How AI Affects Your Business Website and What You Can Do About It

Sometimes, it feels like we live in a science fiction universe come to life. Technological innovations mean that machines can now tell jokes, suggest restaurants, and even write new chapters of Harry Potter. Understanding how artificial intelligence (AI) impacts Internet searching can help you attract the right kind of attention from machines—and the customers who use them.

The Impact of AI on Your Business Website

Machines Read Content, Not Keywords

Keyword stuffing isn’t the trick to boost search engine ranking anymore. In fact, it can backfire and cost you points. This questionable SEO trick was more effective back when Google “spiders” or other search engine bots looked for keywords that matched a search. The more matches for a word or phrase on the webpage, the concept went, the more relevant the site must be.

Now, more sophisticated AIs are programmed to understand conversational human language. That’s why personal assistant programs know questions like “Do I need a jacket?” actually mean, “Tell me the local weather today in the location detected on my smart device.”

Bots crawling on your website can look past keywords to evaluate the meaning of your online content, and they can assess whether copy was written for a human or machine audience. Conversational language and engagement with a human audience boosts ranking. Search algorithms can understand synonyms, too, so you don’t need to work in every permutation of a keyword to rank for the topics that matter to you.

Bottom line: Search engines are looking for websites that provide useful information for real people. Write your articles accordingly.

User Engagement Matters

Your search engine ranking also depends on how valuable other users find your site. Search algorithms have tools to track this, too—if you give them something to measure.

As you implement your 2018 marketing strategy, make sure you know how to quantify results. Are you adding longer, well-written articles that will keep visitors on the page longer as they read useful information? Are you reorganizing the site to make it easier to find the answers to their questions? Maybe you’re launching a newsletter or publishing an ebook that’s available from your site.

Artificial intelligence can track results on all of the above examples. Click-through rates, subscriptions, comments, and more can all indicate that people are interested in what you have to offer. The higher the engagement, the better the chances that a machine will decide that other people would benefit from visiting your site, too.

Bottom line: Give visitors to your site something to grab and hold their attention. Think about the purpose of the content on your site, and track time spent/download rates yourself to learn how to improve further.

AI Employees Never Sleep

So far, it still sounds like a lot of strategy is about impressing AIs. We’re not trying to set up any kind of “humans versus machines” dynamic. For many businesses, 2018 will be the year they add artificial intelligence as an honorary member of the staff.

Businesses like Sephora, Stitch Fix, and more use artificial intelligence chatbots to answer customer questions and use quizzes to gather personalized information. Once they have a customer’s preferences on hand, an AI bot can be faster than a human being at aggregating millions of data points to deliver a wide variety of personalized content suggestions.

AI can help keep track of social media marketing opportunities, too. Tech applications can analyze data you’ve collected about your followers and customers, and some programs even suggest social media content ideas that your audience might like. Converseon, InsightPool, and Rocco may be useful tools to look into for 2018. Other AI tools can track your website’s analytics and alert you about major changes in the data.

Bottom line: Customers prefer, and expect, increasingly personalized shopping experiences. Artificial intelligence tools are available 24/7 to tailor the experience to suit their needs.

The Big Takeaway

Whether you’re eager to embrace AI overlords or think all this sounds like a sci-fi nightmare, artificial intelligence is getting better at understanding what people want to see online. Focus on creating content that serves people (and maybe look into a few AI tools to pick up slack when you’re not at your desk), and machine learning may help push your page to the top.

Do you plan on incorporating more AI tools into your business or marketing strategy this year? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Jessica Sillers

Jessica Sillers writes about business, finance, and parenting for various companies and publications. Her favorite things include outings with her husband and daughter, Elena Ferrante novels, and perfecting the chocolate chip cookie. Read more of her work at www.dcfreelancewriter.com/portfolio.