In June 2016, it was announced that Google is now using RankBrain for every inquiry handled by Google. For those who don’t know what RankBrain is, it’s Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence system used to assist in processing search results.
With RankBrain now affecting 100% of inquiries – versus the 15% it affected around its launch date in October 2015 – we can be certain that RankBrain is unlike any other Google update or release we’ve seen to date. Google even went as far as to reveal that RankBrain was “the third most important search engine ranking factor – only behind backlinks and content which compete for the first two spots.”
Although RankBrain is affecting 100% of inquiries made, it does not mean that it changes ranking for each one. RankBrain is more of a search query refinement tool, meaning that if it sees a search for “pre-owned car dealership in Chicago”, RankBrain may correlate that with other similar searches such as “used car dealer Chicago” or “pre-owned dealership.” By doing this, searchers may receive different, more relevant search results, from what they may have been served previously for the same search query.
What does this mean for car dealerships & their websites? It means that potential search visibility is increasing as Google collects more data from RankBrain. Google is out to give searchers more quality results, no matter what their search queries. As far as SEO is concerned, industry authorities such as Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal have stated that SEO will remain the same as before RankBrain, but do advise to focus on great content.
Not only should your content be well written-and unique, it should serve a purpose for your customers. Whether it’s answering a question or providing a solution to an issue your customers are searching for online, you should always keep in mind your target audience when creating content. Along with being of use to your customers searching from a desktop computer, don’t forget about those who are searching from mobile, and more specifically by voice search. Include conversational language in your content to target potential voice queries.
RankBrain is bound to change the course of search engines and how they return search queries for the better. Although Google has stated that even they don’t quite understand how RankBrain does what it does, it is ultimately designed to reward unique and exceptional content. This means better results for searchers, and better exposure for dealers who maintain a solid website with high-quality content.