RankBrain: This is Why You’re Doing SEO Absolutely Wrong

By: | February 25, 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , |

How does RankBrain work?

How does RankBrain work?

How does this recent Google Algorithm update affect you as a blogger or website creator?

Guest author Freddy Cabrera is here to tell you how you can take advantage of Google RankBrain to increase your organic traffic.

Freddy has written a comprehensive guide to search engine optimization in 2018.

In addition to explaining how you can get RankBrain to work to your advantage, his post covers LSI keywords and on-page search engine optimization. Finally, this post will explain how to get search engine users to click your links.

Are you ready to boost your organic traffic?

by Freddy Cabrera

Are you looking to get higher Google rankings?


You know that Google can send you a huge amount of targeted traffic to your blog – for free.


This is why you are reading this. You know how powerful Google is for organic traffic.


The key?


You have to understand and learn exactly HOW Google ranks content for relevant keywords.


Google’s ranking algorithm and technology are constantly evolving and changing.


You have to keep up to date with these things if you want to benefit from the organic search engine traffic.


Today, I’m going to tell you what you must know about Google’s RankBrain Technology and how you need to optimize your content and also blog design in general.


Let’s begin with what Google’s RankBrain is.


Google RankBrain

How does RankBrain work?


RankBrain is an AI (artificial intelligence).


Google recently announced that RankBrain is their third most important ranking signal.


In 2018, RankBrain will become an even more important factor when it comes to search engine optimization.


Google RankBrain is an intelligent machine learning algorithm, to put it in simpler words.


It helps Google sort the search results, process, and understand search queries.


Google’s algorithm is constantly being tweaked by engineers. Before RankBrain, this was the only way Google would serve its users with the most relevant content for search queries.


Today, RankBrain acts as one of these engineers – and tweaks the algorithm on the fly.


It’s an artificial intelligence that tries to understand exactly what the Google user wants to find by analyzing important factors.


I’m going to tell you what these factors are so you can better understand the new way of ranking in Google search results.


Pay close attention to what I’m about to share with you.


Keywords, backlinks, and the old search engine optimization tactics are no longer the only things that are important in order to rank high in Google’s search results.


Yes. Sprinkling your content with keywords and LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords – words or phrases that are semantically related to each other), is still important.


High-quality backlinks are still important.


But, there is something way more important than these on-page search engine optimization tactics. You are going to learn exactly what this is by the end of this article.


I’m also going to tell you that using Long Tail Keywords is a waste of time now that RankBrain is evolving.


This was a new lesson I’ve learned recently.


There is a new way to On-Page Search Engine Optimization that you should be implementing.


It includes RankBrain.


And RankBrain is a smart learning artificial intelligence system.


Here’s Why You Should Ignore Long Tail Keywords


When you search for long tail keywords they all tend to be almost similar. Right.


For instance, let’s say you found this long tail keyword; “how to drive traffic to your blog” – and then you go ahead and gather a few more like these: “how to increase blog traffic”, “how to get visitors to your blog”, and so on.


RankBrain understands that these terms are basically the same thing and the searcher is pretty much looking for one thing, how to drive traffic to their blog.


So, it doesn’t matter what long tail keywords you use here, they all are the same to RankBrain.


What To Do Instead


Use only one (medium tail) keyword and then add LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords).


If you still need to learn more about LSI Keywords, here is a simple definition.


LSI Keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing) are basically keywords that are semantically related to your primary keyword.


To help you find such LSI keywords, you can use this tool, or this one, or this other tool.


Remember what I’ve mentioned at the beginning, Google announced that RankBrain is the third most important ranking signal. It’s very important that you always remember this if you want higher Google rankings.


Google has over 200 different ranking factors.


And these make up their ranking algorithm.


These ranking factors are not fully disclosed by Google and for their own reasons (black hat SEOers would take full advantage of this if they knew them all).


This gives a fair advantage to all content creators in the world wide web to rank their best content in the search engine results.


Ranking High In Google Search Results


If you want to get higher search engine rankings, you need to know what the most important ranking factors are, and these are keywords, backlinks, content length, content freshness, domain authority, and user satisfaction.


The latter is the most important, in my honest opinion.




The two main jobs of RankBrain are:


1 – Understanding and analyzing search queries (keywords)

2 – Measuring User Satisfaction (user experience)


Google had some algorithm problems prior to the birth of RankBrain.


About 15% of keywords people typed into the Google search engine were never seen before by the algorithm.


Think about this for a moment, when this search engine is processing billions of searches per day, 15% can amount to about 450+ million brand new keywords every day for Google.


This is a lot of new data coming in every single day.


They had to find a solution to increase their user’s satisfaction and decrease these numbers.


At the end of the day that is what a search engine is all about – providing its users with the most relevant and most helpful content.


That’s pretty obvious.


RankBrain was confirmed by Google on October 26, 2015 – to help with such problem.


Prior to RankBrain, Google’s algorithm would scan pages to see if a page matched the keyword someone searched for – and then it would consider other ranking factors (backlinks, authority, etc) – in order to bring up the best results.


Following me here?


Having 15% of these keywords be brand new to the algorithm, Google would have no idea what exactly the searcher is looking for.


So, what would they do?


They would give the searcher their best guess.


And most of the time the searcher would get irrelevant content.


This was a problem.


Remember, Google’s most important priority is to give its user the best and most relevant content to what they are searching for.


It is their entire business.


User Satisfaction is always number one priority for any search engine.


Now, with RankBrain the searcher gets the most relevant and helpful content with more accuracy.


RankBrain tries to actually understand what the searcher is looking for exactly.


It almost acts a human – so it’s like asking a person for what you are searching for. It really tries to understand what you mean.


Google RankBrain goes beyond the simple keyword-matching algorithm.


Here is a diagram to help you understand this a lot better.

How does RankBrain work?



It’s all about the genuine value that you bring to the Google User.


RankBrain pays very close attention to how a searcher interacts with the search results.


So, what exactly is RankBrain observing?


1 – Organic Click-Through-Rate


2 – Dwell Time


3 – Bounce Rate


4 – Pogo-sticking


These are UX signals. User-experience signals.


It tells Google how valuable your page is to the searcher.


If you want your blog posts to rank higher in the Google search results, you must understand this.


Organic Click-Through-Rate


This is a measurement of the number of people who click on your page when they are searching for something and your page shows up.


For instance, you rank on the first page for a search result, but people are not clicking on your page, do you think Google will want your page there any longer?


Of course not!


This is why it is super important that you work on your Meta Title and Meta Description.


Here are a few tips.


Tap into the searcher’s emotion through words.


This is where you will have to play with words and copy-writing.


You want to invite the searcher to click on your link to visit what you have to offer them on your page.


Here is some helpful data.

How does RankBrain work?


Here is a simple hack.


Hubspot and Outbrain did a study a few years ago and found that using Parentheses and Brackets in the title outperformed those without them.


Use power words like; effective, insane, case study, proven, and such.


These type of words can entice a searcher to check out your page.


You get what I’m saying here?


Also, using numbers, and not just on List Posts, can increase your CTR (click through rate).


According to various sources, using numbers in your title increases your CTR – hands down.


Dwell Time

How does RankBrain work?

This is the amount of time a Google searcher spends on your page after clicking on your result.


It only makes sense that if someone clicks on your result (page), lands on your content, but after one to two seconds clicks the ‘back’ button, it means your content is of no value to the searcher.




So, Google will outrank your page.


Again, remember, the number one priority of Google is to serve its searchers with the best and most helpful content.


If your page is not doing that, why should they rank your page high in the search results? Regardless of how well your page is optimized with keywords and backlinks.


Bounce Rate


This is related to dwell time.


Here is the definition; the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.


This means people landing on your page are actually sticking around and going to other pages on your site.


Bounce rate has to do more with interaction with your site than with how long someone stays there (dwell time).


Here is a helpful infographic on bounce rate to help you understand this a lot better.


How does RankBrain work?




This is when you do a Google search, click on a result and almost immediately go back to the search results and go to a different result.


This tells Google right away that the searcher is highly dissatisfied with your page.


If your content fails to satisfy the searcher, and it happens often, Google will come to the conclusion that your page is ranking for the term (keyword) erroneously and your rankings will drop almost immediately.


UX (User-Experience)

How does RankBrain work?

Brought to you thanks to backlinko.com


Put yourself in the shoes of your targeted audience and understand exactly what they are looking for and also the psychology behind their online behavior.


As a blogger and website owner, your job is to give your niche audience the best user-experience possible.


You have to work on every single detail on your site. From the font size to the colors you use throughout your site.


Every single detail matters.

How does RankBrain work?


A clean and well-structured site will always outperform one that is not.


I’m a web designer and this is the advice I give to all of my clients; keep your website seamless and intuitive!


Less is more.


This is so true and you should educate yourself more on this in order to build a successful blog in your niche.


Okay. This is all I have to share with you today on Google RankBrain.


Do you now see why the old way of search engine optimization is no longer very helpful?


Google is evolving. Fast.


And you should keep up with it if you want to benefit from the organic traffic it can provide you with.


By understanding all of the above very well – you should now have a much clearer idea for higher Google rankings when creating your new pieces of content for your blog


Over To You


What are the things you need to work on the most for higher Google rankings now that you know this information?


What are the things you struggle with the most when it comes to SEO?


I’d love to hear from you.


Also, please, spread the knowledge by sharing this with the people who you think might benefit from this information.


Your support is so appreciated.


Thank you very much for coming by!


Author Bio


Freddy G. Cabrera – Leading by example. An expert in many fields, including blogging and internet marketing. Web designer by trade and passionate entrepreneur. Here to challenge you to become a better version of yourself and inspire you to accomplish your goals in life. Give him a visit at internetmarketingblog101.com and keep on learning.

Host Blogger’s Comments:

How does RankBrain work?

It works to your advantage.

Readers, please share so other bloggers and website creators know how to use RankBrain to boost search engine traffic.

I look forward to your comments. Have you heard of RankBrain? Do you have any questions about RankBrain?


  1. Rena

    Fascinating read! I learned quite a lot that I didn’t know before. I’ve pinned this to a couple of different boards.

    • Freddy G. Cabrera

      Hey Rena!

      I’m glad to hear this! 🙂

      We are always learning in this blogging game because technology and services keep evolving. We gotta stay on top!

      Thank you so much for coming by and for your support!

      I really appreciate that!

      Best regards! 😀

  2. Shafi Khan

    RankBrain is a game changing move by Google. It now understand both the user’s intent and what a page is all about.

    Thanks for the awesome read, Janice.

    • Freddy G. Cabrera

      Hey Shafi!

      Yup, you’ve got it, man!

      Thank you so much for coming by to read this!

      Best regards! 😀

  3. Freddy G. Cabrera

    Hey Janice!

    I did my best to explain this new way of doing SEO in 2018!

    I know this information will help out the new bloggers understand Google and their search engine algorithm a lot better. 🙂

    Thank you so much for letting me share this here!

    Let’s keep on blogging and rocking everyone!

    Best regards! 😀

  4. Naveen Sharma

    Hi Freddy,

    This is a very useful article. You have given a complete picture of SEO as it should be as against what it used to be. We know what is still relevant and what is not. The artcle has described clearly what we need to do in terms of RankBrain.

    It is really helpful that you have given the sources where we can find LSI keywords. It also helps to know that RankBrain is the third most important ranking signal. Also the meaning of terms like dwell time, bounce rate and pogo sticking is clear to us now.

    Thanks for this very helpful article. Have a great day!


    • Freddy G. Cabrera

      Hey Naveen!

      I’m super glad to read your comment here. 🙂 It makes all the effort and time put in to write this up so worth it and more!

      Getting better rankings in Google should not be as challenging anymore once you understand all of this very well. It is a matter of learning and implementing right away with consistency.

      Thank you so much for coming by!

      Best regards! 😀

  5. Shona

    Thanks for explaining this. It’s made things much clearer for me. Now to get on with ways Rankbrain will push me to the top. 🙂

    • Freddy G. Cabrera

      Hey Shona!

      You are welcome! 🙂 I’m glad to hear that!

      Keep learning and keep taking action!

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

      Best regards! 😀

  6. Battulal Jewellers

    Hey Janice, thanks for sharing this informative article, it’s gonna help me out in so many mistakes i’ve been doing.
    Great share

    • Freddy G. Cabrera

      Hey Battulal!

      I’m glad to hear this is helpful to you!

      Thank you so much for coming by!

      Best regards! 😀

  7. Richard

    Nice reading, thanks 🙂 Yes we are starting the new age, AI will drive everything around us, maybe people will become even lazier than now, they will have AR glasses on their eyes and will overlook what is happening around them in the real lives…

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Richard,
      It sounds like AI is a controversial issue. I hear you say it will promote laziness. However, if it helps us… I’m all for it. Thanks for commenting on my guest author’s RankBrain guide.

  8. Freddy G. Cabrera

    Hey Richard!

    I believe laziness will always be a personal choice no matter how much help we get. Human beings are not lazy by nature. We choose to be lazy because of many factors that contribute to this type of mindset. AI is actually something that will change the entire world for the better.

    Anyway, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this article! 🙂

    Thank you so much for coming by!

    Best regards! 😀

  9. Doreen Wright

    Thank you for this informative post. I will try to use these tools. Keep up the good work.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Doreen,
      Thanks for writing and your interest in our RankBrain article. Good luck boosting your SEO. If you need additional help, let me know and I’ll send you some more SEO tips.

    • Freddy G. Cabrera

      Hey Doreen!

      Awesome! Implement with consistency and you should do good!

      Thank you so much for coming by!

      Best regards! 😀

  10. ramakrishnan

    Thanks for sharing this important information on Google Rankbrain algorithm. It is very useful to optimize website for Rankbrain update.

  11. Pingback: How To Turn SEO Audit Reports Into Lead Generation Machines (For SEO Service Providers) – IMBlog101 – Internet Marketing Blog – unwebdesign.com
  12. Altay Gursel

    Great content. RankBrain handles long-tail search queries that were previously very tough for Google to understand. Google by implementing machine learning, (in this case RankBrain) can respond to question type queries much more efficiently.

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Altay,
      Are you familiar with the BERT algorithm update? I heard BERT enables Google search to understand user intent much better. Do you think BERT is better than RankBrain?
      Thanks for commenting.

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