SEO News You Can Use: Machine Learning in SEO is a No-Brainer

SEO News You Can Use

Machine learning in the search industry is alive and well with RankBrain allowing Google to better understand the context and the relevance of the words used for searching. RankBrain is how Google interprets user intent — the basis and mandate of all smart content marketing strategies today. Machine-learning technology assists the Google algorithm to understand new words and the context behind new queries. The more search marketers understand this, the easier it is to meet the relevancy, informational and contextual needs of the searcher as identified by Google.

In its simplest form, machine-learning technology processes massive data sets seeking out patterns in the data. Yet, this technology has experienced a lot of pushback by people who believe machine learning will snatch away many people’s employment, but this is unlikely. Consider this whitepaper, which estimates that by 2025 each of us will have a data interaction every 18 seconds. That’s an incredible amount of usable data. The tracking of these interactions is the user behavior data most search marketers would find invaluable. But the data created from these interactions is too large of an amount for any human to sift through.

Search engine optimization (SEO) reaches into all corners of an organization’s activities in the business world. There’s top-heavy pressure on search professionals to understand and make use of the data that we have at our fingertips.

Further to that, data needs to be categorized before it’s applied in any context. For example, rich data can help you predict your consumers’ behavior, big data helps you track and predict trends and raw data can give you the insights you need to streamline processes.

But working through massive data sets to derive insights you can turn into actions is an enormous task. Enter machine-learning tools. SEO professionals who embrace machine learning are setting themselves up for success. There are quick wins to be had even before the work starts. For instance, if you can enhance your search strategy’s performance with machine-learning enabled SEO tools, you have immediately increased your value as an employee. Also, while data analysis provides forecasting opportunities, machine learning tools can help you derive real-time insights and optimize accordingly. By embracing this technology, you help prevent human error and your team works with accurate data outputs.

Machine-learning technology is sophisticated and will provide a slicker, more streamlined process for any search marketer or SEO professional. However, it cannot replace the human element in marketing or sales strategies. The data identified as valuable needs to be used cleverly to drive search marketing efforts and optimization tactics. No machine can replace the power of the human brain analytically or creatively.

Check out this Harvard Business Review article Collaborative Intelligence: Humans and AI Are Joining Forces in which H. James Wilson and Paul R. Daugherty discuss what machine-learning technology cannot do. They consider three ways that humans impact this technology in every interaction:

  1. Humans teach the machine what to do.
  2. Humans understand the outcome of the tasks performed.
  3. Humans make use of the outcomes in a logical and responsible way.

More SEO News You Can Use

How to Algorithm-Proof Your Website: Barry Schwartz delivered a keynote address at SMX Next in which he reviewed Google’s algorithm updates since 2001. Then, later the same day he chatted with SEO industry heavyweights Eric Wu, Carolyn Shelby and Todd Friesen during this “Live with Search Engine Land” discussion to look at how past algorithms have impacted websites. Check out the video of their discussion here where they dig into the idea of how to algorithm-proof a website and give their insights into the future of optimization.

Gary Illyes Asked SEOs to Complete this Sentence: “With this COVID crap, my SEO-related workload …” And He Was Surprised by the Results: Google webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes set up a survey trying to understand what SEOs experienced during COVID-19. The polls delivered surprising results. You can listen to him discuss his findings in this latest episode of Google’s new podcast Search Off the Record.

Drive Traffic to Your Site with Image Search: Google is allowing for context to be added to pictures in the image search results. This is to assist users with exploring topics in more detail and should boost traffic to sites in general. However, the images and the information don’t always come from the same source. The context and information is drawn from Google’s Knowledge Graph, so site owners are recommended to add information to the Knowledge Graph by claiming a knowledge panel. Here’s the full story.

Virtual Event Management at its Best for MozCon This Year: Check out this Moz blog in which Dr. Peter J. Meyers offers the reader a behind-the-scenes look at how the Moz team went about setting up this year’s event. They leveled up on equipment and brought together some of the best speakers in the business. There’s still time to grab a ticket to MozCon Virtual 2020. You can find out more here.

Google is Testing Out the Use of Thumbnails in Search Results: Google has found that using a thumbnail image in Google News has worked well, so it has begun testing thumbnails used across different functions. The two places you can see the thumbnails included are in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and in the Google Suggest drop-down. If Google finds the inclusion of thumbnail images as helpful to users, this may become the norm in the near future. Here’s what you need to know for now.

Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.

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