At Big Digital Adelaide, I had a fireside chat with Gary Illyes from Google, and RankBrain was one of the hot topics of the afternoon. While we have seen many articles published on “RankBrain optimization” and “RankBrain SEO”, many are simply based on speculation and assumptions. After all, RankBrain is the newest algo buzzword so SEOs naturally want to do what they can to optimize for it in order to get that edge up. So I asked Illyes if SEOs could optimize for RankBrain and how they could optimize for it.
First, he said that “There are so many better things to do than try to figure out how to optimize for RankBrain.”
But then Illyes followed up with advice on how SEOs could optimize for RankBrain… using natural language. The natural language connection was one I had guessed myself, and it seems that particular aspect of RankBrain optimization is accurate.
Optimizing for RankBrain is actually super easy, and it is something we’ve probably been saying for fifteen years now, is – and the recommendation is – to write in natural language. Try to write content that sounds human. If you try to write like a machine then RankBrain will just get confused and probably just pushes you back.
But if you have a content site, try to read out some of your articles or whatever you wrote, and ask people whether it sounds natural. If it sounds conversational, if it sounds like natural language that we would use in your day to day life, then sure, you are optimized for RankBrain. If it doesn’t, then you are “un-optimized”.
This it the first time Google has publicly commented on how to optimize specifically for RankBrain. All the previously published articles about so-called RankBrain optimization have all were based on speculation or downright misleading information.
The use of natural language for optimization isn’t surprising. Illyes method of reading content out loud is something I have been recommending for at least ten years for those trying to determine if their content is quality or not. And high quality content generally uses natural language with some exceptions based on market areas.
So if you are wanting to optimize for RankBrain, it seems pretty simple – create quality content using natural language that sounds conversational.
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