Can You Outsmart Google’s Algo?
At an event a few years back, Gary Illyes of Google talked about optimizing for RankBrain, the biggest modification to the search algorithm since it’s inception. We think there are three things Google takes into account when delivering organic search (SEO) results. Is is impossible to outsmart one of the world’s smartest software programs?
What Did Gary Actually Say?
Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land interviewed Gary Illyes at SMX Advanced. Here’s the summary as it appeared on SEL’s recap related to optimizing for RankBrain:
… you cannot optimize or do SEO for RankBrain. He added there are no “scores” for RankBrain — although he did say he will continue saying what Google as said in the past, that RankBrain is a ranking factor, even though it has no score like page speed, Panda, Penguin and other ranking signals may have.
This statement has also been backed up recently by John Muller in a recent Webmaster’s Hangout, where he confirmed that RankBrain is used to help understand new search queries. 15% of all search queries daily are unique and RankBrain helps Google to try and explain what the searcher’s intention is with their new query.
What Does Optimizing for RankBrain Even Mean?
Many SEOs are jumping to conclusions from this cryptic announcement. With every Google algorithm update, SEOs try to find a shortcut, ways to fast-track results. Inevitably, the algorithm catches up, eliminates the loophole and punishes those who tried to cheat.
Let’s examine what we do know based upon tried-and-true strategies and what Google has officially announced in the past:
1. If Google says don’t bother trying to optimize for RankBrain, believe them. Trying to outsmart machine learning and artificial intelligence doesn’t sound like a good use of time. AI continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and any SEO tricks you might stumble upon and exploit will be short-lived and potentially dangerous in the long run. That’s been our experience in fixing Grey Hat SEO problems.
2. Follow the rules. Study up on Google’s quality guidelines as they give you evergreen advice on how to manage a website’s visibility in organic search. In general, it’s pretty simple. Maintain your site so you provide the best possible experience for the human searcher.
3. RankBrain is one ranking factor. Other major ingredients to a winning, long-term SEO strategy: links and content. Our advice is to pay attention to who is linking to you and build your authority and credibility by adding quality content that’s useful to searchers.
What do you think about this latest announcement? Do you think optimizing for RankBrain is even possible?
How can we help?
What do your links and content say about your site’s SEO? What does your data say in Search Console?
We are Spectrum Group Online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.