SEO campaign that is sure to give the desired returns.

Changes that marketers should be ready to handle

As automation takes over the human tasks, at least a major portion, in the next few years marketers are going to experience a change in priorities of the work that they used to do. Many tasks that used to take much longer time and required more involvement may become redundant, and even if required, it could become much less time-consuming. This would allow marketers to devote time for creative work as well as balancing the human versus machine equation.

Content creation will no more be a human only task as many of the content will now flow from bots and there will be a mix of both types of content to handle. However, the demand for human-created content will remain because the nature and quality of content that machines produce will never be able to match the human expectations. The dominance of machines would be more in the area of content research and less in content creation.

Voice search to dominate

By 2020, half of the searches conducted on the internet will be voice searches as the results of some studies reveal. The signs are already visible, and it is only going to increase many more times. Another report suggests that there would not any need for screens to launch searches as by 2020 almost 30% searches would go that way. If the trend continues as predicted, then in just another 5 to 10 years we have to get ready for the demise of SERP.

Marketers have to adjust to the change quickly and prepare from now for factoring voice search when devising keyword strategies for SEO. The focus will shift to more conversational queries and keywords with a long tail. Since rich snippets and answer boxes are the most popular options for voice searches, you have to emphasize on implementing schema markup so that you can find a place in those answer boxes and rich snippets.  As the traffic flow from SERPs would reduce, the focus should shift from how the website appears visually to how it appears verbally.

Digital personal assistants could do away with searches altogether

Although Amazon Alexa and Google Home, the Digital Assistants meant to make life easy, are now ready to answer questions they have much bigger ambitions in future. The founders of the devices have set the ultimate goal of Digital Assistants in providing answers even without waiting for queries. The devices would make use of immense information and real-time data it gathers from various sources like conversations listened to, daily routines, search histories, biometrics, and geographical locations and with help from AI be prepared to perform searches without any request for it. The change would definitely have a big impact on SEO that revolves around searches.

How marketers should react to the change

Marketers have to create content that provides explicit answers by anticipating the queries of the audience. It might be in the form of an FAQ page or the answers interwoven within the blog or other content.  Familiarization with the conversational tone that underlines voice searches should make it easy to handle voice searches. Look behind the search to discover the intent within the words.

Search integration across devices would make it easy for marketers to reach people across multiple platforms but the real challenge would be in optimizing content and websites for all kinds of searches and not Google alone.  The Digital Assistants, as well as the social media platforms, should be in mind when optimizing for SEO.

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