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    Artificial Intelligence & SEO: 3 Ways to Boost Your Content Marketing in 2018

    SEO has come a long way since Google started its operations back in 1998. Today, with the help of AI and machine learning, Google Search has become more sophisticated than ever.

    Therefore, unlike the yesteryears, ranking on Google Search is more about offering high-quality content that meets users intent and doing it exceptionally better than others.

    The radical shift in focus on search quality, it is incumbent on content marketers to adapt to the modern SEO methods.

    With the radical shift in focus on search quality, it’s incumbent on content marketers to adapt to the modern SEO methods for creating content for their target audience.

    Let’s take a look at some of the effective ways you can boost your content marketing in 2018.

    Optimize Keywords for RankBrain using Pillar Content Strategy

    Keywords are the mainstay of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you know how to choose the right keywords based on your industry, it will help you rank higher provided your content offers great value to your audience.

    However, the keyword research and selection have seen a radical shift after Google introduced RankBrain, its AI-driven algorithm.

    The emergence of RankBrain has revolutionized Google Search, focusing on topical authority and user experience to rank a webpage.

    Therefore, how you choose your keywords is crucial to your search engine rankings.

    Here’s how you should approach your keyword research tasks:

    Step #1 — Collect Relevant Keywords

    Step #2 — Combine Keywords into Groups

    Step #3 — Decide on the Primary Keyword per Group

    In Step #1, use any popular keyword research tool such as Moz Keyword Explorer, and gather keyword data for your website. Additionally, collect keywords under Related Searched on Google Search. You can also choose any of these AI-driven keyword research tools.

    In Step #2, segregate keywords as per their topical relevance. For example, “content marketing tools” and “content marketing myths” should ideally fall under “content marketing guide”.

    In Step #3, decide on the primary keyword per each keyword group. In our case, the primary keyword would be “content marketing guide” which can be used to optimize a cornerstone content or pillar content piece.

    Once you have completed the selecting and organizing keywords and keyword groups, you can build a blueprint to create content for your website. 

    Logical Steps to Creating Content

    Since our goal is to establish topical authority, we should try to follow the HubSpot content marketing strategy.

    According to HubSpot, ideally, you should create a pillar page around your primary keyword and then build topic clusters (read regular blog posts) around your secondary keywords, linking back to the pillar page.

    HubSpot’s Instagram Marketing is probably the best example of a Pillar Page.

    Using a strong internal linking helped HubSpot improve their search rankings.

    More internal links = higher placement in SERP.

    Recommend Reading: Some AI-Powered Platforms to Help You Speed Up Content Creation

    Peeking Into Future Trends with Predictive Analytics

    With the growing use of voice-based smart devices such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, the voice search queries are beginning to dominate the search results.

    According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

    The current usage of voice searches, as per Alpine.ai, is over one billion per month.

    According to Google, 20% of mobile queries are voice searches.

    That’s a massive amount of voice search queries which present tons of opportunities for content marketers in terms of search rankings.

    However, both predicting and ranking for the long-tail search queries is a daunting proposition in itself.

    That’s where predictive analytics can help you to a great extent.

    While Google Trends offers historical search query data, predictive analytics provides a peek into the future trends.

    Once you identify the search trends and user intent, you can build content around it in advance.

    If you’re a local business, optimizing for voice-based local search queries is a profitable opportunity.

    Recommend Reading:

    Optimize Customer Reviews for Voice Queries

    Customer reviews have always helped Google establishing relevance and user satisfaction. It’s no surprise that a high number of customer reviews can propel a business’s search ranking for local searches.

    But, it’s not just about search rankings.

    A survey by Bright Local found 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends.

    What’s more, 68% actually form an opinion about a brand after reading between one to six online reviews.

    How do online customer reviews affect your opinion of a local business?

    From SEO standpoint, you can rank higher for long-tail voice-based search queries if you have a decent number of positive reviews about your brand.

    Google’s RankBrain algorithm factors in query intent to deliver relevant results to its searchers. Therefore, positive reviews will help your business rank well for both desktop queries and mobile queries.

    The key is to encourage your customers to leave a review after they’ve made a purchase. Many businesses go step forward and actually offer an incentive for a recommendation.

    To get optimum value for your local search optimization, you should optimize your listings on Google Local Business, Bing Local, Yelp and so on.

    Moreover, try to use those reviews across your key landing pages for better visibility.

    Final Thoughts

    Gone are the days when higher rankings on search engines would mean buying links and manipulating search algorithms. These days, following any those old-school practices can effectively invite severe penalty from search engines. On the other hand, building customer-focused content optimized for RankBrain will drive visibility and boost brand loyalty.

    About the Author

    Susanta Sahoo is founder and chief content marketing strategist at Top League Technologies, a digital marketing start-up in Bhubaneswar, India. By offering SEO consulting services, he helps SMB’s build their online presence and boost ROI. Follow him on Twitter: @ugosus.

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