While SEO is always changing, it is fairly rare that search giant Google makes an adjustment that is truly major. Such an adjustment, however, has taken place in the technological underpinnings of its ranking system. The search engine has given this new technology the name RankBrain. It uses a mathematics-based artificial intelligence to add a signal to the many that determine search engine rankings.
Is RankBrain a New Algorithm?
No – unlike algorithms, it does not determine rankings on its own. Instead, it contributes to over 100 different factors that Google's algorithms (algos) consider for ranking sites in search results. That said, it is the third-most important factor in Google's current ranking algo, so it is a quite powerful ingredient in the mix of ranking signals.
Can This Artificial Intelligence Actually Think?
Despite some excited speculation along these lines, the fact is that it does not. It is more of a very advanced calculator than an actual brain.
Just How Does RankBrain Affect Search Results?
RankBrain is making it far easier for Google to make sense of long, complex questions. Before it was implemented, it would be nearly impossible to get meaningful results from asking a question like "what is the easiest way to paint a wall." Now, instead of random results about wall painting, you are likely to see pages specifically about doing it in the easiest or simplest possible manner.
What Other Factors Do You Need to Consider for Local SEO Efforts?
If you're trying to rank for local search terms, the other factors you need to pay the most attention to are the accuracy of your listing and your reviews. Be sure to look at your listing and correct it if it contains obsolete or erroneous information. When it comes to reviews, Google likes to give high ranks to businesses that have plenty of happy customers. Encourage all of your most-satisfied customers to leave a good review of your practice.
How Can You Use RankBrain to Help Your Rankings?
RankBrain depends heavily on the context and synonyms of the words on your page. Therefore, you should use articles and other content that is long enough for the system to determine what you're talking about. Remember that as a non-sapient machine, RankBrain will not be able to decipher most concepts in just a couple of sentences. Expound on your subject to give it more clues.
Synonyms are also important, and when used properly, they make your content more engaging for humans as well. Avoid using one word over and over, and instead, refer to the same concept in a variety of ways.
In a nutshell, RankBrain rewards you for natural-sounding writing that does not hammer on the same keyword. This is quite a change from how SEO used to be done! For help in creating written content in accordance with RankBrain classifications, contact us for a complimentary website consultation.