WHAT IS RANKBRAIN?
Every day millions of queries are being entered on Google, and everyone expects to be presented with the best options and results. For brands, it’s crucial to be well ranked on search engines. So how does this giant encyclopedia of the world thinks and organizes all the content being entered every day?
Google relies on its ranking algorithms in order to satisfy the millions of daily queries, ranking content for popular searches. However, when it comes to fresh content, the company can’t just rely on those existing algorithms. Also, Google’s search algorithms continue to grow its number of factors, making it harder to rank a specific link on a larger scale.
According to Bloomberg, since October 2015, about 15% of daily searches are processed by an artificial intelligence (AI) system that handles the first-time queries and delivers relevant organic results – it can affect popular queries too. That system is called RankBrain, a program that affects all searches and is mostly relevant when processing fresh queries that are new to Google.
The Search Engine Journal states that RankBrain is “part of a broader movement towards advanced conversational search and natural language processing of queries”. With RankBrain, Google is able to deliver better results that match exactly what you are searching for, because the AI system allows the search engine to look for keywords it previously omitted from searches (like the words “not” and “without”). It is considered “the third most important ranking signal for Google”.
HOW RANKBRAIN UNDERSTANDS CONTENT
RankBrain’s core function is to help Google filter and process a large portion of millions of new search queries, delivering a relevant list of results that reflect the search intent. Remember, it is an intelligent system and the more your content is aligned with this thinking, the better. However, it can’t be optimized for the same way other aspects of Google’s algorithms can be: through keywords, URLs, backlinks, etc.
Gary Illyes, from Google, states that site owners can only optimize for RankBrain by optimizing for natural language. This means RankBrain humanizes SEO and, according to the Search Engine Journal, it is “allowing Google to leverage human-like understanding and interpretation”. We can no longer think of SEO as a maths game – we have to add the human factor.
WHAT ABOUT LINKS?
As said before, Google has many ranking factors and you shouldn’t overlook any of them when optimizing for its search engine. Many of those factors are related to the content, making content optimization a must, but you also should take a look at your backlinks.
Backlinks are signals for RankBrain, as they show your website’s relevancy to other websites. They help the search engine trust your content and rank your website better, displaying it more effectively. Take some time with your link building strategy and know that domain authority, quality, relevance and audience should be kept in mind.
HOW TO USE SEO STRATEGIES TO OPTIMIZE FOR RANKBRAIN
Read this as many times as you need: you can’t optimize your SEO for RankBrain. At least not in the traditional ways. This AI system doesn’t work the same way the classic algorithms work – it requires a different way of thinking. Think of it as the sensitive side of all algorithms, that hears you out and understands your intent.
RankBrain likes it when you:
- – Make it clear to search engines and users what your content is about and why it was created, and make it consistent.
- – Create fresh content. Google has seen many patterns and if you don’t show fresh content, your content will be lost and ignored.
- – Don’t focus entirely on a specific set of keywords. Instead, use a natural quality language that sounds human – read it out loud to see if it’s natural enough.
- – Go deep in your information, covering the topic in full and providing external information to support your piece.
- – Use terms within the content that are perceived as important to that content. This is not keyword overload, it’s relevant terms that could be developed into a rich content.
- – Create high rates of engagement – if users love it, Google will love it too.
Although you can’t directly do SEO for RankBrain itself, you should look at the algorithms as a system – a set of different types of thinking that complement each other- and create great content that the AI will love. And at the same time understand how to better optimize it for search engines. Traditional SEO was becoming too robotic and unnatural. RankBrain is here to help you keep your content fresh, natural and human-oriented.
According to Ray Kurzweil, in an interview with The Guardian, the goal is to “make computers read everything on the web” and “be able to engage an intelligent dialogue with the user to be able to answer their questions” – this is the goal of Artificial Intelligence.
RankBrain gives you a boost when it comes to refining your content writing and getting to know your target audience. This helps to create true value and give meaning to what you’re producing. When optimizing for RankBrain, you should know who you are creating for and why does it matter, making sure what you do has a purpose.