When Google let it slip the three most important ranking factors are content, links and RankBrain, they didn’t really tell us anything we don’t already know.
At least not on the surface. But there are underlying reasons why these metrics are what website owners should be concentrating on.
Google’s mission is to improve the quality of experience for end-users. The more people that use their search engine over their rivals means more advertising revenue goes into their already deep pockets.
But the search engine giant also has a genuine interest to improve search engine results and deliver content end-users want – especially on mobile devices.
Because mobile is becoming the customary way for users to access the internet, and will continue to do so as mobile technology improves, Google is intent on improving mobile search.
But for it to work properly, the search engine has to rely on publishers to create a user-friendly experience for mobile users. Hence the ranking metrics and subsequent awards of trust and authority scores.
What is RankBrain?
Last year, Google launched RankBrain, an element of the Hummingbird algorithm that uses machine learning to improve search and rank content in relation to search queries.
But there is a long-term goal in mind: voice search. Because the keyboards on mobile phones are fiddly and take more effort, technology companies are trying to make mobile searches easier by using voice activated services.
But in order for voice assistants in search engines to function well, Google’s artificial intelligence system needs to understand natural speech patterns to determine what the end-user is searching for.
Google has already stated that end-users are still over-thinking search queries so that the machine understands what they want. But Google want end-users to use natural language so that RankBrain can learn what they want.
Although the search engine has not said as much, there is a strong possibility it will rank content that uses natural language over content that uses jargon, lingo or corporate language. Because this is how mobile users will conduct voice search.
We already know that content is king and inbound links are the strongest metric search engines use to determine the trust and authority of a webpage and ultimately a website.
The more inbound links you have pointing towards your content the higher it ranks. But you can also chip away at improving your trust and authority scores through internal link building and embedding outbound links into your content.
Search engines encourage publishers to point outbound links to high authority sites. The fall back to that is mainstream websites will take all the top ranks and leave little room for anybody else – even if they are publishing better quality content.
It is also a good idea to create silos on your website by pointing internal links to your main product or services pages. This is an indication to search engines that these are your main services and will be ranked higher alongside the keywords you have chosen for those pages.
Understanding how search engine metrics work is the first step to improving SEO rankings. So hopefully this article has helped.