Written By: Joanne Coleman & Mark Rocket Published by:Avatar Ltd
This month we explore how Google is trying to be more intuitive and relevant when it presents search results. We have a range of other goodies, including our top value pick all about influencer marketing. For many businesses this week is the end of the financial year, so have a stellar one!
Google’s RankBrain Algorithm
Ever wondered how Google makes sense of the billions of random, sometimes ambiguous search queries to bring you what it deems to be the most relevant search results? Although only part of a much larger overall search algorithm (known as Hummingbird), Google relies on a semi-artificially intelligent system named RankBrain.
What Is RankBrain?
Using “machine learning technology” (the ability to teach itself), RankBrain is able to better interpret search queries into something it can understand and process accordingly. In other words, it tries to behave more human-like in its response to the entered search terms, taking into account intention or semantics, enabling it to build a list of search results not necessarily containing the exact words.
Is RankBrain An Important Ranking Signal?
Recently revealed to be one of Google’s top three search ranking signals coming in under content and links, RankBrain is considered to be a significant influencing factor in the ranking of search engine results. However, logically it would have a much larger impact on the more ambiguous search queries than on more common search phrases. As mentioned above RankBrain is only part of Google’s overall Hummingbird search algorithm, some of the other known ranking signal contributors are:
Panda. Intended to reduce websites with poor quality content.
Penguin. Intended to aid spam reduction.
Payday. Designed to clean up typically spammy search results.
Pigeon. Focused on improving local search results.
Top Heavy. Designed to devalue websites with too many ads.
Mobile Friendly. Created with the intention to reward mobile-friendly websites.
Pirate. Designed to address copyright infringements.
PageRank. Created with the intention to give websites credit for links from other websites.
Why Is RankBrain Necessary?
Aside from automating what once required much more human input, it’s all about improving the user experience and providing better results for searchers. Among the billions of search queries Google processes per day, many containing more complex and specific keyword terms, local colloquialisms, different location based interpretations or contextual meanings, there are a large number of queries that continue to provide unique challenges for search engines. The addition of the RankBrain algorithm means Google has the ability to learn from the past enabling it to more effectively translate future requests.
SEO For RankBrain?
Search Engine Optimisation is an ongoing consideration that requires regular effort to get the best results. Here are three initial suggestions on how to optimise your site for RankBrain over the coming years:
The SEO Fundamentals. Create great content and build up your site authority.
Content Focus. It’s likely that most small to medium sized business sites will increasingly find it harder to rank on a selection of broad topic areas, so aim to be focused on one key topic or niche.
Indepth Content. Lite brochure sites will typically be dropped when compared to fuller resource-rich sites. Write comprehensive content, find topics that are always relevant as well as seasonal ones, answer typical user questions and consider trying to make your site a definitive reference site for your main topic.
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