How can You use Google’s Machine Learning to Your Advantage?


Google’s machine learning algorithms are being used to better understand what people want and what they’re looking for. This is something that you can and should use to your advantage to provide people with the exact information they need and want.


Machine Learning Has Given Preference to Local Results for Generic Keywords

Organic search results will give a preference to local rather than global, regardless of what keywords you’re ranking for. At the top of the SERP, you’ll also notice a map with results, much like the one above. Why would Google show a map of local results around a set of generic keywords? Machine learning, over time, has indicated that people are more likely to look for local companies rather than the bigger players. This behaviour is evident in all searches, for example, restaurants, ATMs and banks. These will all give you the locations of those closest to you, which is what people searching Google wanted and ultimately clicked on, not the ones that are deemed the best from an SEO perspective.


How has Machine Learning Affected Paid Search?

Generic keywords like “web development” and “software services” are extremely expensive. You will gain priority over organic searches, but why pay more to be above local results if people are looking for local? If you’re not regional, you have no chance of closing deals. Many of the clicks you receive will likely never convert, thus costing more money than you gain. By understanding this, you can save yourself a lot of money on your own paid search campaigns.


Are you Giving your Users What They Want?

Google is getting a better sense of how you feel about the sites you find. For example, if people are returning to the search results over and over, modifying their search and then staying on that search longer. Google has learned that those initial keywords used, and the results that appeared, are not giving the people what they want. In time this will result in a decrease in your pages’ rankings.

To adapt to this, you need to change your search strategies by answering peoples’ questions rather than trying to rank well on Google. By doing the former, the latter will follow. Keep in mind that great marketing makes you smarter, helps you decide and gives you the right information quickly.


How can You Predict What People are Likely to Search for Next?

1. “People Also Ask” Boxes

Paying attention to the “People Also Ask” boxes on the SERP will give you a good indication of the type of content to include on your website.

How can You use Google’s Machine Learning to Your Advantage?

These are the questions that your potential customer is likely to search for after the given search. Your job will be to connect these additional questions on your landing pages with the type of content people are likely to land on when they originally search. The more and more you click on these “People Also Ask” boxes, the more results that will continue to show up, so you should strive to answer as many of these questions as possible.


2. Related Searches

This will show what people are also searching for related to the initial core keyword.

How can You use Google’s Machine Learning to Your Advantage?

These related searches are being shown specifically because Google’s machine learning has decided that these are the right kind of things that people are likely to search for next. It’s essential that you show this information on your landing pages, especially if you’re using paid search.


3. Not Hitting Enter on Google

This is a great way to give you a feel for what people are searching for. Keep in mind that you should do this in incognito mode so your past browser search history doesn’t alter the results. What’s more, you can increase the number of results that Google shows you from the usual 4 to a maximum of 10. To do this follow these steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Go to settings in the corner
  3. Click on search settings
  4. Go to Google Instant Predictions
  5. Click “Never Show Instant Results”

When you see the top 10 results for the keywords you rank for you’ll get an insight into what people are asking. you may now notice that there are certain keywords that have multiple meanings. These other types of words may be triggering your paid search ads so it’s best to set it up that you negatively rank for these.


Are You Giving People the Information They’re Looking For?

Ask yourself, have you ever searched for something on Google and received no results? Of course not. If you’re not fully transparent with information about your company, Google will find results that are, even if that information is incorrect. It’s imperative that you give people what they’re searching for or they will take this misinformation as the truth.

Pricing, for example, is one thing that a lot of companies, especially B2B, may be resistant to show on their websites. If potential customers are searching for this and can’t find a direct answer from your website, they’ll seek out other sources. The more this happens, the more Google learns that this is something that is important to them and the result that does give an answer will take priority in the SERP. Avoid this as much as possible by providing the information yourself, even if you’re reluctant to do so.


Google is Starting to Keep More People on Google

High percentages of search results are now being designed to keep people from leaving Google. This raises the question: how can you grow traffic to your website if Google is continuing to provide all the information people need right from the SERP?

How can You use Google’s Machine Learning to Your Advantage?

The above example strengthens this point. Right from Google itself, you can see the address, phone number, opening hours and reviews without going to ICON’s website. This is more evident on mobile where you can see how close you are, call them directly, get directions, etc. Take your traffic growth goals you set for the coming years into consideration, especially as rich results continues to grow. To put this into context, think about all the searches that were not needed in the above example for ICON.

Want to learn more about how you can grow your business online? Get in touch with ICON today.