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Impact of Machine Learning on SEO

Google uses RankBrain, a machine learning tool that contributes to search engine results. It gives them the ability to understand search results that it hasn’t dealt with yet. There is an estimate that 15% of the search results every day are totally new. Using machine learning, Google is able to serve better content to its users. As the use of machine learning increases, let's take a look at how it will impact Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

What is machine learning?

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that allows computers to learn without being programmed. It allows computers to understand new data better.

How will machine learn influence SEO?

According to Jeff  Dean and Geoff Hinton, the updates on the algorithms of Panda and Penguin were based on machine learning systems. Google’s ultimate aim is to use machine learning so that its algorithms for its search engine can be automatically updated without the intervention of a human. This makes processes faster as computers can learn from large amounts of data available that Google collects every day.

In 2009, Google and Bing performed tests to see how small delays in search results would affect user satisfaction. The results showed that as satisfaction became lower, the number of clicks and revenue decreased subsequently. What was the reason behind it? It’s simple, the search engine market is becoming increasingly competitive as the number of big players is increasing. If Google and Bing aren’t able to provide quality content or time to provide content increases, the users will switch to other search engines.

Search engines need to provide quality results to its users. The search bots regularly mine content to find out the best content and try to boost traffic to that content to increase the revenue for search engines. SEOs use keywords as part of their strategies to get noticed by search engine bots. With machine learning, search engines will understand which websites are more authoritative as it will be able to understand the content better.

In 2015, only 6% of the sites used keywords in URLs. Keyword stuffing used to work in the past, but now, thanks to machine learning, it won’t be that simple anymore. There's a reason why the algorithms of Panda and Penguin get updated regularly. Search engines aren’t trying to baffle SEO, rather they are trying to consolidate their share in the market.


Machine learning is not new. It has been around for some time now but its power is increasing as time progresses. The more data computers are able to go through, the better their understanding of content. Traditional SEO techniques may no longer work in the future as computers will be able to understand and differentiate between quality content and content that is filled with SEO hacks. Content is king and it will always be king. Focus more on quality rather than techniques. Machine learning is slowly becoming prevalent as the tech industry is investing more resources into it.

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