7 Emerging Technologies in SEO and Their Applications
As Google’s search algorithm evolves, so too must our marketing strategies. SEO experts and business owners alike must stay on top of the latest SEO techniques for better site optimization, improved search rankings, and better conversion rates.
If you’re concerned about how these changes will impact your website, worry no further. Below, we’re going to provide you with a look at seven emerging technologies in SEO that are changing the way users access information. Some technologies are still being refined, while others are already here in a usable state.
1. Googlebot A/B Testing
If you have any experience in managing a website, creating ads, or creating landing pages, you’re already familiar with A/B testing. This is the process of creating two different variations of the same creative. You then divide your web traffic to determine which version performs best with your audience. In this scenario, your campaign is already live and you are spending the budget to gather analytics.
With SEO A/B testing, you are performing the same process but unveiling it to Googlebot first rather than your audience. In addition to this, you are typically only providing one version of the page to compare it to the base version.
A/B testing with Googlebot can be used to analyze a variety of SEO factors including headlines, content variations, meta descriptions, schema markup and rich results, mobile page variations, and much more. You also do not need to worry about hurting your current page rankings so long as you follow Google’s recommended guidelines for testing, which you can find here.
While user A/B testing is valuable and can certainly drive conversions, SEO A/B testing can allow for greater confidence in your results. This is because we are dealing with Google’s search algorithm directly and making changes upon actual changes to search traffic, click-through rate, and search engine rankings.
2. Google’s Multitask Unified Model
In the ongoing effort to be the world’s best search engine, Google continues to improve how its algorithm reads and understands search results. Back in 2019, an addition to the algorithm known as BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) brought with it natural language processing technology. Since then, Google further improved its ability to understand complex queries with the Multitask Unified Model (MUM).
As smart as artificial intelligence can be, it commonly struggles with understanding user intent. This becomes an issue with how nuanced human language is and how we go about using it when browsing the web. AI is often left to read our search queries as entirely literal, while we as humans can decipher hidden meanings or intent behind a simple phrase. As a result, the user typically makes several searches before finding what they really need.
MUM is changing the game by allowing the algorithm to determine the actual meaning behind a web search. Essentially, the experts at Google trained the algorithm to better understand how users around the globe utilize language for search.
As a quick example, let’s say a local store proprietor wants to start selling alcohol. He searches for something to the effect of “need alcohol permit store.” Based on the search intent and background information, we understand that the store owner wants a link telling him how to get his permit. However, the algorithm would previously interpret this in a number of ways, such as “Do I need an alcohol permit?” It may also not understand that specifically, a business person is completing this search, not your average citizen.
With the latest advances in machine learning, Google search can now immediately complete a series of complex tasks and derive the actual search intent based upon user behaviors worldwide. It now understands the search intent as we do and provides the most relevant information at the top of results.
MUM takes this even further by providing this level of accuracy across 75 different languages. Google’s smart algorithm is able to remove language barriers as a factor and deliver the best information to anyone in the world regardless of the language used. It can deliver information in one language and deliver it in the user’s preferred language.
As an SEO, this does not necessarily present new challenges for your existing SEO strategy. However, Google’s continuous advances in searching for the most accurate information reinforces our need to optimize our content for this purpose. By delivering the most informative, easy-to-use content possible, we can potentially boost our traffic with users around the world.
3. Allow AI to Write Your First Draft
New AI-driven technology may someday write our SEO content for us entirely. OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research company, unveiled its GPT-3 language generator just over a year ago. This allows users to create some of the most human-like text ever created by machines. We provide the API with the subject we need to focus on, and it quickly creates the content of varying lengths depending on the information it finds around the internet.
However, if you glance at the article above, you will quickly see that this technology is currently posing problems, as well. Due to its complete reliance on existing human behavior only, it’s very easy for the AI to deliver content that comes with biases that we do not intend to include in our content. Many tests were quick to deliver hateful, racist messages within the text.
For this reason, GPT-3 is not yet at a place where we can place total reliance on language-learning technology. At best, we can attempt to utilize this AI to create first drafts of content. We then review the copy to see the quality of information gathered, while making the necessary changes and revisions to produce a final copy.
With that said, it’s just a matter of time before text-based content creation is no longer a task performed by humans. As experts in the field continue to train artificial intelligence to better understand the intention, desire, and emotion, robots will be able to apply those factors when creating long-form informational articles.
4. TF-IDF for Keyword Relevance
TF-IDF (Term Frequency Times Inverse Document Frequency) is an equation used to measure the actual importance and relevance of a keyword. This is as opposed to keyword density within a document. This is important for search engine optimization specialists as you can use TF-IDF when researching keywords that are the best fit for your page and website.
You will need to implement your usual SEO strategy and create the content you want to analyze with TF-IDF. Then, your TF-IDF tool will rapidly compare your document to high-quality information that exists online. This will highlight high-quality terms and phrases present in other content that can support and improve your own.
To further explain, every piece of content will generally contain common words or phrases. Because these words appear with a high frequency, TF-IDF determines that they are less relevant as they are not unique to the subject. However, less frequent terms that only appear in related topics are more valuable and have higher relevancy. This creates a list of the terms you should focus on and eliminates those you can ignore.
5. Automated Content Research and Optimization
Businesses and marketers are already taking advantage of automated content research and optimization tools for efficient content creation. You no longer need to enlist dedicated content writers that need to spend hours researching, writing, and refining text to perfection. You simply enter your target keyword or subject, allow the tool to grab the most relevant data, and then get to compiling it into your new article.
These state-of-the-art tools rapidly check the internet for relevant articles at the top of search results as well as the People Also Ask section. It’s also become sophisticated enough to discover popular questions and answers from major sites such as Reddit, Answers.com, Quora, or Wikipedia.
6. Search Driven by Image and Video
While informative content is king in marketing, high-quality images and video become increasingly more valuable for SEO over time. Not only does it enhance the quality of your content and make it more engaging for your users, but it may also one day take precedence over text entirely in some cases.
Earlier in this article, we discussed a new level of sophistication that’s reached Google’s search algorithm through MUM. Not only does this technology help the algorithm under search intent, but it is also gaining the ability to recognize dynamic media and generate relevant results based upon what’s shown in a picture or a video. Users can already utilize media as a search query and receive a list of results that Google determines is relevant.
While image and video optimization are already essential for SEO, they will continue to gain added importance for every website. Media optimization already improves site speeds, mobile friendliness, and user retention, but it may become a determining factor in whether or not your content successfully outranks your competitor’s.
Google provides explicit guidelines as to what you should do for best practices when it comes to images, video, and rich media files. Free options for editing and optimizing images and videos include Canva and Invideo. If your SEO strategy does not already include plans for an emphasis on media, understand that it will continue to be a significant factor in search rankings.
7. Users will Learn More from AI Conversations (LaMDA)
The researchers at Google are not stopping at improving the quality of its search results. One of its latest technological advances is known as LaMDA, also known as Language Model for Dialogue Applications,” may change the way we access information forever.
LaMDA follows in the footsteps of other language models mentioned in this article like BERT and GPT-3. The difference for this piece of technology is that its training is geared toward learning the principles of human conversation and interaction. While many of us may already use some form of voice-activated software such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, those robots primarily seek out relevant search results to provide answers. Other responses are primarily scripted and will trigger when given the right inputs.
This new technology seeks to provide relevant information in a more conversational approach as opposed to simply pulling up the top-ranked results. The current task ahead is to maintain its compelling level of relatability, while still staying true to informational accuracy. It also faces the same challenges mentioned with other language models for its ability to be misused for harmful or hateful purposes.
Nevertheless, it is inevitable that we all will be able to access any information we desire by simply asking a robot a question. How this will directly affect our SEO strategies remains to be seen, but key practices will still remain. This means that our focus should still be to follow Google’s guidelines when it comes to creating valuable, factual content.
Any information published on your website should follow Google’s EAT (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) principle. By providing reliable information that Google can use in its automated processes, we will continue to receive the SEO benefits we need and see our websites rank as more valuable in the eyes of the Google algorithm. However, we will need to keep a close eye on how conversational AI changes the way we format and present our data to search engines.
Conclusion – Emerging SEO Technologies Will Forever Change How We Access Information
While some of these technologies may yet be years away, many are already here and being used by business owners and marketers alike. You may no longer need to spend hours researching keywords and information for your articles but can utilize sophisticated tools that automatically bring you the data you need for valuable content.
Search engines are also continuously improving their machine learning algorithms and changing the way search engines read and deliver results. In time, we may be able to access all of the information we need to make a consumer decision by conversing with artificial intelligence just as we would with a sales representative.
Finally, media will continue to be a significant factor when determining what constitutes a valuable search result. Your SEO strategy should place even greater emphasis on video and image optimization that supports any text on a given webpage. The on-page content itself should factor in Google’s EAT principle to demonstrate expertise, authority, and trustworthiness regarding any subject matter.
While there are still unknowns in regard to how changing technologies may impact SEO and search rankings, we still know to focus on these fundamental principles to continuously improve our site quality ranking. SEO and digital marketing will always be an ever-evolving landscape and it’s up to us to stay on top of the latest trends to reap the greatest results possible.