It’s a well-known fact that Google wants to provide users with the most suitable and relevant results for their search queries. The main objective of Google is to filter out the most accurate results from the database.
This is the reason why the search engine keeps updating it’s search algorithms from time to time. Rankbrain is one such algorithm that got introduced back in 2015 and since then it has been used as one of the major ranking factors by Google.
In fact, it is the third most crucial ranking signal after content & backlinks. Considering its huge significance, it is important for SEO professionals to optimize websites accordingly.
So, in this blog post, we have compiled a comprehensive Google Rankbrain guide and the tips you can follow to optimize your website for the algorithm.
What is Google Rankbrain?
Google Rankbrain is an AI algorithm used by Google to sort and process different search results. The algorithm was designed to understand the user intent and display search results accordingly. Before Rankbrain got introduced, Google engineers used to manually design and tweak algorithms to filter out the search results.
For instance, if a Google engineer thought that an algorithm can be made better by implementing a certain change, the team would implement it and see if it works. If the algorithm displayed better search results, it was permanently implemented.
However, the biggest obstacle in these manual algorithms was to process unique and new search queries. Since 15% of the search queries were new for Google and never processed before, it became difficult for the search engine to find accurate results for them.
This is when Rankbrain came as a savior. Since it’s backed by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Rankbrain is capable of understanding the user intent. It means that rather than matching search queries to words present on web pages, it actually understands what users want. As a result, it displays 100% accurate search results. Sounds cool, doesn’t it?
Moreover, Rankbrain is capable of improving the algorithm on its own. How? Depending upon the keyword and user’s interaction with the current search results, the algorithm automatically updates the results and observes the user interaction once again.
In case the searchers are happy with new search results, the algorithm automatically gets updated otherwise rolls back to the previous results.
Now, that you know what Google Rankbrain is, let’s understand how it works and can affect your SEO campaigns.
How Google Rankbrain Works?
Google Rankbrain focuses on understanding the user intent and displaying the most accurate search results accordingly. It uses a database, which contains vectors (words) with dedicated addresses. The words that are similar to each other share the same address.
When Google comes across a new query, it uses these vectors to identify the “best-fit” search results. In case, a search query can have different meanings, Rankbrain displays multiple search results that relate to the query.
For instance, when we type in “marshmallow” in the search bar, Google displays the following search results.
Since the word Marshmallow can have two different meanings, the Android version and the sweet, Google displays multiple search results to cater to both these meanings.
However, that’s not where Rankbrain terminates its process. It also observes the user interaction to refine the search results for future searchers. For instance, if a search result fails to satisfy the majority of users, it will be replaced with a more accurate and relevant result from the database.
This is how Rankbrain processes different search queries and automatically updates the search results.
If you have read this far, you already know that user satisfaction is the major goal of Google Rankbrain algorithm. However, it is important to understand the process that it follows to identify whether specific search results were able to meet user intent or not. So, let’s take a look at how Rankbrain measures user satisfaction.
How Does Rankbrain Measure User Satisfaction?
Rankbrain displays a list of search results that it thinks are the best fit for a specific search query. If the majority of users like a specific web page from this list, the algorithm will improve automatically improve its rankings.
However, if a web page fails to satisfy the majority of customers, it will be replaced with a different web page. Again Rankbrain will examine how the new web page performs.
So, the real question is how does Rankbrain understand if a web page was able to satisfy the users or not.
The answer is it uses experience (UX) signals. These signals include:
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- Dwell Time
- Bounce Rate
Each of these signals helps the algorithm understand whether a search result was able to meet the user intent or not. Let’s discuss each of these ranking signals individually.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Click Through Rate is the percentage of people who clicked on the website link after seeing it in the search results. For instance, if 30 out of 100 people click on the link, the CTR score will be 30%.
Rankbrain uses the CTR score to check whether people are clicking on your web pages in SERP or not. If the majority of the users pass without clicking the link, the algorithm understands the web page is not relevant to the search query. So, it will be replaced with a new web page.
This is the reason why having a high CTR score has become extremely important in today’s SEO world. To ensure that your CTR score is up to the mark, it is important to encourage the users to click on the web page link.
This can be done by writing captivating page titles and meta descriptions. A well-optimized page title & meta description will allure the searcher. Here’s how you can optimize the page title and meta description to improve the CTR score.
When it comes to writing SEO-friendly titles for Google Rankbrain, your primary goal should be to connect with the users. There’s no point in infusing the keywords to the title if it fails to captivate the audience.
Here are a few methods to write appealing page titles.
Add Emotional Factor
The easiest way to allure the users is to add emotional value to your title as these types of titles get more clicks and shares. For many years, bloggers have used this tactic to write captivating titles that attract users.
The more captivating and emotional the title is, the easier it would become to convince the user to click it.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the emotional titles that can easily attract the audience.
As you can see that Ahrefs has successfully added the emotional factor to their SEO tips page title and that’s why it is likely to have significantly higher CTR.
Though it may sound a bit surprising, adding brackets to the page title can do wonders for the CTR. In fact, according to a study conducted by Hubspot, titles with brackets perform 33% better than bracketless titles.
In fact, while writing page titles for our blog posts, we try to add brackets as much as we can.
Having an appealing meta description is as important as the page title, especially when you want to optimize web pages for Google Rankbrain. Performing meta description optimization will increase the odds for a user to click on your web page in SERP.
Here are some quick tips to optimize the meta description for Google Rankbrain and boost the CTR score.
- Like the page title, make sure that the meta description has the emotional factor as well.
- Keep the description as concise and as informative as possible. The character length should not exceed 170 characters as Google has a habit of truncating lengthy meta descriptions.
- Finally, make your description SEO-friendly by infusing the target keyword.
Here is an example of well-optimized meta descriptions for Google Rankbrain.
In the above snippet, you can clearly see that the description is short yet highly informative. Moreover, it also contains the target keyword which makes it SEO-friendly.
Dwell time is the second factor Google Rankbrain uses to measure user satisfaction. It is the total time amount a user spends on a web page. Of course, the higher the dwell time is, the better the website will perform in Google search results.
When the majority of users stay longer on your web page, Google automatically understands that the page is providing valuable content and that’s why should be hiked up a few spots in SERP.
On the other hand, if the majority of customers spend considerably less time on the web page, Google will bring down the page a few spots and the rankings will automatically take a hit.
Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who immediately leave your site after landing on it from SERP. If a large number of visitors bounce back from your site, Google understands that it is failing to engage the customers.
That’s why a high bounce rate is a nightmare for every SEO professional. To ensure that your web pages have a lower bounce rate, it is imperative to perform on-page optimization so that the pages can easily engage the visitor and encourage him to stay for a longer time period.
How to Reduce Bounce Rate and Boost Dwell Time for Google Rankbrain
Bounce Rate and dwell time are correlated to each other. How? When a user spends a comparatively longer time on a web page, the dwell time increases whereas the bounce rate automatically decreases.
When it comes to optimizing the site for Google Rankbrain, your main objective should be to focus on engaging the visitors. To do so, it is important to increase the dwell time and reduce bounce rate.
Here are a few of the tips that you can follow to engage visitors on your web pages and boost the dwell time.
Write Short & Descriptive Introductions
As soon as a user lands on a web page, he wants his question to be answered immediately. Visitors are impatient and they don’t have the time to scroll down the page to find answers for their queries.
That’s why it is extremely important to write short intros that directly about the topic. There’s no point in beating around the bush and if you want to engage the user, make sure to come directly to the point.
As you can see that rather than writing unnecessary and massive introductions, we have directly started talking about content while writing the content optimization guide.
Publish Long & Informative Content
Publishing long content can benefit your website in many ways. However, the main reason why you should publish lengthy blog posts is that they can easily increase the dwell time. Since reading a 3000-words blog will take comparatively more time than reading a 300-word blog, a lengthy blog post is likely to have higher dwell time.
In fact, our 45,000 words long blog post about tips to increase SEO traffic has the highest dwell time among all our blogs.
When you publish long content, furthermore, you can easily build a trust factor with the readers. However, it is extremely important that your content is capable of hooking the customer from the first line itself.
A reader is less likely to scroll down a 3000-words blog post if he doesn’t find the first paragraph informative. So, while writing lengthy blog posts, make sure that they can engage the user as soon as he lands on the web page.
Add Visual Elements
You cannot simply encourage a user to spend more time on your site by writing lengthy blog posts. It is also important that these posts contain several visual elements such as images, videos, and infographics that can captivate the reader.
When your content is coupled with such visual elements, it becomes easier to engage the reader. In fact, adding images and videos is one of the effective ways to increase user interaction.
So, while writing blogs for your website, make sure to add images, videos, and other rich media so that you can easily engage the customer and increase dwell time for Google Rankbrain.
Google Rankbrain-Final Words
Even though Google engineers are working on updating algorithms, Google Rankbrain is playing a crucial role in impacting search engine rankings of a website. Today you can’t win the game simply by stuffing keywords into your web pages.
It is extremely important that the pages are capable of engaging the customers. Follow the above-mentioned tips as they’ll help you optimize your site for Google Rankbrain and acquire desired positions in SERP.
However, if you aren’t familiar with the best SEO techniques, you can contact SEO Services Expert to handle the entire SEO campaign for your website. We have a team of professional SEO experts who have complete knowledge of tactics to optimize a website for Google Rankbrain.