What’s new in Google Search?
Google deployed its latest method of producing the best results to search queries about three months ago and started officially talking about it earlier this week. Dubbed RankBrain, Google has initiated a machine-learning artificial intelligence system to analyze and help rank results for the “large fraction” of searches the search engine has never seen before.
Estimates have placed this large fraction in the 15% range. RankBrain is a new, complementary and reportedly significant piece of the much larger Google Search algorithm which includes several signals, the priority of which Google does not divulge, but so many feverishly try to determine.
RankBrain appears to effectively be a follow on to their previous Hummingbird and Knowledge Graph algorithm updates. Hummingbird focuses on providing better results for semantic search queries (i.e. question based searches) and overall richer content results where available.
All of these latest updates have been centred around gaining a better understanding of the relationships between keywords and interpreting the intent of searchers using longer multi-keyword search phrases.
These longer queries are the natural by-product of people increasingly conducting voice-based searches on mobile devices. For example, if I want a pizza I might ask Google, “Where can I find the best pepperoni pizza in town?” and its Google’s job to determine what exactly I’m looking for and specifically where I can find it. Google recognizes this trend is only going to continue to grow along with its need to be able to address how to provide the best answers to these unique questions.
So what does this mean for marketers?
Marketers who have been focusing on long tail keyword research and developing rich content to answer the wide array of questions their audiences may be asking should only benefit from Google’s shiny new tool.
The very fact 15% of Google searches are unique signals the necessity for marketers to continue creating, publishing and sharing rich, unique content. This new development is also a further move away from a singular keyword focus. Rather, marketers should develop new content around groups of logically connected single keywords and longer tail keyword phrases.
The challenge with this is naturally determining the root keywords around which to develop a longer tail strategy. For this, marketers must still balance monthly average search volumes across geographies and on both traditional desktop and mobile devices.
As with any other Google algorithm update the best practices associated with optimized content marketing should still rule the day i.e. Establish your brand as an authority (geographically if applicable) for a core set of keywords by creating, publishing, sharing and monitoring relevant, keyword rich content your audience(s) want to read, like and hopefully share.