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Digital Marketing News & Views

RankBrain: Is Google Changing Your Search Terms?

Posted by Geoffrey Wenger on Sep 4, 2016 12:17:23 PM

RankBrain.jpg

Google’s Out Thinking You….Again

If you’ve been search marketing for a while, then you’re probably familiar with the secrecy that has always surrounded the algorithm responsible for driving Google Search.

It’s the code that’s responsible, in part, for the tens-of-billions of dollars that the tech giant rakes in quarterly – and it has experienced an upgrade in the RankBrain update.

RankBrain, in short, is a machine learning technology that plays a huge role in the search results you see when you type a keyword query into Google.

How Does RankBrain Work?

Given that prominent Google representatives at the SMX Advanced summit announced RankBrain’s participation in trillions of search queries per year, understanding what the algorithmic addendum does should help you with your SEO backlinks plan.

In short, RankBrain is a keyword query refinement tool. So if you’re going out of your way to rank for specific exact-match keyword phrases (search results based on EXACTLY what you searched on), it becomes even more difficult if you are trying to optimize for long-tail keywords (longer, more specific phrases) because of RankBrain’s effect on Google’s algorithm.

The longer the tail, the harder it is to match what the bulk of searchers might be typing into the search field. RankBrain purportedly helps you by replacing a relatively uncommon search term such as “best Invicta watches in New York”, with the more popular “best NY Invicta watches.”

The reasoning is pretty straightforward: Google’s massive data centers possess a lot more user data for the second long tail keyword (“best NY Invicta watches”) than for the first (“best Invicta watches in New York”). As such, confidence is high that the results that the altered query returns are more suitable – which statistically leads to better- targeted clicks.

So Does that Mean Google Changes Results?

The latest news from the summit suggests that yes – Google supplants the less-targeted search you used for the more popular one. This helps you find more relevant search results, and it also helps the advertisers that account for 98% of the tech giants’ wealth. The algorithm compares the words in the queries, and then sends the results associated with the “better” long-tail keyword.

Additionally, the RankBrain results are also a part of the ranking algorithm, which means that your backlinks are, in part, judged by the way in which they compare to the keyword for which Google has data.

Consider then, that varying your keywords within the content may be a good idea, as there is a certain way that legitimately written content shows up. By using RankBrain as a metric, Google may be able to more easily discern content that’s written for the audience in mind, vs content written solely for search engine recognition.

Content for People, not Search Engines

With so many things to keep track of – backlinks, RankBrain, long-tail keywords, etc – it’s important that you don’t get overwhelmed by Search Engine Optimization. It continues to ring true that Content is King, so focus on providing content that you would want to read yourself; the rest shall more or less take care of itself.


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