Content lives and dies by SEO—at least, that’s how it’s been in the past. Why? Big picture: Nailing SEO means your content ranks higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) and connects you to more customers, both of which play a big hand in boosting sales and growing your business. While SEO strategy commonly includes a focus on long-form content, the right keywords, lots of link love (and more), a shift might be on the horizon. Deep learning is poised to change the future of SEO—what does that look like, and what can your business do to prepare?
Before I delve into how deep learning will impact search, we’ve got to get one question out of the way—what is deep learning, anyway? Deep learning is similar to machine learning, using artificial neural networks (ANNs) to not only analyze unfathomable amounts of data but understand and learn from it. Algorithms developed from deep learning are trainable and essentially “human-like,” growing smarter the more data they’re exposed to—all without the supervision of actual humans. (For more background on deep learning, read: Why Deep Learning (and AI) Will Change Everything.)
The dynamic duo of deep learning and search is on the move. Google, in fact, is already pressing forward. In late 2015, the search giant announced it had added the deep-learning enabled RankBrain algorithm to give Hummingbird a new dimension. Google doesn’t sit still for long, so of course they’ve been experimenting since then. Google’s plan for deep learning is AI-based and leans on humanizing the algorithm, training it to recognize images and even speech patterns. In relative infancy now, what happens when that algorithm grows up and becomes even higher-functioning?
There already is no one universal page one Google result—no matter what a smarmy SEO pro might try to sell you. Search engine results are served up based on location, search history, and what the search engine already knows about what you’re interested in. I believe we are extremely close to a time in which traditional linking strategies hold no SEO weight, results will be personalized instead of based on popularity, and the act of optimizing pages and manipulating search results become things of the past. A big change in what we’re accustomed to? You bet. Perhaps most unnerving for modern B2B marketers used to having some semblance of control over SERPs, the formula for high-ranking content could become less of a science and more of a sequence of unknowns.
This change won’t happen overnight, so don’t fret. Still, though, it’s important to keep your eyes on the horizon to get out ahead of the shift.
Focusing on social media marketing and content marketing strategies can help buffer your web presence against any impending SEO changes, big-picture or otherwise. Investing in paid advertising tactics, too, can be helpful. Let’s dial these in more to offer you the following specific steps to long-term SEO success:
SEO isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Keeping pace with the tech advancements changing the marketing landscape, though, is table stakes when it comes to success. Granted, there are a lot of unknowns now surrounding deep learning’s impact on SEO, but one thing is clear: inaction is unacceptable. In fact, the steps I outlined above are things you should realistically already be doing as part of your well-rounded marketing strategy. If you’re not, this SEO switch-up should be the push you need.
How do you think deep learning will impact SEO? How has your business prepared? Tell me in the comments.
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This article was first published on V3B.com