Is machine learning replacing organic SEO?


Recently you might have heard a lot about machine learning and how it will change the organic SEO landscape forever. Some predictions where machine learning will take over, putting SEO specialists out of their jobs, are likely from the same people who list Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in their top 3 films.

Therefore, a more realistic world view is that SEO specialists will have to adapt the way they work and focus more on areas that require human interpretation. The contest will eventually become less about battling it out for the top 10 search results, but instead what Google search algorithms consider as the best response to the search query.


Let us explain

Since the inception of Google’s RankBrain, a machine learning system that processes search results, Google has improved the way they analyse search queries and will return results that might not even use the keyword phrases used in the search.

Furthermore, the signs that Google are gradually relegating the organic space on the results space is pretty plain to see. Search for a service or product right now and you’ll likely be greeted with paid for ads, maps, reviews, photos, carousels and ‘people also ask’ drop downs.


Why are Google doing this?

Well basically they are doing all they can to provide an answer to the search query whilst minimising the impact of the traditional organic top 10 on the paid listings.


So, what can we do?

Given how voice-based search software like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant have changed and will continue to change how people search, the future of organic searches lie in answering questions and providing content that best provides those answers.

No matter what, Google will always deem the best response to a question as valuable. Therefore, websites need to reposition their content by providing the most relevant information to Q&A search queries that your target market will be searching for.

Whilst the organic search is and will continue to be marginalised by AdWords, it’s worth noting that the SERP won’t become 100% paid listings. However, it will change further as Google’s RankBrain algorithm becomes more intelligent at handling voice search and long key phrases.

The best way to stay on top of this for organic search? Have the best information, images, videos, reviews and guides that can be displayed on multiple devices. That is how your site will be judged.


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