Google RankBrain: All Proven Optimization Tricks (2021)

by Nikita Shevchenko

Google RankBrain is a huge deal in an SEO world.

In fact, it is the third-most important ranking factor out there!

You’re probably wondering:

“How can I optimize my website for Google RankBrain?”

In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through all the steps, required to master its concepts and get Google’s A+ grade.

Let’s start!

What Is Google Rankbrain All About?

RankBrain is an advanced system with artificial intelligence created by Google. As I have mentioned earlier, it is the third most important ranking factor (The other two are content and backlinks).

It uses a machine learning system to provide people better search results.

In other words, the computer teaches itself how to do deliver the best appropriate information so to improve User Experience(UX).

RankBrain evolves and makes new connections based on what it was taught and what it already knows.

With all of this in mind, the main question has been raised:

How Has Search Changed After RankBrain Was Launched?


The user typed the keywords in the search and Google looked for the EXACT matches along with the web.

Then it would provide the web pages with those exact keywords you typed in the search.

Generally, the results were good and users were satisfied

google serp choosing car forum Google RankBrain

But Google could not really UNDERSTAND what users wanted until…


Now, with the help of the RankBrain algorithm, Google can provide you very precise results.

It literally gets your meaning and shows what you really want!

google rankbrain can understand search queries

You may find something without knowing the keyword, for example, the name of the book…

Though Mr. Martin has written numerous brilliant books, the one you see in the SERP is the most popular one, it is searched by people, therefore Google shows it to you.
If you want to go deeper into principles of Google RankBrain work, here is a research paper on Word2vectechnology, that explains the mathematical connections between words and phrases.

distributed representations of words and phrases and their compositionality Google RankBrain

Russia and Moscow relate to each other in the same way as Portugal and Lisbon(country and capital).

On the other hand, Portugal and Moscow would have a country-city relation.

Thanks to this technology, RankBrain now can find relationships between words and phrases in order to provide better UX.

Later I will explain to you which User Experiences are vital in today’s SEO.

Now let’s try to understand the right approach to RankBrain.

How To Optimize For Rankbrain?

I hope now you understand what RankBrain actually is.

Now there is another question, that may appear in your mind:

“How should I optimize for ‘RankBrain, is it even possible?”

Quick answer:

It is NOT possible to be 100% responsible for optimization when it comes to Google RankBrain!

Google RankBrain is a really sophisticated algorithm, and it is no longer an option to optimize for a set of ranking factors and hope for the best.

As Google evolves its demands evolve too. Different pieces of content require a DIFFERENT proportion of the ranking signals.

In other words, sometimes you may need lots of backlinks, sometimes you may need freshness and sometimes your content will require thorough keyword research.

With that said, it is really, really hard to figure out what exactly RankBrain will require from your website.

But don’t get upset!

I have done extensive research on this field and want to present to you some proven strategies that WILL WORK so well, that you will never have to worry about RankBrain putting your site down in the SERP.

Stay with me and I’ll show you how to hack this advanced algorithm.

Let’s start with the core elements.

The Role Of User Experiences(UX) In Rankbrain

Here is the truth:

The entire Google’s philosophy can be described in two words:

User Satisfaction

But you don’t have to take my word on it, here is what Matt Cutts said in one of his videos:

matt cutts headshot Google RankBrain

    Matt Cutts: Google tells you “I want fresh, unique, original content that will answer my users’ questions.” Do you provide this content?”            

So as you can see UXs were, are, and will be one of the main concerns in the SEO world.

And here are the main things you have to pay extra attention to:

  • CTR(Click Through Rate)
  • Bounce Rate
  • Dwell Time
  • A Number of Returned Visitors

(There are some more important UX signals that I mention in my Website UX Guide for beginners)

Let’s take a closer look at each of them:

Click-Through Rate

The more clicks your article title receives in SERP the better it is for your rankings.

Try to produce clickable titles and descriptions. (Later in this article I’ll show you exactly how)

Bounce Rate and Dwell Time

If you have an enticing title for your article it is only half a job.

Now as you have the reader’s attention you HAVE TO make them stay on your site.

Your title and article should fit!

It makes users really disappointed If they visit your website and find lots of useless fluff and no answers to their questions.

Suppose you want to find some decent tips on how to train your dog:

google search bar how to train a dog Google RankBrain

You find a nice, promising title that you click on:

how to train my dog google search result Google RankBrain

And here is what you see:

bad quality article Google RankBrain

Lots of useless stuff that you are not interested in. You need THE ANSWERS, not the “Hamlet”.

So you hit the back button and as you do it, Google receives the message:

Warning! “This article is not a good fit for the keyword people type in”

the result does not satisfy the search query Google RankBrain

And Google pushes it down.

That’s how Google RankBrain works!

But what if the visitors actually LIKE the page? The spend some time on it and don’t leave it immediately.

They probably even share it and leave a thoughtful comment.

the result satisfies the search query Google RankBrain

Now here is what gonna happen with that page:

Google notices that the page is good and promotes it in SERP, so as to satisfy people’s needs.

The Number of Returned Visitors

This UX signal is probably one of the hardest to improve. Fortunately, it is totally possible.

Work on the quality of your content over quantity.

Make a commitment to deliver the top service you can produce for the visitors.

Build a strong email base to announce your new articles and let readers return to take a look at them.

I am going to show you exactly HOW you can improve the UX on your site and rock RankBrain.

The Best Ways To Approach Google Rankbrain

1. Improve an organic Click-Trough-Rate(CTR)

You’ve got no clicks, you’ve got NO visitors from Search Engine Ranking Page(SERP).

Let’s be honest, the competitiveness for some keywords can be extremely BIG! So if your title does not stand out, chances are very few people will click on your title.

If you are serious about your SEO game, ALL of the titles for your content should be competitive and clickable.

How do you actually make it? Let’s use some SEO Copywriting Techniques:

Trick 1: Put Some Emotions in Your Title.

Emotion is a great tool to drive people’s attention to your content. Use some strong expressions.

Instead of making it this :

“How to Lose Weight”

Make it more emotional:

“10 Expert Tips for Losing Weight”

See the difference?

enticing post title Google RankBrain

Note: Do not go overboard! I myself don’t enjoy clicking on the title with the phrase “Jaw-dropping” and find rather mediocre content. Sneaky click-baits tend to get a high bounce rate.

Trick 2: Use Numbers

It is a copywriting secret, that was hidden from the eyes of the mortals for a while. Fortunately, lots of top marketers are using it nowadays.

If you want to make your title fancier, you should totally try this trick.

Examples are below:

  • “20 Proven Link Building Strategies”
  • “10 Ways to Teach Your Kid the Second Language”
  • “Use this method to Improve your CTR by 346%”
  • 13 Little-known tricks to use stubborn belly fat for good

Did you notice the percent sign in the last title? That’s a great method too!

Trick 3: Use Brackets or Parentheses

This trick is less popular than the previous two but it possesses the same power.

Brackets and parentheses in the titles look very attractive. They simply help the article title stand out.

Users immediately see the difference between your website and other ones.


  • Website Speed Optimization Full Guide + [Checklist]
  • On-Page SEO: The Full Checklist for a Perfect Article (2020)
  • 7 Popular Ways to do Intermittent Fasting (Tried & Tested)

Trick 4: Use Modifiers

Not only will it make your title more awesome, but it will also help you rank for long-tail keywords.


  • New
  • Best
  • Proven
  • Powerful
  • Effective
  • Case Study
  • Optimized

Trick 5: Use a Benefit-Driven Description

The description, as a title itself, should include a keyword.

It also needs to have a clear statement of what the visitors will actually get if they click on them.

Trick 6: Use Short URLs

Short URLs are much better than the long, ugly ones

Hint: Don’t forget to include your target keyword as well.

Take a look at these two examples:


The first one looks way more appealing and SEO-friendly.

2. Reduce the Bounce Rate and Increase the Dwell Time

As the visitors land on your page, by clicking the awesome title you crafted, it’s VITAL to let them stay.

You are probably wondering how:

Well, here are the proven steps that will make your blog’s visitors stick:

Step 1: Make your introduction straight to the point.

People lose patience very fast if they don’t see what they need.

Step 2: Create awesome content:

Ask yourself a question:

Do I produce at least one of the following?

  • Long, informative content
  • Easy to read text
  • Engaging images

Step 3: Use Interlinking

Perhaps this one is the easiest way you can increase the on-page time.

Just make sure you include about 3-5 links to your old and new content.

They should be relative and naturally embedded.

article introduction interlink Google RankBrain

Step 4: Leverage Multimedia

We are all visual creatures.

Images and videos are some of the best ways to deliver information to the visitor.

So if you want your article to grab the reader’s attention you MUST use:

  • Images
  • Screenshots
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Videos
  • Tables
  • Infographics
  • and so on

Step 4: Do the website CRO

Conversion Rate Optimization(CRO) is one of the best ways you can increase UX and therefore optimize for Google RankBrain.

Use CRO Guide to find out how you can supercharge your blog.

3. Forget about optimizing for a very specific keyword

Google loves long, descriptive content, so do people. There is no question about that.

Publishing thin content can ruin your entire Technical SEO.

If you produce such content you will rank for lots of different keywords. That is exactly what you should aim for.

It is no longer an option to craft a hundred 500-word articles for 100 super long-tail keywords.

The keywords might be different, but still closely related to each other.

Rather than following the false path, you need to produce a monstrous-big piece of content, that will be ranked for thousands(!) keywords itself.

post ranks for many organic keywords Google RankBrain

That is what professionals do. That is what you should do!

4. Increase your brand popularity

Now only will it help you lift your website rankings, but it will also increase organic CTR and brand authority.

1. The best way to start is guest posting!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about low-authority spam websites.

Your goal should be DA +30 niche-related websites with high traffic.

And let me get it straight, links, in this case, are NOT your top priority, they are a positive side effect.

Your goal is to establish yourself as an expert by publishing great stuff on popular websites.

Next time when users struggle to choose the right website in the SERP, they can recognize your brand name, and click on it!

recognition in serp by brand name Google RankBrain

2. Answer on popular Q&A websites

I love this technique!

Let’s take Quora as an example.

You set up your profile and choose topics within your expertise.

nikita shevchenko quora profile Google RankBrain

Look for the questions people ask:

quora picking the right questions Google RankBrain

Answer them with a link to the related content(your website’s article)

quora answer by nikitashevchenko Google RankBrain

Benefits of this method are:

  1. You help people
  2. You increase brand awareness
  3. You build backlinks and increase traffic to your website

3. Coauthorship

Coauthorship may become a powerful tool in the right hands.

Sure, it can be a quite challenging task for newbies. That’s why I put this method the last in the list.

You’d better use the previous 2 steps, to jump from “yet another guy” to “I heard about him/her”.

Then you may use outreach and offer the blogger a coauthorship in his/her new project.

Ideally, you should choose from the websites where you already were published as a guest blogger.

Here are the reasons:

  1. They may remember you
  2. They know what you are capable of
  3. They published your content once, so they appreciate your expertise

4. Social Prominence

All BIG brands have vibrant social media profiles.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

These are all great places to start building your online exposure. You don’t need to shoot at them all at one time.

Pick up the one that promises the highest ROI and fill it up with niche-relevant content.

When you have at least one solid profile it will be easier for you to build another one(domino effect).

5. Link Building

As you probably know, links are vital in modern SEO.

Guest posting is just one great way to build backlinks to your website.

But there are many more legit ways to acquire powerful backlinks that will help you gain authority and reputation.

Google LOVES websites with a strong link profile. So you should start as soon as possible!

Here are some of the best ways to build links:

  • Resource pages
  • Broken link building
  • Blogger outreach
  • Microblogging
  • Guest Posting

5. Use this method to save thousands of $

This advice is so powerful, I simply could not forget to mention it.

As you probably know, Google trusts brands.

They are reliable and legitimate. They also provide great value to users.

Popular brands in your niche spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to find out what really works.

So if you are just starting your marketing journey, or struggle with your website popularity, here is what you SHOULD do:


Here are the action steps for you:

Step 1: Find the leading websites in your niche

You can use AllTop or the good old Google search.

Step 2: Analyze their approach to content creation

  • Do they post long or short content?
  • How often do they post?
  • How are they unique?
  • What On-Page SEO strategies do they use?
  • Are there many backlinks pointing to the domain?

Step 3: Implement the same strategies

Do what best experts in your field do. Adjust their best practices to the specifics of your own website.

And you are all set!

Has Google RankBrain update affected your website rankings?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

Also, add me on LinkedIn, and follow on Quora and Instagram.

I share some useful stuff there 😉

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