How do search engines use Artificial Intelligence?

Back in the day, computers could only execute your commands, not store them. Although people back then had their fair share of setbacks, those efforts initiated the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) that rules everything today.

Thanks to AI technology, machines can mimic human behavior. Machine learning (ML) on the other hand, is a part of AI. It can allow machines to automatically learn using past data without in-detail programming. The end goal of AI is to create a smart computer system that can solve complex problems.

When it comes to search engines, AI & ML are responsible for everything you see in search results now to what you’ll see in the future. In a couple of years, machines may take over the world. But for today, let’s stick to exploring how search engines use AI/ML to make our online escapades easier.

1. Pattern Detection and Website Ranking

Search engines rely on AI and ML to rank your web pages, videos, and overall content on your website.

For instance, search engines use machine learning for pattern detection. This mainly helps with detecting spam or duplicating content. They search for outbound links to unrelated pages, stop words and synonyms, and spammy keywords in your content.

Machine learning can figure out these patterns and eventually flag them. Data collected from users are also helpful for these algorithms to learn new patterns and flag them as well. Their objective is to free search results from inferior content.

Google still uses human quality raters, but machine learning decreases the amount of manpower that is used to review the content.

This is why low-quality content doesn’t stand a chance against Google. And with artificial intelligence around, trying to cheat the game by using black hat SEO techniques including keyword stuffing, cloaking, invisible text, etc. is out of the question.

2. Understanding Search Queries and Language Processing

Search engines use natural language processing (NLP). This is an AI field that’s committed to teaching computers how our written language works.

What this does is, analyze the users’ previous searches and optimize future results.

Now, Google uses a pre-trained language model called Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) to bring customized results for users. It not only can interpret the keywords but also recognize their context.

Be that as it may, it’s safe to say that nowadays, Multitask Unified Model (MUM) is stealing BERT’s thunder. It is a much more powerful type of AI that is one of Google’s aces up its sleeve.

MUM is capable of identifying context, and search intent, and get this — comprehending searches in different languages.

Although it seems too good to be true, search engines use ML to figure out search intent based on our past behavior and interests, such as click patterns or the type of content that we engage with.

3. AI/ ML for Voice Search

NLP has another upside, i.e. the ability to detect human voices in real-time. Simply put, when you say a word, AI-powered systems can translate it to a search result. In terms of Googling, who knows one day, your thoughts might give you search results, so to speak.

4. AI/ ML for Image Search

Believe it or not, millions of pictures are being uploaded onto Instagram and Facebook every second. So, imagine how many humans and hours would it take to analyze and catalog them manually? However, this is a piece of cake for machine learning.

AI can analyze shape patterns, and colors while combining them with current schema data about the particular photograph. As a result, search engines understand the concept of an image.

What’s more, through machine learning, Google catalogs images for Google Image search results and also boosts its reverse image search. This way, we can search using an image rather than always resorting to text.

5. Identifying Synonyms

Have you ever felt that Google is forcing synonyms on your search results? It’s probably because of RankBrain. It is a piece of AI that helps Google understand the most relevant topics based on your query.

What’s important is that it truly takes the result accuracy up a notch. Ultimately, Google won’t confuse you by showing you results that have the polar opposite meaning. But, it will uncover all the results that are similar to your search intent.

Over to you

AI and ML will never cease to amaze us, and this is just a smidgen of their capability. Better yet, the more humans interact with them, the smarter and more precise they’ll become.

Although artificial intelligence will constantly need a human touch to progress, it will certainly take the quality of our lives to another stratosphere.

The bottom line is, that AI and ML are goldmines that’ll assist humans to have a bespoke online experience.

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