Rank Brain is a feature of Google’s core algorithm that works through artificial intelligence and machine learning. It helps the search engine to interpret the most complex questions and display relevant results to users
Every day, 15 % of the queries that Google receives are new terms that have never been searched for by a web user before. To reduce the risk of not being able to answer them, Google has implemented its Rank Brain algorithm since 2015
- What is it about?
- How does this Google algorithm work?
- What is its impact on SEO?
These are some of the questions you may ask yourself and that I will address in this article.
Chapter 1: What does Rank Brain mean?
In this chapter, you will understand:
- What is Rank Brain ;
- How it works;
- How it determines search intent
- And finally its impact on SEO
1.1. what is rank brain?
Rank brain is a revolution in the way search results are determined by Google
Indeed, since its creation, Google is constantly improving to offer users the best search results for the different queries they make
This is what justifies the different evolutions and the frequent improvement of the search engine’s performance thanks to the introduction of new updates
Thus, we have moved from the search for an exact match between the keywords contained in a query and the content of the websites, to an interpretation of the queries with the objective of determining the true search intention of the Internet users.
In short, Rank brain allows the search engine to clearly identify what a user wants when they type a query into the search bar
This is possible thanks to its machine learning capabilities based on artificial intelligence (AI) technology
1.what is artificial intelligence and machine learning?
Because Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are the two pillars of Rank Brain, I suggest you find out what they are.
Artificial intelligence is generally perceived as the set of methods used to develop machines that can imitate human intelligence. In other words, the way humans think and act
As far as machine learning is concerned, it is a specificity of artificial intelligence. It uses sciences such as mathematics and statistics to enable computers to learn from data
The objective is to bring the machines to realize certain tasks in an autonomous way
It generally consists of two phases
- The training phase the training phase: A model of the way we want the machine to analyze and solve the task is produced
- The production phase the production phase: The model is produced and integrated into the machine, which is then subjected to data and will have the task of accomplishing the task from the initial model.
It is its machine learning capability that sets it apart from other updates and allows it to produce the best search results
So how does this happen in practice?
1.3) How does Rank Brain work?
As you have just seen, Rank brain is based on AI and it allows Google to process searches taking into account the context and understanding of queries as a whole and not in isolation
This is precisely what makes it possible to say that Rank Brain is the part of Google’s algorithm that processes the 15% of queries that have not been taken into account.
In concrete terms, for a query such as “The best SEO strategies”, the Google search engine will use its Rank Brain component.
Rank Brain will then perform various calculations based on the patterns it has noticed in the behavior of Internet users and other signals such as:
- The freshness of the content ;
- The length of the content
- The authority of the domain;
- The location of the user;
It also uses the keywords contained in the search of the Internet user that it does not understand by transforming them into concepts or by bringing them closer to other keywords that it already masters.
The use of these various factors allows it to answer an essential question, which is to know if the results proposed reflect the true search intention behind each request.
1.4. How does Rank Brain track search intent?
The strategy that allows Google to determine whether it is meeting your search intent is to analyze your behavior in relation to the search results it produces
At the end of the mechanism I just described, Google displays a set of results to you and hopes you like them.
To ensure this, it observes your behavior based on a number of indicators collected from the following information
- How you interact with the results it displays to you;
- The time you spend on these results;
- The bounce rate;
- And so on.
If you are interested and use the results, it considers that you are satisfied.
If not, it deduces that this is not the case, so it decides to downgrade the page it displays for a new more appropriate.
This is how the most popular pages for a search are highlighted, as opposed to pages that are not.
This observation undoubtedly raises a new question which is to know the impact that this algorithm has for SEO
1.5. What is the impact of Rank Brain on SEO?
You should keep in mind that Rank Brain is the third ranking factor after links and content.
But unlike the others, you have seen that Rank Brain works by using several factors to process a query
They are used by Rank Brain to align with the search intent behind a query. Indeed, it is the search intent that determines how the search engine displays the search results
The webmaster must know this and check as much as possible that the different pages of his website correspond to the search intention of the Internet users.
In the following article, you will find some tips on how to optimize your website and make it Rank Brain friendly.
Chapter 2: How to optimize your site for Rank Brain?
Here you will find some ways for you to optimize your site for Rank Brain.
2.1. Use keywords that match the search intent of the users
Search intent is what drives a user to perform a search rather than another.
It can be
- Informational informational: These are the most frequent types of searches. They are used by Internet users to formulate searches and find information on a given subject;
- Navigational these types of queries allow the Internet user to gather information in a more specific way about a site, a brand or a product that he already knows;
- Transactional at this level, the Internet user has an idea about what he wants and is looking to buy it;
- Commercial: At this level, the Internet user wants to buy and for that, he tries to find the opinions and reviews that there are
It is necessary for the optimization of your site as well as for Rank Brain and you must integrate it in your keyword research process
Because it is the keywords that allow search engines to find and display your website to search engines.
To find these keywords, you must know your target audience and their needs, but also have a good knowledge of the keyword research process
I suggest you to consult my previous article which deals point by point with keyword research at the level of your website.
2.2. Write quality content
Once you have identified the keyword on which you want to position yourself, you must now create quality content for this keyword to give it every possible chance
For Googlequality content is content that
- Is designed primarily for Internet users and not for search engines
- Does not mislead users;
- Does not use Black Hat SEO practices
- Makes your site unique and attractive
Quality content is also content that provides a solution to your user’s problems. It is also a well detailed content that addresses the different contours of the problem you choose to provide a solution to
Check out this article for more details on what quality content is, but also on how you can create it.
2.3. optimize title tags
Title tags are important for SEO because they describe the content of your site and tell search engines about that content. You can optimize the title tags of your pages to make your site more Rank Brain friendly
To do this, here are some tips you can adopt in the title
- Create numbered to-do lists;
- Use brackets or parentheses in your titles;
- Use numbers;
- Use the keyword you want to position it on;
2.4. Optimize your meta description tags
The meta description tags can also be optimized for Rank Brain at your site level
Meta tags have an impact on your organic click-through rate, so you should improve them by adopting best practices
These practices are related to
- Writing a readable and compelling meta description that takes into account your content;
- The insertion of your keywords in the content of the description;
- Respecting a maximum length of 155 characters to prevent Google from cutting your text.
2.5. Reduce the bounce rate on your site
The more time a person spends on your site, the better for you, because it is the proof that your content is interesting
On the other hand, when the user bounces immediately upon landing on your page, it can indicate to Google that your site is not enjoyable for them.
Among the tricks you can then use to solve this problem, you can :
2.5.1. Optimize the Above The Fold part
Above The Fold is the first part that is displayed when the user arrives on your site. Hold his attention at this level by offering him the right information
That is to say, information that will hold their attention and lead them to scroll down the page.
2.5.2. Control and improve the loading speed of your website’s pages
According to the statistics of Googleaccording to Google statistics, nearly 32% of Internet users leave your page if it does not load within 3 seconds. And this percentage increases as the loading speed of your site’s pages decreases. You must therefore understand that the loading speed has a strong correlation with the bounce rate of your site
You must therefore know the speed of your page and optimize your site to ensure that it is below 3 seconds. Start by identifying the loading speed of your site, using the PageSpeed insight.
2.5.3. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile viewing
58 % of all searches on Google are done from mobile devices. If your site is not optimized for mobile devices, this statistic proves that you are losing more than half of the clicks you could be receiving
To avoid this, you need to take this into account and make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices
Checking your site for mobile optimization can be done from the site: However, if you want to learn how to optimize your site for mobile, you can always take a look at the guide that I have designed for this purpose.
2.6. Increase your brand awareness
The more someone knows about your brand, the more likely they are to click on that link when it shows up in search results. The awareness of your brand is therefore an essential factor not to be neglected when you want to optimize your website.
So, to develop your brand awareness, you can try the following tips
- Create content that brings value to Internet users
- Maintain a presence on social networks;
- Set up an email campaign.
In a nutshell
Rank Brain is a part of the Google search engine algorithm that works with AI and machine learning
It allows us to understand the search intentions of Internet users and to ensure that the most relevant results are displayed for the searchers.
In this article, I have discussed the impact that Rank Brain has on SEO, but also some tips you can use to optimize your website for Rank Brain.
Also, if you decide to learn more about this topic, I recommend that you read the complete Rank Brain guide.