In the last quarter of 2015, Google adopted the use of RankBrain to help it process search results and deliver more relevant search results.
Google RankBrain embraces mathematical processes and language semantics to understand complex search queries. Its unique combination of artificial intelligence and machine language enables it to look beyond basic language markers and conceptions that were previously limited to search engine capabilities. Google has hundreds of ranking signals and sub-signals within its algorithm, but it describes RankBrain as the key ‘signal’ within its core search algorithm. RankBrain is usually part of the algorithm responsible for understanding the meaning of billions of web pages and displays relevant results to various search queries.
It’s foundation is based on search strings with a humanized effect, what experienced SEO consultants like myself would call “long tail keywords or phrases”. It’s where you predict what the user in front of a google search input box is going to type for their search. In 2016, instead of creating pages and content that merely focus on one keyword phrase, create pages and content which focus on one main keyword phrase and then add phrases related to that keyword. Let me provide an example. I’m going to create a blog post on “houston shale oil” for a client. In the past, you would do your keyword research, find that “houston shale oil enjoyed between, 300,260 searches in January to 227,940 searches in April 2016 (the decrease due to oil prices and subsequent O&G related job losses in Houston), and curate content which really focused on that phrase.
In 2016, if you wish to get the attention of Google RankBrain, here’s what you need to do differently. You still do your keyword research. However, instead of creating a content article which focuses on “Houston shale oil”, you should take the time to write a long and detailed article which covers many aspects of Houston shale oil, from the history of shale oil to shale production, shale reserves, discuss Houston shale oil demographics and trends as well as adding further related phrases and keywords.
RankBrain informs Google’s algorithm on the links and content that are best and how it should interpret these signals in the future. RankBrain allows Google to leverage human-like understanding and interpretation in a more efficient manner of identifying content that people will respond to most in search results.