In this week’s lesson, there is a video where Matt Cutts explains to us how Google Search works. He mentions that it would try to match the words in your search query to the words on a page. But in 2018 is Google still working that way?
The answer is No.
There is an innovation which has changed the SEO game entirely, and it is called RankBrain. Back in 2016, Google listed it as one of the top three ranking signals. How does it make keywords less important? And how will this affect your digital marketing? Scroll down to find the answers. 🙂
How does RankBrain work?
RankBrain is an AI algorithm that Google uses for two main purposes:
- Understanding keywords
- Measuring user satisfaction
Instead of taking the keyword as what it is, RankBrain would try to identify what your intent is when searching for it. How? By looking at user behaviour and finding terms and phrases that are similar to your search enquiry, RankBrain can return with highly related results.
Take ‘healthy living‘ as an example. RankBrain would figure out that when people use this keyword, they actually look for ‘healthy diet’, ‘healthy lifestyle’ and ‘fitness’. So instead of showing pages that contain the ‘healthy living’ keyword, it selects pages that talk about ‘healthy living’ topic.
It also directly links to page ranking. If many people like a page, it’ll give that page ranking a boost. It also drops a page if a lot of people exit that page as soon as they read a bit of it.
What does this mean for digital marketers?
Should we forget about Keywords? No, I wouldn’t say that. Even though keywords have become less important they still play a role in SEO. I found a very useful article that teaches how to generate more RankBrain-friendly keywords.
However, with RankBrain Black hat tactics like repeating keywords no longer works, and creating multiple pages to target the same content will get penalised. Marketers should now put on the White hat SEO and focus on quality content. Since RankBrain selects results based on concepts/topics and searchers’ intent, I think marketers should also create a concept outline for their websites, including what are the main topics that target specific searchers’ needs.
Do you agree? Do you think keywords are still relevant to SEO in 2018?
Let me know what you think in a comment below! 🙂