6 Minute Read

SEO Tips: RankBrain and What it Means for SEO

If you’re in SEO you know how frustrating Google updates can be. And, if you’ve read my last article about SEO reactions, you know I feel your pain. But, we’re all in this together, right? That’s why I did some digging and found some information about something Google has put to use in order to give searches the best user experience yet. It’s called RankBrain. And, if you haven’t heard of it yet, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

So, here’s a quick summary as to what it is and how it could be affecting your SEO efforts. Although, what isn’t these day, am I right?

@Google is always coming out with new ranking systems. Here's one you may have missed! #SEO Click To Tweet

What is RankBrain?

Google is smart, we all know this. And, because they’re so smart and powerful they’ve created a machine learning artificial intelligence system to go along with their Hummingbird search algorithm. Meaning, this program doesn’t just do what it’s told – it learns too. In order to provide users with the best search results, it is constantly auto updating itself based on the kind of keywords and phrases people are searching for.

This makes those keywords matter more than ever. Why? Because, if someone searches for “SEO Trends”, looks at the all options on the SERP and ends up choosing the 5th result instead of the first, RankBrain will move that result higher up the list.

Now, you may be thinking, hasn’t Google always tried to do this with all their algorithm updates? Yes. The only difference? This is on a continuous basis, constantly changing as more and more individuals search and pick different results. Also, it making interpreting searches even easier as a way to find the very best pages. This is especially true when it comes to long-tail keywords.

But, here’s the real kicker – no one actually knows everything that RankBrain does. So, as impressive as the above description sounds, it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything this AI system is capable of.  

What does this mean for SEO?

Well, truth be told, it could mean a lot. RankBrain has been ranked as the third-most important factor for ranking webpages. And, it’s being used for every single query Google handles – not just a fraction. A source from Bloomberg states:

“RankBrain is one of the “hundreds” of signals that go into an algorithm that determines what results appear on a Google search page and where they are ranked. In the few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query…”

So, what can you do as an SEO marketer? Focus on user experience.

User experience can make all the difference in how your site is ranked. Check out these key tips: Click To Tweet

Content is key and Google is focusing on providing the best results possible, and that means your content, links, keywords, and more need to be on-point and relevant. This includes onsite/on-page SEO too. Meaning, all those pages throughout your website need to have proper titles, metas, and of course focus keywords. But, other things that matter just as much as also links (interlink to other areas of your site as well as provide outside links to other helpful sources when necessary), page load speed, your url structure (needs to be short, memorable), and overall mobile friendliness of the site/page (this becomes increasingly important as more people become mobile users and mobile dependent with the internet). All these aspects come together to help make the web experience for your users fast, efficient, and up to date.

As ranking abilities and algorithms get more and more sophisticated, you need to focus on the bigger picture as well. What is going to make your content last or stay relevant? Get backlinks by reaching out to key influencers in your industry. Create a network to share resources and information so that others are linking back to your content. Write cornerstone content. This is content that the rest of your site is basically built around. This is where people can go to get the jist of what you specialize in. Anything from a tutorial, FAQ page and more is a great foundation to start with and build off of as you create more content in the future.

Lastly, you need to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What are they going to see and experience when they get to your site. Go through the process and think, “What can I do to provide my audience with the best experience possible?”

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