Let’s say that a business makes shoes. In the past, SEO experts would counsel that business to incorporate short tail keywords into their copy so that they would be an exact match for Google searches. So your keyword strategy might look something like this: sneakers, shoes, running shoes, and shoe. Because back in the day, having these words on a page multiple times would make you rank first for any searches using the same words. This algorithm was the birth of the now outdated blackhat SEO practice.
The Need for RankBrain
Every day, Google receives around 15% of search requests that are entirely new. Search queries it has never seen before.
Now, 15% might not look like a big number. However, Google receives around 3 billion search requests every day in various forms such as — voice searches, web searches, or image searches.
So, 15% of 3 billion amounts to about half a billion search requests. That is a significant number for anyone.
And Google has no historical data about these requests. Which pages might be a good fit for such queries? How to decide their rankings?
Google has no way of knowing. So, before RankBrain came into being, Google had to make the best guess about what the most relevant results might be.
As you can imagine, this wasn’t an optimum solution. Google’s best guess might not be good enough for users.
To solve this problem, RankBrain came into the picture. RankBrain tries to understand your query like a human being. It breaks down a request into a set of “word vectors,” which it then uses to understand what the query means.
Google uses this understanding to return the more relevant results. What makes RankBrain different is that it does not just improve results for the current query. With time and with more new queries, RankBrain keeps on improving search results for other new queries as well.
How to improve search rankings?
RankBrain uses what it calls “signals” to rank content. Put simply; signals are like a point system that’s native to Google. There are around 200 major signals and up to 10,000 sub-signals that can affect your content’s “score.” According to Search Engine Land and our own digital experts, the most important search engine optimizations that you should focus on include:
- Content: Pages should be well written and have a substantial amount of content.
- Architecture: It should be easy for a search engine to crawl your entire site. It shouldn’t be overcrowded with ads or spam.
- HTML: Your HTML title tags should contain relevant keywords that enhance your page’s overall value.
- Trust: Has your page garnered enough links and shares to make it an authority on its subject? If you’re still in the process of writing the piece, will its content be of a high enough equality that other industry leaders would share it?
- Links: The links that you use on your page should be from high authority sources that only add to your content’s credibility.
- Locality: The content on your site should have local references if you’re a local business. Larger enterprises that may target an entire country should likewise have geo-specific references.
If you want to optimize for Google RankBrain, you should focus on all of the above-mentioned steps. You need to create engaging content and optimize it for medium-tail keywords. And you need to use techniques to increase your CTR. All of this will lead to a better reputation for your website.
RankBrain is affecting the way Google returns search results, every day. This makes your rankings obtained through older SEO techniques really vulnerable.
And RankBrain has made searches more user-oriented, and that is helpful in many ways. So put your focus on content and engage your audience well. Otherwise, sooner or later, you may be lost in oblivion.
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