How Machine Learning Affects Your Search Rankings (And What You Should Do in Response)

Google’s algorithm learns on its own, without human intervention. Yes, programmers need to alter how its algorithm learns with updates from time-to-time.

But Google’s algorithm can absolutely do much of its learning on its own. That’s artificial intelligence.

Google’s RankBrain update does this with new search queries it’s never encountered before. When evaluating the search terms entered, it compares them to similar words and keyphrases which have been searched before. Then, based on its understanding, it delivers the most relevant results for the new search term you enter.

The big deal about this is that Google can understand the actual intent of your search. For searchers, that means they get results more in line with what they want.

Maybe Google isn’t always perfect. But it’s far more accurate than any other search engine.

Big Deal! What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Well, it dramatically shifts your approach to SEO. For around a decade, it’s been all about optimizing your page using the right techniques and keyphrases. And many SEOs still swear adamantly to this approach. For example, you should:

  • Include your most important keyphrase in your page’s URL
  • Make sure it appears in the H1 title at the top of your page
  • Include it in a H2 sub-header, or maybe even a couple of them
  • Keep it in the regular body text of your page a few times
  • Make sure each of the pages on your website is at least 500 words
  • Keep your page load times at less than 3 seconds

Now don’t get us wrong. That stuff’s still important. But almost everyone understands to do it now.

So, you can’t sneak ahead of the competition when you use these techniques. It’s simply a standard of practice you have to do to keep pace.

Today, ranking’s all about content quality.

What Makes content Amazing?

Let’s take a typical small business niche: DIY home repair. You’ll have no problem finding thousands of articles on nearly any DIY subject online.

So what makes one so much better than another?

Take a look at industry expert Bob Vila’s website. It’s loaded with dozens of “how-to” guides. They’re filled with:

  • Detailed info which explains all steps and concepts so anyone can understand them
  • Image examples to clarify ideas
  • Product recommendations

Once you’re done reading the article, you really don’t have any questions left.

But Won’t That Cause Most Customers to Simply Do Everything Themselves and Not Use Your Business?

No. Of course, some readers will go the DIY route. But, remember you’re not going to change what they want to do.

Some readers will always want to DIY. Your goal isn’t to change their minds so you can do it for them and charge them a fee.

Your goal is to provide such amazing value in your content that readers bookmark you, share your content on social media, and otherwise never forget you. Then, when they do have a need for your services (and of course many customers will want to pay for them because they have no desire to DIY), they remember you, and not your competition.

Content is a long-term game in this regard. And those shares and links you earn only come with amazing-quality content. But it creates consistency and predictability you can’t win using any other marketing technique.

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