Machine Learning and the Future of SEO

26 / May 2018,

Machine Learning and the Future of SEO

Machine learning is not a new concept. Basically, machine learning is the process in which machines, or technology, can gather and process new information. As announced in Google’s 2018 I/O Conference, Google will focus more on machine learning as it relates to its search engine algorithm. However, what does this mean for digital marketers and SEO companies? How will machine learning impact both of these concepts, and how can websites adapt to these changes?

In this article, you will learn all about machine learning and how it will impact the future of digital marketing and SEO.

What is Machine Learning?

Semantically, machine learning is an aspect of computer science, in which computers can process complex mathematical equations to “learn” new information, without being programmed by another computer or individual. In theory, machine learning allows computers to spontaneously become smarter in order to fulfill its demands. In practice, this theory becomes much simpler. Search engines, like Google, can use machine learning to improve the experiences of web users.

Particularly, search engines can use machine learning algorithms to give web users exactly what they ask for. For example, if a consumer is looking for the best TV deals in their area, they will likely use the internet to find these deals online. With machine learning, a search engine can understand the request of the user and generate billions of relevant search results for the user. While this seems like the basic mechanics of traditional search engines, this new concept will allow the search engine to somewhat “consciously” optimize this experience.

What does this mean for web users? It means that search engines are going to effectively shift from generating relevant search results to providing high-quality content experiences for their users. As you can imagine, this new transformation can seriously impact digital marketing and SEO across the web. However, in what ways can digital marketing and SEO change?

Will Machine Learning Change How I Rank?

Absolutely. The whole purpose of a search engine is to generate relevant web results that correspond with your inquiry. As search engines become smarter, they also become better at doing these things. Although the internet has developed tremendously since its inception over 25 years ago, there are still some notable bugs with its internal processes.

Mainly, it is possible for a user to search for a “plumber in New York City” and find nothing pertaining to this search. Rightfully so, the internet is a very useful resource in itself, but many search engine giants like Google strive to make internet almost effortless to use. Therefore, machine learning can play a vital role in determining what’s relevant online, and what’s not.

Specifically, machine learning can impact your SEO and how you rank online. This can hold both positive and negative benefits for your website. If your website is perfectly optimized, there is a great chance that improved search engines will increase your ranking if your website focuses specifically on a targeted niche or industry. On the contrary, if your website does not provide useful information, major search engines could ignore your site completely.

How Will Machine Learning Impact My Content Goals?

This is actually a very good question. Many businesses, digital marketing firms, and SEO companies rely on SEO research to predict keyword trends in order to maximize their content goals. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, it is fair to assume that search engines are going to become more stringent on the types of websites that show up in search rankings. Nowadays, with precise keyword research and a developed SEO strategy, any website can rank well on Google. However, that will definitely change once machine learning becomes a major focus for Google.

Google’s search algorithm is brilliant enough to sift through billions of websites in order to find the most relevant search results. However, at the moment, it is possible for websites that use the right keywords to rank well, regardless if the content they provide is useful or not. Consequently, the lack thereof can dilute search results and give web users access to irrelevant websites.

As a result, machine learning will make search engines process search inquiries better. Therefore, even if you utilize high-ranking keywords in your content, your website still may not rank well. In order to help you succeed with your content goals, here are some key questions you should ask yourself before you develop website content or a blog post.

1. What is the purpose of this content? What does this content help the reader to achieve?
2. Does my content answer a common question, or does it provide a relevant solution?
3. What value does my content give to my audience?

As you can see, these questions are not based on any SEO strategies or keywords. These questions can effectively give you the blueprint to creating meaningful and relevant content. By these standards, your website will have an increased chance of ranking well if Google’s algorithm detects that your website offers enriching content.

Can Machine Learning Improve My Business Listing?

There is a great reason to believe that machine learning can improve a website’s business listing. Many websites have started to use Google My Business. This platform allows you to personalize your business online so that potential customers can conveniently receive informational that can be otherwise found on your website.

Depending on the information you provide, search engines can potentially rank your website higher in search engines and provide interested customers with the information they need in order to make a consumer decision.

There are a few ways in which you can allow search engines to optimize your data and showcase this information on the web.

1. Obtain a placement in Google Maps – If your business provides local services, potential customers can instantaneously obtain information about your services, pricing, and customer reviews if you receive a Google Maps placement.
2. Diversify your Business Info – Search engines value diversity among information found on the web. If a business has a professional website, social media links, and a spot in Google’s directories, this business will have an increased chance of receiving higher visibility online.
3. Create a My Google Business Profile – A Google My Business profile gives web users a chance to learn more about your business without having to access their website. For mobile users on the go, a completed My Google Business profile is the perfect tool for web users instead of a mobile website.

Placing your business’ information across the web is an incredible way of increasing your online visibility. Also, if this information is largely distributed on the internet, it will become more likely for search engines to rank your content appropriately online.

Will Traditional SEO Methods Still Work?

SEO is method that will likely not go out of style anytime soon. One of the most important factors of SEO is the placement of keywords. In fact, the websites that use the most high-ranking keywords tend to rank the best on major search engines. Moreover, the use of structured data on your website can provide a wide array of positive benefits.

Structured data is specially encoded to give search engines the information it needs about your content. Therefore, you still will need to focus on embedding this data in your content in the form of headers and meta tags. Also, obtaining backlinks through other websites will still be an important SEO practice, even when machine learning becomes implemented in Google’s search algorithm. The high click-through rates associated with your content lets Google know that your content is popular. As a result, your content could have a chance to rank highly on search engines.

How Does Google Prioritize Content?

It was mentioned before that Google prioritizes relevant content, rather than SEO-enriched content. However, how does Google achieve this. Google uses Intel to gauge the relevance and quality of your content. Intel cleverly provides Google with feedback on if your end user found your content useful. If Intel confirms this intent, Google won’t increase your website rating.

The extensive collection of end user data helps the machine, or search engines in this case, learn more about user preferences as it relates to content. Hence, once the machine retrieves this information, Google will process this data and filter its search results. With this in mind, Google will do its job and prioritize relevant content on the web. However, it will still be your responsibility to promote your own content.


Google plans to fringe the principles behind machine learning into its search engine algorithm. Because of this, businesses owners must become mindful of the impact that this shift can have on their SEO and digital marketing efforts. Although this new change is supposed to give web users a more personalized experience on the internet, businesses and individuals will now have to work harder to ensure that their website ranks well on Google.

Overall, this development will impact the direction of digital marketing and SEO for the foreseeable future.