October 30

The Weekly Briefing: Search Zombies Are Eating Up All the RankBrain

Content Marketing Strategist, Angela Sanders, and SEO/SEM Account Manager, Michelle Conway, told us about the newest addition to the Google’s search algorithm arsenal…

This week Google officially announced its newest – and most intuitive – search intelligence gatherer to date: RankBrain. RankBrain is best described as a machine-learning artificial intelligence system, or as a recent Search Engine Roundtable blog called it, an algorithmic approach similar to that of the “human ‘gut feeling.’” Not to be confused with an algorithm, RankBrain is just one part of the Hummingbird Algorithm (introduced in 2014 as an algorithm focusing on synonyms and context). Greg Corrado, senior research scientist for Google, called RankBrain  “one of ‘hundreds’ of signals that go into an algorithm.” On top of that, it was revealed that RankBrain has become the third most important signal for ranking web pages, falling just short of the top signals … that Google won’t share with us.

RankBrain can see patterns between otherwise seemingly unconnected complex searches and teaches itself to understand how they are actually similar to one another. While cool – and creepy – in theory, there are still a few bugs to work out. If you have noticed an unexpected change in your traffic, RankBrain could be a source. The traffic we are talking about has been aptly named “zombie traffic,” people are spending a lot of time on your site, moving slowly between pages, and resulting in no conversions. Hopefully, the apocalypse will end when RankBrank gets a bit smarter.

Internet Marketing Specialist Chip Fox talked about the new wave of voice search and how search marketers will need to adjust …

With the rise of voice search, Google has changed the way it utilizes voice technology. In a recent Search Engine Land article, columnist Chris Marentis commented that, “instead of a reactive approach to a user’s voice commands, Google is using the knowledge it has of a user’s behavior to learn and anticipate needs.” While you can’t necessarily mark up your website to be more present in voice-activated searches, you can make revisions to your content to accommodate voice searches. Try modifying text to be more conversational, optimize for more long-tail keywords, naturally provide direct answers to potential questions, and focus more implementing Hummingbird (and now RankBrain) practices.