Big data is having a huge impact on the world today, socially, logistically, and in the business sphere.

SEO is just one of the areas of business marketing that is continuously affected by the insights big data has to offer.

Big Data Explained

Before diving into the specific ways, here's a quick overview of what big data actually is.

In general, big data is the collection and analysis of vast sets of data that can be used to improve how we approach related problems. Big data has become a major part of decision-making in recent years for several reasons:

  • Growing societal acceptance of transparency, which makes institutional data standard
  • More options for analyzing unique and distinct data
  • Data storage in the cloud makes it easily accessible to everyone
  • Social media platforms can aggregate more data about individuals
  • Availability of the necessary infrastructure needed to process large amounts of data

There are many big data companies and organizations out there, but Google is widely considered to be the first major one, so it's easy to expect it would have a major influence on search.

Here are 4 ways big data is changing SEO.

Content is Becoming Data At An Exponential Rate

In a general sense, content is nothing more than published information. But as Google emerged as a major curator of big data, it started thinking about content as quantifiable entities.

By turning content into data, search engines are able to easily analyze it and get better at delivering the relevant answers people are looking for.

As a result, search results are becoming more and more structured -- analysis of semantic information has lead Google to develop rich snippets, local search packs and other unique results that offer more value for searchers.

According to an executive from SEO Inc. "As search marketers and search engine optimization experts, we have to keep up with the learning curve Google is quickly setting. By thinking of content as data and creating various analysis tools, including artificial intelligence, to understand and learn from it, Google's big data serves as the ultimate experiment in offering relevant results in semantic terms."

Big Data Offers Deep SEO Insights

Because Google and other search engines are so concerned about piecing apart content into quantifiable data, it's making it easier than ever for marketers to find insights from the types of data users search for.

Thanks to big data, SEOs can keep track of and analyze keyword, on-page optimization, backlinks, and other important areas of search to optimize their efforts, such as:

  • Local SEO
  • Mobile optimization
  • Compliance with quality guidelines
  • Global SEO
  • SEO ROI
  • Content marketing

Custom Analytics are Becoming More Precise

The end goal for any online marketer or SEO is more conversions, which is why it's so valuable for them to be able to find correlations between between the above elements and other analytics, such as traffic, conversions, and page views for your business and competitors.

With Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools and other analytics systems, SEOs can see how their own web content is situated in the larger network of content data, and make adjustments based on their unique performance.

Analytics tools make it easier than ever to keep track of clicks, time on page, conversions, backlinks, and other important search factors that make up the big data of search.

Social Media Data is Becoming a Major Search Factor

Social networks are another major treasuretrove of big data insights. Facebook boasts over 1 billion users, Twitter has 500 million, and the web hosts 156 million public blogs seeking to network on these platforms.

As a big data company processing more than 20 petabytes of data annually, Google can't afford to ignore this information and remain on top of the search game.

As a result, social signals are appearing as an increasingly important search factor. Searchmetrics' latest research on Google rank factors backs this up -- social signals on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest all correlate with better rankings, especially for the highest ranking sites.

Conclusion

Search engines like Google keep much of their analyses behind the scenes, which is why many marketers don't realize the real impact of big data on SEO.

Big data is making it easier for search engines to analyze content and deliver results that are the most relevant to searchers' needs. As a result, SEOs who focus on creating the valuable content people are searching for will be uniquely positioned to benefit from the impact of big data on SEO.