RankBrain: How Can You Hack Google’s RankBrain to Your Advantage

Hristina Nikolovska
October 11, 2018 ·
RankBrain: How Can You Hack Google’s RankBrain to Your Advantage

In early 2015, Google launched RankBrain, the machine learning AI system which provides context to searches, helping Google to process search queries and produce more relevant results for users.

Simply put, when the user conducts a search, RankBrain analyzes its past experiences with similar queries by measuring how people interacted with the results and understanding user intent.

Optimizing for RankBrain?

RankBrain is one of the top factors in organic rankings, which means you can’t afford to ignore it. You must be thinking: “Easy peasy – I’ll optimize my website for it”.

Well, the thing is, Google still doesn’t reveal how exactly RankBrain works which means it’s impossible for you to optimize for it. What we do know is that it utilizes user behavior to determine the search result.

On that note, we present you with the ultimate tips on how to hack RankBrain and use it to your advantage.

Research the User Intent Behind Every Keyword

User intent is everything when it comes to RankBrain. Machine learning has started to understand the role of the content context in searches. A research from Searchmetrics showed that page 1 search results contain content strongly relevant to their initial search intent.

So, to please RankBrain you need to understand the searcher’s intent and the motivation behind every keyword. Simply put, your content should be relevant to the keywords you target and solve the user’s problem for a given search, in order to rank for it.

Rethink Your Keyword Strategy

Long tail keywords are outdated! While previously, the entire keyword strategy was built around this type of keywords, now things are different. RankBrain doesn’t favourize LTKs because they often appear unnatural, especially when they are stuffed in a text.

However, it doesn’t mean you have to ignore LTKs altogether – you can still use them in the right positions. For example, they perform great as header questions. And if you provide a high-quality answer to it in the body text, Google will most likely pick it up.

Embrace Medium Tail Keywords

As RankBrain understands synonyms for the same search query, the longer variations of the main keywords are obsolete. Instead, optimize your content around medium tail keywords. Once you create an awesome content around them, Google will send you visitors that are looking for similar keywords too.

Use LSI keywords

LSI – Latent Semantic Indexing – keywords make the content more comprehensive for RankBrain. Basically, by including LSI keywords you will be supporting the main topic while at the same time, they make it highly possible for your website to rank for those phrases too. You can use natural language to discover variations of your main keywords.

Focus on Organic CTR

The click-through rate is one of the most important quality markers for RankBrain. The more people click on your listing, the higher it will rank. Here’s what to consider to maximize your click-through rate:

Focus on Headlines

Headlines are the most prominent part of your appearance is SERPs. Use relevant keywords, numbers, brackets, proper formatting, and power words infused with emotions such as “powerful”, “awesome”, and “effective” in order to convince visitors your website is worth a click.

Create Appealing Meta Descriptions

An original and influential meta description provides more information about what your readers should expect from the content. You can use the target keyword, as well as power words and brief call to action which tempt the user to click for more.

Implement Rich Snippets

Structured data enables you to provide more information about your business to your potential readers, which boosts the brand relevance.

Increase Your Brand Awareness

People who are familiar with your brand are more likely to click on your ads and convert. One way to familiarize your target audience with your brand is by using Facebook and Twitter ads. Another efficient way is to utilize Display Ad remarketing on Google Display Network.

Boost User Experience

As we already established, RankBrain cares about user experience. When a user types in a search query, RankBrain gives a bunch of results. If one of the pages showed receives a lot of clicks, as well as good dwell time, longer time on site and lower bounce rate, RankBrain will determine that the particular search result has satisfied the user intention and boost its rankings.

So, the ultimate goal is to keep your visitors engaged. Here’s what to focus on:

Push Important Information Above the Fold

Visitors can get annoyed and leave your page if the answer to their query is not directly visible to them. Push the content above the fold and spare your visitors from scrolling.

Use Short and Engaging Intros

As cheesy as it sounds, first impression matters. A compelling introduction is what will help visitors decide whether the content is relevant and interesting to them. Keep the opening section short and promising in order to keep your visitors hooked.

Create In-Depth Content

Serve your visitors long, in-depth answer to their query to improve your dwell time. SEO statistics show that the average Google first-page result contains 1890 words. Your content should be of high-quality, detailed, and consistent to keep your readers interested.

Use Compelling Subheaders

Nobody wants to get lost in text lines. Using subheaders will make your content look more organized and easier to navigate.

Focus on Mobile Friendliness and Web Design

Users do judge a book by its cover – and your website by the design – so make sure you offer a sophisticated and mobile-friendly web design.

Be Careful with Ads and Popups

Did you know that 70% of users get dissatisfied with irrelevant ads and popups? However, if you still want to include them on your site, make sure they appear after a certain amount of time visitors spend on your site or after they click on a CTA button.

Use Internal Linking

Internal linking, also known as link juice, is a ranking factor for Google. Plus, it helps visitors find easily other related posts and prolong their time on site.

Create Long Content

Long posts are trending and ranking higher. Plus, if your content is engaging and longer, people will stay more on the web page to read it.

Summing Up

RankBrain is definitely making Google smarter and smarter. It’s a central factor on which Google relies to deliver organic search results. So, if you want to rank high on Google you need to please RankBrain by creating the best version of your website and clearly communicating that through the content.

Originally published October 11, 2018 - Updated January 18, 2022
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Hristina Nikolovska
Hristina Nikolovska As the Marketing Manager at SEO Tribunal, part of Tina’s daily engagements involve raising awareness of the importance of digital marketing when it comes to the success of small businesses.

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