Google RankBrain: Learn RankBrain to improve SEO

Google RankBrain: Learn RankBrain to improve SEO

Ever heard of Google RankBrain?

It was October 26th, 2015 when Google announced its use.

And Google announced it by saying that it was the third of the most important factors to determine the positioning of a page.

The other two is the known backlinks and quality of content.

In this article:

  • We will explain how RankBrain works
  • We will give you the ideas necessary to improve your pages

Google RankBrain what is it exactly?

RankBrain is an artificial intelligence algorithm that integrates with Hummingbird, the most substantial algorithm that also includes other older ones like Panda or Penguin, each with a specific function.

It might seem risky to use the word “artificial intelligence” but, in effect, RankBrain is the only one that acts as it thinks.


There are two main tasks:

  1. Better understand user search queries (keyword)
  2. Measure the degree of user satisfaction based on the proposed results

How RankBrain understands queries and impRankbrain Query Analysisroves results

For some years now, Google has been trying to correctly address the increasingly varied requests of users.

Yes, the problem is that the way to perform an online search is becoming more and more informal (increasingly complex sentences, voice searches …).

To give some data, we can say that in 2007 Google stated that 25% of search queries had NEVER been executed.

After years of implementation of the algorithms, we arrived, in 2013 at a more contained 15 %, which however is equivalent to a figure equal to 450,000,000 (millions) of queries per day.

Today, the data has not changed much and search engines must necessarily adapt to this new trend.

RankBrain tries to identify the patterns that can exist even in apparent queries that are not linked together or never seen before.

And to do this it does not limit itself to showing the results that seem relevant because the same keywords have been inserted, but it tries to analyze the context of the contents.

The extraordinary thing is that it succeeds by modifying the algorithm itself.

Depending on the keyword searched RankBrain decreases or increases the importance of traditional key factors such as:

  • Backlink
  • Freshness of content
  • Length of the text
  • Authority of the domain

Once this is done, examine how users interact with the new results they propose.

If the changes are appreciated (ie if users click more on the new proposed links), the indexes are updated, otherwise, the previous results remain.

Do you want to know the most incredible part of the story?

Google competed for a group of its engineers with RankBrain.

Both asked to find the best page for particular research.

RankBrain had a 10% higher effectiveness.

Rankbrain satisfaction degree users

As a RankBrain, it measures the degree of user satisfaction

Let’s start with a simple summary:

How RankBrain Measures User Satisfaction

Source by:

Sounds simple, but you must be wondering: how do you understand if a user is satisfied?

Several factors focus on the new algorithm:

  1. Percentage of people who click the link organically (CTR)
  2. Time spent on the page
  3. Bounce rate
  4. Pogo Sticking (a user who visits only one page of your site and then clicks the back button to return to the search)

Let’s explain it with an example.

Suppose you want to go and hear some music in Florida, then enter Concert in Florida on Google.

Distractedly (and as it happens to many) click on the first proposed link, but the content is not great because it speaks more generally about the city of Florida.

Press the button to go back and go to the second link, which is an important newspaper and contains a review of upcoming events scheduled throughout the region.

Take a quick look at him because the proposals are too “pop” and you’re looking for a more particular concert.

Again go back paying more attention to the page titles and you realize that the 6th link on the list seems to deal with music from the point of view of the Florida concert.

The link is actually valid, so you spend some time on it, read it carefully and, since you’ve found what you were looking for, don’t come back to the search page.

RankBrain records your behavior and “rewards” the site you visited.

If many people choose that link and find it just as interesting, it will go up positions.

Consequently, if many users perform the same search “Florida concerts”, they end up on the newspaper page and abandon it to return to the search ( pogo-sticking ), it will be lowered to positions.

How RankBrain adjust for SEO

As you can guess, thanks to increasingly sophisticated algorithms, Google is now able to interpret the content of web pages much better.

But this does not mean that the positioning strategies we have used so far are dead.

All the “traditional” SEO factors remain of fundamental importance, but from today you will have to think in a more targeted way so that your pages are RankBrain-Friendly.

Let’s see how to do this by analyzing the aspects considered by RankBrain:

1. Keywords

From what we’ve said so far, you can understand how Google itself associates your main keyword with several other terms taken from the context.

Having said this, we do not forget all the concepts learned to date, first among which is competition. Presumably to get targeted traffic for “best tennis shoes” you will have to fight less than the keyword “tennis shoes”.

We also see another aspect. Creating multiple pages that tag the same slightly modified sentence, for example in the keyword order, is a practice that we have always advised against. Remember that SEO is not just writing content and working on the site, but also and above all getting backlinks.

If you have two pages that point to the same keyword, you should do two jobs. Not least, Google will evaluate which one is better for the same keyword.

As we can see from the image below “best tennis shoe” and “best tennis shoes” give practically the same results. Therefore, having chosen your keyword from all in a single article and works both on site and off site.

Google RankBrain: Learn RankBrain to improve SEO 1

tennis shoe

What to do:

  • Focus your efforts on placing ONE keyword per page that is of medium length.
  • Google will automatically create new associations for your page by analyzing the context and will propose it to those who perform search queries in the same area.

2. Titles and Description

The CTR is one of the factors that is carefully analyzed by RankBrain, so earning a click before the others always fundamental.

What to do:

Try to write titles and descriptions that invoke the click, without tricks.

  • Focus on value and emotion to distinguish yourself from other titles and descriptions.
  • Use parentheses or other elements to emphasize certain words of the titles and capture the user’s eye.
  • Use numbers and statistics to increase curiosity.
  • Try to “sell” with just two lines of description of why a user should click on your link.

3. Content

A catchy CTR is quite useless if, once it arrives on your page, the user decides to abandon it immediately …

As said, the longer the time spent on your page is high, the higher the value that Google will assign to your content.

What to do:

  • Concentrate on the first words of your article, they are the ones on which users will base themselves to decide whether or not to continue reading.
  • Get to the point explaining WHAT the user is going to read and the SOLUTIONS you propose.
  • Use short and easy to read periods.
  • Write (a lot). This is because it is evident that a user takes more time to read 3000 words rather than 300. Moreover, in a long post, you will have more chances to go into the details of the topic and convince your user that “he does not need to inquire elsewhere”
  • Make your content more readable and less heavy by alternating it with explanatory images, charts, tables, subtitles.
  • It encourages the user to send you to comment if he has any doubts or needs more information. This text will also be part of your page, you will show a quality service and the user will return both to your site and to the article itself.


In conclusion, we can summarize by saying that the quality of the content will have an increasingly important role for a successful SEO. We are glad of this because in our opinion it is a more meritocratic choice.

Google RankBrain is now able to analyze the context of the pages in relation to the search keywords, so the only way you can get them to enjoy your site and to be rewarded with the ranking is that your users also like the content.

Focus on providing answers and solutions to user questions and problems. The results will not be long in coming.

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