Google’s new RankBrain Algorithm Will Drastically Change the way SEO Works and the Success of Client Searches
By Thomas R. Reich PhD
For many years, SEO was the bread and butter of PR pros everywhere to attract search traffic their client’s website. The formula was simple, find out what keywords corresponded to what the client was selling, stuff the content on the website with those targeted keywords and the search engine algorithms would do the rest.
Then in recent years authority links were added to the picture, and a big business grew up in attracting or contracting links and linked guest posts from “popular” blogs and websites in the same industry as the client. These links became essential for the search engine algorithms to find the websites of the client. Google and other popular search engines would take notice of these indicators, bump the websites SEO Rank” and the website would end up on the front page for targeted keyword searches.
Old school on-line marketing firms, still largely push this method as the standard of the industry. But all it ever was is math; Keywords and backlinks alone never really got the searcher to exactly what they were searching for. The theory was; the searchers would more easily stumble on to what they were looking for on the first or second page of search results.
The obvious problem here is that strictly judging content by keywords and backlinks, the system can be “jacked” or “gamed” to bring a searcher to the wrong information. Just like all those spam emails you hate, the same “tech heads” were out there one step ahead of the algorithm updates, leading the searcher to an unrelated buy it now landing page. Even though Google or Bing did their best to send the searcher to information on day schools the searcher got many results for various spam somewhat related to the search.
SEO is Dead, Long Live Deep Content SEO, RankBrain and Deep Rich Data II. Things have changed, Google’s latest update, Panda 4.0, is designed to make content – rather than the keywords – the rightful king of the search engine. The search engine giant’s aim is that their users will find relevant content, not content merely stuffed with keywords.
The more things change, though, the more they remain the same. While SEO isn’t quite what we thought of it before, the idea still remains the same. But now, it’s all in the execution…
The New SEO
“Content is king,” but what does that even mean? One of the other “rules” of writing blogs and making other content is to make as much of it as consistent to a core of targeted information relating to the client’s products and services as can be achieved. So – problem solved, just stuff the website with related content and you’re done, right? Not so fast, SEO is not dead, Search Engine Optimization is literally that, we must improve, optimize and polish each piece of content for maximum readability and accessibility.
On top of these basics, today’s PR professional should try to increase the quality of any content associated with the firm they are promoting. First, all content that was designed around keyword stuffing should be revised to a more readable form, old articles updated or eliminated and blogs and posts irrelevant to the core of the stated target topic removed.
The reason is simple, Google’s newest algorithm RankBrain, focuses on what is contained in the content and its relevance to a topic, rather than what keywords are in it and in what location those keywords appear.
When it comes down to it, however, even though SEO has changed from Keyword stuffing and backlink driven optimization, it has finally become true optimization. While some might cry the end of SEO or even say it’s the end of the concept of SEO, this is the farthest from the truth. What has really happened is Marketing and PR has been taken out of the hands of the tech programmers and put back in the hands of the creatives and the writers where it belongs. How should you take advantage of this change?
In the first place, remember that keywords and backlinks are still vital to the publicity and search engine success of a piece of content. Keywords, used sparingly, guide the search to the topic of the content and appropriate backlinks improve the credibility of the piece of content’s relevance to the topic. Remember that the new algorithm changes were made to weed out the more “spammy” aspects of searching on Google. So great content that’s informative, funny, and easy to read is soon to become the normal results of a search. What actually attracts the search engine attention will be the relevance of the content itself. But optimizing that content sparingly is still a vital part of that content’s visibility to the search engine and therefore it’s success.
You can’t insert arbitrary keywords into content that does not exactly match the intent of the content anymore and expect results. This actually makes good relevant content easier to get out to the potential client when you think about it. In the past, SEO meant searching for the keywords that would attract attention of the prospect you wanted, not necessarily the client that would be interested in the actual content of the post or blog.
Today, your concentration should be on the relevance of the post or blog’s content and anticipating what answers the potential client may be searching for. It seems a fine distinction, but really it means all the world of difference. Now you focus on the campaign at large rather than bother with little details like what keyword to repeat 8 times. Today you search for relevant topics to research not spend hours keyword researching.
Getting legitimate internet traffic, traffic that is targeted and relevant to what you are selling will always be a challenge. But one thing will never change: write blogs, press releases, videos and other content to reflect your original ideas, target them to your products, services and thoughts – and you’ll be fine.