In this episode of Actionable Marketing In Minutes we discuss Google’s Rankbrain and how it impacts your SEO program.

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I’m sure you’ve seen those old sci-fi movies or have read the books where robots with artificial intelligence – or AI – end up taking over the world. They could do this because their learning superseded what was originally programmed into them by humans. Their computer brains were able to build upon original data and make new connections. This enabled them to think like humans.

This AI system of learning is also referred to as machine learning. If you want to understand more about machine learning, just ask Google about their newest – and third-most-important – signal used for processing search queries. RankBrain.

As we’ve always heard, Google’s mission is to deliver the most-relevant and highest-quality search results. Their quest? To slay cheaters. Those who game the system by using black-hat methods to rank high in organic searches.

To reach their goal, Google’s algorithm is in a continual state of flux and has many moving parts – each of which focus on various aspects of search rankings. For instance, Panda focuses on content quality; Penguin, link quality; and Hummingbird, conversational search queries.

Last year RankBrain – part of the Hummingbird ranking factor – was recognized as the signal that analyzes pages for relevance. It tells Google how to interpret content and links – much like the human mind interprets incoming data.

So you see, as we’ve stressed for quite some time now, the content you produce is more important than you probably ever thought it could be because now, using complex mathematical formulas, search engines can actually analyze your content. It can also analyze longer, more complex or ambiguous search terms and return relevant results.

RankBrain truly functions like those robots in those old movies and books. It thinks like us.


So, what does all of this mean to you? How can you benefit from RankBrain? What specific actions can you take to ensure you continue to rank high in organic searches?

Unlike past SEO exercises, where we look for specific formulas and tactics, such as key words and link building, we need to focus more on what Google is attempting to accomplish. As I mentioned, their ultimate goal is to do all they can to provide the most relevant quality results to the user.

Since RankBrain is constantly learning by making connections between what users search for and what they really want, you’ll need to get inside the users head. Kind of like you do when you create personas. Dig deep to discover what the true need or pain is and develop your content around that.

In other words, instead of creating content focused on one single premise and keyword, write co-occurrence content. That is content that includes related key words and longer phrases. With RankBrain, Google now focuses on terms a human would type into the browser.


If you follow our suggestions, you will experience great SEO success with RankBrain:

1. Craft natural-sounding content written for a specific audience.

2. Boost your credibility as an expert within your chosen topic. One who has done thorough research and who has presented supporting facts. One way you can accomplish this is by citing case studies, white papers or authoritative websites.

In the past you almost had to think like a bot to rank high in SEO. Now, it’s really much easier. All you need to do is think – and write – like a person.

We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Please connect with us on Twitter @DirectiveGroup or on LinkedIn. Let us know what you think and what you’d like to hear about next. And if you like our podcasts, please share with your networks using hashtag #actionablemarketing. Join us next time as I discuss what is the best marketing option: in-house or outsourced?