Artificial Intelligence and the State of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in 2014
Thursday, February 13, 2014
In the past (and current) state of search, copywriters would embed keywords inside webpage’s content to let Google, yahoo, Bing and other search engine spiders know what the webpage was all about and what terms they wanted to rank for in the search engines. Example: someone in Austin Texas in searching for a great SEO Company in the vicinity of Austin or its surrounding areas. A user might search for “Austin SEO Company” or “SEO Company in Austin” and the like. Given these were the search terms a user might type into Google, Yahoo, Bing or any other search engine we would want to embed those keywords inside the content of our pages.
This is how it’s been since the beginning (to a certain extent) and this is how it is going to be now and forever (to a certain extent).
What the search engines like to do in order to update their algorithm is put more emphasis on a new “factor” that they will now use or put more weight on such as synonyms. So now getting ranked for “Dallas SEO Company” you will have to use other synonyms to make this happen. A great example of “synonyms” or “alternative search terms” that you don’t really want to rank for but want to get credit for the synonyms are as follows: “dallas search engine optimization company“, “dallas seo firm“, “dallas inbound marketing“, “DFW search engine optimization“, and the like. This is a very delicate process and when creating this content you will always need to keep the user first and the search engines second. Meaning, create content for the user first and foremost, then you can go in and edit the content as necessary with MINOR edits. A good definition to keep on hand and in mind while creating your content is “synonyms” and “relevance”.
But what about the Google Hummingbird update? Let’s talk about that.
What is Google Hummingbird?
According to Wikipedia: Google Hummingbird is a search algorithm used by Google. September 27, 2013 is Google’s official birthday, making Google 15 years old. To celebrate their 15th birthday, Google launched  a new “Hummingbird” algorithm, claiming that Google search can be a more human way to interact with users and provide a more direct answer.
Google started using Hummingbird about 30 August 2013, it said. Google only announced the change on September 26.
Thanks Wikipedia for the information but let’s put this is laymen terms. Google is going beyond simply synonyms and beginning to extract the searchers intent, sentiment, and are beginning to analyze queries semantically.
The end result was the search engine attempting to get the most understanding possible from the search intent, the actual query, and the actual page it was thinking of ranking for that particular query.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
According to Wikipedia: Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence exhibited by machines or software, and the branch of computer science that develops machines and software with intelligence. Major AI researchers and textbooks define the field as “the study and design of intelligent agents”, where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chances of success. John McCarthy, who coined the term in 1955, defines it as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines”.
Artificial Intelligence sometimes coined as AI is very technical, highly specialized in nature, and gets deeply divided into many subfields that often attempt to communicate with each other but fail miserably. I believe this is key: “they often fail miserably at communicating with one another once divided into sub fields due to social and cultural factors”. Social and cultural factors are for the most part dynamic and changing with time. So, how do you suppose the search engines are going to close this gap? In 1 word: information. They will gather as much information as they possibly can to mathematically come to conclusions based upon trial and error. This is in a sense what the search engines are doing now.
To tell you the truth, it is hard enough for me to come to a conclusion on what some people’s points they are trying to get across and often times it gets lost in “translation” which redirect me back to our points of that reference AI. Social and Cultural differences.
Is Artificial Intelligence even possible for Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines?
If you will allow yourself to read through the lines in this Google statement as of November 9, 2013 according to an article on cnbc.com “Google admits the human brain still beats an algorithm”. However, Google also did state recently that a human will not be able to decipher the algorithm within the next 10 years. What does that mean for search?
- Google, Yahoo, Bing use Patents for their algorithm updates.
- The “Search Engines” are relatively slow moving in making changes.
- Algorithms usually deal with humans abusing the system.
- Identify large trends, and you’ll be able to see where Google is going with their AI systems.
- Google and others are leaning towards BIG DATA.
- AI is a factor in search results.
- AI is slow moving. Use synonyms in your pages content, and relatively longer tail search queries in your on-page content to help supplement the synonym & AI connection Google is striving to make but won’t for at least another 5 to 10 years.