What’s up with you friends! After a brief hiatus, we are back with our 16th part of ‘Digital Marketers Week’ series, learning about Rankbrain and how it works.

What is Rankbrain

Rankbrain is Google’s name for its machine-learning algorithm that assists to process its search results, particularly one-of-a-kind or rare search queries. In fact, 15% of Google’s daily search queries (about 500 million searches) fall into that category.

Rankbrain uses advanced mathematical processes and language semantics to learn more about search behavior in order to provide better search results. Over time, it is able to update itself as it learns more as opposed to having to be updated by a human. This is Google’s attempt at Artificial Intelligence (AI).

What type of signals does Google use to rank a website

Signals are things Google uses to help determine how to rank web pages. For example, the words Google reads on a webpage are considered signals. If some words are in bold, Google interprets them as a signal, too. The metrics PageRank uses to give your website a score are also considered signals. If a page is noted as being mobile-friendly, that’s another signal that’s registered.

According to Google there are over 200 major signals that are used to determine search engine results. Within those 200 major signals are up to 10,000 variations or sub-signals.

How’s Rankbrain helping refine queries

The method Google uses to refine queries flow back to a person who is creating content. The content is categorized either as stemming lists or synonym lists to make database connections between things.

Thus, Google’s methods were developed by people. Google reads three billion searches daily. Again, Rankbrain is designed to help interpret questions that you ask Google either verbally (through a voice search) or manually (through text in the search engine) more precisely.

So, first you need to understand the whole purpose behind Rankbrain’s creation. Google wants to move beyond literal keyword searches and better understand the meaning and intent behind a particular search. This will impact how you do your keyword research, targeting and content creation.

With Rankbrain in the context, you shouldn’t only create content for say just one phrase or keyword. The content you create can target one main keyword phrase and other phrases related to that keyword. This will better help Rankbrain understand and rank your pages.

Two specific ways to optimize for Rankbrain

Here are two brilliant ways to keep your organic presence alive.

  • Research the intent behind every keyword

When you’re conducting keyword research in today’s landscape, you have to take into account user intent. Just because a keyword has 10,000 monthly searches, that doesn’t mean it’s worth your time. To do this, you have to put yourself in the shoes of a user and explore the top-ranking content on Google for that keyword.

For example, let’s say you want to rank for “content marketing tips.”

What is your first guess at the most popular form or style of content that will show for this? What does the user want to see? What is the intent?

The results show us that someone searching for “tips” is looking for multiple solutions to their problem. They want a huge list of items to view.

Another great way to decipher intent from a standard search is to scroll to the bottom of the results page and look at related searches. These are searches where users have modified their queries after searching for the original term. These also give you a huge insight into the intent behind their search.

Craft long-form, relevant content for it

According to Backlinko, content length plays a big role in rankings. However, that long content must solve the user’s problem so well that they don’t even need to click back to Google for the next result. Most long-form content is long because it packs actionable data into every sentence. It contains things like tutorials, walkthroughs, and step-by-step instructions on fixing a problem. The more actionable you can make your piece, the better it will rank.

HubSpot also found that the more you post, the more traffic you get. Finally, if you focus on creating content designed for a real user experience, you will surely see improvements in your traffic.

Rankbrain’s focus on quality for the end user points to an ever-clearer truth for search marketers: ranking well is becoming more greatly predicated upon your content’s quality and relevance to the user’s search. That means you’ll need to work harder than ever to ensure a tight relationship between your content and your meta data, and also to create a website your visitors will be pleased to have reached.