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A Guide to Google RankBrain

Google RankBrain Techniques for SEO

Are you familiar with Google RankBrain? If not, you should know that it is a machine learning (AI) algorithm that Google uses to sort search results. It also guides Google to understand each search query and more. In other words, RankBrain controls the algorithm on its own.

A little while back, Google had a tendency to only show a certain amount of results from a searched keyword. For example, 15% of keywords typed into Google were not seen. Why? Because Google took that keyword and scanned the depths of the internet to find that exact keyword, instead of considering exactly what the user wanted.

Let’s say you searched for “the white console developed by Nintendo.” Google would scan through pages that contained the terms, “white,” “console,” and “Nintendo.” Today, RankBrain actually gets what you’re asking for and provides 100% accuracy of results. With RankBrain, your result would appear to be, “Nintendo Wii Console” with links where to find more information on it or buy it.

Google RankBrain tries to figure out what you mean and applies it to the search results as it learns. So, RankBrain realized that people who search “white console developed by Nintendo” want to see console results, preferably the one they are looking for; Wii. Now that RankBrain learned this, the Wii will be the first result once searched.

How does Google RankBrain measure user satisfaction? Here’s an example:

User types keyword into google

RankBrain turns keyword into concepts

Shows a set of results for that concept

Did a page satisfy the user?
No: Try another page next time
Yes: Uprank that page

What exactly is RankBrain observing? It’s paying close attention to how you interact with your search results. It looks at the organic click-through-rate, dwell time, bounce rate, and pogo-sticking. For example: you search for the best way to swing to hit a curveball. Most people will click the first result, but unfortunately when you do that, the information is weak and it’s not what you’re really looking for. So, what do you do next? Click the back button and check out the second result. This one isn’t great either – it’s too short and sweet with not enough information. After hitting the back button again, you try out the third result and BAM – this is exactly what you’re looking for.

This back-and-forth is called “pogo-sticking” and it’s something that RankBrain pays a lot of attention to. Once Google notices that people are leaving the first two pages early, they know that those pages are not helpful. In contrast, when they see that the third result has more success, they’ll give it a boost to make it easier to find.

Keyword Research Tips in Google RankBrain

  • Ignore long tail keywords
    A few years ago, it made sense to create hundreds of different pages – each one optimized around a different keyword. For example, you’d create one page optimized for “best SEO tools online” and another optimized for “best online SEO tools.” Google would then rank each of them for their respective long tail keywords.Today, RankBrain understands that these terms are basically the same thing – so they show the same search results.
  • Optimize Around Medium Tail Keywords
    Medium tail keywords are middle-of-the-pack terms. They get more search volume than your average long tail, and they’re not very competitive.

Optimize Titles & Description Tags for CTR

  • Pack your title tags with emotion
    Your blog will get more clicks if there’s more emotion in the title. For example, “Productivity: How to Get More Done” will generate less clicks than “Crush Your To-Do List with These 17 Productivity Tips.”
  • Add brackets and parentheses to the end of your titles
    HubSpot and Outbrain did a study a few years back where they analyzed 3.3 million headlines. Titles with brackets performed 33% better than headlines without. Here is an example: 100 Powerful SEO Tips (That Actually Work). Some examples of brackets and parentheses include: (2018), [infographic], (new data), [report], etc.
  • Using numbers in your title works better as well
    For example, “How to Get 100% More Organic Traffic In 14 Days (New Strategies).” There isn’t only one number, but two in this title.
  • Use power words in your title tags
    Some examples of power words include; effective, insane, case study, examples, proven, study, etc.

Tips on How to Reduce Bounce Rate and Boost Dwell Time

  • Make sure your content (headlines and sentences) are first. If a big picture shows up first, it causes your reader to have to scroll down to get to the content they want to read. Hook your reader right off the bat.
  • Use short intros (5-10 sentences MAX).
  • Publish long, in-depth content. The longer the content, the better the dwell time. Longer content also gives you the chance to provide all of the information needed for your reader.
  • Break up your content into small chunks. Readers might get bored or intimidated if they see a long block of content. Instead, use subheaders to provide easy reading.

Now that you know how Google RankBrain works, use this blog as a guide to make sure everything is optimized to fit. For an expert look into your website’s search ranking optimization, contact the team at Kraus Marketing. Our SEO professionals will increase your ranking through strategic content and detailed analytics.