From ranking on landing pages to turning sales leads into returning (and paying) customers, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more important than ever, but it is a constantly-changing element fueled by Artificial intelligence (AI).
Wow, let’s backtrack.
What is SEO? And what is AI? More importantly, why are either of these seemingly complicated topics important? This article will discuss all you need to know about the (actually very straightforward) world of SEO, AI, Selena Gomez, and Cannoli. OK, maybe not in-depth on the latter two, but fret not, they will feature!
Ultimately, you will understand why SEO and AI are not only important as separate entities but why AI Rate Optimization is the future of ranking your business online.
Let’s jump right in!
Frequently Asked Questions
Before we get started on all things AI and SEO, here are a few frequently asked questions that you might find interesting.
Does my business need a website?
Research says yes! It is highly recommended that all businesses (regardless of the industry) have an online presence to compete with other modern businesses. Websites are a wonderful way of showcasing your work, proving your credibility, creating brand awareness, and finding leads. Websites are also a platform for organic follower growth that could lead to sales and an online means of marketing. Plus, if a business works within the retail industry, it saves you time and the opportunity to improve customer service.
How do I analyze SEO?
SEO is usually measured according to a set of benchmarks. These factors are interpreted and used to look for room for improvement. Here are a few examples of factors to measure when analyzing SEO:
1. Time spent on page
How long do users spend on your website before exiting? This measurement is used by media platforms to evaluate how long people spend reading an article before losing interest.
2. Scroll depth
How far down your article or blog post did someone scroll before losing interest? This is how scroll depth is measured.
Have you ever noticed that while searching for a recipe, you have to scroll through an entire backstory before getting to the actual recipe? This can be so frustrating! This is the perfect example of how a website optimizes its content for ultimate scroll depth results. By placing the recipe at the very end of a 2000-word article, readers are forced to scroll farther. This improves not only scroll depth but also time spent on a page.
So, the next time you see a piece of content on the main topic, closer to the end of the article, make a mental note that it has been SEO-optimized!
This is especially handy in retail. Business owners can see how their potential clients interact with their products and whether traffic leads to sales. Knowing how customers engage with your page is also a handy tool for customer interaction. Have you ever received an email reminding you of the product you left in your online cart without purchasing? Or a discount notification on an item that you’ve been eyeing for months? Yup, and yup, all thanks to SEO analytics.
4. Bounce rate
Unfortunately, this aspect has nothing to do with a grand old time on the trampoline. A bounce rate indicates how long an internet user spent on your website before leaving it altogether. For example, revamped sites are likely to show an increased period as people take their time navigating through a new site. On the other hand, a high bounce rate is not necessarily bad. If people came to your site, got what they needed, and left, the bounce site will be lower.
Different businesses will have different result needs. This is why it is often necessary to evaluate multiple points of measurement simultaneously.
Online is about the only place where traffic is a positive thing. If your site is ranking on Google but not receiving any traffic, you may want to revaluate your SEO strategy.
What are search engines?
Search engines allow internet users to type in a query about any topic. The search engine then researches by looking through an index of web pages to find a relevant match. As there are likely hundreds (if not hundreds and thousands) of articles on the internet related to this topic, the search engine then ranks the matches according to an algorithm. These are usually displayed, according to relevance, on results pages.
Google is one such search engine. Think of search engines as a fast-operating, modern combination of dictionaries, encyclopedias, telephone books, and just about any other source of information that you can think of. Only, you don’t need to page through stacks of information to get the answer you’re looking for. By typing in what you need, the search engine does all the work for you and suggests the most relevant information.
For example, let’s say you’re searching for a recipe. You google (yes, this platform is now also a non-capitalized verb) “Cannoli Recipe.” As a reference (and lover of cannoli), I’ve done exactly this, and would you look at the mind-blowing results: a whopping 22.6 million hits in 0.51 seconds. Now that’s fast. Also, would you look at those delicacies? No wonder Clemenza said, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”
Over 22 million results for cannoli recipes in just 0,51 seconds show how vast and fast the internet is. Now that’s Amore. SOURCE: Google
What Is AI?
According to Britannica, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a computer or robot’s ability to perform tasks usually associated with “intelligent beings,” i.e., humans. The term AI is commonly seen in project systems with the same characteristics that a human would have. Self-driving cars? AI. A virtual booking agent? AI. Voice recognition? AI! As with most technology, AI is constantly evolving. It’s no longer just the plot of a sci-fi movie but part of our daily lives.
This article from 2010 stated that although a GPS navigation system was useful for storing map details and noting shortest path algorithms, it was only considered within the “weak artificial intelligence domain.” The researcher argued that the system did not focus on deep learning and remembering. For example, it was unable to remember route times.
Today, 11 years later, GPS systems are as advanced as ever. Open Google Maps at work, and it will automatically tell you the fastest way to get home. You can navigate spaces with a live view, not to mention handy indicators like curbside pickup and echo-friendly routes. Gone are the days of printing out a map!
An example of how Google Maps uses AI to take navigating to a new level. SOURCE: Google Blog
What Is SEO?
Either you’ve lived under a digital rock for a couple of years (which is perfectly fine!), or you’ve more than likely heard the team SEO. But what is it and why is it so important that Google shows 3.56 billion search results on the topic in 0.63 seconds?
According to the Search Engine Journal, SEO stands for search engine optimization. Its core focus is to increase your site’s visibility within — you guessed it — search engines. These search engines may include platforms like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo.
How does SEO work?
Now that you have a basic understanding of SEO let’s dive in a little deeper to see how this interesting tool works.
As previously mentioned, search engines use SEO to collect and rank information in a way that is user-friendly to internet users. “I get that, but how?” you might be thinking. Let’s break it down, shall we?
1. Bots and crawlers
Wait, when did this turn into an Alex Proyas movie? Whether you like it not, extraterrestrial internet species are part of our daily internet routines.
Bots and crawlers (a program that browses the web to create an index) have the giant task of collecting information across the internet and placing them in an index, like a Rolodex, on a whole new level.
No wonder top tech is needed for this task. Siteefy suggests there are around 50 billion web pages on the internet. To put that in perspective: one billion minutes equals about 1902 years. You would have to check one website every minute for roughly 95,100 years to see every website on the internet. I know; I can barely wrap my head around it!
2. All about an algorithm
Now that those bots and crawlers have kindly made a neat library of information on the web, it’s an algorithm’s turn to analyze these pages and determine which ones should appear on a search page.
That is even more astounding if you consider the unfathomable amount of pages on the internet. Search the term “car” on Google, and within 0.66 seconds, you have over 4 billion results.
Speaking of cars, searching for the term “beetle” is also an interesting way of showcasing exactly how SEO works. People with a search history of cars might find articles on the Volkswagen Beetle, whereas others will see information on the six-legged creepy crawler. Throw a typo in the mix, and you’ll see Ringo, John, George, and Paul. Isn’t the internet just fascinating?
3. Putting in the work to rank
As you might imagine, there is a lot of information on the internet to compete with. This is where SEO comes in. As business owners, we want to ensure that our websites stand out to avoid getting lost in an ocean of noise and internet ramblings.
This is even more challenging because paid ads can’t improve rankings. Sure, you can pay to have a Google ad appear on the internet, but when it comes to ranking, quality (and understanding the algorithm) is key.
As search engines continue to adapt their algorithm strategies to deliver good content results (and sniff out AI writers), staying on top of algorithm trends has become a full-time job. Know someone who is an SEO Expert? Rest assured that this is not a job role that they’ve made up.
Why is SEO crucial for website functionality?
Simply put, if your website can’t be found, your potential clients won’t find you.
Online users know and trust their online search engines. So, if they search “top seafood restaurant in (insert your town name here)” and your fish and chips joint doesn’t rank the first page (or the first three spots, mind you), no one is going to know how good your deep-fried calamari and secret sauce tastes.
In a nutshell, a ranking website means a site more likely to attract organic traffic with the potential of turning into lucrative sales opportunities.
An example of how SEO works to rank search results. OH MY CRAB it is! SOURCE: Google
How Will AI Impact SEO?
As AI continues to improve within, it also leaves its impact on the operating channels of SEO. This is reason enough to make room for AI conversion rate optimization.
Already, thanks to algorithm updates by Google, we are seeing more and more quality content thanks to AI systems. These systems sniff out bot-written articles and content that includes more keyword stuffing than a Thanksgiving turkey.
Here is a list of ways in which AI can impact the future of SEO:
1. Less Spamdexing
Spamdexing, also known as Black Hat SEO, is structuring content to target weak spots in a search engine. For example, an article may include repetitive and unrelated keywords to rank on a search page.
However, algorithms are now being updated to make way for natural writing, making those keyword stuffers work a little harder. Websites where keywords appear naturally and well-researched in articles are now more likely to rank higher.
2. Shutting down spam
Have you ever read an article on the best plants for your garden, only to find it filled with spammy articles linking to porch furniture? Thanks to AI systems, search engines like Google now penalize websites that spam readers with unrelated links.
3. Make way for video
Think about it: if you’re standing near the highway with a flat, you won’t want to read a 3,000-word article on how to change a tire. You’re going to want to watch a quick video tutorial, and search engines are getting smarter at realizing this.
Thanks to AI technologies, search engines are optimized to recognize quality video content. This shift means marketers and content creators will also have to up their game and spend more time creating video-focused work.
4. Gather data on the go
AI is rapidly changing how data is organized and used. Its speed and effectiveness enable it to collect, manage, and interpret keywords. This is a total game-changer when it comes to real-time price changes.
AI paired with SEO is creating more and more space for flexible and improved income streams. Have you ever purchased a flight ticket online? Then you likely have seen how other log-ins on a site can lead to real-time price surges. Another example is when the price of an Uber increases as more people request cars during a particular time of the day.
5. It’s all about the user
Search engines have focused on offering the best possible user experience for a long time. Thanks to AI, it is easier than ever for businesses to understand the people interacting with their sites.
We’ve already mentioned how businesses can look at statistics to make sites more user-friendly for potential customers. However, the information gained through AI systems can also be used to find business solutions fast.
Mobile Is King
Cellphones account for over 52% of internet traffic worldwide. With AI systems such as voice recognition embedded in these nifty devices, it would be wrong to underestimate the importance of mobile-centered SEO.
At the front of the mobile wave is voice recognition. It’s easier than ever to say, “Hey, Alexa, what’s the weather like?” or “Siri, show me top Italian restaurants.” Businesses now have to optimize their SEO to appear in these voice-focused searches. Who wants to lose out on that opportunity?
An example of how content is used within voice recognition search platforms. SOURCE: Siri via iMac.
AI and SEO: Friend or Foe?
AI is here to stay, and SEO is essential for businesses looking to make their mark on the web. Whether you and your SEO plan like it or not, it’s time to find a strategy that addresses both. Ideally, you want to partner with a platform that can improve not only your SEO but also caters to AI conversion rate optimization.
Not sure where to start? Businesses large and small love to work with Redstitch. Powered by a team of experts and artificial intelligence (AI), their proprietary platform, ConvertIQ™, indicates exactly which digital plans businesses need to incorporate to stand out from the crowd.