How Google RankBrain has Affected Traditional SEO?

google rankbrain algorithm

This week, I am going to share what we know about Google RankBrain. If you have just come to know about Google RankBrain algorithm, this post will help you to understand what Google RankBrain is, how it Works, and what changes need to be made in order to rank under Google RankBrain Algorithm.

What is Google RankBrain?

RankBrain is a machine learning Artificial Intelligence (AI), which contribute to Google search results by reducing the number of queries to interpret.

How RankBrain works?

Traditionally, Google uses to collect Google queries into the database and tries matching those queries individually using factors such as keyword targeting in the content, anchor text and link diversity.

RankBrain works in a completely different way as it combines similar queries together and displays similar results for all queries. There are also different factors that it considers while giving priority to the ranking websites. These factors are location-based personalized settings, content freshness, and page engagement etc.

It has been explained fairly by Whiteboard Friday expert in below video tutorial.

I have done a study on 5 relevant queries to find out if that is the case. These 5 queries and their top 5 google results are following:

For example;

Google RankBrain Search Study

RankBrain Conclusion:

When you look at all 5 queries, they provide different results. However, you may notice that appears at position 2 for all queries. also appears for all queries but at very different positions. has lower domain authority to So what could be the reason of more consistent results for As per RankBrain theory, both websites offer fresh content, high engagement, domain value, and related topics. Though have entered date inside its URL which could be the differentiating factor. However, it might be interesting to see how it will do when it’s URL plus point gets older.

From the various studies, it has been stated that what matters most for Google RankBrain are –

  1. Related topics
  2. Content depth
  3. Domain authority
  4. Content freshness
  5. Engagement

And what matter less are –

  1. Keyword targeting
  2. Anchor text
  3. Link diversity

RankBrain share in Google Search Results

It is still not clear how many pages are ranked because of RankBrain exactly, but according to Greg Corrado, who is a senior research scientist at Google, it is a “very large fraction” of lots and lots of queries searched every second.

Above study on 5 similar Netflix queries, clearly indicates that Google gives less importance to exact keywords in content, title, and URL. Therefore, if you are still practising old SEO strategy of creating an individual page per keyword then you need to change your strategy.

RankBrain is a third most important factor that Google considers after Content and links.

Is it Possible to SEO for Google RankBrain?

There is no specific way to SEO for RankBrain. If you are still relying on classic SEO that you have learned a half decade ago then you need to stop wasting your energy. One keyword per page is not a good strategy anymore.

What Possibly could be done if not SEO?

If you want to be considered as an SEO expert, you have to do more than traditional SEO approach of creating a backlink. You need to keep learning in order to achieve results for your clients. Here are 3 tips for better results with RankBrain:

  • Stop purchasing keyword based domain. Do not use one keyword per page strategy.
  • Different searches do not weigh differently anymore. Google RankBrain gives less importance to links and exact keyword in the prominent areas of web content. Only links and traditional SEO won’t list you higher in search results.
  • You need to learn or at least understand UX (user experience) and CRO (conversation rate optimization) even if your main expertise is SEO. Improving user experience should be the ultimate goal in order to rank any website. An attractive website design, user experience, eye-catching content and user engagement have become the important aspects of Google’s Artificial intelligence, known as Google RankBrain.
  • Spend time on building the audience. Improve brand awareness. Spend most of your time on content marketing and social media marketing.

If you have anything to say about Google RankBrain or how it affected your SEO, please feel free to share in the comment section below. I will share more about RankBrain in my future posts.


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