Keeping up with Google is one of the most difficult aspects of SEO, as the algorithms are constantly changing and becoming more sophisticated. Google RankBrain is one of the newest and most important players in the suite of Google algorithm updates, and understanding how it works can help you create content that is tailored to appeal to RankBrain’s artificial intelligence.
Since its introduction in October 2015, SEO agencies that specialize in content marketing have learned quite a bit about how RankBrain views content and SEO.
How Does Google RankBrain Work?
Google does not always share the specifics of their approach and algorithms for search engine rankings, as it has led to abuse of the system in the past. Historical issues that have led to low-quality content taking over the internet include:
- Selling links
- Hiding text
- Keyword stuffing
- Spammy backlinks
Google’s focus is now on algorithms that identify and reward thoughtful, useful content that is free of these flawed ranking tricks that can muddy queries and lead users to low-quality results.
Because the focus is now on quality and matching human search intent, by sharing the specifics of what type of content RankBrain seeks, Google is making it easier for users to find desirable information on the internet. By raising the bar on how content is ranked, these new rating systems benefit the greater good with a marked shift towards higher-quality organic results.
As an artificially intelligent machine algorithm with the ability to learn, RankBrain has the capability to adapt and gain knowledge about the intentions of search engine users and the type of information they seek. Creating content that is unique, useful and interesting will engage your audience, and it will also attract the attention of RankBrain.
How does it work, and what specific steps can you take to create the type of content that will meet these challenges?
Step 1: Choose Phrases, Not Simple Keywords
Although the inclusion of a single keyword for website content is a time-honored tradition, it’s keyword phrases that RankBrain seeks, especially longtail natural ones that mimic smartphone voice searches. By creating a connection between the search terms and keyword phrases, RankBrain guides users to websites that most clearly match the search request. Many search requests are also phrases, known as long-tail queries. When RankBrain connects your keyword phrases to long-tail queries, the users who seek your informative content will be more easily able to locate it.
By creating a primary keyword phrase accompanied by additional related phrases, you can clearly convey the content topic in a way that is easily interpreted by RankBrain. When RankBrain understands your content and relates it to the search queries, your website will receive a high ranking in the search results.
The patterns that result from keyword phrases and related search terms are connections that RankBrain learns for future reference. When your content consistently produces valued results, your website will benefit from high rankings and traffic when similar search queries are used in the future.
Step 2: Use Google’s Planning Tools for Keyword Phrases
The Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a useful tool for identifying the appropriate keyword phrases around which to build your content. Reviewing the list it generates can help you to identify basic topics that can be developed into complex, in-depth content.
Searching Google for these keyword phrases can also help you to identify related phrases to develop your topics, and you can gain a deeper understanding of how Google links the topics. Using the specific keyword phrases throughout your content and for your subheaders will narrow the focus of your content into the type of information RankBrain rewards with high search rankings.
Step 3: Write Naturally Yet Strategically
Creating content that focuses on using keywords a particular number of times can result in a piece that sounds awkward and unnatural, resulting in a low-quality outcome. Linking to relevant information that enhances your content helps to create an article that will be valued for its focus on high-quality information rather than a manipulated result.
The goal of ranking highly in the search engine results truly is as simple as creating high-quality information to share:
- Is the content you produce being viewed and shared?
- Do your blog posts generate comments and other types of engagement?
If the information you are providing is useful, unique, and answers the type of questions internet users want to know, you will find success in Google’s organic search results.
In terms of strategy, your content should strike a chord with human emotions, but also tell the bots vital information that will help them determine what your content is all about. It should convey:
This is what it is
This is what its for
These are the people who want it
This is what it isn’t
By clearly translating the purpose and subject, Google RankBrain’s AI algorithm will have an easier time making sense of your material so that people searching for “Fox t-shirts” will find the Fox motocross apparel they seek, nature lovers will find shirts with the furry little animal designed on the front, and nobody will be bothered by accidentally clicking on that media company with the same name.
Step 4: Choose Mobile Optimization
Ensuring that your website is optimized for mobile use is also an important aspect of positive recognition by RankBrain.
Not only are mobile sites given preference for ranking purposes, the organic long-tail queries that RankBrain recognizes are often generated by voice commands originating from smartphone users. Whereas a search from a laptop or desktop may consist of a typed word or two, longer queries are more common when it comes to the growing trend of verbal mobile searches to access the internet.
Step 5: Write Informative and Intuitive Content
Beyond the technical details of creating great content, maintaining a focus on content that is well researched and educational is the key to gaining SEO and ranking recognition.
Content that triggers the emotions or answers questions users may have will be seen as valuable and worthy of a high rank in the search results.
In addition, the writing should be thoughtfully crafted and error free, including impeccable spelling and grammar.
What tools do you use to research keyword phrases? Do you have any advice on how to handle Google Rankbrain?