Explaining RankBrain and How it Will and Won’t Affect Your SEO

By Sophorn Chhay

Every time Google comes out with another algorithm update, people seem to panic — and rightfully so. Many businesses have completely lost their rankings in an instant due to some of the changes Google has made over the last few years.

Some of them were justified due to websites using blackhat marketing tactics and some of them were just coincidental products of change. But either way, when Google makes a change to its algorithm everyone should take some time to make sure they understand those changes and how to avoid any fallout.

So let’s talk about RankBrain, Google’s latest software for improving their search results.

What Is RankBrain?

RankBrain is a machine learning technology that helps deliver better search results to its users. It’s actually an artificial intelligence system that sorts through information and teaches itself by building on what it has learned from those gathered results. It can then make educated assumptions as to what a user is searching for when they perform a query.

These assumptions are based on what RankBrain has deemed most relevant to any given search after sorting through billions of pages about the inquiry presented.

How Does RankBrain Affect SEO?

RankBrain is actually part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, which was designed to fight spam. But contrary to popular belief, RankBrain does not change the way Google interprets your links, the content you have on your site, relevance, spam or anything else relating to their algorithm. It was only designed to improve the search results for any given query.

But now, through better recognition of what the user wants, Google is better able to provide more accurate results. However, that doesn’t mean keyword research is no longer important. In order for RankBrain to work, Google still looks for keywords in your meta tags, titles, content, anchor text and URLs; all your inbound and outbound links; etc.

Can RankBrain Be Manipulated?

Technically, RankBrain can’t be manipulated using any type of blackhat methods, whether you are performing mobile marketing, traditional internet marketing or SMS. However, there are a few things you can do to help your website be recognized by RankBrain. Your content needs to be tightly focused on your topic.

Additionally, you should also check your site speed, microdata and that your SSL certificates are up to date. If you’re not sure where to start, hiring an SEO specialist to audit your site and help identify technical errors is highly recommended.

Can Content Marketing Help?

With RankBrain now firmly in place and being used by Google to present more accurate search results, it’s more important than ever for you to have a solid content marketing strategy in place — and one that’s geared toward educating users and helping to answer their questions.

By doing so, you’ll have a greater chance of showing up in Google’s answer boxes — and you’ll be seen as more relevant, and therefore have more of a chance of being recognized by RankBrain as such.

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Sophorn Chhay

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