Search engine result pages have entered a new dimension lately thanks to the eruption of Google’s latest algorithm, intimidatingly christened “RankBrain”.
For the searcher, the new state of play means being fed top-of-the-page instant relevant information before meeting a diffusion of related links and suggestions on the chosen topic. For effective SEO strategies, it means having to change tack and move away from a comfortable emphasis on keywords.
Although there is more than one search engine available to anyone looking something up, with around 67% of the market belonging to Google and around 18% to Microsoft’s Bing, it’s safe to say that it is usually Google being referred to when discussing algorithms and search engine rankings.
Google or Bing, what the new self-learning algorithms now require is a more succinct but relevant content presented in a way that appeals to both, the searcher and the algorithm.
The most obvious innovation is a text box, commonly known as a Knowledge Graph, that contains several lines of text often accompanied by a picture or image and increasingly, with a video clip. The most pertinent answer to the query is commonly a synopsis of the answer accompanied by dates or other relevant information.
The most salient effect that Knowledge Graphs have had is that by providing so much compact but germane information in a text box at the top of the page means that there is automatically fewer click-throughs on other sites featured further down on the SERPs even though those websites might actually be more expert on the topic being researched. RankBrain favours answers that get to the significant part fastest.
Another salient difference is that the answer in the Knowledge Graph may actually have been gleaned from one of the listed websites, but it does not carry any links that would lead the searcher back to the site that actually provided the information. Thirdly, if the searcher is satisfied with the information they are looking for in the KG, they might not bother going any further and clicking on any of the other listed sites.
Finally, the most frustrating aspect is that there is no option to refuse to participate in KGs on SE result pages. They are now the de facto main feature of a search result page and they will include unaccredited information parsed from the very websites listed in their results.
When it comes to getting your website noticed by RankBrain, the outlook may seem bleak. Some consolation might be had in simply being good enough to appear on the same page as the KG in the first place not to mention the satisfaction of knowing your site is the source of the information used in the KG, even if you aren’t accredited. There are strategies that your marketing team will be undertaking to balance out the situation, including a more important emphasis on video content.
Nonetheless, what is now even clearer, is that providing informative, helpful, and relevant content is more important than ever before if you hope to gain meaningful visibility!