For a long time now, Google has been changing its algorithm many times a year, leaving many people to believe that SEO is dead and there will be no reward or benefit of doing SEO.
Google changes its ranking algorithms on daily basis and that process of optimization is a pretty confusing task. Patrick Zarrelli of Dependable Website Management states that there are a lot of confusion for many on what to do. Should you optimize your meta description? Does it matter what kind of keywords you should use? In 2015, Google announced it was going to use machine learning and artificial intelligence for its search results and rankings, which was more than a bombshell. Google called this new AI implementation “RankBrain.” In 2015, they officially stated that AI technology would help determine search results. They even placed heavy importance on the ranking aspect of the new technology and how it would impact search placings. Here, we are going to explain how RankBrain works, what are the things you should care about and how can you optimize your search results for RankBrain.
Introduction to RankBrain
Google is the best search engine according to stats provided by users themselves, and it is the basic motto of Google as well, to become the best search engine that provides the best user experience. It keeps providing instant results all the time and amazes people throughout the day.
It used to provide all types of information for which we query about, but Google doesn’t work the same way that it used to. When you used to search for a keyword, you would bring up millions of results for pages that used that keyword in their text. So back in those days, how would you take advantage of this for SEO? You’d plug that keyword into your content over and over to trick Google into showing your content.
It was one of the best ways to rank your content as Google’s search engine wanted to show that content because it seemed relevant. But now the things have changed. Google doesn’t just read your content or rank your website for keywords, but they look at context now as well. This means that they can tell by your search terminology what you want to see.
Why didn’t they show me a website spamming the word SEO over and over again? It’s because machine learning interpreted my search query in a specific way. Think about it: If you’re searching for a keyword like SEO, why are you searching for it? You’re clearly not searching for SEO services. And you’re not searching for SEO tactics. If you were, you would have typed those terms. You are most likely searching for the definition to learn what SEO is. And Google started to understand this and provide the most reasonable result for that search type.
Google is now essentially capable of understanding and recognizing how words shape context. And RankBrain is a tool that furthers this understanding. So, what exactly is RankBrain? RankBrain is a machine learning system that uses artificial intelligence to improve search results and interpret new queries. Bloomberg released the first statement about RankBrain from a senior research scientist at Google named Greg Corrado. In that video, you may notice one of the most important phrases that Greg used to describe RankBrain: Essentially, the RankBrain system takes difficult or hard-to-understand queries and relates them to previous searches based on intent and end results.
The system which Google has introduced, helps identify patterns behind search keywords which are generally difficult to understand by connecting them to each other search queries.
Google can provide you the best and most accurate results for brand new search terms and they do this to keep users satisfied and to serve the best results. Google hasn’t given us any specific examples or instances where RankBrain has helped our search results. But in the original Bloomberg release article, they gave us one example: What is the label of a consumer at the highest level of a food chain? Most of the people don’t know about this. It’s a prime example of real searches on Google. When you are searching for such a query, it doesn’t make any sense.
It’s a pretty interesting thing that the RankBrain does a good job of connecting multiple aspects of that search to results from other similar searches. It took a somewhat search query and use to turn it into fantastic results. Have a look at this example…
This is how it works.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence
Patrick Zarrelli of Dependable Website Management wants to tell you that if you want to get know about RankBrain, then you have to be familiar with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Both of these concepts are playing a great role in this context.
Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence that helps existing computer systems automatically learn and improve the user experience without being told what to do. Machine learning takes user behavior and uses it to understand what works and what doesn’t. By using frequent patterns and behaviors, machines can predict and deliver content based on common history.
And when you will search by using some other words…
This time, you will have better results than before. This is how Google’s machine learning capabilities will start to pick up on this as they learn that your original search led you to rephrase it and then you will have the desired result which you are looking for. Google can correlate these searches in the future. They can make content that shows up for “what is machine learning” also rank for “machine learning.” So why is machine learning important? Machine learning is a massive factor in how search engines display results.
If your content doesn’t match up to the user experience, you can kiss your rankings goodbye. Machine learning seeks to provide the best user experience by learning context and delivering content that makes sense. So, if you’re gaming the system, Google will learn that your content isn’t being clicked on for searches. With that in mind, you need to focus on optimizing content for real people and learning the context behind a search. The intent behind searches is what will drive rankings. If someone searches for “SEO” and you try to sell them services, you won’t rank. If you explain in detail the history and definitions of SEO, you will.
Here is an example of the artificial intelligence…
Artificial intelligence seeks to help computers understand and react like humans when they get specific tasks. This ties into RankBrain because the system seeks to understand how real users interact with Google and how they can make snap decisions based on translation and recognition. It’s pretty amazing, right? Machine learning and AI are big components of Google’s future and are already playing a role in RankBrain.
Why do you need to care about RankBrain?
RankBrain is one of the hundreds of things Google uses to determine search engine results. That means it’s a big factor in organic rankings. But the difference is that the hundreds of other ranking factors come straight from Google engineers and their experiments. RankBrain, on the other hand, is machine learning and AI technology that independently learns from queries to give results.
If you simply ignore RankBrain and the technology behind it, you’re risking your organic rankings and traffic from organic search. So, what are the two other ranking factors that make up the big three? There are a lot of ranking factors as well which are…
RankBrain in Google and its impact on Ranking
Patrick Zarrelli states that it was observed in 2015 that only 15% of searches fully utilized RankBrain and it hardly filtered any searches that users conducted. But with time, it kept on increasing.
Now, every search we see on our screens comes through the RankBrain. It enables a great impact on the rankings of your website as nobody wants to ignore the organic traffic.
According to the stats of 2016, Steven Levy broke a story that had incredible data on how RankBrain really was impacting search results.
Here’s the main quote that stood out to me: RankBrain is “involved in every query.” It impacts rankings “probably not in every query but in a lot of queries.” This is difficult news for any marketer or SEO to hear. They aren’t being very definitive when it comes to our livelihood. Does it impact our search traffic? Do we need to optimize for it? What in the world does it actually do? All we can do is trust that Google is telling us the truth and that RankBrain really is impacting search query rankings. And when you look at the data, it makes sense. Here’s a visual depiction of RankBrain in action.
RankBrain uses the user’s queries and matches it with the other relevant queries based on the similarities. Patrick Zarrelli says that Google now uses it in every single search, we know that rankings will shift. As machine learning understands behavior, it can tell if results are correct or not.
RankBrain will learn that you had to modify a search query to get the result. If enough people are doing this modification to find better results, they will adjust the content that it shows for that specific keyword. So, instead of showing ads and agencies, RankBrain will show you definitions and articles explaining content marketing. All of this data leads us back to one simple point: Google is attempting to streamline the user experience to eliminate any hiccups or added time to find results.
How can you optimize for RankBrain?
RankBrain plays a big role in how search engines filter content. According to Google representatives, it’s the third most important ranking factor. Here are two reliable ways to keep your organic presence alive. Here are the ways mentioned by Patrick Zarrelli which can help you to optimize content for RankBrain.
Research the intent behind every keyword.
The intent is everything when it comes to optimization and RankBrain. Machine learning has begun to understand how context plays a role in searches. The examples we discussed earlier in this post show that intent is a big factor in search results. If you don’t understand the searcher’s intent behind every keyword, you could be wasting tons of time and money. Trying to rank your CRM product for “best CRM” isn’t a good use of your efforts or budget.
Why? It’s because the intent behind the search isn’t to find a single CRM platform that claims it’s the best. Put yourself in the user’s shoes. Let’s say you are considering purchasing a new CRM platform, but you don’t know which to choose.
Look at the organic results…
Craft long-form, relevant content for it
Now its time to make content for it. Your content must be of such high quality that it should help you in ranking. If Google knows that people didn’t find it useful, why on earth would they still include it in the search results? They won’t work. So, what does this mean for marketers? You need to create long-form content. You need content that solves the user’s problem so well that they don’t even need to click back to Google for the next result.
Here’s how content length works…
The word count doesn’t matter a lot in this case, what matter is the quality and value of the content. Focus on the right content and as a result, you will get high ranking with the help of organic traffic.
So, in context to conclude or sum up things, don’t forget that SEO isn’t dead at all and you have to keep on working, which you are doing so. RankBrain of Google has changed things a lot and for most of the people, these things are confusing too. But by keeping your content up to the highest quality and by getting it optimized according to RankBrain, you can get high ranking and can enjoy a lot of organic traffic.