If you are serious about SEO, you need to optimize for RankBrain-Google AI Residency 2022
Well, Google recently announced that RankBrain is Google’s third most important ranking signal.
And it is becoming more important every day.
In today’s focus, you’re going to know everything you require to know about Google’s RankBrain algorithm. Let’s accomplish it.
1. Google RankBrain-Google AI Residency: A Graphical Description
What is Google RankBrain-Google AI Residency?
RankBrain is a machine understanding (AI) algorithm that Google operates to rank search results. This helps Google process and understand search queries
So: What makes RankBrain different?
Before RankBrain, 100% of Google’s algorithm was hand-coded. So the method reached something like this:
Human engineers still work on algorithms, of course. But today, RankBrain also does its work in the background
In short, RankBrain changes the algorithm itself. Relying on the keyword, RankBrain will improve or decrease the significance of backlinks, content freshness, content length, domain authority, etc.
Then, Google looks at how searchers interact with the new search results. If users like the latest algorithm nicely, it remains. If not, RankBrain rolls back the aging algorithm.
Here’s the craziest part:
Google asked a group of Google engineers to identify the best pages for a given search. They also asked RankBrain.
And RankBrain outperforms 10% smarter Google engineers!
In short, RankBrain works. And it’s here to stay.
Now that you’ve noticed an outline of what RankBrain is, let’s dip deeper into how it performs.
How Rankbrain-Google AI Residency Performs
RankBrain has two main functions:
1. Understanding the search query (keywords)
2. Measuring how people interact with the results (user satisfaction)
Let’s break each of these down.
How RankBrain-Google AI Residency comprehends any keyword you search for
A few years ago, Google had a issue:
15% of keywords people type into Google have never been seen before.
15% may not seem like much. But when you process billions of searches every day, that amounts to 450 million keywords that overwhelm Google every day.
Before RankBrain, Google would scan pages to see if someone had searched for the right keywords.
But because these keywords were so new, Google had no idea what searchers really wanted. So they assumed.
For illustration, let’s speak you search for “gray console designed by sony”. Google will look for pages that possess the words “gray”, “console”, “advanced” and “sony”.
Today, RankBrain actually understands what you’re asking. And it replaces a 100% accurate set of consequences:
What changes? First, Google will try to match the words in your search query with words on a page
Today, RankBrain tries to figure out what you actually mean. You know, people would be like that.
Google matches keywords it has seen before with keywords it has never seen before.
For example, Google RankBrain may have noticed that a lot of people search for “gray console developed by Nintendo”.
And they learned that people who search for “gray console developed by Nintendo” want to see a set of results about gaming consoles.
So when someone searches for “gray console developed by Sony”, RankBrain returns similar results to the keyword it already knows (“gray console developed by Nintendo”).
So it shows the result of the console. In this case, PlayStation.
Another example: a while ago Google published a blog post about how they are using machine learning to better understand searcher intent:
In that post they describe a technology called “Word2vec” that turns keywords into concepts.
For illustration, Google states that this technology “understands that Paris and France are related to Berlin and Germany (capital and country) in the same way, and Madrid and Italy are not”.
Although this post isn’t specifically talking about RankBrain, RankBrain probably uses similar technology.
In short: Google RankBrain goes beyond simple keyword-matching. It turns your search term into a concept… and attempts to discover pages that cover that idea
In Chapter 3 I’ll show you how this changes the way we do SEO keyword research. But first, let’s protect the most attractive component of what RankBrain does…
How RankBrain-Google AI Residency measures user satisfaction
Sure, RankBrain can take a stab at understanding new keywords. And it can change the algorithm itself.
But the big question is:
Once RankBrain offers a set of results, how does it understand if they’re honestly suitable?
Well, it observes
In other words, RankBrain shows you a set of search results that they think you’ll like. If many people like a particular page in the results, they will give that page a ranking boost.
And if you hate it? They will drop that page and replace it with a different page. And the next time someone searches for that keyword (or similar term), they’ll see how it works.
What exactly is RankBrain monitoring?
It’s paying very close attention to how you interact with search results. Specifically, it looks at:
These are known as user experience cues (UX cues).
Let’s see an example:You pulled a muscle in your back playing tennis. So you explore for “pulled back muscles” on Google.
Like most people, you click on the first result. Unfortunately, the introduction is full of fluff and filler content (“Your back is an important muscle group…”).
So you press your back button and see the 2nd result:
Not much better than this one. It’s full of generic advice like “rest and ice your back.”
So you hit your browser’s back button again and give result #3 a shot.
Bingo! This result is exactly what you are looking for.
So instead of hitting the “back,” you spend 5 minutes reading through the physical therapy routine on the page. And since you got what you wanted, you didn’t revisit the search results
This back and forth is called “pogo-sticking”. And this is something that RankBrain pays a lot of attention to.
If Google notices that people are quickly leaving a page to click on a different search result, it sends Google a strong message: “That page stinks!”
And if Google notices that a lot of people stop pogo-sticking to a particular result, they’ll make that page easier to find.
I’ll have more on optimizing for UX cues in Chapters 4 and 5 But now, it’s time for me to show you how RankBrain changes how keyword research works
Keyword Research in a Rankbrain-Google AI Residency World
As you can see, Google now understands the intent behind a keyword.
So does this mean traditional keyword research is dea
That said, you need to change your keyword research process to make it more RankBrain-friendly.
Ignore long tail keywords (they are obsolete)
Long tail keywords are dead.
(There, I said it) Back in the day it made sense to create hundreds of different pages… each optimized around a different keyword.
For example, you would create a page optimized for “Best Keyword Research Tool”. And another one is optimized as the “best tool for keyword analysis”.
And the old Google would index each of them for their individual long tail keywords.
Today, RankBrain realizes that these terms are essentially the same thing. So they show almost identical search results
In short, optimizing for long tail keywords no longer makes sense. What should you do instead? Continue reading…
Optimize around medium tail keywords-Google AI Residency
Instead of the long tail, I recommend optimizing content around mid-tail keywords. Medium tail keywords are middle-of-the-pack terms.
They get more search volume than your average long tail. But they’re not insanely competitive either.
For example, here is a set of keywords around the topic “Paleo Diet”. The middle terms are medium-tail keywords.
When you optimize your page around a medium tail keyword (and make that page great), RankBrain will automatically rank you for that term… and thousands of similar keywords
In short, I suggest optimizing your page around a single keyword.
(Just create sure it’s a medium tail keyword)
Then, let RankBrain rank your single page for various related keywords.
How about an illustration of this technique in step?
Examples of keyword research and on-page SEO in a RankBrain-Google AI Residency world
A while back I decided to write reviews for all the SEO tools I’ve ever used.
The result? SEO Tools: The Complete List
Because my content provides a ridiculous amount of value on a single page, it ranks in the top 5 for my target (mid-tail) keywords: SEO Tools.
But more importantly, RankBrain understands that my page is about concepts such as: “SEO Tools”, “SEO Software”, “Keyword Research Tools”, etc.
That’s why this single page accounts for 1,800 different keywords (according to SE
This is the ability to optimize amazing content around a single, medium-tail keyword.
How to Optimize Headings and ExplanationTags for CTR
As you noticed in Chapter 1, organic CTR is a fundamental RankBrain ranking signal. The question: How do you get people to click on your results? Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to cover in this chapter.
Pack your title tag with emotion
There’s no doubt about it: emotional headlines get more clicks.
This is something copywriters have known for years. And in current years this idea has been supported with data. In fact, CoSchedule discovered a straightforward correlation between highly passionate headlines and social percentages. For example, here’s a generic SEO-optimized title tag: Productivity Tips: How to Get More Done Not bad. But it lacks the “oomph” that compels people to click. Here’s how you can turn that title tag into an emotional powerhouse (while keeping it SEO-friendly
Crush your to-do list with these 17 productivity tips
Now creating high-sensitivity headlines doesn’t always make sense. But whenever you can, you should.
Add brackets and parentheses at the end of your heading
This is my favorite CTR hack of all time
I first discovered this tip from a study that Hubspot and Outbrain did a few years ago…
In that study, they analyzed 3.3 million titles. And they found that brackets outperformed unbracketed headlines by 33%:
In fact, this little trick works so well that I tend to include parentheses in most of my headings:
Here are some examples of brackets and parentheses that you can use:
Use numbers (and not just list posts)
Data from various sources (including BuzSumo) is clear: numbers improve CTR.
The best part?
You can use numbers in your title… even if your content isn’t a list post.
For illustration, last year it broadcasted this case study:
As you can see, it included not one, but two numbers in the title.
Don’t fail to optimize your description tag for CTR
Yes, the description tag doesn’t directly help with SEO anymore. That said, I’ve found that an optimized description can significantly increase your CTR.
Here’s how to assemble a narrative tag that gets results:
1. First, make it emotional.
Just like a title tag, you want your description tag to convey some emotion.
Here is an example:
2. Next, sell why someone would click on your results.
Is your content comprehensive? Based on research? Funny? Sell it in your description:
Then, copy the words and phrases that paid to advertise (AdWords) uses.
For example, when I search for “bone broth” I see this phrase appearing in two ads:
So you want to include the phrase "grass-fed" in your meta description.
4. Finally, include your target keywords.
Google will make it bold, which can help differentiate your results:
Get over there to get it over here.
How to optimize your content for bounce rate and dwell time-Google AI Residency
Ok, so you’ve used my CTR-boosting tips. And more people are clicking on your results than ever before.
what now Well, you need to show Google that your results make their users happy. And the best way to do it?
Improve your stay Dwell time.
Does Google-Google AI Residency REALLY Use Dwell Time? Yup!
Is the amount of time a Google searcher spends on your site after clicking on your results.
Obviously, the more time someone spends on your page, the better. This suggests Google: “Man, people are loving this outcome. Let’s bump it up a rare spot”.
And if someone bounces off your site after 2 seconds, that tells Google: “This result stinks! Let’s drop it in a few places.”
So it makes sense that RankBrain would measure Dwell Time — and shuffle the results based on this signal.
In fact, a Google employee recently said that Google used to rely 100% on off-page signals (especially backlinks). Although Google still uses backlinks, this employee noted that:
And the data backs this up. When we examined a large set of Google results we found a correlation between higher ranking and lower bounce rate:
How to decrease the bounce rate and increase dwell time
Now let me share some simple tricks you can use during your stay.
1. Push your content above the fold.
When someone clicks on your site from Google, they want answers to their questions. In other words, they don’t want to scroll down to read your content.
This is why I highly recommend removing anything that pushes your content below the fold, such as:
Instead, you want the first sentence front and center in your content:
That way, you’ll hook your reader right off the bat.
2. Use short introductions (5-10 sentences MAX) for Google AI Residency
Believe it or not, I spend more time on my introduction than on my titles.
This is because your introduction is where 90% of your readers decide to stay… or leave after much testing I found that a short introduction works best.
When someone searches for something on Google, they already know about that topic. So there is no need for a huge introduction.
Instead, use your introduction to sell the content they’re about to read, like this:
When someone searches for “white hat SEO” and reads that introduction they think: “Great! I’m in the right place.”
3. Publish long, in-depth content for Google AI Residency
I tested these ten ways on Tuesday. And I can tell you with confidence that:
Longer content = better dwell time.
Obviously, it takes more time to read a 2000-word guide than a 400-word blog post. But that’s only a portion of the equation
Another reason that long-form content improves dwell time is that long content can fully answer a searcher’s query.
For example, let’s say you search for “how to run a marathon.”
And the first result you click on is a 300-word post. It kind of answers your question… but leaves you wanting more.
So you click your back button to find something better (as you may remember, Google calls this “pogo-sticking”).
And this time you hit the jackpot.
You’ll find a comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about running a marathon.
Publish comprehensive guidelines
So you seize a cup of coffee and read the direction from beginning to finish. You may even re-read some sections. Reading all this is racking up serious bus time.
Long-form content works so well that I only publish content of at least 2,000 words.
4. Break up your content into bite-sized chunks
2,000 words are hard to read.
And it’s even harder if those 2,000 words are presented as a giant wall of text. Fortunately, there is an easy way to solve this problem: subheaders.
Subheadings break up your content into digestible, bite-sized chunks. This improves readability, and therefore, bus time.
I use a lot of subheaders in smhaider.com for this exact reason:
Specifically, I try to toss in a subheader for every 200 words of content.
Pro tip: Avoid monotonous subheaders like “backhand drills” or “stay hydrated.” Instead, pack your subheaders with the sentiment. For example: “3 Common Backhand Drills The Pros Use” and “What New Research Says About Staying Hydrated.”
Bonus RankBrain Google AI Residency optimization Techniques and case studies
In this chapter, I’m going to cover a few quick tricks you can use to optimize your site for RankBrain.
Increase brand awareness. Improve CTR
I’ve already shown you how numbers, emotions, and power words can improve your organic CTR.
But there’s another huge variable I haven’t mentioned: brand awareness.
Needless to say, if someone knows your brand, they are more likely to click on your site in search results. In fact, data from WordStream found that brand awareness can increase CTR by up to 342%!
For example, take a look at these search results:
Which two sites are you most likely to click on? NYTimes.com and Simply Recipes of course!
In other words, you want people to know about your brand before they search on Google.
How can you increase your brand awareness?
1. First, try Facebook ads.
Even if people don’t click and convert, Facebook ads can put your brand in front of a lot of eyes.
And when those eyeballs are scanning the search results, they’re much more likely to click on your results.
2. Also, create a highly valuable email newsletter.
Nothing increases brand awareness more than sending valuable content to people’s inboxes.
In fact, my open rates are better than the industry average because I only send good stuff:
Needless to say, my subscribers have learned that my material is the best in the business. So when Backlinko shows up on page 1, they are much more likely to click on my results.
3. Finally, do a “content blitz.”
A “content blitz” is where you publish a ton of content in a short amount of time trust me: it’s more powerful than dripping content over the course of years.
In fact, when I first started backlinks I used a content blitz.
I have published guest posts:
I went to the podcast:
Go to the podcast
I even co-authored a guide with Neil Patel:
(all in a span of a few months)
And it’s “What’s that?” Helped take backlinko from “What a great site!” in record time.
Turn “zeros” into “heroes”.
Is there a page on your site that isn’t performing as well as you expected?
I have great news: if you go back and optimize that page for RankBrain, you can give it a serious ranking boost.
For example, Sean from Proven.com had a huge guide on his site that was OK… but not ranking as well as he had hoped.
And Sean realized that his page title tag wasn’t forcing clicks:
So he added a number, a power word, and parentheses to his title tag:
And this single change increased Sean’s organic traffic to that page by about 128%:
Yes, some of that traffic boost was due to the simple fact that more people were clicking on Sean’s results.
But the big story was that RankBrain noticed a CTR increase… and moved Sean’s page up a few notches:
Use LSI keywords to fill “content gaps” for Google AI Residency.
- LSI keywords are words and phrases related to the main topic of your content.
Why are LSI keywords important? Well, they give RankBrain the context it needs to fully understand your page.
For example, let’s say you’re writing a guide about link building.
LSI keywords are:
- Domain Authority
- Email promotion
- Anchor text
And when RankBrain sees that your content contains these terms, they are sure that your page is all about link building…
…which means you are more likely to rank for keywords related to that topic.
You can uncover LSI keywords with the Watson Natural Language Understanding tool.
This tool analyzes the content you provide for concepts, entities and categories.
For example, when I pasted in the first draft of this guide, it spit out ideas related to RankBrain.
The interesting part is that I didn’t mention many of these terms in the guide. Like RankBrain, Watson understands what my content is. Very cold.
And when you sprinkle these LSI keywords into your posts, you assure RankBrain that your content is comprehensive.
Now it’s your turn-Google AI Residency
Whoops! I put a ton of work into this guide. So I hope you enjoyed it.
Now I want to hear what you have to say.
What is the #1 tip that you are going to implement?
Are you going to focus on CTR? Use LSI keywords? Or improve the live time of your content?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.