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Get Smarter About Machine Learning

Machine learning means it’s time to get smarter about web content.
By: David Evans, PhD, MBA

Machine learning is here, and it’s not going away. And make no mistake: the machines we speak of—search engine algorithm machines—are really smart and getting smarter. They can now interpret the meaning of content while determining the intent of the query. The machine’s goal is to match meaning to intent, and as a result it can see right through densely packed key words and other old-school, “black hat” search engine optimization hacks.

Google’s new machine algorithm can actually figure out if visitors are satisfied and engaged with your content. In 2016 Google openly acknowledged that it will downgrade a website’s rankings if the site doesn’t keep searchers engaged, even if content matches the intent according to the algorithm.

It’s not enough that your site has well-written, unique, educational copy on a variety of relevant topics. Now, your website and content have to keep visitors actively engaged. This is a win-win—if you can get it right. Engaging content means higher rankings and more surgeries, because higher engagement equals higher conversion.

To get visitors engaged and keep them that way:

Post Reviews Prominently

Everyone loves to read about the experiences of others, so posting reviews front and center will keep eyes on your page.


Keep your blog fresh, friendly, and regular to draw readers in and keep them there. Celebrity plastic surgery is always good fodder. If your blog posts and procedure pages have the same or similar content, Google will see that as redundant and your site will be punished.

Become Mobile-friendly

These days the majority of searches take place on mobile devices. If your site doesn’t convert to mobile readily, potential patients searching this way are history.

Give Them What They Need

Nobody wants to look too hard to find what they want. So make the information they’re looking for easy to find. This likely includes contact details for your practice.

Go Longer

Short is not sweet. If website pages contain a few hundred words or less, Google won’t be able to discern the meaning or tie the searcher’s intent to the page. This can also herald a Panda Penalty, which is not just a slight fall in rankings; your website can be swept off the first five pages of Google.

Provide Non-stop Service

Surfers expect to land on a page that provides detailed procedure information when they search for a procedure—not your home page (no matter how pretty it is or how many bells and whistles it has). This adds an extra step, and no one has time for that. Find out if your home page ranks for the procedure terms by performing four or five procedure searches + location, e.g. “Denver + facelift.”

This is the wave of the future. The time to get on board with machine learning is now.

David Evans, PhD, MBA, is the CEO of Ceatus Media Group, based in San Diego. He can be reached at