How To Use RankBrain In Your Content SEO Strategy

How To Use RankBrain In Your Content SEO Strategy

Google is advancing its strategies toward machine learning to evolve methods of evaluating the quality of content.

Though the basics of content creation are still the same, your strategy will definitely need a revision.

So, this is the high time to ask yourself:

Are you making enough efforts towards the content SEO on your site?!

And, are those efforts aligning you with what Google is asking for?!

This post will answer all your questions associated with how to use RankBrain in your content SEO strategy.

What is RankBrain and what purpose it fulfills?

RankBrain is an AI or Artificial Intelligence created and used by Google to rank results according to the searched query. The AI learns on its own and uses the available data to define the meaning of the query and present the best possible results that match with that query.

For a long time, Google thought about using machine learning in their ranking algorithm. This idea brought a new algorithm called RankBrain into light in 2015. The announcement of RankBrain was a big step towards learning the natural language.

The evolved abilities of Google make it a necessity to optimize for RankBrain with a unique content SEO. But that requires understanding the purpose this AI.

Well, it seems that Google is focused on two major goals with this technology:

1. Understanding the intent of searchers

Many people wonder, how has RankBrain affected the search results?

In a nutshell, RankBrain looks closely into the searched query to offer perfect results. The technology has the capacity to examine the words used in a query and find the best possible match for that.

The technology depends on the previously learned words.

As the learning process goes on continuously, RankBrain keeps on refining the SERPs for the queries. This helps the search engine in combining the best Google ranking for multiple long phrase searches that are related to each other.

For example,

If you search for “best dog food” the following result appears:

SERP example 1

SERP example 2


But if you search for “how to select the best dog food”, the result comes out to be:

SERP example 3

SERP example 4


Similarly, for the search phrase “which dog food is right for my dog” you find:

SERP example 6

SERP example 7


The first SERP focuses on the products associated with ‘dog food’. However, you can clearly see the similarity in the SERPs provided for the second and the third query.

The phrase “best dog food” is present in both the first as well as the second search query. But the results have a clear distinction from each other. And that shows how RankBrain Google deciphers the intent behind the words used in a query. 

Of course, similar searches were possible, even before RankBrain, but it used to require a manual force of putting millions of words in a database. Now, this algorithm is available to do the job on its own. And that too, with pretty impressive accuracy.

2. Examining content quality

The intent of the searcher is not the only factor that RankBrain uses to provide SERPs. It examines the words used in a content piece to understand the context. And that context helps in presenting the content on correct SERPs.

To ensure the quality of the content ranking in the SERPs, the algorithm targets the relevancy, comprehensiveness and the popularity of a content piece.

How does Google’s RankBrain signal work?

As already discussed, we know that RankBrain does the work with the sole purpose of ensuring the user satisfaction.

So, Is RankBrain a ranking factor?!

The answer would be: YES

But, do you need a special RankBrain SEO?!

The answer would be: NOT Really.

According to Google, the best SEO strategy for RankBrain would be to find the best ways to create content that satisfy the target audiences’ needs. It is the content quality that will offer all the relevant signals to RankBrain from your web page.

Here is how the RankBrain signal works as a ranking factor:

1. Analyzing the comprehensive nature of content

The comprehensive nature of the content matters a lot to this technology.

However, comprehensiveness has nothing to do with the length of a content piece.

It is true that most long-length contents obtain high rankings in the search engine. But that happens because the longer length allows the creators to cover all segments related to a particular topic.

The comprehensive nature is about the topic coverage that can answer the searched query in the best possible manner. And that is what Google machine learning looks for.

RankBrain and SEO meet together with the following content SEO factors:

  • The variety in term usage focused towards a single topical context.
  • Topical clarity of the content piece.
  • The balanced frequency of using topic-related keywords.
  • The coverage depth of the topic that can provide all information related to the searched query.

2. Monitoring CTR and dwell time of web pages

Another job of RankBrain is to find out the success rate of the provided rankings in the SERPs. The success rate depends on the satisfaction that the rankings provide to the searchers. The AI keeps on learning from the behavior of the searchers, which helps in modifying the Google rankings.

Clearly, it is the CTR (Click through rate) and the dwell time on the web pages that tell about the searcher’s behavior. Hence, a web page needs to get more and more visitors and hold them for long enough to keep the rankings.

1. If more searchers get out of a first ranking web page quickly and click another page, then, this signal can become the reason for a ranking drop.

2. Similarly, if the comparative performance of a lower ranking page is better than the higher ones, then, it can gain higher positions in the SERPs.

So, hopefully, it is clear how RankBrain combines content quality, CTR, dwell time and popularity together to decide Google rankings.

Now we reach the ultimate question-

How to create a content strategy that can move your site name up on google search?

How to use RankBrain in content SEO

While all the standard SEO factors should be there, your content needs a little extra work to target RankBrain and voice search features.

Here are the five content SEO best practices that can help you optimize for RankBrain.

1. Merge user intent analysis with keyword research

It is good that you analyze the volume, competition and other aspects of a keyword. But there is one thing you might be missing all this time.

And that is the intent of a keyword.

Every keyword serves a major intent. Your goal should be to target that intent seamlessly in your content.

To do so, you will require studying the keyword intent manually.

For example-

Look below the results that appear, for the keyword “Selecting restaurant”.

SERP example 8

SERP example 8

SERP example


This keyword presents the results that are guides and tips associated with the restaurant selection.

Now, look at the results that appear when using the keyword “Restaurant selection”.

SERP example 9

SERP example 10

SERP example 11

Here you can see that the results are mostly about restaurant marketing and customer behavior.

Both the appeared results and the related search sections convey the intent of the keywords. So, you can definitely leverage this method to develop a high-quality content SEO.

Further reading on user intent SEO:

What To Do With User Intent In A Keyword And Content Strategy

2. Use LSI and long tail keywords

RankBrain learns from the words used by the searchers and tries to find similar words in content pieces.

The use of long phrases in queries has increased to a great extent with voice search facility. Hence, adding LSIs and long tail keywords becomes a necessity.

You can search for these words in platforms such as Google Keyword Planner, LSI Graphand Quora. These platforms will help you find actual phrases that people are using to ask queries in the search engines.

However, it is extremely important that the LSIs and long tail keywords empower the intent of the main keyword. Otherwise, your content can lose its topical focus.

For example- Look at the list of following LSIs for the keyword “best Netflix shows”

  • Best Netflix original series
  • Netflix tv shows list
  • Best series to watch
  • Netflix originals worth watching
  • New Netflix original series
  • Best tv shows of all time
  • Best tv shows on Netflix

Here, my selection of LSIs will depend on whether my topic includes the original series or not.

Similarly, the selection will also depend on whether my topic is about new shows or the best shows of all time.

The idea is always to pick multiple phrases that can give more power to my topic and the main keyword. That’s how you make your content SEO worthy of ranking in Google.

Learn more:

3. Research SERPs for in-depth topic knowledge

Content and RankBrain SEO are all about the comparative quality.

So, if you want to beat the best, you have to be the best. And that is possible only when you spend time understanding the competitors already present in a particular SERP.

Researching the top 10 position holders of a keyword will help you gain the following insights:

  • The strengths and weaknesses of the topic coverage.
  • The average length of the top content pieces.
  • Knowledge of the points that need to be covered in that topic.

With that knowledge, you can move towards creating your own content targeting that SERP.

4. Create fresh and comprehensive content

Now, when you have the keywords and topical knowledge, the most important part of content SEO starts.

You can select the relevant points you want to cover in that topic range and decide the length of your content. On an average, a length of 2000 words works fine to comprehensively cover a topic. However, the word count depends on the top position holders in a search result.

Make sure you are able to bring freshness to the content. This is extremely important to hold the reader for a long time on the web page. The freshness comes when you present a unique point of view on the selected topic. Also, it should have the capacity to fill the information gap that the current rank holders have.

Learn more SEO content:

5. Design awesome snippets for high CTR

Your content needs to gain more and more clicks for the targeted keyword. For that, you need to work on the snippets.

Create appealing titles along with benefit-oriented meta descriptions. Make sure that the title length is between 8 to 10 words only. And put the keyword in the meta description, so that, Google doesn’t pick a random phrase from the content as the description. Also, make sure you follow the latest guidelines from Google while writing meta descriptions

Further on using longer meta descriptions:

Are you ready to evolve your content SEO?!

Use the given 5 steps on a regular basis and your Content SEO will start complying with the RankBrain and voice search features.

The search engines are moving towards the future at a fast pace. Hopefully, now you know how to use RankBrain to your content advantage. 

Let me know your ideas and concerns in the comment below!