Inbound marketing has always revolved around how well your website ranks against its competitors on the search engines. Working on an SEO strategy to make the content optimized for searches has also been important, apart from making the content that provides information that the user is looking for.
In the latest news in the SEO world, Google came up with a new algorithm in 2015 called RankBrain which is said to be an artificial intelligence based on the advanced machine learning technology introduced into its search algorithm.
What it Means for Marketers?
The RankBrain algorithm that was introduced in 2015 has used features of artificial intelligence to learn things like user behaviour while he/she is on the web, trends in searches, queries that are most often searched for and other sources of input and on the basis of the results gathered it serves the users with the most relevant content that they are looking for.
RankBrain is said to dictate the results of search so much so that now it has become the third most important factor for search algorithm, i.e., it affects 15% of all queries served. Fifteen percent is a huge number to say if we compare the importance of other Google algorithm changes that are known to the marketing world- Panda affected 7.5% of english language queries.
The good side of this change was later realized when marketers learned that RankBrain hasn’t really damaged the SEO rankings of the website as much as it was predicted to be. It is said that RankBrain isn’t trying to regulate the rankings but rather it is more focused on interpreting user queries. The only potential damage has been called “Zombie Traffic” which is explained by search experts as:
“ Weird Types of users that are probably introduced by Google, are dwelling on the sites, not converting, slowly moving from page to page like zombies travel around the world.”
So it is a speculation that this so called Zombie traffic is coming from RankBrain algorithm learning process.
What this means for users is they are being served in an efficient manner, who input in ambiguous or more human like natural language queries can expect to get more relevant results.
Analyzing and Repairing the damage
To analyze the damage it is important to know two things:
What was the purpose of the algorithm?
As explained above that RankBrain was introduced as an advanced machine learning system to learn about how users search over the internet, what keywords they use to search, and most importantly what can be implied from the search term.
What the Algorithm Did?
The impact on the websites was minimal, but as speculated some zombie traffic was introduced by the machine that crawls from page to page and makes its own index of pages so that it serves the page when it is most required.
Repairing the damage:
- Content is still the king and is going to be for the years to come. Content is what searchers are looking for and not for the website that is more optimized. They want a solution to their problem like how can we repair a washing machine at home, or location for the dinner to go tonight. Hence the next big thing in 2016 is going to be to make the content that answers the queries that people are searching for or the content that solves their problem.
- Make content that is approximately near to 100% uniqueness. Do not copy, syndicate or source your content from anywhere.
- Don’t focus too much on backlinking, though it is important but stuffing your content with too many links is also not helpful.
- Instead of stressing on the keywords just like the backlinking process, channel that energy towards writing better content that is more relevant and helpful for search queries of your target audience. Keeping a cap on keyword insertion do not focus on inserting keywords more than 2-3%, that means a maximum of 2-3 keywords per 100 words is more than enough.
Algorithms like RankBrain have upped the game of SEO and has made it very competitive for marketers. As we can think of this update has made changes in a good fashion to provide a better user experience and serve them with the content that is of utmost relevance. Such changes have proven to be constructive, enriching and profitable.
As long we are designing the content and websites for users and creating great content, we should be okay. Even if there is a destructive change in the algorithms in future, there’s always a way to recover.