On the 26th October 2015, Google part launched a brand new algorithm. They called it RankBrain. This new algorithm was not implemented in full, but across 15% of search queries. Google wanted to test this thing out before it rolled it out across all search queries. In June 2016, Google was happy with RankBrain and applied it to 100% of all search queries.
Does RankBrain Replace Google’s Current Algorithm?
RankBrain is an add on algorithm to the current Hummingbird engine, and it is not the core processor, that would be Hummingbird. Hummingbird was launched by Google in August 2013, and it completely replaced Googles core algorithm at that time. Hummingbird was the core processor in effect, and encapsulated the other algorithms such as Penguin, Panda, Caffeine etc, and now encapsulates RankBrain.
Can RankBrain Give My Site A Penalty?
RankBrain has the much talked about algorithm, but most people don’t know anything about it or what it does. From an SEO perspective, RankBrain can’t and never will be able to put your site in to any kind of a penalty. It was not developed for that purpose. Google developed this algorithm to better understand and to develop an understanding about what people actually mean when they search for something.
What Does RankBrain Do?
RankBrain is a highly complex computer learning system. It actually monitors queries and assesses what people do with the search results they are given, and from the huge variations and combinations of people’s response / actions applied to the given query, RankBrain is able to learn and understand what people actually mean when they search for something.
Now, when Google bots crawl a page, they are not just picking up backlinks and your content details. That is what Google used to do. Google used to read your content and figure out you’re your page was about. Now, RankBrain has taken Googles ability to process and understand in to warp drive, and all of a sudden, we have a Google that is able “Really Know” what your page is about. Actually, Google now knows more about the subject you are writing about than you do. When the Google bots crawl a page, the content is fed in to the RankBrain algorithm which carries out the following processes: –
- It reads the content and understands what has been written. Very much like an intelligent person reads and understands. Previously, Google could only read, sort and apply, so if it read your article about the Australian Shepherds and your article went on to talk about a employment for sheep farmers in Australia, Google could sort that page and apply that as a relevant search result if someone searched for “Jobs for Australian shepherds”. If however, you included associated phrases such as “little blue dog” or “Blue Merle” Google could sort that and apply your page to search results looking for information about the Australian Shepherd dog. Now RankBrain is in operation, Google has the ability to understand and be an expert about the Australian Shepherd dog. The more information it processes about this dog, the more expert it becomes
- Google present the search results and analyse the effectiveness of the results. It assesses this by the length of time visitors remain on the pages they have clicked on from search. They also monitor the click through rate (CTR) and bounce rate where people leave that page without exploring the site further, and most of all, if searchers click and virtually immediately leave that site.
- Google assesses the data and learns (really learns like a human might) with understanding, and as it’s understanding increases, RankBrain orchestrates and determines with impressive accuracy which pages should actually be presented.
How Can I Influence RankBrain So That My Page Ranks Higher In Google?
RankBrain isn’t a ranking algorithm as such, so there’s no direct gaming of the algorithm if that is what you are looking for. As I have said, RankBrain is a computer learning system that enables Google to better understand what a searcher is actually looking for when they search for a specific thing. So what we can do then is position our page / post so that what we write shows that we have an absolute expert grasp of the subject we are writing about. This however, is just the starting point. Now that RankBrain has the ability to “really” understand what a searcher is searching for, Google can be very selective about the pages it serves in the search query, because with RankBrain, Google now “really” understands what your page is about, and what your competitions page is about. This means that if your content is too generic and or broad, it may be unlikely that you will rank for that phrase.
If your article is about how to fish, and you cover in that article sea fishing, pond fishing and river fishing, you will not rank for the search phrase “the secret to successful sea fishing”. The reason for this is because your content covers too many sub niches. That article actually contains the following sub niches: –
- Sea Fishing
- Pond Fishing
- River Fishing
Google isn’t interested in multiple sub niches in an article, they will only serve these results if there are no other results more focused. Google will take the section you wrote about sea fishing and will deem that to be low quality because the relevance will have been diluted by the other content.
Now although the river and pond fishing is associated within the niche of fishing, it is not associated to sea fishing itself. The way you become ultra relevant for the search is to write several articles about sub sub niches and even sub sub sub niches, so if we look at the structure of the niche. By doing this, you become ultra relevant for something that is laser targeted, and your chances of ranking for search queries that focus on that become huge. Now those laser targeted phrases might not have many searches, but on the other hand, you won’t need to do any or much backlinking, because you will have the best content, and RankBrain will be able to determine this.
The Best SEO Tip I Have For You
Google are saying that RankBrain is the 3rd most important ranking signal. They don’t say what the number 1 & 2 signals are, but we know this anyway – It is: –
#1 High quality / Authority Same / Similar Niche Backlinks
#2 High Quality Expert Content With Expert Phrases That An Expert That Knows His/ Her Niche Would Use
Now RankBrain isn’t going to be a direct ranking signal, and when Google say it is a ranking signal, they mean indirectly, but what is interesting is the level of influence they are saying it has. We can deduce therefore that the ultimate SEO strategy therefore is to do the following: –
- Make your site in to an authority in your niche (even if your niche is a sub sub niche – be an authority)
- Get high quality / authority same / similar niche backlinks pointing to the main pages of your site (home page & main parent pages / posts)
- Create high quality expert laser targeted sub sub sub niche content
- Inner link throughout your site from the pages / posts that have the powerful links pointing to them to the sub sub sub niche laser targeted pages
- Enjoy your rankings
…exactly as spelled out in step-by-step detail in the members area, here in SEO Breakthrough!
All the best,
Chris Cantell and John Pearce