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RankBrain – Put the Focus on Users, Not Algorithms

When Google released the RankBrain algorithm, they made a big step forward in the world of SEO. RankBrain puts the focus on the context of queries and what users are really looking for. Instead of looking at keywords in isolation, it combines all of Google’s hundreds of ranking factors to figure out what makes a good website.


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This new algorithm has created a lot of buzz in the SEO world, and web designers in Bournemouth and Berlin have been feverishly trying to figure out what the secrets are to ranking well in the ‘quality’ era. Google have made it clear, however, that there is no magic secret. Stop thinking about the search bot, and start thinking about your users.

Like Users, the Machine Wants to Learn

RankBrain can’t be tricked with keyword density or certain layouts, because it’s not following a hard set of rules. It makes educated guesses, and it watches the way users respond – so even if you do trick it once, if visitors don’t like your site, RankBrain will learn from that.

Context and Content

It’s this machine learning that is so important. RankBrain looks at the whole of a page and uses that to understand what the keywords mean. So even words that can have different meanings in different contexts will produce sensible search results – most of the time. This is something that design and marketing companies such as Expect Best have been reminding brand owners of a lot recently. If you produce informative and entertaining content, it doesn’t matter if your keyword density doesn’t follow the old rules, or if you miss out the odd phrase. The intelligence of RankBrain means it will still understand what your page is about.

Of course, the algorithm isn’t perfect. It still has a lot of learning to do, and there are some rather funny examples of it getting things wrong with basic facts and figures, but it is still, effectively, a toddler. The more it gets used, the smarter it will get.

The way to beat RankBrain is to ignore it. Think about what your users want to know and what they want to see, and build your site around that. Don’t make promises about your content that you can’t deliver on. Keep your users happy, and the search engines will love you.


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