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How to Use Google’s RankBrain (To Boost Rankings)

Previously, we learned about Google’s algorithms and how they help determine how Google ranks.

Google recently revealed that Artificial intelligence (AI) has now taken over for part of the trio used to determine where a page ranks on the coveted Google page 1.  Here’s how you can use that to your advantage.

What to Know About RankBrain

Links, content, and RankBrain were revealed to be the top three ranking signals used by Google.  In this article, we will focus on how to use RankBrain to skyrocket your webpage to Google page 1.

With so much buzz around using Google using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict what users are looking for and what page best matches their search, it is important to fully understand how RankBrain works and how to craft your page to ensure that it is picked up by RankBrain.

1 Way Google Ranking Has Changed

Before RankBrain, the human engineers at Google would hand code the algorithm used to rank a webpage.  However, after Google realized that RB was 10% more accurate in predicting the #1 Google result on any given page, RankBrain became the dominant “go to” on ranking.  Although Google still uses engineers to monitor ranking, the RankBrain algorithm is relied upon to handle most of the duties.

2 Jobs of RankBrain

When a person puts a search into Google, RankBrain uses the keywords and “dwell time” spent on that page to improve the results for the next user who searches for similar content.  

From the keywords, the algorithm develops a concept that will most likely satisfy the user.  If the user stays or “dwells” on that page, it will move up in position. If the user clicks off of the page in 3 seconds or less, it will plummet down in ranking.

3 Ways to Optimize RankBrain

  • Focus on a single keyword that RankBrain will pick up on and then the organic content of the entire page.
  • Improve the organic click-through-rate (CTR).    
  • Find 3 relevant resources that are high quality in content and hyperlink them on the page.

4 Ways to Turn RankBrain Objectives to Your Advantage

  • RankBrain is intended to provide users with the highest quality search results, free from black hat SEO techniques.
  • User experience or “dwell time” were never measured before RankBrain.  A site may be perfect in terms of SEO factors, but if users quickly click off of a site, it is a signal to Google that the page should drop in rankings.
  • Search intent is critical.  RankBrain has the tools to “understand” the intent behind a phrase, such as whether the search is for information, services, or purchases.  Since Google knows the types of pages to show the user to match their intent, SEOs can, and must, use this knowledge to their advantage for best results.
  • Due to the complexity of RankBrain, business owners who are not SEOs themselves should hire experienced professionals who know exactly how to use all of Google’s algorithms, including RankBrain, with no wasted motions.

5 Google Updates

In case you missed my last blog, there are 5 updates Google has used since opening their cyberdoors in 1998.  Understanding these are critical in creating content that Google will recognize and move up in ranking.

Jayson DeMers, a frequent contributor for Forbes lists the first four in our list.  I have added RankBrain to this list.

  • Google’s First String of Updates (2002-2003) – Addressing issues such as considerable interlinking from same owner domains (Cassandra), index updates made daily instead of monthly (Fritz), and keyword stuffing (Florida), Google was able to effectively begin to weed out black hat tactics.
  • Panda (2011) – The first updates were so successful that Google didn’t release its next major algorithm until Panda was released.  Google noticed that a lot of the content was weak and stuffed full of keywords. Panda focuses on content quality.  
  • Penguin (2012) – The following year, Google rolled out Penguin that focused on link building.  Many sites were gaining rank by including many low-quality spammy links. By penalizing these types of sites, Google forced these sites to go back and create high-quality links and high-quality guest posting.
  • Hummingbird (2013) – This algorithm was focused more on the user and their intentions when searching.  This almost eliminated the popular tactic of keyword stuffing and led optimizers to focus on long-tail keywords and high-quality content.
  • RankBrain (2015) Bloomberg first reported RankBrain, October 26, 2015.  They touted the new software update as so intelligent that it beat Google’s experts at page selection.  

What can we learn from Google’s updates to ensure that RankBrain will recognize your site as Page 1 worthy?  First, do NOT use black hat tricks. Next, focus on publishing quality content. Then, link to high-quality sites.  Finally, use long-tail keywords. If you adhere to these basic rules of webpage building, Google will reward you by raising your page.  

The Neverending SEO Battle

As a business owner, SEO specialist, or a webmaster, making a site better for user searches is not just a “one and done” effort.  Consider it a complex dance where the searcher leads, and you adjust your steps to stay perfectly in sync with the leader.  When the song is over, whoever is left on the dancefloor is on page 1 of Google.

Seem complex?  It is. But, it is not impossible.  It’s not a sprint but rather a marathon.  

If you don’t feel like you are ready for a “marathon” with SEO and would like some help sending your webpage to Page 1 of Google, let us do all the work. We are happy to provide you with a complimentary SEO review for your interest.  

The next few blogs will delve deeper into keywords, CTR, and links that will make Google’s users happy and send your webpage to the top.