By now everyone has heard of Google’s RankBrain, the new artificial intelligence machine learning algorithm that is supposed to be the latest and greatest from Mountain View, Calif. What many of you might not realize, however, is just how fast the SEO industry is changing because of it. In this article, I’ll take you through some clear examples of how some of the old rules of SEO no longer apply, and what steps you can take to stay ahead of the curve in order to continue to provide successful SEO campaigns for your businesses.
So what is artificial intelligence?
There are generally three different classifications of artificial intelligence:
Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI): This is like AI for one particular thing (e.g. beating the world champion in chess).
Artificial General Intelligence (AGI): This is when the AI can perform all things. Once an AI can perform like a human, we consider it AGI.
Artificial Superintelligence (ASI): AI on a much higher level for all things (e.g. beyond the capabilities of a single human).
When we talk about the context of Google’s RankBrain, and the machine learning algorithms that are currently running on Google, we are talking about Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI).
Actually, ANI has been around for some time. Ever wonder how those SPAM filters work in your email? Yep, that’s ANI. Here are some of my favorite ANI programs: Google Translate, IBM’s Watson, that cool feature on Amazon that tells you products that are “recommended for you,” self-driving cars and, yes, our beloved Google’s RankBrain.
Within ANI, there are many different approaches. As Pedro Domingos clearly lays out in his book The Master Algorithm, data scientists trying to achieve the perfect AI can be grouped into five “tribes” today:
Google’s RankBrain is in the camp of the Connectionists. Connectionists believe that all our knowledge is encoded in the connections between neurons in our brain. And RankBrain’s particular strategy is what experts in the field call a back propagation technique, rebranded as “deep learning.”