How to Use Google RankBrain in Local SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | April 06, 2017

Google RankBrain is an ongoing artificial intelligence project that has recently been rolled out by this search engine giant. The notion of artificial intelligence is a hard one for most people to grasp. One of the most important things to note about RankBrain is that it functions a bit like the human mind in the sense that it’s constantly growing, changing and increasing its capabilities. As such, what RankBrain is today is not a guaranteed to define what it will be a year from now or even beyond. In fact, web developers and site owners can count on this technology being more advanced and much more pervasive in the future. With that in mind, there are a still a few things that small business owners can do to use Google RankBrain in their local SEO campaigns.

Make Everything Decidedly White Hat

So far, nearly everything about how RankBrain performs in conjunction with Google’s primary algorithm is little more than assumption. One thing that is known for sure, however, is that it is designed to ultimately eliminate both black hat optimization techniques and spam entirely. This has long been the over-arching goal of Google and RankBrain is the tool through which this goal will be accomplished. Once this occurs, every web user can count on getting relevant and meaningful results in every search return, and without having to move beyond the first page of results. With that being said, make sure that none of your optimization techniques could be potentially frowned upon. If you’re purchasing links, likes or other services that unnaturally expedite your SEO, now is definitely time to stop. Don’t wait until you get a penalty to engage in completely white hat practices. As a small company owner, if you can’t manage an organic campaign on your own, consider the benefits of outsourcing to a reputable company that can head these efforts up for you.

Keep The Language Of Your Content Simple: Write Like Readers Speak

One of RankBrain’s known functions is to search for synonyms and root words in order to find results that match the user’s needs, even if these do not contain the exact search terms. For instance, if you own a plumbing business and your prospects are looking for information on how to fix a leaky faucet, RankBrain will be able to pull up links to articles on how to fix a leaking faucet or simply, a faucet that leaks. It can also compile articles on how to repair leaking faucets rather than fix them. The idea is fairly straightforward and in order to accommodate this new capability, small local businesses should start crafting content that uses simpler language and that reads a lot like people speak.

Stop Scraping Content

The ability to search for and identify synonyms also makes RankBrain a lot smarter than the former algorithm and allows it to exceed the duplicate content checking abilities of even the most innovative and advanced plagiarism software out there. Thus, if you’ve been merely rewriting articles by swapping out a few words here and there, you’ll eventually get dinged for it. Small, local businesses will have to go beyond merely repurposing existing content by writing entirely unique pieces of their own. Moreover, these works will be required to introduce entirely new ideas. In short, RankBrain is pushing the envelope on overall creativity.

Get Hyper-Local In Your Posts And Focus On Building Popularity

The latest revamp of Google’s algorithm was designed to help mobile web users get hyper-local results. Thus, if a person is searching for a decent pizza parlor, a combination of user location, conversation cues, and other factors will all play roles in determining the listings on the search results page. Among these other factors are relevance and popularity. In terms of location, mentioning a few landmarks in your content from time is a lot better than adding in geo-specific details that don’t go beyond city or state. You can even talk about the neighborhood you operate in and forthcoming community events.

Popularity is currently key to performing well on SERPs now that RankBrain is a major determining factor in ranking. In the past, landing a first-page result was the ticket to creating a popular, well-known and well-liked brand. Now, however, you’ll have to work a bit harder on outside platforms to become popular before you nab a coveted first-page rank. To do this, have your customers rate you on popular review platforms, build a robust link profile and ramp up your social media campaigns to get more fans and followers. If you have lots of traffic coming into your site before you’ve optimized for your target keywords, getting and maintaining a first-page placement will prove infinitely easier.