Is AI Going to Dumb Down the Internet?by Robert Buda | May 26, 2020 | Uncategorized
Last modified on May 23rd, 2020 at 11:57 amReading Time: 2 minutes
Full disclosure, I am a layperson when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). I have been doing some research to optimize the content on our budaconsulting.com website, and something caught my eye that concerns me. I wanted to mention it and see if readers have any thoughts about it.
Implications of the new Mobile First Index
While researching the latest SEO topics, I came across this informative article on mobile-first indexing, appearing in Search Engine Journal.com, by Roger Montti.
The article describes how Google’s new mobile-first index changes the way content relevance is derived. Most of that discussion is beyond the scope of this article, but it is all very interesting and worth a read.
What interested me most was part 6, which talked about whether a user would understand your content. This describes how machine learning is used to interpret click-through rates and viewport times (the amount of time content remains visible on a mobile screen or in a browser).
As with other signals used by the search engine’s algorithm, this is used to determine where in the search results, if at all, your page shows up. The author references a Microsoft paper entitled “Predicting Interesting Things in Text.”
I won’t repeat the text here, but Roger Montti posits that one of his takeaways from this paper is, “It may be advantageous to appeal to the broadest array of people in a mobile-first index.”
Dumbing down our content
I am not sure, but it sounds like that may mean that in order to get our pages to appear to the readers we want, we have to make it understandable (according to the AI) to the general public.
When we write technical blogs, in order to make them understandable to everyone, we would have to leave out all manner of technical detail. We would also have to avoid going deep into the topic at a conceptual level.
I am interested in the thoughts of SEO professionals about this. Do you think that we will start to see more shallow content on the internet in general in order to chase page ranking? It seems that the internet would lose much if its value pretty quickly if that becomes the only way to get page rankings.