How to Use Google RankBrain in SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | March 29, 2017

Google’s RankBrain has publicly been listed as the third most important factor in their ranking algorithm. As such, it would do well for small businesses to take advantage of this and develop their strategy accordingly. The question here isn’t what is RankBrain but rather what it can do for you and your small business.

In this article, we’re going to take a look into why Google would choose to reveal part of its ranking algorithm and in the process figure out how this algorithm can be used to improve your SEO strategy and ultimately draw in new prospects to your business. Let’s get started with what Google has done in the past as far as these reveals go.

What happened when Google shared ranking factors before?

In the past, telling the world all about their ranking factors has led to Google having to overhaul their system as a number of domain owners used this system for evil by making low-quality sites that spam keywords and the like. Google then had to switch up their system and make it more disciplined in the quality of content and links that it would rank high on lists.

Google has had to crack down on keyword stuffing as well as content scraping. Instantly publishing content from one site onto another was an issue until Google caught up to it and began to crack down there as well.

All of this has led to Google repeatedly updating the way they index search results, only to have to update themselves yet again when an exploit is found. What starts out with legitimate behavior eventually morphs into spam content that is entirely illegitimate.

Why is Google sharing info on RankBrain now?

It seems like a strange strategy, but Google wants people to exploit the system that they have in place. They get to optimize content and can simply make an update should it be exploited. Their latest strategy has been to look for content that’s optimized for mobile.

The need for optimized content for mobile is large enough that Google took the gamble to announce this to the world. Why should a customer have to pinch and swipe through an unruly desktop page when they can use their mobile device to instead navigate to a mobile-optimized page.

We literally live in a world where we can use our fingerprint to log in to a bank that has no physical locations. There’s no excuse why a small business can’t build a site for mobile.

There are also certain things that can’t technically be abused, such as load speed. If a site loads fast, who cares if it’s been exploited to load that quick? Another example is a responsive design. If you’ve exploited something to make your site responsive, Google doesn’t care. Or even Google AMP. If a website loads instantly, there’s no problem here.

Why have we gone through all the trouble to talk about this? It’s simple. RankBrain is something that simply can’t be exploited. It’s naturally doing what every marketer should already be doing. It’s learning from searchers and constantly changing and adapting to figure out what people want and how to get them there.

Ultimately, this is exactly what marketers should be doing. They should be creating content that anticipates the needs and desires of their customers.

RankBrain is all about taking what the user asks for and then interpreting to find the results instead of taking everything literally, as the system does now. So what this means for you is that you’re better off creating a site that has a keyword phrase and then phrases related to it instead of just relying on that one keyword phrase.

SEO is all about figuring out what your customers want and then marketing to them. Since RankBrain does this automatically, it ony makes sense that you should want to leverage this power in your own content.