RankBrain and its impact on SEO

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Given the fact that RankBrain has been in effect for a year or so, there haven’t been many changes to the SEO world. The same rules still apply: write a nice article, pitch it to influential bloggers and hope to get the link.

So, why is there so much hype regarding this system?

The thing that preoccupies most of the SEO experts is not the current state of things; instead, we are preoccupied what will RankBrain bring in future.

But, before we go any further, let’s talk a bit about RankBrain.

RankBrain basics

RankBrain is described as a machine learning system. Many people refer to it as an artificial intelligence but it is far from it.

Based on its description, it is easy to determine that this system is able to learn on its own. At the same time, this is the main difference between RankBrain and all previous Google’s algorithms.

For example, both Hummingbird and RankBrain are made so they can determine the true intent behind the article. However, unlike Hummingbird, this later one is able to learn from its mistakes further refining the end results.

How is this used during the search process?

For now, RankBrain is used for a small population of searches. It is preoccupied with brand new queries that are rather ambiguous. In a normal situation, these would be hard to process. But, RankBrain is able to do this with ease.

Basically, RankBrain uses user experience and is able to process it.  When it comes across a new query, it provides a set of results to a user. Depending on user’s feedback (likes, shares, time spent on website, bounce rate etc.), it is able to determine whether certain articles are a good fit for that query. As the time goes, it only improves and refines its results, giving advantage to a certain particular content while downgrading the rest.

How to use RankBrain?

At this point in time, there is no reason to optimize for RankBrain. Why is that? Simply put, this machine learning system is used only on a small population of results. These queries have small search volumes and usually are not money terms.

Nevertheless, as a blogger and a SEO professional, you should definitely learn more about RankBrain. There is a high chance that this system will become dominant in future and that we will have to optimize for it.

Here are some tricks that will definitely help you:

  • User oriented articles

This is very similar to what we are doing right now. You need to create catchy titles so that the people will click on them. Your article has to be informative and direct so that the person gets a proper answer to his or her question. Lastly, content needs to be easy to read.

  • Focusing on LSI keywords

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords represent all the words and phrases that are somewhat related to your main keyword. Instead of building your article around a particular phrase, you will need to focus on the general theme of the article.

  • Responsive and intriguing website

For visitors to be satisfied and to send a positive feedback to RankBrain, your website needs to be quick and responsive. And not only that. Things such as bounce rate will be crucial in future. So, after reading the initial article, make sure that the person will be intrigued enough to continue on to other posts.

Impact on SEO

There are many speculations regarding RankBrain. The biggest issue for most SEO experts is not RankBrain in its current state; it’s what it may become.

If Google implements this system on all search queries, SEO as we know it may change overnight. Links will no longer be as important. Instead, visitors and their behaviour on your web pages will be the center of attention, as they determine the search engine visibility of your website in the future.

Is this good?

Probably not because user experience can also be manipulated the same way links can. No matter what, there will always be space for good SEO professionals to earn their bread.

Author’s bio: Nikolay Stoyanov is the CEO of NikSto.com – an SEO company that offers SEO outsourcing services, consulting and white hat link building services to clients all over the world. Nikolay is a huge Brian Dean fan and a proud graduate of his SEO That Works course. He’s a contributor to many of the most reputable websites about SEO.