What is Google RankBrain? Overview and things you need to know (A-> Z)

If you really care about SEO, you will definitely need to understand the new algorithm Google Rankbrain.

Why is that?

Quite simply, Google recently announced that:

RankBrain is one of Google's three most important ranking factors.

Not only that, RankBrain increasingly has a great influence in the future.

With today's tutorial, you'll get more information about Google's RankBrain algorithm.

Let's start.

Chapter 1: Overview of Google RankBrain

What is Google RankBrain?

RankBrain is an AI (Artificial Intelligence) that Google uses to organize and select search results.

This AI helps Google process and understand what users are looking for.

What makes RankBrain different from other Google AIs?

Before RankBrain, 100% of Google's algorithms were programmed manually.

We can imagine the operation going like this:

Photo from Backlinko

Of course engineers still have to work with algorithms constantly. But today, RankBrain will do this job automatically.

Photo from Backlinko

In short, RankBrain will adjust the algorithm itself.

Depending on the keywords, RankBrain will automatically increase or decrease the importance of backlinks, content freshness, content length, domain authority, etc.

The tool will then look at how users searching in Google interact with new search results.

If users like the new algorithm, they will be used. If not, RankBrain will restore the old algorithm.

This is the part that surprised me quite a lot:

Google has asked a team of its technicians to identify a site best suited for the given search

Google also runs RankBrain with the same requirements.

Do you know what happened?

RankBrain outperforms technicians up to 10%.


In short, RankBrain works very well and this tool still exists today.

We have just got an overview of Google RankBrain. Next, let's dig deeper into this AI.

Chapter 2: How RankBrain works

RankBrain has two main jobs:

1. Understand search queries (keywords)
2. Measure data on how people interact with search results (user satisfaction)

Here are two things we will clarify.

How does RankBrain understand every keyword the user searches for?

A few years ago, Google encountered a problem:

15% keywords that people type on Google have never met before. 15% does not seem very big.

But with the processing of billions of searches every day, this 15% figure is coming 450 million keywords, this really bothered Google.

Prior to RankBrain, Google would scan each page to see if they contained the exact keyword someone searched for.

But because these keywords are brand new, Google won't know what users really want.

Therefore, they can only be "GUESSED".

For example: If you search for "sales interface for WordPress". Google will look for pages that contain terms like "interface", "sales", "wordpress", "WordPress interface".

In the article should contain related words

But with RankBrain different, the AI ​​will really understand what you are looking for.

And RankBrain provides a 100% accurate search result set:

Very smart, right?

So what is really going on? Previously, Google will try to match words in your search query with words in a page.

But RankBrain will try Understand what you really want. Like a human being

But how? RankBrain will combine keywords never encountered with keywords that Google has encountered before.

For example, Google RankBrain recognizes a lot of people searching for "sales interface for wordpress"

And RankBrain (RB) has learned that people searching for "sales interface for wordpress" also want to see a series of results about woocommerce theme.

Therefore, when a user searches on "sales interface for wordpress", RankBrain will give similar results with the known keyword ("best woocommerce theme").

So RB will display the result for wordpress interface. In this case it is woocommerce theme.

Another example: Previously Google has posted a blog post on how they use AI to understand searchers' intent:

In this article, Google describes a technology called "Word2vec" that converts keywords into concepts.

For example, Google says that the technology "understands that Paris and France are related the same way Berlin and Germany are (capital and country), and not the same way Madrid and Italy are"

"Understanding Paris and France will relate to each other like Berlin and Germany (capital and country), and this tool also understands Madrid and Italy are two separate places."

Although this article is not specifically talking about RankBrain, RankBrain is most likely using the same technology.

In short, Google RankBrain works in a complex way, not just putting words together.

This tool translates search terms into concepts and will try to find pages that contain that concept.

In chapter 3 (continued), I will show you how we should do keyword research for SEO.

But first, let's continue to see what the RankBrain algorithm is capable of doing ...

How RankBrain measures user satisfaction

Certainly RankBrain easily understands new keywords. And it even adjusts the algorithm itself.

But the question is:

When RankBrain displays a set of results, how do you know if the results are good and useful?

RankBrain uses signals from UX (User Experience)

In other words, RankBrain shows you a set of search results that it thinks users will like.

If many users prefer a particular page included in the results.

RankBrain will increase rankings for this result.

And if users don't like this page? Google will remove that page and replace it with another.

And the next time someone searches for related keywords (or a similar term), you'll see slightly different returns.

What exactly is RankBrain observing?

This tool takes into account how users interact with the search results. Specifically, RB observed:

  • Clickthrough rate on search results

  • Dwell Time (Waiting time)

  • Bounce Rate

  • Pogo-sticking

These are called user experience signals (UX signals).

Let me give an example:

You are using many muscle groups when exercising, so you are interested and search for "chest muscle exercise" in Google.

Like most people, you will click on the first result.

But unfortunately, the introduction doesn't match what you're really looking for.

So you press back and check the 2nd result in Google:


This result still doesn't have as much information as you want. This page only gives general advice.

So try again with the third result.

Here it is! This result is exactly what you are looking for.


So instead of clicking the "back" button, you take 5 minutes to read the information on this page.

And once you've found what you need, you don't return to the search page.

The last action will be called "Pogo-sticking". And this is one of the things RankBrain notices.

If Google recognizes that users quickly leave a page to click on another search result, this will be a strong signal to Google: "This page is not useful to users."

And if Google realizes that a lot of people aren't pogo-sticking for a specific result, Google will push the page up so that users are more noticeable.

I have a lot to tell you about UX signal optimization in chapters 4 and 5.

But first, let's go through chapter 3 to gain a better understanding of how keywords work in RankBrain.

Chapter 3: Keyword research in RankBrain

As I said, Google now understands what a certain keyword means.

So isn't traditional keyword research useful anymore?

Not really!

In my opinion, we need to change our keyword research process so that it becomes more friendly with RankBrain.

You should do the following:

Stop plugging in Long Tail Keyword (they're obsolete)

Yes! They are out of date. Long keywords already DIED.

In the old days, creating a few hundred different posts and each article would optimize for a fairly common long keyword.

For example, you create a page that is optimized for the keyword "best keyword research tool".

And another post optimized keyword "best tool for keyword research".

And the old Google version will still rank for each page with the corresponding long keywords.

Today, RankBrain understands that the keywords in the example I've just given are basically the same.

So Google will display search results that are almost the same.

In short, optimized for long keywords is unnecessary work.

So what do we do next?

Optimize around the average keyword

Instead of long keywords, I recommend optimizing the content around the average keyword.

Medium keywords are phrases of average length. This type of keyword receives more search volume than a long keyword. In addition, the average keyword has not too high competition.

For example, this is a set of keywords around the topic of "weight loss". The phrases in the middle are average keywords.

When you optimize the page for an average keyword. RankBrain will automatically rank this page for that keyword and similar keywords.

In short, I want you to optimize the page with a single keyword

(Just make sure this is Medium Tail Keyword)

Then let RankBrain do its job, this tool will rank your page with thousands of different keywords.

Let me give an example for visualization?

For example: About an article I have compiled websites that create free domain names

Some time ago, I decided to write a review for the entire website that allows creating free domain names

And the result is that article is ranked 3-4 something, because it is quite useful to everyone.

But most importantly, RankBrain knows that its site is talking about the concepts of: Free domain name, free domain, free hosting, etc.

That is why this page is ranked for 193 Various keywords (according to Ahref):

This is the power of internal optimization around a single average keyword.

Chapter 4: How to optimize Title and Description (increase CTR)

As I said in chapter 1, CTR (clickthrough rate) is one of the main ranking signals of RankBrain.

So how do people click more on your website?

In this chapter, I will answer the question in a most detailed way.

Please put the title with emotional adjectives

Have you noticed that emotional headlines often get more clicks?

This is something many copywriters have known for a long time. In recent years, this idea has been more focused in SEO.

In fact, CoSchedule Researched the relationship between titles and shares on social networks.

Example: I take an example of the title people often put

"Trick: How to get more clicks"

Pretty good. But this title lacks something that people don't want to click to see.

Let's try to add some emotional adjectives.

"You will be surprised with 17 tricks to achieve this many clicks"

Don't make your emotions too strong, but if you find it appropriate, add them to the title.

The Vietnamese system is very emotional, somewhere around 3600 words.

Please choose the right word!

Add brackets and parentheses to the end of the title

This can also be called a trick to CTR hack.

I first discovered this tip from a HubSpot and Outbrain study done a few years ago

In that study, they analyzed 3.3 million titles and find that headers have better parentheses than none 33%:

In fact, the tip is really effective I also use these signs whenever possible:

Here are some examples of the content in brackets that I use often:

Here are some suggestions you can use:

  1. [Review]

  2. (2019)

  3. (From A-> Z)

  4. (Secret)

  5. (Truth)

  6. ………

Use more numbers (Not just listing)

According to data from several sources (including BuzzSumo): Numbers improve CTR.

Not only that, you can use the numbers in the title, even if it is not listed.

And I added not only 1, but 2, 3 numbers in the title

Add Power Word to the title

Power Word is a term referring to a phrase that expresses strong feelings.

Using Power Word will help the title stand out and get more clicks.

Here is a list of Power Word you can apply:

  • Effective

  • It will be

  • Research

  • For example

  • Proven

  • New

  • Strong

Do not forget to optimize the description to increase CTR

Currently, the description tag no longer works much in SEO. But optimizing this card helps increase CTR there.

Here's how to create a descriptive card that attracts more clicks:

1. Make it more emotional

Like the title, put the emotional words in the description tag, for example:

2. Create reasons for users to click on the web

Is your content in-depth? Based on what research? Humor? Please add this in the description tag:

3. Copy the words and phrases that Google AdWords uses

For example, when I search for "fish sauce," I see this word appear in ads:


So let's add the words "Very Delicious Fragrant", "Clean Without Additives", "Traditional" in the description, do you understand what you mean?

4. Finally, add your target keywords

Google will highlight these keywords, making the results on the search page more prominent.

Those are all some of the ways we talk about.

Chapter 5: Optimizing Bounce Rate & Dwell Time

Hope with some tips to improve the CTR above. Now more people will visit your website.

Right now you will need to show Google the satisfaction of the users when visiting the website.

And the best way is to improve Dwell Time (the time users stay on the website)

Does Google really rate Dwell Time? Have!

Dwell Time - is the time Google users spend on your web after clicking on search results.

Clearly, the longer a user spends time on the web, the better.

This will be a signal to Google: "Users who love this website, please highlight it".

And if someone exits your web in just 2 seconds, this will be the message to Google: "This page returned bad results, please hide it".

As you can see. RankBrain will measure usage time and shuffle results based on return signal.

In fact, a Google technician revealed that Google used to rely 100% on off-page factors (especially backlinks).

And today Google still uses backlinks, is a good weak key to rank.

With the above information, I can realize that:

There is a relationship between bounce rate and search results. A low bounce rate means higher rankings:

How to reduce Bounce Rate and increase Dwell Time

I have shared how to reduce bounce rate here. I will share some other tips as follows:

1. Push content to the top of the page

When someone visits a website from Google, they often want instant gratification.

In other words, users will not want to scroll down to read the content.

Don't push anything in front of your content like the image below:

Instead, it's a catchy title that keeps users coming to watch:


This way, readers will be instantly hooked.

2. Use a short introduction (5 to 10 sentences)

I think the introduction is very important and I need to take care of it a lot.

Because the introduction is the deciding factor 90% Readers stay on the web or leave.

And after a lot of experimenting, I found that the short intro worked very well.

Why so?

When someone searches something on Google Search, they already know that topic

Therefore, users do not need the introduction too wordy.

Instead, use the intro to show the content they want to read, like this:


Write a brief intro and engage them immediately.

3. Publish long, in-depth content

After a lot of testing, I can confidently tell you that:

Longer content = Dwell Time is better

Simply because it will take more time to read a 2000 word guide than an article of only 400 words.

Not only that, another reason that longer content increases time on site. Because these contents fully answer the user's questions.

For example, you search for "how to lose weight effectively".

And the first result you click on is a 300-word article.

This post is quite right, but you left because more information is needed.

Then you click the back button to find something better (as I said, Google calls this action "Pogo-sticking").

You find a comprehensive guide that contains everything you need about marathons.

After clicking on the article, you grab a cup of coffee and read the instructions from start to finish.

You even reread some important sections. This sitting reading is making use time becomes longer.

That's why I am trying to write longer and more comprehensive content.

4. Split the paragraphs of content in the article

You have to acknowledge it to me.

Reading 2,000 words on a continuous basis is really difficult.

And this is even more difficult if the 2,000 words are presented as a text.

But there is a simple way to solve this problem Sub-Heading.

Subheadings break up your content into more readable sections.

This will improve readability as well as time on site.

Specifically, I try to separate the content and every 200 words there is a subheading.

Chapter 6: Some good tips to optimize RankBrian

In this chapter, I will mention some tactics that you will apply immediately to optimize for RankBrain algorithm.

Increase brand awareness. Improve CTR

As stated above: numbers, emotional adjectives and Power Word all help increase CTR.

But there is something else that I would like to mention: Brand identity.

This does not have to prove much,

If they remember your brand, it is very likely that they will enter results on GG search.

Actually, word data WordStream Brand affects CTR by up to 342%!

For example, look at the search results below:

If you were, what would you click on? Of course, it will result from fptshop and thegioididong!

Thus brand identity has a great power.

But how to increase your brand awareness to users?

1. Use Facebook ads

Even if people don't click, Facebook ads will bring your brand to more people.

And when users are searching for similar products, they are more likely to click on your results.

2. Create valuable Notification Email

A valuable email to readers will make them more likely to miss you.

In fact, the higher the email open rate when it is more beneficial to the reader.

So, I often give readers free themes or plugins for them

So when your website appears on page 1, users will tend to click more.

3. Finally, bring out "unexpected content"

An "unexpected content" is that you present a lot of content in a short period of time

And believe me: This is a better way than publishing content dripping in a year.

In fact, I used this method when starting the Hawks.

At the beginning, there were 3 publications.

And it has made a pretty good advance 😀

4. Refresh content that is not ranking well

Do you have some posts that are not ranked as expected? Or all?

There is good news:

If you edit them and optimize it with the RankBrain algorithm.

Recently I have redone a lot of old content.

Optimize title, description and CTR have increased significantly

From there the rank also increased.

Please refresh the old content is not effective.

5. Use LSI keywords to fill "blank content"

LSI keyword are words and phrases related to the main topic of the content.

Why is LSI keyword important?

These keywords provide RankBrain with information to understand more about this page

Example: You are writing a tutorial on building backlinks

LSI keywords are the following words:

  • Link

  • Domain Authority

  • Anchor text

  • Page Authority

When RankBrain sees content that includes these words.

Most likely you will be ranked for both related words.

Make a list of LSIs around the main keyword, and cleverly use them in the article.


If you've read up to here, you will surely understand more about how GG works today.

Hope you will feel satisfied.

Feel free to leave a comment or any question below!

Which part do you find most useful?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.


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