A major topic of discussion in the tech world is Artificial Intelligence, or AI as some call it. Self-learning systems have been adopted in various fields, ranging from self-driving cars to robotics. Google, the world's most popular search engine has now integrated its own machine learning system as a part of its search algorithm. Google feels that a self-learning system holds the key to handling search queries of the future with greater accuracy. Google's AI system is called RankBrain and it was launched back in October 2015. Its role was revealed to the world through an article on Bloomberg, which showed that 15% of all Google search queries were already being handled by RankBrain.
Chicago SEO Company's Antonio Tooley, an authority on digital marketing, says: "RankBrain's introduction will result in a convergence of sorts in the way Google and SEOs view great content. SEOs will now have to make a greater effort into understanding their audience's complex needs."
Any move Google usually makes has a profound impact on SEOs, bloggers, and webmasters around the world, as they aim to create content that ranks higher on Google's search results. We have seen major upgrades like Google's Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird that were rolled out a few years ago. These updates were primarily aimed at weeding out problems like duplicate content, keyword stuffing, irrelevant sites, eliminating exact-match keywords, etc. RankBrain is just another major step Google has taken towards increasing the quality of its search results.
Inner Workings of RankBrain
Before we delve into exactly how you can create and optimize your content for RankBrain, let's take a brief look at how it actually works.
RankBrain was created to handle complex search queries. Google receives about 500 million searches each day. The queries are completely new to the platform, hence it has no idea how to deliver the best results for them. Google has what it calls deep neural networks of software and hardware. This simulates the web of neurons we have in our own brain. A vast amount of data is absorbed by these neural nets, and learning takes place. This kind of approach is known as deep learning. In the past, Google's algorithms and rules were formulated by human beings; now, that has changed.
So How Does this Affect the Way You Produce Content?
You need to approach content creation in a way that's similar to how successful businesses approach problems. Successful businesses focus on solving the issues of a particular target audience by understanding their needs, and not focusing on the monetary aspect at any point, other than for feasibility purposes.
Similarly, you need to make sure you create content that is tailored to the needs of your audience. The content must be engaging, and the less you focus on what you think Google will like, the better.
Long Form Content
Try to create long content that addresses numerous issues your target audience might have. Suppose you are selling a product like tailored resumes, then you can create a resource page detailing tips for creating amazing resumes, do's and don'ts from industry professionals, etc. There are plenty of possibilities. You will also want to rank for synonymous terms like CVs, curriculum vitae, etc. Long form content will allow you to insert keywords naturally in the article. Gone are the days where you had to mention your main keywords three times per every 500 words to rank. "Rank Brain uses co-occurrence to help deliver the most relevant results to users," says Didit.com's Steve Baldwin.
The frequency with which related terms appear is also analyzed so that the content that reads naturally gets ranking preference. If you need an idea about what words Google thinks are synonyms, then you can simply analyze search results to get an answer. The search for "tips for a great resume" shows us what words Google thinks are synonyms:
Be Specific and Natural
Each piece of content you put out needs to be for a specific purpose. You might have noticed more social media profiles appearing higher in search results. Hence the content you create for your Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram must all be solving the needs of your audience. You need to provide ideas, tips, tricks and recommendations to engage your specific target audience. If your website is solely focused on resumes, and if you create a post on umbrellas, then it's a bad sign for Google. On the other hand, if your website creates content like graphic design resumes, and things like that, then it should help.
Queries are becoming natural and complex at the same time. Human interaction with Google is more conversational. People tend to make use of long search queries like "Where can I find the perfect resume for a photography job?" The growth of voice search has contributed to this. If you create natural and human content, then it's much easier for RankBrain to synthesize exactly what you are getting at.
A cool idea would be to start your article with a query that you think it is suited for. For example, before you talk about the advantages of protein supplements, your article's introduction can contain something like "If you have just hit the gym recently and are not seeing the gains you expected, you must be wondering if protein supplements really do work." This is a great way to grab your audience's attention.
The role AI plays in our life is set to increase, and it is up to us to use it to our advantage. John Giannandra who now oversees Google's search engine activities says that "by building learning systems, we don't have to write these rules anymore. Increasingly, we're discovering that if we can learn things rather than writing code, we can scale these things much better."
Deep learning might play a much bigger role in the future for bloggers, webmasters and SEOs alike. Hence, it is probably best to focus on producing content that delivers the maximum value to our audience.