According to Google, there are more than a billion Google searches each day, and an active user searches on average 25 times per day. More importantly, for this article on RankBrain and SEO, Google says that 15-25% of daily searches are new. What's a Search algorithm to do?
Today, Google's algorithm relies on 200+ signals to determine how to rank a website in organic search results. These include standard SEO checkbox items like content quality, easy to navigate site, and links, as well as recent major updates to reward sites that are mobile friendly, secure (using https), and load quickly.
In 2015, Google's RankBrain was confirmed as a new(ish) part of the algorithm. This is one of the 200+ elements mentioned above, but it only kicks in when it "sees" a search query that has never been used before, so approximately 15-25% of the time (which isn't that infrequent, actually).
How Does RankBrain Work?
There are many sophisticated articles about machine learning, artificial intelligence, and RankBrain, but all marketers really need to know is that RankBrain uses machine learning algorithms to try to predict what a better search result might be based on historical data. RankBrain evolved into this use from its original purpose of query analysis.
What Queries Trigger RankBrain to Kick In?
The 15-25% of new queries are almost exclusively long tail queries, which is not surprising considering how precise and refined our search behaviors have grown over the years.
RankBrain's Implications for Marketers
Although keyword optimization is still a key component of SEO, and even for PPC Quality Score improvements, marketers should continue to focus on creating high quality content that addresses customers' pain points, that is written in the customer's style of speaking. This useful content for the end user will naturally be optimized with long tail search queries.
Are you offering information your audience craves on your website? It's clearly an important element of Internet marketing/content marketing and even more so in the era of RankBrain.