Adapting Your SEO Strategy to Google RankBrain

Google RankBrain

In October of 2015, Google announced the integration of RankBrain to help determine its search engine rankings. Although RankBrain has been part of the conversation among SEO experts for months, most of them are still not sure of what it is, what it does, and the strategies they can adopt to make their sites more RankBrain friendly.

What is Google RankBrain?

RankBrain is the name of the artificial intelligence (AI) Google uses to better analyze content associated with various search queries. RankBrain stems from Google’s machine learning system and functions with other aspects of Google’s search algorithm, including Hummingbird.

RankBrain enables Google to intelligently analyze search queries (including the most ambiguous terms) and connect them to the most relevant results. The system defines patterns related to various semantics, makes predictions regarding the user intent for particular queries, and provides the most relevant results available.

In fact, the success of RankBrain has even surprised the engineers of Google. The company has made AI is its third most influential signal to its search results.

How Does RankBrain Affect Search Results?

In short, RankBrain has made Google smarter. Going further then returning search results based on keyword queries, the AI analyzes complete sets of content and individual sentences to produce the most relevant results.

Google RankBrain evaluates the complete set of text and makes intelligent predictions about the meaning and intention behind users’ queries. This helps Google provide more relevant and appropriate search results.

Instead of depicting individual words within a search query, RankBrain helps to return search results that are most relevant to the context of the query. This is particularly effective for long-tail queries that can often tmes return a wide range of content that may or may not be topically aligned.

Adapting SEO to RankBrain

The first thing to keep top of mind with RankBrain is understanding your keyword targets. By having a clear idea of the searcher intent behind your target keyword categories, you can craft highly focused content on your site.

With Google RankBrain, content is still a dominant force with SEO. However, you should focus on producing laser-focused content that centers on very specific topics (i.e. long-tail keywords.) Having targeted content and web pages on your site can better define what your site is about to Google search engine bots.

Further, producing exceptional, high-quality content (“10x” content, as many in the SEO community are calling it,) should also be of primary focus. So instead of always writing 500 word articles for your blog, try in-depth 2,000 word article rich images and how to’s. Or perhaps a video that delves into a specific topic and educates your audience.

In addition to creating premium content, making technical improvements on your site is an effective way to boost SEO potential with respect to RankBrain. Leveraging Schema and microdata, increasing site speed, and ensuring your site is secure (with an active SSL certificate) are a few simple yet powerful SEO wins.

In conclusion, be authentic as well as empathetic with your SEO efforts, particularly with content creation. What questions can you answer or what problems can you solve via your content strategy?

With Google RankBrain in full-force, publishing highly-value content on a regular basis is essential to become an authority.

  • Nikolay Stoyanov

    Nice post Chris! I completely agree with the content part. You have to create amazing stuff in order to get on the map. With RankBrain, this will be even more obvious. Do you think that, in near future, we will have to create interactive books just to be noticed and recognized by Google?

  • Thanks for reading Nikolay! I’m not sure about the interactive books part, but the informational value of your content and how it serves users will only grow in importance in the RankBrain era. What are some of the things you’ve learned about RankBrain and put into practice for your company/clients since you’ve started researching it?

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