How machine learning levels the SERP playing field
Contributor Kristopher Jones explains how SEOs should be changing their practices to keep up with trends in the way Google evaluates web pages.
We don’t ordinarily think of Google when we think about competition in the digital marketing world, since it seems to reliably dominate most areas in which it does business. A recent segment discussing corporate monopolies on John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight“ hilariously referenced Bing as the dominant search engine with a graphic that stated, “Bing. The best place to Google something.”
For the most part, however, the digital marketing sphere has been a fairly competitive landscape, though there were exceptions to this maxim. Established brands frequently dominated top SERP positions because of long-standing trust, fresh domains had to wait their turn in line, and black-hat SEO allowed webmasters to game the system and deliver high rankings for thin content. A decade ago, SEO agencies and webmasters could apply simple heuristics and buzzworthy keywords to rank content regardless of its utility to user intent or actual quality.
The Hummingbird update and subsequent rollout of RankBrain changed all of these notions entirely.