Machine learning and personalised search

adding value with social media

Here at Pumpkin Web Design, we are web marketing and web design experts. Producing great content, and designing stunning, visual websites, we work across the region with local businesses to provide a top quality digital service. As a result, we always have our eye on the SERP, and the changes that search engines are making. One thing that has been causing a buzz, is the increasingly important role of personalised search. And this all stems from machine learning. But what is machine learning? How does this influence personalised search? And what is the impact on local businesses? Well, check out our guide to machine learning and personalised search.

What is machine learning?

When you think of machine learning, you might automatically jump to thoughts of Skynet, but it isn’t as far along as world domination, yet! In fact, machine learning is helping to improve all aspects of technology, in a wide variety of sectors, including health care! So for now at least, it seems to be on our side.

Essentially, machine learning is a specially designed algorithm that can analyse, understand and then accurately predict existing patterns and trends. As a result, the algorithm can sort data into categories, based on what it can understand about the patterns.

But this isn’t a brand new development. In fact, the Hummingbird algorithm update made by Google several years ago was an integral step in machine learning. This update allowed Google to begin to understand conversational speech, which greatly improved the search results. This is because Google learnt that words have an underlying idea, and these are connected, while they might not appear to be the same if taken at face value.

Machine learning and SEO

As you can tell, machine learning is having an impact on the SERP, which means that marketers and businesses have to change and adapt their SEO strategies in order to stay on top. Currently, machine learning is used to analyse user inquries, and predict the results they will want to see, based on previously stored data that Google has access to.

Machine learning means that businesses need to be aware that:

  • the company ranking may well be different for different users, in different locations and with different search histories
  • websites that are responsively designed with mobile users in mind will achieve better rankings, and more traffic, when a user uses a mobile device

Machine learning and personalised search

Currently, one of the largest influences of machine learning is on personalised search. This is all about tailoring the SERP to meet (what is predicted to be) the users needs. This means that a user searching for information about a car MOT, will see results based on their location, and this may well be different for other users, in other places. Essentially, because no two people are the same, no two search result pages should be the same.And this only makes it more difficult for local businesses and small businesses to survive online.

Which factors can influence personalised search?

Your search results can be influenced by:

  • The country you are searching from- this makes total sense, as you don’t want your search results to come back in a foreign language. And in some cases, the same word can have different meanings. For example, if you were searching for the football results in the UK, you would expect different responses to someone searching for the same thing in the USA. After all, you are no doubt looking for the results from two very different sports.
  • Your location- Again, this is a great way to make the SERP more relevant and helpful to the user. Say you were looking for a plumber or an electrician, it makes sense that the results you are shown are based on your location, as then you can easily contact local service providers. This is why local SEO is so important for local businesses.
  • Search history- If you use Google chrome, most of the websites you visit and the searches you enter will be recorded by Google. This means that the next time you use Google to search, a website that you have already shown a preference for, may rank higher on your SERP than it does for anyone else.

In summary

When it comes to machine learning and personalised search, keeping on top of recent and relevant research is necessary, to stay ahead of the game. Machine learning can have a huge impact on SEO, because of its ability to understand and process human language. And personalised search can transform your performance on the SERP, where you will generate the vast majority of your website traffic. If you want to stay ahead of the game, or your SEO needs help, contact us at Pumpkin Web Design today.

Pumpkin Web Design Ltd is a small and highly results driven digital agency working for like minded clients in Preston, Manchester, Chorley, Southport, Blackburn, Burnley, Morecambe, Wigan and the UK. Our services include web design, SEO, content marketing, video production, brand design and much more.