In 2017 Google said that RankBrain was their third most important ranking factor. Going into 2018 we can expect them to continue fine-tuning it and relying on it more for ranking. This means that it’s essential for you to understand what it is and how it impacts you.
Essentially, RankBrain is a machine learning system, or AI, that helps Google sort the search results that you see when you do a search. It monitors how users interact with the list of results that they’re presented. It uses what it learns to help rank the results in a way that will help someone find what they are looking for quickly.
For example… imagine you are doing a search for “How to Improve My SEO.” You click on the 3rd result that Google presents you and find yourself on my site. You really enjoy what you find and you spend time on the page reading every word. RankBrain makes a note that you enjoyed that article and it will give that result a boost in rank for that keyword phrase that you searched for.
Likewise, let’s say that you click on the 5th result next. You only spend a couple of seconds on that page because it wasn’t what you wanted and then you quickly jump back to the search results. RankBrain notes that the 5th result is not something you enjoyed related to your search query and that site will likely get a decrease in rank for that search phrase.
Essentially – RankBrain is watching to see how many people actually click on each result (the Click-Through Rate) and the amount of time they spend on each page after clicking (Dwell Time) in order to determine if the result matches the expectation for the keyword phrase that was searched.
Stay tuned for the next post where I’ll dive in deeper into what you can do improve Dwell Time and Click-Through Rate. #webtrafficwednesdays