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On Wednesday, 2 December 2015, seoClarity sponsored a webinar with Chief Architect and Co-founder, Mitul Gandhi, and Chief SEO Evangelist, Keith Goode, entitled “RankBrain, Artificial Intelligence and the Search Experience: The SEO’s Roadmap for 2016.” In this hour-long session, they discussed the big developments at Google in artificial intelligence and machine learning and how they may impact the SEO’s roadmap in the coming year.

Here is the outline of the discussion and some of the corresponding points made in the presentation.

Background – Rankbrain And The Evolution Of Google’s Algorithm

RankBrain is neither Google’s algorithm (that is called Hummingbird) nor is it Google’s artificial intelligence engine (that is called TensorFlow). Rather, it is one of over 200 elements in Google’s algorithm. However, due to its efficacy, it has very quickly become the 3rd most important part of the algorithm.

RankBrain attempts to make sense of queries and search phrases that it has never encountered before. The reason Google is focused on this aspect of the algorithm is that it has the goal of reaching every potential user in the world, many of which don’t have English as a first language. The only way to scale globally without having to hire thousands of developers is to create an algorithm that can learn over time.

Google’s Goals And The Search Experience

How does this goal of machine learning fit in with their vision for users of their platforms? Ultimately, Google is moving away from being a single algorithm that addresses all queries and all users to being a single algorithm that addresses each user’s query.

This align’s with seoClarity’s approach to SEO. Rather than seeing SEO as Search Engine Optimization, Mitul Gandhi has urged platform users to view it as Search Experience Optimization.

Rather than chasing algorithm changes, sites should focus on the user experience from SERP to conversion.

Roadmap Considerations For 2016

Follow seoClarity’s 7-Step Roadmap based on the Search Experience Optimization framework. Build engaging and relevant content on a solid technical foundation, rather than focusing on just acquiring links and social signals. Many SEOs have these priorities backward.

Build and Rally the Team in your organization by democratizing SEO.Train your content writers to focus less on keyword density and more on plugging into the conversations that are happening around those relevant topics. Encourage your C-Suite and PR/Marketing teams to build a great brand online. And collaborate with your Developers and Engineers to monitor for issues (such as Ted Kubaitis’ example in The Secret World of Negative SEO) and understand their overall impact on the search experience.

Re-align Your Metrics to center on the user experience. KPIs to focus on include site stickiness (Dwell Time, Bounce Rate) and engagement (CTR, Conversion Rates).

Finally, Test, Test, Test. The most successful sites are constantly testing improvements for CTR, conversion rates, user experience, and overall engagement. This is a great habit to emulate. Mitul Gandhi will be hosting an A/B and Multi-variate testing webinar in the coming months.

Fill out the form below to watch the on-demand webinar now!