What Will RankBrain Mean To Your SEO Strategy?
Pop quiz, do you know what RankBrain will mean to your SEO strategy? Heck, do you even know what RankBrain is? No shame if you don’t as it is one of Google’s newest toys and everyone knows how secretive they are about things.
So what exactly is it?
In a nutshell, RankBrain is a form of Artificial Intelligence that filters and ranks a large portion of all queries made to Google. The idea is that Google will then be better able to understand what someone is searching for and why which will then allow them to rank the search results according to the best fit.
Not only is that exceptionally mind-blowing from a user standpoint, it also is a bit mind-blowing for any business that uses search engine marketing, because things have just gotten a bit more complex. It is important to understand that RankBrain is only the third most important factor in ranking web pages, which is significant but won’t cause SEO to flip upside overnight.
How does it work?
From what we have been able to gather these are the things your search query will take into account with RankBrain:
- The specific search query entered
- The user’s location (if available – and Google regularly nudges people towards that)
- The day and time of the search
- The type of device used for the search
- That user’s browsing history
The end result Google wants is to provide the best search results for the individual users, which for users is fantastic. When I pop onto my phone at 10 p.m. on a Friday night when I am downtown you can bet I want my searches for ‘late night eating’ to be as precise to my needs as possible because I have better things to do than scroll endlessly looking for what I want.
The possibilities change based on very specific user variables. For example, if I never, ever click on YouTube videos when I search over time they will be removed from top spots in my search rankings for something unless a video is the only relevant item. RankBrain will have learned my pattern of only wanting to read answers.
So where does that leave SEO?
To start, as Google shifts to accommodate the user, then you need to shift as well with your SEO strategy aimed at optimizing the users’ web experience. Instead of looking at a single keyword or groups of individual keywords, start looking at your SEO from a goal perspective.
What are people’s goals who are going to find your site and its’ information useful?
The key to a useful site is to understand your users’ needs, issues, and problems, and then providing solutions to those problems which adds value to their lives.
This means going further than before as you need to understand:
- How people talk specifically such as word preferences between even the smallest things like people who say ‘greens’ or ‘veggies’ rather than ‘vegetable’.
- What is there motivation for searching in the first place?
- Where do they search from and when?
- The context of that search they make such as out and about on a mobile device or curled up on the couch with a tablet.
You will be looking to optimize your entire online presence to work towards meeting your user’s needs, helping complete tasks, and making them happy. Aside from using short-tail and long-tail keywords and phrases this means upping your game with your entire site to make it as effective as possible so that rankings will go up.
Ideally you want:
- Fast page load times
- Low bounce rates and high time on site, which may mean style or content changes
- Increased click-through rates from searches
- Increased positive reviews
- Powerful, useful content
- Access from multiple devices
Think of all of these factors as signs that RankBrain will see and acknowledge positively that you are fulfilling users’ needs which in turn will increase your rankings. Now more than ever a successful SEO campaign will be one that is fully integrated to the complete product you put out on the web for users.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that SEO keeps evolving, which means customers are getting to where they want to be more easily. The challenge from the business side is making sure that your business is being showcased properly as the helpful and useful entity that it is. Right now RankBrain is only a portion of the overall search algorithm. What RankBrain will mean to your SEO strategy mostly depends on how you currently use SEO and what your ultimate business goals are, which if it includes a large online presence means optimizing it fully for your users to be successful compared to the competition.