In October, 2015, Google announced RankBrain as the 3rd most influential ranking factor according to Bloomberg RankBrain however there were no major changes in ranking factors. The update was an algorithm that functions on Artificial Intelligence learning. RankBrain is Google’s nickname for a proprietary machine-learning AI that’s incorporated into their existing page-ranking algorithm known as Hummingbird. With so many major and minor changes to ranking factors being introduced officially and “under the radar”, Nexus Mediaworks always stay abreast of these changes in strategizing the overall concept of your contents and be relevant to these changes.
In essence, RankBrain helps Google identify which signal to prioritise for which queries based on searcher intent. So, what does that meant in doing SEO? Google is becoming a “Machine Learning-First Company”, you can’t actually just doing SEO based on RankBrain. The AI comes in the form of mathematical entities called vectors that can be understood by computers. During the process of query, when presented with a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, RankBrain then will help formulate an interpretation at what the query is about and display results based on searcher intent; it is especially useful when handling never before seen search queries.
It works like a neural network. In a neural net, you “train” it by giving it known good sites and known spam sites for a query. With enough training sets, the net can then figure out what all the good sites have in common and how they’re different from the bad sites. It will then it will associates these sets of searches with results that it thinks searchers will like the most.
RankBrain is also unique in its ability to self-learn by forming new associations, interpretations, and perspectives for words/phrases/searches rather than being taught by humans or following detailed programming. Machine-learning allows it to better understand future complex searches, how they relate to particular topics and how to provide better quality query results.
Why Google is Moving Towards AI?
Google is handling about 3 billion search queries in a single day, 15% (450 million) are queries that have never been seen before. RankBrain translates unique queries, “long-tail” keyword phrases into a mathematical vectors, then from the their pool of dataset to sort and return most relevant search results for the searcher. RankBrain has consistently exceeded expectations of searcher. Google engineers were asked to look at websites and estimate how many would be ranked highly by Google’s algorithm. The engineers from Google were correct about 70% of the time, while RankBrain was correct at least 80% of the time.
RankBrain is now the 3rd most important signal as per Google, the RankBrain is just one of the many hundred of signals being used to rank search results in Google.
Content is still one of the most important Google ranking factors, according to Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google. This is not something new and I always stressed during any of the seminar or conference “Content is the King” and it has been an important ranking factor for a longtime, instead of doing keyword-focused content but it is more important to focus in writing content using natural language.
Links strategy remain an important Google ranking factor; Google has been actively penalising those non ethical practises by using link farms to increase their links. Links strategy doesn’t mean you will need to have quantity of links but rather a number of diverse links from high authoritative domains (DA).
Mobile-First User Experience
Google has clearly indicated it is shifting towards mobile-first indexing, which means Google will give priority of indexation to mobile ready websites as opposed to the desktop version sites.
Other Technical Factors
There are many other ranking factors which which play a big role in ranking your website.
You might be asking, how come so many agencies out there claiming they can guarantee Top Ranking?
My answer is plain simple, this is a useless question, as it is a choice for you to believe or distance yourself away from this nonsense. At a very least you will not see NEXUS claiming the “Guarantee” BS. RankBrain targets non-understandable queries and those using colloquialisms, it is not very useful to create specific pages for every single long-tail keyword, it is even less useful to try targeting the queries RankBrain targets.
What we should do is insist on optimizing your content using semantic SEO practices and that is how NEXUS will be able to help. Nexus will strategise a plan for your site in order to help Google understand the context of your content and the meaning behind the concepts and entities we are writing about.