SEO in the Age of RankBrain – How to Master the Art of Search Engine Optimization?

The ultimate objective of any SEO campaign is to gain maximum brand visibility and higher rank in search results. However, the trends and SEO practices have changed over the period of time. If we look at this decade (after 2010), we come across a whole lot of algorithmic changes by search engines (particularly Google) to ensure better search ranking for the web searchers. However, these algorithms have been a source of constant pain for the search engine optimizers – or digital marketers largely.

From Panda and Penguin to Hummingbird and Mobilegeddon, all updates by Google brought new challenges for SEO professionals, but their impact was instant –not incremental or consistent one. However, search business totally changed following the news broke that Google has integrated artificial intelligence into search ranking process. This artificial intelligence system has been named as RankBrain, which is designed to offer the best results to consumers – not only in terms of content but also in terms of context, relevance, history and others

Challenges for Marketers

As a marketer, you’re managing branding, marketing communications, outreach, lead generation, and promotions. You are faced up the challenge of keeping up with the consistently changing marketing and technological landscape. Earlier, you had to look at site design, mobile responsiveness, backlinks, and content quality; but the latest changes require you to take care of some additional elements – like context.

In the following, we’re listing down a brief strategy outline to help you effectively market products and services, attain maximum visibility, and achieve business goals. These are just getting-started suggestions and you should make your own strategy on the basis of points discussed here.

1. Understand the Change

The first step in resolving any problem is to realize there is one – and then understanding its nature, content and context.

In a recent publication,McKinsey & Co has outlined some key challenges of modern CMOs. It offers a detailed narrative of the current and future challenges that modernmarketing leaders face – and the top-on-the list item is to manage a nonlinear consumer behaviour.

SEO is essentially a branding practice – ensuring that your company is visible to the people when they look for same or similar products, services, or ideas. However, you have no control over “how people search”, which search mode they use, and what “terms” they write/speak to search something.

With a machine-learning system (RankBrain) integrated, Google now offers the answers they seek not merely on the basis of the text or words-match. This is very beneficial for search users as they get lot better and quality responses – but marketers have to devise a strategy to be visible. So learn and understand the shift first!

2. Forget Exact Matches

As discussed above, search has changed a lot in the last decade. With people shifting to voice search, mobile assistants, and longer phrases, the importance of keywords is (or precisely exact match) has significantly declined. Consumer behaviour is changing due to technological changes and intelligent search metrics.

Today, people aren’t concerned about what word they search, they’re more focused on answers. That’s why, Google is no more using keywords as primary directive. However, this does not mean to stop searching the popular queries and planning your campaigns as per Keyword Planner or Console data.

What we recommend is to study the shifting search behaviour in your particular niche and its context. Modern search is all about the same.

3. Stick to Basics

Remember, SEO’s to-do list will always remain the same. No matter how many changes search engine introduces – the basics of web optimization will remain unchanged. Here’s a checklist for you (as a recap) to stick with.

  • Put the right meta tags and titles
  • Strategies your website’s architecture – ensure easy navigation
  • Optimize on-page – double check Meta tags, images alt tags etc.
  • Put mobile first – no need to overstate
  • Audit your websites link structure
  • Ensure quality, unique and creative web copy – no duplication
  • Avoid keywords stuffing – put more focus on the value and education

In addition to these, optimize your site’s speed. One of the best ways to do this is to get a reliable web hosting service – and better, go for a dedicated server. When your on-page SEO is fixed and server is fast, Google will happily award higher rank.

4. Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Competition in technology-driven era is possible only when you anticipate the future and get ready in advance. A proactive approach saves a lot of resources, regrets, and times. The same goes for SEO, where marketers need to be fluid in the mission to optimize content for better visibility in search engine. The best way to do this is to invest in market and consumer behaviour study.

Here an interesting article by Search Engine Land about the RankBrain and how it operates. It should help you define your parameters of search strategy, and facilitate in developing a proactive marketing program.

5. Leave Perfectionism

One of the reasons marketers get disappointed is their idealism. Experts have declared perfectionist mind-set an “enemy of the progress” as it discourages you from moving ahead. Perfectionist SEOs tend to bog down on the minor points, and stressing over little things – no matter at what cost.

Conversely, a practical digital marketing professional will put focus on doing things at a reasonable pace and leaving too much attention to details. While this is not meant to discourage taking care of basics (we already mentioned this earlier), it does ask you to be a quick executor than a lazy planner.

If you delay a particular activity merely because you don’t have ideal content, ideal tool or ideal budget – it may cost you more in the long-run. Sometimes it’s better to do things quickly and come back to it later for the sake of perfection. Remember, there is always need for improvement – and you’ll always need to update your strategy, but, do not delay it merely on the pretext of some missing points.

About Andrew

Hey Folks! Myself Andrew Emerson I'm from Houston. I'm a blogger and writer who writes about Technology, Arts & Design, Gadgets, Movies, and Gaming etc. Hope you join me in this journey and make it a lot of fun.

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