As an SEO and technology expert, Neill provides insights into how SME businesses can begin to implement AI into their offering to make better use of their data, allowing it to drive business performance forward.
With more than 1 billion users, Google is one of the world’s biggest brands, and arguably the biggest key driver of modern technological advancement. They are learning and improving faster than we can comprehend and that is being translated to the latest technology available to businesses.
I believe that Google’s AIs improvement will be increasingly important and influential for businesses in the future.
As Google becomes better at interpreting and inferring information from things other than just text, businesses will need to recognise that AIs will be analysing everything they do with greater efficiency and larger datasets than rivals will have done before.
This obviously goes beyond Google. Some businesses are already harnessing AI – even in its most basic forms of machine learning – to transform the level of insights they can glean from their customers, sales, operating efficiencies and all manner of other data sources.
Done correctly, this can lead not only to greater efficiencies, but also greater effectiveness of what we produce, market and sell, by targeting customers better and answering their needs.
Google is the obvious version of that, especially as they’re so far ahead, but some of the good practices we can adopt to make things better for Google (like consistency and clean, structured data) will be useful throughout business transformations.
For many businesses it should be about two things which you should probably be doing anyway: be consistent in your communications and make sure you use clean, structured data. Both of these will confuse users and AIs less, now and in the future, making it much easier to work out what’s going on.
Many businesses will know to sort the first one as part of branding and marketing, so the second one of these is probably the area which could catch you out.
You may not be ready to leverage AI just yet, but cleaning and tidying your data could already help make decisions now, let alone the ramifications down the line when you can employ AI.
Increasingly we must all look at what we do and make sure it’s something we want search engines to interpret and share with our customers – whether it’s print or on a website or in a TV ad, whether we’re a digital specialist or working in audience planning.
Google has come a long way since it started with Edit visualising how the company birthed SEO following its rapid growth since the domain name was registered in 1997 to the latest updates, giving us a glimpse into how the next 10 years might look.
The past decade alone has seen huge leaps in Google’s capabilities and focus on AI, with the arrival of Google Assistant in 2016 and the Neural Matching algorithm introduced in 2018, to deliver more diverse search results by analysing language on a deeper level than previous algorithms.
And Google’s commitment only looks set to grow with the company’s co-founder, Larry Page, taking a particularly close interest in AI, revealing that: “Google will fulfil its mission only when its search engine is AI-complete.”
Over the course of 2020 I expect to see Google create a more subtle integration of AI into BERT, to help understanding if queries.
Alongside this, I think we will see improved sentiment analysis leading to enhancement of reviews and even little touches such as built in password manager built by Google Chrome.
Good SEO practice, like brand design and tone of voice, will have to be embedded at everything a brand does and says. It will be important that when a search engine or AI attempts to understand or interpret everything about you that it doesn’t see glaring contradictions which could erode trust or cause it to send consumers mixed messages.
To quote Google’s mission statement, which is probably the best way to explain their objective is: ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’”