How Machine Learning Is Changing the SEO Rules

More than 40 updates in four years — that’s how often Google updates its search engine algorithms. And while most of these updates only caused ripples, others made waves that left digital marketers scrambling for solid ground. What if search engine algorithms evolved seamlessly without updates?

  • Can I sell other parts of my website?
    Don’t settle for people hitting the back button after they’ve hung out on a landing page. What other related content can you show to get people interested in the rest of your website? Again, think about guides, blogs, related products, special offers, big sales, charitable efforts or anything else that might move visitors’ needles.
  • What is my competition offering?
    Remember, machine learning algorithms will adapt in real-time. This means you need to be much more aware of your real-time competition in the search engine rankings. Are your landing pages offering superior user experiences?
  • Can I optimize better for conversions?
    Increasing your conversions likely means your visitors are accomplishing their goals on your website. And if that’s the case, then visitors are much less likely to return to the search rankings and click around on other sites — which could send negative signals that your user experience was incomplete.
  • Conclusion

    For years, excelling in SEO meant learning the nuances of search engine algorithms and updating websites accordingly — and then doing it all again after each algorithm update. Think of it like an ongoing dance. The search engines lead and the marketers follow, always being wary of the next twist, twirl or dip.

    Machine learning stands to change the dance entirely. If the day comes when search engine algorithms rest entirely on machine learning, then the focus of SEO turns from reacting to search engines toward being proactive about what Web users need. The need to react would be replaced by a desire to evolve.

    Unfortunately, that SEO utopia might still be far on the horizon. The quality of artificial intelligence has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, but there are still too many benefits of humans being in charge of core changes to the algorithms.

    In time, that may change. Until then, machine learning will play an increasingly vital role in shaping the rulebook of SEO.

    Want more SEO tips to improve your Google rankings?  Click here to grab your copy of our Ultimate SEO Checklist.

    Author: Phil Frost

    Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on,,, and many other major business media outlets.

    Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.

    Want more SEO tips? Get your free copy of Phil’s Ultimate SEO Checklist. Want more AdWords tips? Get your free copy of Phil’s Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

    One thought on “How Machine Learning Is Changing the SEO Rules”

    1. My understanding from several SEO professionals at the Internet Summit is that Google is changing their algorithm 600 time a year – approximately twice a day. Is this not correct since I have heard from several sources?

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