How Is AI Changing SEO & Social Media
AI – SEO And Social Media
After the 2015 announcement of Google’s machine learning algorithm “RankBrain”, Artificial Intelligence (AI) became one of the most heavily discussed topics amongst SEO and marketing professionals.
Most experts in the field believe AI will have a significant impact on how SEO professionals optimise online content in the future. AI will also give SEOs access to advanced analytics tools and change how social media can be used in a marketing context.
What is AI?
Artificial intelligence is a field of study that attempts to simulate human intelligence using machines (usually computers). This is in contrast to natural intelligence, which human beings and animals naturally display.
AI uses computers that are programmed to engage with their environment, interpret incoming information, solve problems, and respond in a similar way to a human being. Some of the common functionality of AI programs include:
- Natural language processing
- Knowledge representation
- The ability to plan and learn new things
- Understanding relevance and context
- Social intelligence and general intelligence
AI allows companies like Google to develop programs that interact with the Internet as a human being would. This allows them to interpret the contents of a web page like a person does, instead of using algorithms that can only analyse the basic components of a page.
Many marketing companies already use AI online to target their ads, identify customer segments, streamline marketing campaigns, and determine the relevancy of a user’s browsing history to certain products. However, AI is still in its early stages when it comes to SEO. Although Google introduced RankBrain in 2015, AI technologies are just beginning to make their mark.
How does AI work for SEO and Social Media?
Traditionally, search engines would send “bots” to a website to retrieve page data. It would then feed this data into multiple algorithms which determine what the pages are about, how good the content is, and how relevant it is to a particular keyword.
Algorithms would also be used to determine the authority of a website, based on its age, incoming links and a variety of other factors. The search engine’s algorithms eventually determine where the page should rank for particular keywords.
AI will be able to process web sites in much more complicated ways. It will be able to look at the information on a web page and assess:
- The readability of the content
- The immediate relevancy of content to a search term or particular user
- What other topics the content might be associated with
- The overall tone of the content
- What the content says about relationships between websites or social media users
- How linguistically advanced the content is
- How easy it is for a human to navigate or scan the available content
- What each image on the page means
In short, AI can help a search engine understand a web page and the connections between websites as a human would. This additional insight will help the search engine determine an accurate ranking for web pages. It will also be used to power the SEO software that professionals rely upon.
In terms of social media, it is expected that AI will make it easier to understand the complex relationships between human beings. This will providing SEO and marketing professionals with much more insight into the world of social media.
How will AI change SEO and Social Media?
The most significant changes that will be caused by AI in the next few of years include:
Search engines will be able to fully understand visual content
Billions of images are uploaded to the Internet each day. Unfortunately, search engines haven’t been very good at understanding what these images actually mean. AI is set to change that, as it will give search engines the ability to fully process and comprehend the contents of images, infographics, and videos.
Being able to understand visual content will give search engines more context about the contents of a web page. This additional information will help search engines understand if a web page serves the needs of a visitor.
Visual content will also be categorised and ranked more accurately in SERPs. This will most likely lead to websites with higher quality visual content outranking those without it.
Preparing for this change is relatively simple — incorporate more high quality infographics, images, and videos into your websites. Although AI will be better at processing and understanding images, you should still incorporate alt tags, title tags and other useful meta data.
Search engines will be better at interpreting queries
Keywords will continue to play an important role in SEO. However, AI may change how search engines interpret the keywords that are used in a query. Instead of simply searching for the highest authority site that features a specific keyword, the search engine will have a better understanding of each website’s relevance to a keyword for a specific searcher.
Websites that are relevant, helpful, and designed with usability in mind will do well when AI is used in this way. The more a website writes for the user (instead writing for a search engine bot), the better their results will be.
Voice search will be far more prominent
One of the most powerful capabilities of AI is native language processing. This allows AI software to comprehend spoken questions from human beings. This technology is already used to power applications like Google Voice Search, Amazon Alexaand Apple’s “Siri”.
As AI becomes more common, you can expect to see more people searching using a verbal query. This will have a number of flow on effects including:
- Conversational queries – The kinds of keywords used to perform search engine queries will change to become more conversational. Instead of using “best restaurant Chinese London” spoken queries are more likely to be “What is the best Chinese restaurant in London?”
- Local search even more important – Local search will become more important because people using mobile phones to perform voice searches tend to use phrases like “What is the best pizza place near me?” Their phone sends geographical information through to the search engine to complete the query.
- Search engines will look for simple answers – Because users are interacting with a device verbally, they will be expecting a short-form verbal answer to many types of queries. Websites that feature these kinds of answers will gain an advantage in voice search.
- Mobile searches to increase – Mobile search volume has dramatically increased in the past decade, with mobile searches soon representing 50% of all search volume. This trend is expected to continue thanks to powerful AI-supported voice search.
AI means more ways to use “big data”
Big data is the term used to describe very large data sets that can be analysed to reveal trends, patterns, and associations, particularly relating to human interactions. AI make working with big data much easier and helps search engines to gain more insight into online relationships.
Google’s RankBrain is already working with big data to identify the types websites that users find the most engaging. It uses a variety of metrics to find the websites that users enjoy including content quality, bounce rate, and information architecture.
RankBrain also compares millions of sites against one another to find the web sites that offer the highest quality user experience. Because it uses AI, it can determine the purpose, industry, and niche of a website, which helps it make comparisons between similar websites.
AI will find digital influencers
The ability of AI to process big data becomes very relevant when talking about social media. AI bots will be able to use big data to learn how humans interact with one another within social networks.
AI will be able to scan networks to identify social media influencers — people with a huge amount of social media sway. This will be very useful for SEOs and marketing experts who want to identify the newest influencers in a specific niche.
Determining upcoming social media trends
AI will be able to rapidly scan social media signals to identify any particular keyword that is rapidly increasing in popularity. This will give marketers and SEO specialists incredible insight into the news stories, products, or people that are “hot” right now.
Helping you learn how users respond to content
There are already several tools which can analyse how users respond to content on a website or social media channels. The rise of AI will mean these tools will become much more advanced. They will be able to provide feedback on your content marketing efforts more quickly by helping you analyse how content is used by humans across the Internet.
Making social media more about real time interaction
AI bots will be able to scan the Internet to find opportunities to engage with users. For example, an AI bot could look for social media media posts that are asking questions relating to a specific business, service, or product. The bot could either begin interacting with the user who posed the question (acting as a Chatbot), or forward their details to a related business.
This will completely revolutionise the way that Internet users interact with businesses. In a few short years, AI bots will become so sophisticated that they will be able to handle most support requests via social media on behalf of businesses.
Apps such as Mobile Monkey are already utilising AI chatbot technology for intelligent communication with users through Facebook Messenger.
Some SEO tools are already powered using AI software. Most notably, SEMrush and Hootsuite have components which use AI for keyword research and A/B testing. As AI becomes more advanced, the capabilities of these tools will increase dramatically — something many SEO professionals are looking forward to.
AI will help you know when to post content
There is nothing more disappointing than posting a great piece of content only to see it fail to get traction on social media. AI might be able to help marketers and SEO professionals avoid this problem in the future by discovering the best time and location to post specific kinds of content. AI will also give content generators more insight into what makes a piece of content go viral.
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