When marketing a business, we can learn a lot from neuroscience

Michael Jenkins

As founder and director of Shout Agency, a digital marketing agency based in Sydney and Melbourne, Michael is at the forefront of the industry. Since its inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia's leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management.


In 2015, a study at MIT suggested an algorithm could predict someone’s behaviour faster and more reliably than humans can.  

The Data Science Machine, created by a master’s student in computer science, was able to derive predictive models from raw data automatically – without human involvement.   

With such affirmation, today algorithms are being used to help determine who’s eligible for credit, what television programs we’ll most enjoy and to develop self-driving cars. These major transformations are changing the ways we live and work.  

For marketers, the rise of machine learning is just as transformational; it is helping us to reach customers faster and more effectively. Take for example, the impact on SEO.  

In a data-rich and time-poor environment, SEO is an unenviable task for many marketers. There’s simply not enough time to fully understand every customer and deliver personalised content. The rise of AI presents the unprecedented opportunity to serve up relevant content to potential customers, at speed and scale.

What exactly has changed?

1. User Intent

Keywords still play a part in search. However, the intent of the users increased in importance over the past few years. Keywords give a clue as to what information someone wants. However, monitoring past behaviours enables search engines to give more accurate results in the future.

World leading SEO expert, Jordan Kasteler, says, “Algorithms will continue to learn from themselves and adapt to become more intelligent… It’ll become more important than ever for SEOs to understand their audience and serve their needs. A good user experience with compelling content will no longer be semi-optional.”

Marketers can study the paths users take to work with a brand in order to understand what the best user experience is for each prospect.

In the end, the more you think like your customer, the better your search results on Google.

2. The power of images

In 2012, Google used a type of machine learning known as deep neural networks. Inspired by neuroscience, the word ‘deep’ refers to the many layers in the brains network, and the technology is designed to teach computers to learn in the same way that our brains do. The exercise was designed to teach google what a cat looked like, and then apply that learning to serve up cat content. The exercise trained AI torecognise cats in YouTube videos. Today, deep learning is the most common approach for AI. With that in mind, it is more important than ever to use clear, recognisable images with content. This will ensure your website ranks highly across both image, video and text search.

3. Branding

As keywords and links become less relevant with the increased power of AI, businesses need to focus more on improving their brand.

Using social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will help you connect with customers. Search engines use the engagement you receive from these platforms as a sign of how often to show your content on search engines. Therefore it is more important than ever to serve up relevant, engaging and relevant content (that is, content that is clearly aligned with search habits) to achieve results.

4. Local search

Some of the greatest impact of AI on search is integration with user location searches on mobile devices. If your retail location wants to benefit from these changes, it is important to look closely at local search data and map that against current and potential clients Adding quality local citations and reviews is just as vital for any business looking to get attention from search engine AI’s.

Note: The more positive interactions your customers have, the more attention Google’s algorithm gives to your local store.

5. Go niche

If you must explain to a computer what you do and why visitors should visit you, then your website is too vague. You are not alone. Most websites deal in commonalities.

This change presents a disadvantage to large corporations who want to take care of everyone. Conversely, small businesses with distinct niches gain. Google’s RankBrain analyses websites to see what is a good site and what is a bad site.

Concentrate your content on a specific niche, to increase your traffic from Google.

Final thoughts

While human behaviour is still not completely predictable, one thing that is for sure: the continued collection and analysis of data will certainly make us more predictable. It affords brands enormous opportunity, with unprecedented access to consumer data and consumer trends. The challenge is to maximise this opportunity by serving up relevant content that is clearly recognisable in search.

 

Tags: digital marketing, SEO strategies, marketing strategy

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