The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution is well and truly upon us, and it’s likely to have a significant effect on how we optimize our online content. While this may seem daunting, it’s actually great news for anyone who’s looking to create the highest quality and most relevant content.
For a long time, AI was a concept primarily explored in television and books. However, it’s already being used extensively online. One example is AI’s effect on search engine optimization (SEO) and the way search engines like Google determine their page rankings.
As of now, many popular SEO techniques rely on black-hat strategies, such as keyword-stuffing and over-optimized anchor text. These are slowly becoming obsolete, however. What’s more, the increasing use of AI in determining search engine results pages (SERP) rankings will continue to push these unhelpful strategies out of use.
Now that AI is being applied in this way, it will have a direct impact on how SEO can be leveraged to improve your website’s rankings.
For instance, these AI technologies will:
- Focus on content made for humans. This means there will be an increased shift towards relevance and quality.
- Improve real-time data collection. SERP rankings will change more quickly than ever before, which will require constant re-optimization.
These changes, while they may seem inconvenient at first, have one goal in mind: to help search engines better serve their users’ needs—an objective we can all get behind.
Now that you understand a little about the role of AI, let’s take a closer look at three ways improvements in this technology are likely to change SEO as we currently know it.
Visual Content Will Become Increasingly Important
Visual content—the images, videos, infographics, and more that are included on most blogs and websites—can help to clarify text content, as well as serve the needs of a wider audience (i.e. those who prefer visuals to text). If you don’t currently use much visual content, you may want to change that now.
Since AI is becoming better at distinguishing what visual content is all about, there will soon be vast improvements in how these types of content are categorized and ranked on SERPs. This means websites with visual content will typically outperform those without.
To prepare your website for these inevitable changes, we recommend that you:
- Incorporate visual content into pages and posts. This includes image and video instructions, as well as infographics.
- Optimize your on-site alt text. This will make it easier for Google’s AI to understand your images, and incorporate them into search results accordingly.
Overall, it’s most important to keep the visual content on your website relevant. It should ideally convey new information to readers, or at least support the current information that’s displayed on the page.
Your Content’s Relevance Will Become More Important
Keywords play a significant role in SERP rankings, and that isn’t likely to change. However, another factor you’ll need to consider is relevance. This is a measurement that determines how useful your content is to your target audience, and helps to determine its eventual ranking on SERPs.
With the introduction of AI, search engines have become better able to understand users’ intent when they type in queries. This has increased the importance of content relevance dramatically. To boost relevance on your own website, you may have to make a few changes to the way you currently create and display your content.
For example, you’ll want to:
- Create a reader persona. This will enable you to better understand your readers’ pain points, as well as the questions they’re really asking. You’ll then be able to meet their needs more effectively with your content.
- Include social media-friendly graphics. When you include graphics that are easy to share on social media, your content is likely to reach more of your intended audience. This should increase your relevance on SERPs.
What’s more, when you write for your audience first (as opposed to for the search engine bots), you’ll naturally increase content relevance. This is important even now, but will only continue to grow in significance over time.
Mobile and Voice Searches Will Begin to Dominate
It should come as no surprise that there has been a significant increase in mobile device usage over the past decade. As a result, more internet users than ever are relying on mobile and voice searches to answer their questions.
Mobile search volume continues to increase, and according to ComScore, voice search will soon make up 50% of all search volume. Due to these shifts in technology usage, AI is focusing more on mobile and voice searches, which is likely to change the current rankings of SERPs.
To succeed in these new SERPs, you’ll need to prepare your website for both types of searches. You can do so by:
- Making sure your website is mobile-friendly. You can check this by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, and then making any changes it recommends.
- Taking a conversational approach. Since voice searches tend to be conversational in nature, it’s best to add content to your website that also uses that style. This means that FAQ pages, as well as answering questions asked directly by your readers, can improve your SERP rankings.
Finally, remember that mobile and voice searches are commonly done for convenience, and these users are looking for information that’s less detailed than when they’re searching on desktops. This means you’ll want to focus on hitting the key points and answering questions concisely, so your content will appear on both mobile and desktop SERPs.
With AI advancing at a steady rate, it’s no wonder that it will make an impact on something billions of people use each day—search engines. In fact, there’s likely to be a significant shift in how SEO is used and, most importantly, how your content ranks on SERPs.
Do you have any questions about AI, and the role it will play in changing SEO? Let us know in the comments section below!