What is RankBrain?

RankBrain is a search engine algorithm used by Google that is constantly learning to be able to process more relevant search results.  RankBrain is the third most important ranking signal that Google uses which means your website and content should be optimized for the algorithm.  RankBrain is constantly tweaking the algorithm based on backlinks, content quality, domain authority and dozens more ranking factors.

RankBrain has two main jobs to do: understand search queries and measure how users interact with those results.  This makes optimizing for the algorithm crucial for your site and content rankings.

How To Optimize Better For RankBrain

Keywords:  Unlike algorithms of old, RankBrain doesn’t just match a user query keyword to keywords on your content pages.  It tries to turn basic search terms into concepts and then scans content pages that might explore those concepts.

For instance, “popular running shoe made by famous basketball star” would have had Google searching for pages with those EXACT words peppered on it.  Today, RankBrain realizes you are most likely talking about Air Jordan shoes and will search pages that explore that topic.

If you want to optimize for the concepts of keywords, optimize around medium tail keywords.  They get far more search traffic than long-tail keywords and have far less competition to rank for them.  Optimize your page around a single medium tail keyword.

Example:  Instead of ranking for billboards, focus on something like scrolling mobile billboards.  When RankBrain scans your content on scrolling mobile billboards, it realizes you are also discussing the concepts of digital billboards, truck billboards, outdoor advertising, etc. and will rank you for ALL of those keywords, not just the main medium tail keyword you started with.  RankBrain understands the relationship with these topics and how interconnected they are, much like a human would.

User Experience:  RankBrain is also paying close attention to how a user is interacting with your page.  If tons of users consistently click on your page and seem satisfied with your answers, the algorithm will keep you high in the rankings.  Pay attention to your click-through-rate, bounce rate, dwell time and if users continue their search after you.

Click-Through-Rate:  This is how you get people to click on your link.  Is your title attracting their curiosity?  Are you tapping into their emotions with power words such as case study, powerful, effective and proven?  Description tags are also key to getting a user to click on your result because you can expand a little more by enticing them with emotions and then selling them on why your page holds all the answers.

Bounce Rate & Dwell Time: Essentially, how long are users staying on your page?  If they dwell awhile and engage with your site, exploring internal links and such, your site will be boosted in rankings.  If people are fleeing your site after a few seconds, this alerts the algorithm that your content isn’t that great because people are “bouncing” outta there quickly and you will see a drop in rank.  Use shorter intro paragraphs in your article because the user already knows about the topic, they want their specific answers.  Break your long content into chunks with sub-headers, infographs, study examples, images, video, etc.  Give their eyes a rest from long text and they will keep reading.

Try to keep a user engaged with your site so they don’t need to seek answers elsewhere.  If RankBrain notices that users are not going elsewhere for that particular search query, that only solidifies your ranking position.  By keeping these simple tips in mind for better optimization of your content, you will not only appeal to the algorithm but to users as well.

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