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What trends in SEO and future developments will affect search engine optimization of content and websites? How is SEO changing, and how will it continue to evolve in the future?

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Artificial Intelligence

seo tipsArtificial intelligence is affecting SEO in two different ways. The first trend has gone on since the 2013 Google update but continues as artificial intelligences continue to improve in guessing the searcher’s intent and presenting the content it thinks the searcher wants.

The second trend, the newer one, is using artificial intelligence to create content. This isn’t article spinning, which has been around for years. The artificial intelligence used to create content scrapes many different sources and attempts to create brand new content based on those sources. Artificial intelligences that create the new content are able to run plagiarism checking to avoid obvious duplication, and they understand natural language (based on the analysis of massive data sets) well enough to create nearly naturally flowing text. This was the reason Google copied nearly every book it could find a few years ago, to give the AI behind its search engine an unparalleled source for understanding natural language and the context of various terms, in addition to having a massive repository for people to use Google to search.

AI doesn’t yet write perfect content, so human writers aren’t out of work yet. However, the niches where human written content is better than the artificially created and instantly generated answers have to be exploited if you want people to have a reason to visit your website.

On the flip-side, the artificial intelligence behind the search engines look for unnaturally written text and penalize it, though not as heavily as duplicate content. This means poorly written content by someone who doesn’t speak the language well is penalized by the search engine. Even content written by a native speaker with key search terms badly shoehorned in gets penalized by search engines. The natural flow of the text is essential for a high search engine results page rank – and that is all the more important when someone is doing voice search. Content by Matt H. of eBizUniverse. eBizUniverse is an SEO firm located in Chicago. Learn more at their website: http://www.ebizuniverse.com/illinois/chicago/seo/

Voice Search

voice-searchWhen someone asks their Amazon Echo about sports scores or recommendations from Siri for the nearest doc in a box, they’ve performed a voice search. Voice searches differ from web searches in the conversational nature of the inquiries. Someone will ask, “Where is the nearest good Italian restaurant?” instead of entering “five star Italian restaurant” in the search engine.

Your content needs to include the full conversational phrases used in voice search in order to rank well with them. Content based on the questions someone asks like “tell me how to fix my dishwasher’s grinding noise” or “what does error message ABCD mean on my smartphone?” will beat content optimized for “dishwasher grinding noises” or “ABCD error on Apple phone”.

When someone is searching for information about your business because they are ready to buy or visit, local SEO including information on addresses, directions and landmarks become crucial. Local SEO should also mean putting in rich snippets that include Google Maps and hours of operations and fully filled out business directory entries.

 Search engines are getting smarter, as was discussed above. And they are increasingly providing instant answers to search questions. These instant answers affect SEO in several ways. First and foremost is the placement of the instant answer at the top of the search results page, so your website needs to be in the first three instead of the first five if someone is going to see it on the first screen and click it.

The second impact of “instant answers” is the competition instant answers create. Your content based on answering that question better provide more value – and come with a title that gives them a reason to read your in depth content – than the instant answer. For example, content on “what is Pi?” no longer cuts it. An article on “Pi – What Is It, and Trivia You Don’t Know About It” could still garner visits. Your website containing explanations of various terms, calculations or translation of terms loses its value when the search engine can pull and present an instant answer instead. Conversely, content that explains how to do something in detail yourself, from algebra problems to changing out the air filter on a furnace, retains its value. Step by step instructions with pictures or video remain high value and will continue to attract traffic, as long as their title and content match user intent.

Another Word on Content

man-597178Artificial intelligences that scrape thousands of websites to create new content can’t listen to YouTube video, understand an audio book or decipher an infographic. Video and infographics are thus good ways to present new information in a way that cannot be scraped or copied by automated rivals.

Infographics remain uniquely perfect for webpages, since they engage readers, provide dense or complex information in a straightforward people appreciate and share, and aren’t summarized by an instant answer or Tweet.

The second impact of “instant answers” is the competition instant answers create. Your content based on answering that question better provide more value – and come with a title that gives them a reason to read your in depth content – than the instant answer. For example, content on “what is Pi?” no longer cuts it. An article on “Pi – What Is It, and Trivia You Don’t Know About It” could still garner visits. Your website containing explanations of various terms, calculations or translation of terms loses its value when the search engine can pull and present an instant answer instead. Conversely, content that explains how to do something in detail yourself, from algebra problems to changing out the air filter on a furnace, retains its value. Step by step instructions with pictures or video remain high value and will continue to attract traffic, as long as their title and content match user intent.

Another Word on Content

Artificial intelligences that scrape thousands of websites to create new content can’t listen to YouTube video, understand an audio book or decipher an infographic. Video and infographics are thus good ways to present new information in a way that cannot be scraped or copied by automated rivals.

Infographics remain uniquely perfect for webpages, since they engage readers, provide dense or complex information in a straightforward people appreciate and share, and aren’t summarized by an instant answer or Tweet.

Earn Higher Rankings

Content is certainly important, but we have to remember all the other tools we have for improving our rankings. Rand covers six great methods that don't even involve content marketing.

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