Optimizing for Googles RankBrain





Blog Date

June 6, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Optimizing for Googles RankBrain

Understanding the Rise of RankBrain

Oh boy, where do I even start? Google’s RankBrain algorithm has been shaking up the SEO world for years now. Just when we thought we had the search engine giant’s ranking factors all figured out, they go and throw this curveball at us. But you know what they say – adapt or be left in the digital dust!

Let me take you on a little journey, shall we? Back in the day, Google’s algorithm was all about matching the keywords in your content to the keywords in the user’s search query. Simple, right? But as the internet grew and search queries got more complex, that just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Enter the Hummingbird update in 2013 – Google’s way of trying to better understand the meaning behind those queries, not just the individual words.

Fast forward to 2015, and Google drops another bombshell: RankBrain. This machine learning algorithm was designed to tackle those pesky “never-seen-before” queries that were stumping the search engine. You know, the ones that make you go, “Wait, what?” RankBrain was Google’s way of saying, “Hold my beer, we’ve got this.”

According to Backlinko, RankBrain was a game-changer. It could interpret search queries in a way that even Google’s own engineers couldn’t. In fact, when Google pitted RankBrain against their top engineers, the AI system outperformed the humans by a whopping 10%! Talk about a mic drop moment.

How RankBrain Works its Magic

Alright, so we know RankBrain is a big deal, but how exactly does it work its magic? Well, my friends, it’s all about understanding intent and user satisfaction.

See, RankBrain doesn’t just look at the keywords in your content – it tries to figure out what the user is really looking for. Is it information? A product? A solution to a problem? By analyzing things like click-through rates, dwell time, and pogo-sticking (when users bounce back and forth between search results), RankBrain can determine if your page is actually giving the user what they want.

And get this – RankBrain isn’t just some static algorithm. It’s constantly learning and evolving, adjusting the search results based on user feedback. It’s like having a hyper-intelligent, search-savvy sidekick that’s always got your back.

But don’t just take my word for it. According to OneIMS, RankBrain is now the third most important ranking factor for Google. That’s a pretty big deal, considering the algorithm is always working behind the scenes to provide users with the most relevant and satisfying search experience possible.

Optimizing Your Content for RankBrain

Alright, now that we’ve got a solid understanding of what RankBrain is and how it works, let’s talk about how you can optimize your content to play nice with this search engine overlord.

Focus on Medium-Tail Keywords

Gone are the days of trying to rank for every long-tail keyword under the sun. RankBrain is all about understanding the intent behind a query, not just the specific words used. That’s why Backlinko recommends targeting medium-tail keywords instead.

These are the keywords that sit in the sweet spot – not too broad, not too narrow. Think “paleo diet” instead of “best paleo diet for weight loss.” By creating comprehensive content around a single medium-tail keyword, you’re giving RankBrain the context it needs to understand what your page is all about and rank it accordingly.

Write for Humans, Not Robots

Remember, RankBrain is all about understanding user intent and satisfaction. So, ditch the keyword stuffing and robotic-sounding content, and start writing like a real, live human being. Use natural language, engage your readers, and focus on answering their questions in a clear and compelling way.

As Quattr so eloquently puts it, “If it sounds conversational, if it sounds like natural language that we would use in your day to day life, then sure, you’re optimized for RankBrain.” Mic drop.

Optimize for User Experience

RankBrain doesn’t just care about the quality of your content – it also cares about how users interact with your site. That means optimizing for factors like page speed, mobile-friendliness, and internal linking.

Think about it this way: if users are bouncing off your page in seconds or struggling to navigate your site, RankBrain is going to take that as a sign that your content isn’t all that satisfying. On the other hand, if people are staying on your page, exploring related content, and generally having a great time, RankBrain is going to reward you for it.

Don’t Forget the Basics

Of course, just because RankBrain is the new kid on the block doesn’t mean you can neglect the tried-and-true SEO basics. Things like title tags, meta descriptions, and schema markup are still important for helping RankBrain (and other search engines) understand what your content is all about.

According to BrightEdge, using schema markups can make it easier for RankBrain to comprehend your content, which could pay off in the long run. So don’t forget to sprinkle in those structured data tidbits wherever you can.

Embracing the RankBrain Revolution

Phew, that’s a lot to take in, right? But don’t worry, my fellow SEO enthusiasts – with a little creativity and a whole lot of user-centric thinking, you can totally conquer the RankBrain beast.

Just remember, the key is to focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that truly answers your audience’s questions and provides a seamless user experience. Lean into those medium-tail keywords, write like a real person, and optimize for all the RankBrain signals. And who knows, maybe one day, you’ll be the one outperforming the Google engineers!

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start optimizing! The RankBrain revolution awaits.

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