When Google unveiled RankBrain, its machine-learning ranking program, digital marketers studied it for ways to properly optimize their clients’ websites. While RankBrain, strictly speaking, is not simply a ranking factor that marketers can check off their list, it is something the SEO community has to consider in their work. RankBrain has existed for nearly two years now and, in that time, experts have come up with some specific insights into how marketers can work with Google’s ranking program.
Here are a few ways you can better optimize websites for RankBrain:
- Generate interesting snippets. If your click-through rates are not where you want them to be, focus on improving the page titles and meta descriptions of your website. These snippets should stand out on a search results page and directly relate to the needs of the user. This will entice people to click for more and actually go to your website. Your URLs should also be simplified to reinforce value to Google and users.
- Write blog posts conversationally. When writing blog posts for a website, you need to focus on user experience, not pleasing an algorithm or program. If users find the content you publish relevant and worthwhile, the algorithms will follow suit. It is essential that pieces sound human and conversational; if they sound too much like a machine RankBrain will get confused and not know how to properly rank it.
- Rethink how you use keywords. SEO professionals need to change how they think about keywords. Instead of creating pages or content tailored to one specific keyword or phrase, you should instead focus on concepts or ideas. By grouping keywords into concepts, you will be able to create much more valuable content.
If you think the introduction of RankBrain has damaged the ranking of your website, the first thing you should do is review the content on the website itself. Ask yourself if it is helpful and engaging for users, and how the topics and keywords are being targeted. When you look at the pages that are performing well, you will start to get a clearer picture of the factors RankBrain is prioritizing and be able to adjust your marketing strategy moving forward.