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How To Optimise Your Site For Google RankBrain

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    By Dev
    September 26, 2023
    ~ 5 minutes to read

    Optimise Your Site For RankBrain

    Google’s RankBrain algorithm has become an integral part of its search engine ranking system since its introduction in 2015. RankBrain helps Google better understand the intent behind search queries and match them to relevant pages, even if the query contains words Google has never seen before. 

    Optimising your website for RankBrain can help improve your site’s ability to rank for a wide range of search queries, especially long-tail keywords. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to optimise your website for RankBrain.

    Understanding RankBrain

    RankBrain is a machine learning AI system that helps Google process and understand searches better. It tries to grasp the intent behind search queries, even if the keywords are not an exact match to the content on a webpage.

    For example, if someone searches “best meals for losing weight fast”, RankBrain will understand the intent is finding low-calorie foods for quick weight loss, even if those exact words are not on a page.

    Some key things to know about RankBrain.

    – It is the third most important ranking factor according to Google, after links and content.

    – It helps Google process 15% of all searches, primarily long-tail queries.

    – It works by matching words in a search query to concepts rather than just keywords on a page.

    – Pages optimised for RankBrain tend to rank better for long-tail searches.

    – RankBrain gets better at its job over time through machine learning.

    So in essence, you need to optimise your content for searcher intent and concepts rather than just keyword matching to rank well with RankBrain.

    Steps To Optimise For RankBrain

    Here are the key steps you need to take to optimise your website for RankBrain and improve search rankings.

    How To Optimise Your Site For Google RankBrain

    Step 1: Do Extensive Keyword Research

    Thorough keyword research is the foundation of optimising for RankBrain. You need to find relevant long-tail keyword variations and semantically related terms that your target audience may use when searching for your products/services.

    Tools like Google Keyword Planner, Soovle, UberSuggest, SEMrush etc. can help uncover long-tail keywords and related queries. Make sure to include these lesser-known terms prominently on your site and content.

    Step 2: Optimise Pages For Intent And Concepts 

    Go beyond exact keyword matching. Identify the search intent and broader concepts behind your target keywords. Then optimise your pages to contain words, phrases and semantics that convey those concepts clearly.

    For example, keywords related to “meal prep for weight loss”, include related concepts like healthy meal planning, low-calorie recipes, portion control, etc. throughout the content. This will help RankBrain grasp the underlying topic and intent.

    Step 3: Improve Page Relevance Scores

    The relevance of a page to the search query is a key RankBrain factor. You can improve relevance scores by.

    – Adding keywords naturally throughout the page, especially in titles, URLs, headers, and image names.

    – Including related words and phrases, not just exact keywords.

    – Satisfying searcher intent – answer their query or solve problem comprehensively. 

    – Structuring content well with good formatting and easy-to-scan text.

    – Ensuring cohesiveness – all content relates closely to a central topic.

    Step 4: Optimise Site Architecture 

    The structure of your website should make sense semantically to both users and RankBrain. Some tips.

    – Use descriptive, intent-focused page titles, URLs, and headers.

    – Connect internal pages under clear categorical hierarchies.

    – Make sure site navigation and linking structure are logical.

    – Have clear separation between categories, tags, archives, etc. 

    If your site architecture is streamlined, RankBrain can better grasp page topics and relationships between pages.

    Step 5: Improve Internal Linking

    Linking relevant pages together improves RankBrain’s understanding of site content.

    – Link from general pages to more detailed content.

    – Cross-link related content pages for signal flow. 

    – Ensure linking text uses appropriate anchor phrases.

    – Update broken links that affect navigational relevance.

    Step 6: Enhance Readability

    RankBrain parses a lot of factors related to on-page text to determine relevance. You can enhance readability by.

    – Breaking up long paragraphs into shorter sentences and lists.

    – Using descriptive headers, sub-headers, and bulleted lists. 

    – Avoiding text walls and scrolling pages as much as possible.

    – Adding images, videos, and visual elements to complement text.

    Well-formatted, scannable content allows RankBrain to comprehend your pages better.

    Step 7: Leverage Structured Data 

    RankBrain understands Schema.org structured data that describes your content. Implement schema markup like:

    – Page or Article schema for textual content.

    – Product schema for E-commerce items.

    – Review schema for user-generated reviews.

    – FAQ schema for FAQ pages. 

    – Breadcrumb schema to define page hierarchies.

    This provides RankBrain with additional contextual clues about a page.

    Step 8: Pay Attention To On-Page Elements

    All the on-page content on your site provides signals to RankBrain, so ensure.

    – Page titles and meta descriptions are optimised. 

    – Image file names and ALT tags use target keywords.

    – Headings utilise keywords appropriately.

    – Opening paragraphs have high keyword density.

    – Keywords are distributed naturally throughout content.

    – Media files have descriptive names and transcripts.

    Step 9: Create Useful, Informative Content 

    At its core, RankBrain wants to rank pages that satisfy searcher intent best. So focus on creating useful, engaging content rather than keyword-stuffed articles.

    – Answer all questions and pain points your audience has about a topic.

    – Provide actionable advice and practical tips.

    – Keep content educational, not overly promotional.

    – Update old content regularly with new facts, examples, etc.

    Step 10: Promote Your Content

    The more engagement your content gets, the better RankBrain perceives its quality to be. To promote new and popular content through.

    – Social media marketing on relevant platforms. 

    – Outreach and guest posting on other sites.

    – PR activities and press releases.

    – Interactive content like polls, quizzes, surveys, etc.

    – Email newsletters, pop-ups, and notifications to drive people back to content.

    RankBrain Optimisation Checklist

    Here is a quick checklist to ensure your site and content tick all the boxes for RankBrain optimisation.

    – In-depth keyword research with long-tail variations.

    – Pages optimised for concept and intent matching.

    – Descriptive page titles and meta descriptions.

    – Useful headers utilising target keywords.

    – Logical internal linking structure.

    – Related keywords are naturally distributed through content.

    – Effective use of media and visuals.

    – Schema markup implementation.

    – Legible text with good formatting.

    – Regular content updates.

    – Adequate links building to quality websites.

    – Active promotion through social media, email, etc.

    Analyse and Improve RankBrain Optimisation

    It takes time for RankBrain to fully index and comprehend your optimised content. So you need to continually analyse its impact and refine your on-page optimisation.

    Here are some tips

    – Track keyword rankings monthly to gauge RankBrain indexing effects.

    – Use Google Search Console to identify queries your site is ranking for.

    – Check click-through rates – are people finding your pages relevant?

    – See if you rank for misspelt variations of target keywords.

    – Monitor ranking improvements for long-tail keywords.

    – Update content based on terms you want to rank for better.

    – Fix technical errors like broken links that affect RankBrain.

    – Request indexing if pages are not getting crawled properly.

    RankBrain optimisation is an ongoing process. Keep refining your content and site structure based on its actual performance for your keywords.


    Optimising your website for Google’s RankBrain algorithm requires an intent-based optimisation approach focused on concepts rather than just keywords. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can significantly improve your site’s ability to rank for a wide range of searches.

    Pay close attention to long-tail keyword research, site architecture, internal linking, on-page elements, and overall content quality and promotion. Analyse RankBrain indexing effects periodically and keep refining your optimisation. With its machine learning capabilities, RankBrain will keep getting better at its job, so you need to continuously evolve your content strategy too.