RankBrain Hasn’t Replaced Anything
First of all, RankBrain is considered a part of Google’s overall algorithms. It’s not a replacement for other ranking methods. It’s just another tool used to gather information about sites. Google has billions of pages to sort through, so it makes sense to have an AI helper. Hummingbird is actually Google’s search algorithm. The general understanding is that RankBrain is part of the overall mix along with other algorithms like Panda, Penguin, and Pigeon.
What Does RankBrain Really Do?
The purpose of RankBrain is to help Google understand content. The AI system mainly focuses on new and relatively unknown content distributed online. RankBrain basically scans sites to identify signs within the content that suggest what pages are about so it can be determined how to effectively rank those pages. It’s sort of like a digital version of the Dewey Decimal system.
RankBrain SEO – What You Need to Know
Google considers about 200 major ranking signals for SEO purposes. These 200 or so signals are further divided into about 10,000 sub-signals. While RankBrain isn’t the top signal out of everything Google considers, the company has admitted that it’s the third most important signal for ranking website pages. Of course, the notoriously secretive powers that be at Google won’t officially say what the other two above it are; although there’s widespread speculation that links and content are the top two ranking factors considered.
Your approach to RankBrain SEO should be an emphasis on what matters most to users today. A good starting point is with a mobile-friendly layout and design since Google now users a mobile-first approach when ranking sites. A responsive website design that adapts to whatever screen content is viewed on is the standard recommendation nowadays.
• Using long-tail keywords that include natural phrases people actually use for searching
• Making your content relevant to local searchers (Google assumes local intent with searches)
• Paying attention to page load time (anything longer than 4-5 seconds is “slow”)
• Writing content with real people in mind, not search engines
• Optimizing your page titles and meta descriptions so Google’s AI system will have more clues to tell what your content is about
Some marketing experts suggest that SEO for RankBrain doesn’t matter as much as SEO for real people. In fact, the leading search engine has said the same thing. Google’s John Mueller posted a tweet encouraging marketers to optimize their site for users, asserting that “the RankBrain part is irrelevant” and what really matters is to make a great site visitors will actually find useful. And since Google is all about relevance and the user experience today, it’s definitely advice worth heeding.