The algorithm Google uses to assemble its search engine results pages is determined by these top three signals: content, links and…RankBrain.
But what is RankBrain, and why does it matter as much as content and links?
RankBrain is a Machine
Google developed RankBrain to help it better understand how users perform search queries. It is the very definition of artificial intelligence.
RankBrain uses machine learning to process new search terms – as well as all the ones Google already knows – to organize and display search engine results pages more accurately for users.
But that isn’t all RankBrain does. It also learns the intent behind search queries, taking into account things like the user’s online purchases and social media interactions. We know, creepy right.
If you have any investment in search marketing, this surely matters. The better RankBrain can understand your content, the better it can match it with appropriate search queries.
From RankBrain to Voice Search
If you consider that voice search is on the rise, then RankBrain is even more poignant. According to the Global Web Index study of Internet users ages 16-64, one in five uses voice search on mobile.
As more users switch to voice search, the more RankBrain will take natural language into account. (Asking “Where can I find a pizza place?” as opposed to typing “pizza place” into the search box.)
This means you can anticipate these changes now in your content. Start thinking about what types of natural language questions your users would ask about your services or products, and optimize your content for those questions.
Planning for voice search now means that as search behaviors evolve, your business will have content ready for RankBrain to match with user intent and queries.
Sheila Hart-O’Connor is a word geek who is passionate about all things digital. She specializes in advertising and marketing copy, with a lean toward SEO, social media, and blogging.