Rankbrain helps Google solve a very important problem. How to interpret and understand the intent behind the person making a Google Search. This is a very important distinction to make.
The internet is not a collection of words, it’s a collection of questions and answers.
In order to provide the correct answer, it is important to fully understand the question.
This is what Rankbrain helps Google to do. It does this by using Machine learning in order to process huge amounts of qualitative data (words) into quantitative data (numbers) so that the machine can understand what is being written.
Rankbrain is just one part of Google’s Algorithm
Rankbrain isn’t a new algorithm, it is a new section of the algorithm which is helping Google’s results become more accurate and useful for the user.
The human body is made up of lots of parts which work together, right? Imagine Hummingbird, which is the latest Google Algorithm is the body whilst it is made up of lots of different parts which the make the whole work. Rankbrain is one of those parts.
Rankbrain and Quality Metrics
The bit I am most excited about when it comes to Rankbrain is its link with Quality metrics. Google has always stated that there goal is to improve the quality of the results we get.
They are not in the control of the quality of the content on the websites that they rank. BUT they are in control of what they rank and what they don’t. If quality is key to Google, then it makes sense that they would reward content that is higher quality and more useful for the user.
This is one of the areas Rankbrain helps in.
How does Rankbrain decide what is quality content and what isn’t?
Click through rate is a big factor here.
Google has stated;
'Searching users are often the best judges of relevance, so that if they select a particular search result, it is likely to be relevant, or at least more relevant than the presented alternatives.'
This is the reason click through optimisation is so important. As Larry King speaks about in this article, which by the way is well worth a read. It is incredibly difficult to optimise the click through rates for organic search results. The main reason - there just isn’t enough data for us to go on at a keyword level these days.
Google has done a really good job of taking away a lot of our data. Optimising without data can lead to a lot of going round in circles.
What can we optimise for easily?
There is one thing you can do very, very easily. That is LOOK at the search results BEFORE you start optimising for a keyword.
You may have an assumption that a keyword has one intent behind it, only to discover Google (and therefore most people online), have an entirely different opinion.
So, the first thing to do when you discover a longtail keyword that has a good amount of search volume and is relevant to the topic you want to cover - type it into Google!
It’s such a small step, but one that can very easily be missed. And if missed can result in a lot of hard work going down the drain.
Dwell time could be another big factor
This is the amount of time a user spends on your page after clicking through, another great indicator of quality. There is still a lot of controversy around this, some SEO’s think it matters, some don’t. My view is, its an important metric to look at either way.
It immediately places our focus on to quality which is where Google wants us to be. So, whether this is the specific metric they are looking at or not it doesn’t matter. Take the long term view, optimise your content for quality and you safeguard your site now, and in the future.
To give you an idea about what dwell time could mean. A little bit tongue and cheek but this graphic from Hrefs backs up my point. The only risk for optimising for dwell time is overdoing it.
I do see a strong trend in the online community whereby everyone is just trying to outdo each other on length of content.
It’s getting kind of ridiculous.
I love how Digital Marketers love to jump on trains.
One person notices how one metric - in this case, semantic keywords and covering a topic full and then dwell time as well impacts ranks. Then there are some studies, experts look at the theory, decide yes this looks like there is a correlation.
Then they come up with a simple tactic.
Let’s make the content longer.
And then, it becomes THE THING.
So now, blog posts are like manuals.
Beware of following any tactic blindly. Do what is right for your audience and what is right for the topic you are covering.
If the content is good quality then your dwell time is going to be high anyway. Readers will be engaged, reading through what you’ve written, maybe going back, double checking another point.
The thing we want to avoid is extremely low engagement metrics.
If your pages have an average dwell time of 1 minute or less then very likely readers are just skimming your content, realising it’s not relevant or of high quality and leaving.
This is a signal that
Hopefully you have an understanding now on what this additional to the Google Algorithm does. And even more, have come away with some solid ways you can optimise for it. Here is a quick run down of the types of things your content strategy needs to focus on.
The winners will focus on these things >>
Track time on page
Use LSI Keywords to cover a topic fully
Make sure you use Google related search
Write more in depth content (but don’t go crazy if its not needed!)
We hope you enjoyed this post! As usual let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)