Google RankBrain - What is it and How to tackle it?

Posted on 6 April, 2016

The SEO industry exploded in October 2015, when Google announced RankBrain, its new algorithm update which is considered a part of Hummingbird. Google reveled that it is the 3rd most important ranking signal out of 10,000 other signal Google uses to determine the rankings of a webpage. Google also revealed that Rankbrain handles 15% of search queries it receives every day.

This is big for most of the SEO’s as search queries now will be handled by Artificial Intelligence and will not be limited to the exact keywords. For those of you who already know what RankBrain is and how does it function, skip to the next section. While for those of you who have heard this word for the first time and felt like an Alien, read below.

What exactly is RankBrain?

RankBrain is the name given to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning technologies developed by Google to handle search queries. It is important to note that RankBrain is not a stand-alone algorithm; it is an important part of Hummingbird update rolled out by Google.

RankBrain is already gaining a lot of importance exceeding expectations of the users. The most striking revelation that came out of the Bloomberg Business article was a quote detailing how accurate RankBrain has become at matching search results with queries.

Google search engineers, who spend their days crafting the algorithms that underpin the search software, were asked to eyeball some pages and guess which they thought Google’s search engine technology would rank on top. While the humans guessed correctly 70 percent of the time, RankBrain had an 80 percent success rate.

What does RankBrain mean for eCommerce?

More organic traffic! Yes, I know what I said and I mean it. If RankBrain can learn relationship between different entities we won’t have to target exact keywords and make the title filled with keywords. Let’s face it, we all have compromised the quality of content to fit in the ‘Keywords’. Now because of Machine Learning and AI, keyword stuffing will be gone. Let me explain what I am trying to say with an example,

  • The AI RankBrain could learn that a certain product “A” for example belongs to a certain brand “B” in one article on a famous site. It could understand product “A” belongs to the brand “B”.
  • In another article the AI can learn that product “A” can be used for manufacturing “C”.
  • An online store could have listed the product “A” by brand “B”.
  • A user might enter query such as “Where can I buy “A” for manufacturing “C”?”
  • Even though the query doesn’t’ contain the entity “A” or entity “B“, by understanding relations between these entities, AI can deliver the online store that sells “A” by “B” as a search result to this user, which is actually what user wanted all along.

Isn’t that amazing? Now you will be able to focus on the quality title and description of the product and not spam it with useless keywords.

RankBrain: Rating page on the basis of their relevance

The most important factor in the RankBrain is the relevance of the page to the search query. It looks like RankBrain works on the similar concept of what we know is ‘Quality Score’ in Adwords. The intelligent Adwords technology never needed external signals (like backlinks) to rank an Ad on the basis of their relevance. It is soon going to be for Organic Search. Is this it? Now we don’t need to work on SEO right? 

No! RankBrain is only a part of the overall Google algorithm, all other SEO factors are still relevant but this is an addition.

How to tackle RankBrain?

  • The AI RankBrain could learn that a certain product “A” for example belongs to a certain brand “B” in one article on a famous site. It could understand product “A” belongs to the brand “B”.
  • High Organic CTR’s- The key to beat quality score algorithm is to get high organic CTR’s
  • Optimize headlines to get high CTR’s.
  • Optimize your website for goal completion, increase engagement rate of your website.
  • Spend on remarketing and social to make your brand familiar to people. Known brands have high CTR’s.
  • Make your website mobile friendly and fast.

A word of advice…

AI and RankBrain is just the beginning, it is here to stay and grow. Future of SEO is uncertain; it is not possible to say what will be the scenario of SEO after one year. You should forget the old ‘SEO Tricks’ and focus on quality user experience, conversions and SEO strategy focused on increasing CTR’s and long tail keywords with higher engagement rate.


Shetul Majithiya , Digital Marketing Executive
Biznote

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1 Comment(s)

Nikolay Stoyanov

Posted on 29 June, 2016

Thanks for the post Shetul! I am very much interested in impact which RankBrain will have on eCommerce. Do you think that, in near future, product pages will rank higher than the written articles about certain products?