The Internet changes rapidly, which means marketers and business leaders must hurry to change with it. While most Internet searches were once done on laptops and desktops, people are now using their smartphones with similar devices to conduct searches for information, local businesses, products, and services. That shift was closely followed by another somewhat more distinctive shift called artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted voice search. In the past, a smartphone user would need to type a question or phrase into Google or another search engine to get a set of results to sift through. Now, AIs like Siri and Alexa – which reside in smart speakers and on smartphones, tablets, and laptops – have changed the way users are searching for the information, products, and services they need.
Google revealed in October that it uses artificial intelligence to help with 15% of search queries. Named RankBrain, the system analyzes vague, ambiguous queries and matches them with the most relevant results. In fact, Google's Greg Corrado told Bloomberg that RankBrain is now the third-highest signal contributing to a search-query result. Google – and similar search-engine services – are getting smarter. As marketers, we no longer can rely solely on traditional digital strategies such as link-building or social-media signaling.
By 2020, 30% of all website sessions will be conducted without a screen. Now, you may be asking yourself, how is that possible? It turns out that voice-only search allows users to browse the web the Internet and consumer information without actually having to scroll through sites on desktops and mobile devices. And this new technology may be the key to successful brands in the future. Voice search essentially allows users to speak into a device as opposed to typing keywords into a search query to generate results.
If you want to take your SEO to the next level – or even keep up – in 2018 and beyond, then you need to understand how artificial intelligence (AI) is shaping SEO, and how you can use this knowledge to boost your rankings. Up until recently, search engine algorithms were entirely hand-coded by engineers but this has its limitations, not least because of the sheer size of the task and the potential for human error. Artificial intelligence such as speech recognition and image classification software has helped to pave the way for integrating'machine learning' into search engine algorithms. Now new technologies are enabling engineers to push the boundaries even further. Artificial intelligence presents an opportunity to create an algorithm that learns from the behaviour of searchers and, ultimately, refines itself with minimal human input, if any. With the help of AI, search engines can consider factors such as your location, your search history, your favourite websites, and what other users click on for a similar query to give you the most appropriate search results for your individual needs. The AI can then analyse your behaviour in response to a particular search and how you interact with the results, and then improve what it offers the next time someone makes the same search.