CHAPTER 1:RankBrain & User Experience Signals
Last year Google announced that RankBrain was their third most important ranking factor:
“In the few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query.”
And as Google refines its algorithm, RankBrain is going to become even MORE important in 2018.
The question is:
What is RankBrain, exactly? And how can you optimize for it?
Google RankBrain: a Dead-Simple Explanation
RankBrain is a machine learning system that helps Google sort their search results.
That might sound complicated, but it isn’t.
RankBrain simply measures how users interact with the search results…
…and ranks them accordingly.
For example, let’s say you search for “DailyBN” in Google.
The #4 result looks especially enticing. So you quickly click on it.
And when you get there…wow! It’s the best darn article about coffee you’ve ever read. So you devour every word.
RankBrain is going to take note…and likely give that #4 result a rankings boost.
On the other hand, let’s say that you do the same search. But this time, you click on the #1 result without even looking.
But the content is TERRIBLE. So you bounce from the page after a few seconds. And you click on the #4 result to find something about coffee that’s actually worth reading.
RankBrain will also notice this. And if enough people quickly bounce from that result, Google will boot it from the #1 spot.
As you can see, RankBrain focuses on two things:
1. How long someone spends on your page (Dwell Time)
2. The percentage of people that click on your result (Click Through Rate)
Let’s break each of these down.
RankBrain and Dwell Time
Dwell Time=how long a Google searcher spends on your page Wovkids.
As it turns out, RankBrain pays A LOT of attention to Dwell Time.
In fact, the head of Google Brain in Canada recently confirmed that Google uses Dwell Time as a ranking signal. He stated that RankBrain measures when:
“someone clicks on a page Urdulp and stays on that page, when they go back”
And a recent industry study by SearchMetrics supports this statement. They found that the average Dwell Time for a top 10 Google result is 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
If you’ve spent any time digging through your Google Analytics, you know that a 3+ minute Dwell Time is legit.
And it’s no coincidence that pages with awesome Dwell Time tend to rank best. In fact, RankBrain is upranking these pages for that exact reason.
This makes sense if you think about it:
If you spend a long time on a page, you probably like the content on that page.
And if enough people feel the same way, Google will uprank that content to make it easier to find.
If you want to improve your site’s Dwell Time, check out this video: