Reading the news around Google RankBrain, I think that it’s about time for me to jump right into it – for a couple of reasons. One, I’m in a web publishing business – meaning, my websites will be impacted by RankBrain in one way or another. Two, knowing what matters to Google Search means that you can stay ahead of your competitors.
So, let’s get into Google RankBrain, and see a thing or two that you and I can implement for the benefits of our business.
What is RankBrain?
First thing first, what on earth is RankBrain?
Google likes to name their algorithm updates, ranking factors and so on – remember the lineup? Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird,… names are important, and RankBrain will be much talking about in the search engine and SEO scene.
So, what is RankBrain? It’s essentially the name that Google gave for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system for Google Search. It’s a machine learning system (it teaches itself to learn things, instead of having some humans to do that for it) that help the existing system to process search results.
RankBrain helps Google to make sense of your search term, and suggest better search results, particularly in term of relevancy. With that said, searching via Google using near-natural language will give better results, thanks to RankBrain. Try this search query: “How tall is Shaquille O’Neal” and you’ll get this almost instantly.
Pretty smart, huh?
Is RankBrain Google’s latest algorithm update?
No, fortunately. It’s one of the signals (hundreds of them!) of Google’s latest search algorithm update, called Hummingbird. Along with the hundreds of signals, RankBrain helps determine the search results. It’s significant because in just a few months, it’s become the third-most important signal.
I can’t confirm what are the first and second one, but I can make a good guess that one of them is links. Perhaps another one is content quality? Who knows.
Why RankBrain matter to businesses
To me, RankBrain is important due to these reasons:
1. It levels the playing field in SEO
I’m an SEO practitioner and not an expert by all means. With that said, I’m grateful for Google Hummingbird algorithm because it emphasis on the particular meaning of a group of words (semantics). This means that you can utilize your content as a great competitive advantage versus the brands who are splashing ad dollars to buy – ahem – links to boost their ranks.
RankBrain emphasizes this feature even more, makes content relevancy and quality matter more than ever.
2. Microdata is becoming more and more significant
Microdata marks up your content. It helps search engine bots to understand what a piece of content is all about – even before crawling the whole content of a page. Microdata is uber-important in the Hummingbird-era of Google search, and RankBrain put an emphasis on it.
Logically, the easier your page is crawled by Googlebots, the better. In essence, you help them to help you.
3. Quality content wins
If your business can produce rich content, you win in the Hummingbird world. Create content that is intriguing and using well-played word variations game. You can say goodbye to keyword density, ugly-looking anchor text (e.g. “SEO service Birmingham”) and other overused tactics – eventually.
If you are looking for more info about RankBrain, here’s my smallish list:
Now over to you: What do you think the best practices for businesses in responding to RankBrain and the overall changes of the Google SEO world?