The Small Business Owner and Google RankBrain

A small business owner doesn’t need to think too hard to figure out who the most popular search engine globally is. small business seoThe folks at sent us an infographic which makes it pretty clear. Google handled 86.3% of all search engine traffic. It hasn’t just taken pole position. It has basically lapped its competitors and headed for the podium before any of the others have even made it out of the starting gates.

What is it that makes Google such a force to be reckoned with? It is pretty simple – innovation. The company started out by finding a better way to do things and has stuck firmly by that philosophy over the last few years.

The search algorithm updates that usually strike fear into the heart of all SEO professionals have also led the search engine producing the best quality results. People “Google it” because they know that they are going to get reliable results every time.

It’s great for the users, but can be problematic. What worked yesterday in SEO might not work today when the rules change. And, because Google keeps its exact ranking factors a secret, you are operating without a playbook.

AI + Algorithm

That AI was going to start being used live in searches was inevitable. RankBrain is Google’s way of leveraging the power of AI and to take searches to a whole new level. The system is capable of understanding searches better because it takes a more holistic view of the search phrases.

Say, for example, that the AI does not understand a particular keyword used in a search. Previously, this would have meant that you would have to change your keyword to get a better kind of results that you wanted.

With RankBrain, the system is capable of interpreting the context of the search better. So, if it comes across a word that is unfamiliar, that is not an issue, all it will do is look at the rest of the phrase to see if it can figure out what the user meant.

It is, in a way, similar to a child learning to interact with the world. When RankBrain grows up, it will produce results that are as close to 100% accurate as possible.

What Does It Mean For the SEO of your Small Business Website?

There is good news and bad news. First the good news. Cheating the system is getting less and less effective. It’s no longer enough to just put in the right phrases. Which means that those gaming the system have to give up their games. Consequently, there will be less competition for legit sites.

The bad news is that figuring out how the system precisely works is getting harder and harder. In the last few years, it has become more difficult to accurately predict what will get you the best SERP. With AI now being able to understand the context of searches, it is about to get a lot harder.

Users will literally be able to use any term that is in some way relevant to the search. Even if they don’t get it exactly right, Google will be able to fill in the blanks. This is going to make ranking for particular keywords a lot harder.

Also, the search engine is now better able to understand the nuances of search terms. Previously, if you said something like, “All restaurants in the area except Indian restaurants” Google might have ignored the “except.” You’d be left with a list of results with Indian restaurants featuring near the top.

Now, however, things are changing. AI is able to understand human speech patterns better. It is able to understand exactly what the user is looking for.

So, How Do I Get Google To Love My Site?

By working hard at convincing the search engine that your site is worthy of recommending. Which means better planning and higher quality content. You can’t just rattle off 300 words and leave it at that.

Sure, occasionally, shorter posts are going to work, but you’ll need longer posts as well so that people stay on your site for longer. The longer the visitors stay on your site, the more valuable your content is deemed to be.

And, everything must be perfect, from the snippets you use to describe your content through to the content itself. Your snippet needs to be interesting. It must convince people that your site is worth visiting.

But, you also have to make sure that it is an accurate description of what people are going to find on it. Clickbait snippets are out. While they might increase your CTR, they also increase your bounce rate. And that will kill your site rank faster than anything else.

Give people a reason to visit your site and then keep them by providing great content. That’s the way to win over Google.

About Karthik Reddy

Karthik Reddy is a UK-based writer and blogger for Lean Digital.