29 Jun 0
Talking about how SEO changes is like talking about how people change their underwear at this point. One search engine is doing one thing, one is doing another, and all the rest of them are changing the way they are crawling websites, so webmasters have to work overtime to keep up. It’s quite a process to keep up with all this stuff.
First, you have to understand the basics of SEO, then you have to research how everything has changed, which then makes the basics of SEO completely irrelevant, and then you have to look for that advantage in how you can see where SEO is going to get ahead of the competition.
Well, I have been saying it for a very long time, and it has finally come true: SEO is now in the hands of the all-powerful AI that Google is using. The other search engines will follow suit once they let Google do all the heavy lifting for them. It’s a pattern the internet has been notorious for since its conception. But, that subject is for another day. You need to understand how AI is incorporated into search engines and how you can benefit from this futuristic technology.
How Search Engines Use AI
Artificial intelligence is a series of programs and algorithms that essentially makes itself smarter. AI learns while it is being used. So, you can imagine how much smarter Google is becoming each minute. When you used to key in some words into the search bar, the results would be a bunch of links to different websites. That’s normal. Google crawls every website that is optimized for it and sees what keywords pop up with the most authority and selects those candidates for the top spots. Everything else gets thrown into oblivion.
Now when you key in something into the search bar – and you’ve probably already noticed this – Google will give you direct answers to your query instead of giving you resources to look for the information yourself. Let’s try an example. If you search, “In what year did the Empire of Rome fall?”, a blurb from a notable website is the first thing you’ll see. It states that the great empire fell in the year 476 C.E. and gives other information directly to the inquirer. The information is taken from a website and is linked at the bottom of the blurb, which isn’t too far from just giving you the website to look for yourself, so that isn’t that impressive. What is impressive is that below the first blurb of information, you can find related questions and topics that Google has so kindly queued up for you to keep searching and understanding everything about what you are searching for. One tab leads to another, and so on, and so forth. There is an entire list compiled right there for the user to navigate without having to leave the safety of Google. This feature is all AI driven. People have obviously searched the same questions and terms as the example, so the AI learned what the best sources for that question were, displayed them, and then gave a list of very similar answers and links that can go on forever and as deep into the information as the user wishes. Researching has never been so easy. So, we know how it works (sort of), so why does it matter for webmasters and businesses who want to rank on the front page of search results related to their niche or topic?
Changing Your SEO Practices
The changes are that dramatic. It’s basically just upgrading what you have. There’s an easy 5-step process to fully optimize your website to make sure the AI in Google is working for you and not against you.
- Keyword and Key Phrase Optimization
I know, duh, right? Just hear me out. It goes deeper than just updating your keywords every six months like you should be doing, or when performance is dipping a bit. With the new AI system, one must intelligently improve their keywords and key phrases to match what Google and its users will be looking for.
First, do your normal research on your keywords and key phrases. Once you have those down, then you’ll head over to Moz, or another SEO site that you like, to research ‘keyword groupings’. Moz will automatically display keyword groupings for you to include in your content, but you can also use other sources to research it further. Grouping keywords is a good way for Google to recognize your website as a legitimate resource, and once it does, it will remember the information on your site and you will rank higher and higher as more people find your content useful.
Ok, so you have your groupings and individual keywords and key phrases, now you must generate affiliate keywords, groupings, and key phrases. Most people just put in their keywords in Google and see what suggestions come up at the bottom. That’s always good enough. But you can also create ‘exemplars’, which are phrases that can take the place of your chosen keywords, groupings, and key phrases so that you essentially cast a wide net with fewer words. Make sure to create a page on your website that has these exemplar keywords and key phrases and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you start getting all that traffic those words generate.
Again, resources like Moz are perfect for doing everything in this step. However, whatever resource you do use to do everything with, make sure and recheck all your data against Google SERPS, because that is the end-all-be-all when it comes to keyword and key phrase data searching. I mean, it is from Google, after all.
- Predictive Analytics and Cluster Analysis
The meanings behind these seemingly daunting phrases are much easier than you think.
After step one, you have all the words you need to be successful. Now it is time to put them to work by analyzing your content and website with the goal of creating topic clusters in mind. Topic clusters are just using the best keywords for any given topic in your content or website. Writing from the heart is always good but researching the best keywords for every topic is the best way to go. You may be very surprised when you go through your content and find that you have hundreds of specific topics that you’ll need to research to update the SEO for. Especially if you have a blog that you spend a good amount of time on.
Clustering all your topics, subpages, and other web content won’t be nearly as effective if you don’t link it all back to your main page. This practice gives your main page a surge of SEO juice because it has just networked with all the other SEO work you just did, thus the result of ranking much higher in search results will incur.
Along with clustering topics together with the best keywords, groupings, and key phrases, you should try and spend some time predicting the trends of the keyword market. Now, this is a super tough job to take on, and only experts should even attempt to do this, because putting all your eggs in one SEO basket based on a trend prediction may cause you money, traffic, and other woes.
You can do some predictive analysis if you are a beginner by learning from Google Trends, which will give you all the historical information of keywords and key phrases at any time. Obviously, there are plenty of words that can be surely predicted to do better at certain times of the year, like ‘where can I find winter jackets?’ in the fall and winter time. I find it best to think about who your demographic is, think about their lifestyle, what they do on a daily basis, and how it connects with you and what your services or products are. Coupled with real knowledge, a predictive analysis of the word market could mean big bucks for your business if you get ahead of your competitors.