As an online marketing and search optimization agency we are constantly working to keep ahead of the curve as to what Google is up to and how it will impact search engine marketing for our small business clients, law firms, dental offices, and other websites that we manage.. Several algorithm changes by Google over the past several years have dramatically impacted the methods of Search Engine Optimization used in order to gain the coveted first page ranking in Google Search. If fact, a business website can run the risk of falling from the top of the first page to a later page or even becoming blacklisted. This is why it is very important to understand that while some “SEO specialists” will claim and may even succeed at rapidly getting your law firm, dental practice, or other small business to the top of Google, that ranking can go away even faster than it arrived. This leads to the significance of white-hat SEO practices along with building a solid base of good content for your local SEO as well as larger scale SEO efforts.
While the Google algorithm is still kept as a highly guarded secret, Google has begun to share some of its ranking factors. These are typically the factors that make the internet better, rather than giving black-hat SEO companies a roadmap to tricking their way to the top. Google is sharing important factors that make the internet better for its human users, like mobile friendly implementation and improving page loading speed.
As an online marketer, website designer, content writer, and search engine optimization expert, there is one factor that has not changed in getting to the first page in Google for numerous key phrases related to your business, and that is “Content is King”. Of course link building is also still a highly important factor, with the caveat that google will look at links in one of three ways, a link can increase your site ranking, the link can be ignored, or spammy links can even cause your site to incur a penalty (this is intended to discourage the use of black-hat link building practices). Google has stated that RankBrain is now the third most important signal in determining the ranking of your website in Google.
What is RankBrain?
Rather than using Google’s own internal code added to the algorithm, RankBrain is a machine that utilizes artificial intelligence in order to determine what you may be searching for, even if the key phrase you have typed is not the focus key phrase of your website. What this means is simply that it can provide an educated guess as to what you are searching for based on past Google searches the machine has processed and results that it has data from. Of course this is the short version, but what it ultimately means is that it should humanize the Google experience by making it more intuitive.
How Do I Search Engine Optimize For RankBrain?
There are several answers to this, generally the answer is that you can’t optimize for RankBrain. However, while this may be the initial understanding, it may be possible to do things that to help get your site better viewed RankBrain. First and foremost, develop good content that reads well to the human eye. RankBrain is supposed to humanize the Google Search Experience, therefore a site that reads well to the human eye will probabally be better liked by the AI. Now you may wish to consider not just focusing on one key phrase, but to word things in multiple ways within the site to target key phrases that are different, yet have the same meaning as your primary key phrase(s). You may also seek help from Google, by looking at the Related Terms that appear at the bottom of the search page and considering adding the terms listed there into the mix, if they apply to your business. Whether this specifically will help with RankBrain ranking or not is not know, however doing so will help with content based ranking, and thus may ultimately impact how RankBrain views your business website. Additionally, when link building (internal as well as external) you may want to consider adding these ‘different but same meaning’ key phrases into the text. After all, while RankBrain is the third most important signal, Content and Links are still the most important two among the hundreds of ranking factors.
Ultimately, Google is trying to create a better UX (user experience) for its users. By using artificial intelligence to learn how to better and more appropriately rank websites based on past searches and results, Google can help searchers to find what they are looking for, even if they didn’t type the exact specific correct term. As for website designers, content writers, and search engine optimizer’s, building a website that is better liked by humans may just be the answer to how to make the website better liked by the machine.
Search Engine Journal – https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-rankbrain-affect-seo-2016/162153/ https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-rankbrain-affect-seo-2016/162153/
Search Engine Roundtable – Google: There Is No RankBrain Score & You Don’t Optimize For It https://www.seroundtable.com/google-no-rankbrain-score-no-seo-22282.html
Search Engine Roundtable – Google: The Top Three Ranking Factors Are Content, Links & RankBrain https://www.seroundtable.com/google-top-three-ranking-factors-21827.html
Forbes – What Is Google RankBrain And Why Does It Matter? http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/11/12/what-is-google-rankbrain-and-why-does-it-matter/#b115a4e301ae