What factors now play a major role in Google’s organic rankings?
A few weeks ago, Google’s Quality team collaborated with a few big names from the SEO world, including Rand Fishkin and Bill Slawski, to answer that question in an online video Q & A.
The first two answers are no surprise: content and links. The third factor, RankBrain, is a machine-learning AI (Artificial Intelligence) tool launched by Google in late 2015.
So in this article, we will explain what Rankbrain is and how you can use it to further strengthen your SEO.
RankBrain: a machine-learning AI
Google’s goal is to respond to the user’s question as promptly and as quickly as possible. To improve its search results, Google regularly performs an algorithm update.
With the Hummingbird update, the search engine went more to look at the semantic value of the search and not necessarily what was literally being searched.
Google is going on even further. In order to ensure that search results are even better matched to the search, they have developed this algorithm-learning AI.
This is a system that automatically learns from itself. As it better understands the meaning of the search, it also improves the relevance of the search results.
Why has Google done that?
15% of searches being run daily have never been run before, making it sometimes difficult for Google to show the right results.
RankBrain learns from itself and can adapt more easily to new circumstances.
In addition, we have noticed that voice search is becoming more and more important.
Think of new innovations from Apple with Siri, Microsoft with Cortana and Google with Google Now – personal assistants looking for the right information for you.
In fact, they’re just looking for your spoken searches through Google. This implies that the question will also be completely different and more natural.
After all, users learned to use keywords on a computer, while voice searches use more natural sentences.
Here’s an example: two people are looking for a pair of shoes. Person 1 is sitting behind his PC and typing “buy shoes online”, while person 2 is typing a search on his smartphone, “Where can I buy shoes online?”.
The last search is much more natural and therefore more complex for Google. With RankBrain, this is no longer a problem.
Influence on SEO
It’s hard to say what RankBrain’s influence is on SEO results.
Unlike other Google updates like Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, RankBrain did not lead to the situations that websites suddenly disappeared from the index, or saw their rankings melt like snow in the sun.
What we can say is that this machine-learning AI will be getting better and that the search results will better match the searches. This will increase the relevance of search results.
However, there are no tricks that you can apply to use RankBrain for your benefit.
In future, this algorithm-learning AI can be used to better determine which ad will appear in a search query.
This, in turn, means that ads through Google AdWords will become more relevant. However, when this will happen, is still a big question.
What is noticeable is that Google is increasingly focusing on the user and giving him or her the correct results as quickly as possible.
It also shows that SEO today is more than just rankings and keywords. It is about understanding and helping the customer.
So, make use of the language your customer speaks and let it flow through your broader marketing strategy.
SEO is increasingly becoming the starting point of online marketing on which other disciplines can be grafted, but that is a feed for the next blog post.
To sum up RankBrain and SEO, you just need to make sure you’re speaking the language of your audience.
Then things will take care of themselves.
If you have questions about RankBrain or about your SEO strategies for the future, please feel free to contact us!
About the Author
Ashish Sharma is a key Account Manager and content writer looking after marketing strategies and building new business tie ups at WeDigTech – a mobile app development company in India focused on helping enterprise Startups from domestic to MNCs.
Image source: author-owned