Google’s RankBrain algorithm update: What do we know about it?

Google’s RankBrain algorithm update is primarily an artificial intelligent (AI) machine. Helping Google to establish and comprehend the best results to our search terms.

Initially RankBrain only dealt with a small amount of search queries. However, over time RankBrain has become more present when we use Google to make searches. Google’s vision for RankBrain is to increase the usability and usefulness of the search platform.

How does RankBrain work?

When RankBrain is faced with search queries that are unfamiliar, the AI machine will draw from information from other searches. The machine will search for information that it believes will be relevant to the unknown query and look to solve the problem. It will filter particular words and phrases to find meaning and thus a result that is suitable to your search query.

RankBrain works on the basis that it will continue to store and learn phrases, terms and patterns. To keep Google’s search engine results page (SERPS) purposeful to its’ users.

It is believed that RankBrain is producing a greater percentage of correct returns compared with the Google engineers.

To clarify the above point, suggests, “Google first ‘feeds’ it (RankBrain) data from a variety of sources. The algorithm then takes it from there, calculating and teaching itself over time to match a variety of signals to a variety of results and to order search engine rankings based on these calculations.”

Is RankBrain an algorithm?

Unlike the Penguin and Panda algorithms RankBrain is in fact, more of a component of Google’s Hummingbird core algorithm. It is our understanding that RankBrain doesn’t handle all search queries but does in fact work as part of a wider set up. According to, Search Engine Land “RankBrain is mainly used as a way to interpret the searches that people submit to find pages that might not have the exact words that were searched for.

Working with RankBrain…

RankBrain will also impact on your keyword strategy because the terms you are using, should be relevant to those being used by us in our everyday lives. Your keywords should reflect spoken language and the natural way humans speak. If you are picking keywords that are not being used, then your SEO campaign will be unsuccessful from the beginning.

Creating content that is for your users and not simply to manipulate ranking. Using appropriate keywords and providing true and honest services will help rank your page higher on Google SERPS.

For further support or assistance with your SEO feel free to get in contact with our friendly team

Contact Proactive Marketing Solutions to Discuss Your SEO Campaign.

What is the Google Pigeon Algorithm Update?

Pigeon was released in August 2013 and has been called ‘challenging’ in the area of local search ranking. Let’s look at what this means for businesses.

The Pigeon update implemented by Google has made its mark with Google maps search and the web search. The update seeks greater accuracy and relevancy but has impacted on some local searches. Resulting in some businesses experiencing fluctuations in internet leads. Additionally, it has updated its distance and location parameters.

Pigeon has changed its parameters

Pigeon aimed to connect local search algorithm more closely with the web algorithm and to make improvements on the ranking through looking more closely at parameters. Experts believe that the parameters were narrowed. This created a landscape of businesses being excluded from search results. During the early stages of Pigeon many businesses found themselves outside of the parameters. However, over the years Google has made further improvements to the way it analyses the distance between a business and the searcher.

By creating content that associates with the local area where you are doing business you will improve business presence. Producing images, articles and other forms of media will support your cause and give you a greater chance of ranking.

7 pack to 3 pack listing

It’s been reported throughout other algorithm articles that this roll out caused many challenges following the implementation of this update. One change being the old 7 pack style being replaced with the 3 pack listings. This has also affected the visibility of some businesses. Leaving many business owners wondering how they can improve their chances of being noticed and successfully competing for leads. Being ranked in the pack is usually influenced by a business’ organic ranking. Therefore, consider how you can build on and improve organic ranking through optimised and quality content, as well as links to reputable websites.

Additionally, work on getting some great reviews which will help with ranking as well as trustworthiness. Furthermore, fix any issues you have on your website making it fast and usable. These practical steps will give Google good signals about your site thus, in time improving your ranking. advises us that, “Local SEO focuses on the citations, NAP consistency, and reviews. But let’s not forget about domain authority and good old-fashioned content and links.”

Read our blog on the Possum update to understand in more depth how Google filters its local search results.


Dealing with spammy businesses

Another initial issue was the increase of spam businesses finding their way into the listings and removing legitimate business. Currently, Google still relies on people reporting the violations and spammy business in order to make changes. Reporting online violations to Google to make room for genuine hard-working businesses is an important process. Reporting violations should to be done in a careful manner. Follow Googles guidelines and don’t report legitimate business which might be your competition.

Feel free to get in contact to discuss any issues or guidance required.


A Must Read: The Breakdown of Google’s Algorithm Panda

Okay, so we’ve looked at the Hummingbird update, now it’s time for Google’s algorithm to karate chop his way through the door and explain himself!

Who or what is Panda?

Panda looks at tackling online issues such as plagiarism, keyword stuffing, spamming, thin content and duplication. The Panda Algorithm was named after a Google engineer named Navneet Panda (by who played a major role in the algorithm breakthrough. Initially, Panda acted like a filter with the aim to down score websites that were using black hat techniques. In 2016, Panda was integrated into the core algorithm, mainly because Google no longer expected to implement further updates to Panda’s functioning.

Why was the Panda algorithm implemented?

Some people may believe all they need is a website and some questionable and not so honest creativity to draw in customers. Businesses trying to function online will often have an interest in
ranking as highly as possible on search engines like Google. But, it’s the way we do this that matters to Google. Some individuals may have used techniques like keyword stuffing or plagiarism to build an online presence. However, since Panda has been on the scene website users like this, will find it difficult to function as now, these poor practices will influence their ranking.

Practices we need to avoid include, content farming which is all about writing, duplicating or plagiarizing short articles that explore many subjects, so Google believes that a website has the answers to a user’s queries thus sending us to a site that doesn’t have quality or useful content. This in turn leads neatly into the crack down on a lack of trustworthiness.

Websites that don’t have terms and conditions or privacy policies will be down scored by Panda. Make sure that your advert to content ratio is sensible and balanced is advised by Google. Other practices that Panda doesn’t like are:

  • Mentions of deals or sales in titles but when you have accessed the website there is no mention of either.
  • Website that have been reported or blocked by users will be down scored by Panda.
  • Panda has a big issue with poor quality content that is littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
  • The algorithm will pick up on high bounce rates, visitors who don’t come back and low click through rates.
  • Panda really, really, really doesn’t like machine generated content software. This one is a big No.


What changes can be made to keep on the right side of Panda?

Whilst it is important for us to recognise the role Panda plays in quality controlling online content and practices there might be other reasons why you may have had a drop in organic traffic. It’s always good to take in the bigger picture and consider issues such as, the time or year, fluctuations in potential customers’ expenditure and an increase in like-minded business in your local area – your competition!

We have put together a few tips to keep on Panda’s good side and out of his little black book. Make sure you evaluate old content like articles, blogs and website information and quality control your future content ensuring it doesn’t have spelling mistakes. It’s worth it– you will be rewarded by Panda for producing high quality content.

Proactive Marketing Solutions suggest you try to get a HTTPS secure encryption to show Google that you are trustworthy. You can use tools like a plagiarism checker, such as Copyscape and spelling and Grammar software like Grammerly to support you in producing quality content.

What’s the point?

As we’ve suggested, Panda can impact on your ranking, which might make it harder for organic traffic to find you if you use poor practices and black hat techniques. Your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plan should be built on approaches that are deemed, by Google, as being positive and honest, such as a getting a secure encrypted website and producing quality content.

Google reward websites that give users a great on-site experience, add value and sites that are easy to navigate. Surely these are principles that you would want to work with? After all, my guess if Google would probably win the ranking war.

For additional support with ranking and SEO contact us today for expert guidance and support.

A must read: The breakdown of Google’s algorithm Hummingbird

What is Google’s algorithm Hummingbird update all about? Let’s take a closer look…

What is hummingbird?

The Google update, Hummingbird, came into force in September 2013 but unlike other updates like Panda and Penguin, Hummingbird is more of a complete change of approach. Its been named Hummingbird due to its precision and speed.

The purpose of hummingbird is so Google can interpret natural language and respond effectively. It has taught Google to understand our intent when doing a search. Rather than looking at each keyword, Google can now look at the whole search query for context. Once Google has analysed its users search query it focuses on delivering us greater localization of results, which in turn, gives us answers which are relevant thus useful. In summary hummingbird is designed to improve the quality of its answers.

Why has Google implemented the Hummingbird updates?

For those of us old enough to look back ten years ago and remember where we were technologically it is clear why we might need these updates. A decade ago social media platforms were beginning to evolve and gain popularity, but we weren’t using voice searches or mobile phones to do searches on Google. Times have changed. Social media platforms are now central to our everyday lives and, with 40% of smartphone users benefiting from voice recognition to text its no wonder Google has applied these updates. We are literally talking to Google throughout our day. Therefore, Google have made changes to ranking, online content and links with the purpose of improving our experiences.

After all, search engines like Google are there to serve us and be as helpful as possible. As humans we adapt and change all the time and if technology wants to keep up, the likes of Google, also need to stay relevant.

What changes need making since Hummingbird?

If your ranking has been affected since hummingbird we would advise you change the way you use keywords and begin to implement long-tail and conversational terms. Hummingbird no longer uses seed/ head keywords which means site owners and marketers need to evaluate current and previous content with the intention of weaving in long tail keywords. Sites which have focused on
long tail keywords have experienced greater success. Using phrases like who, what and where are proven to help with ranking as these are the types of organic language that people are using when typing and speaking. Additionally, by ensuring your site is mobile-friendly and running at a good speed will give you better ranking.


Let’s recap on Hummingbird

Finally, Hummingbird is all about making Google more human. It aims to deliver the highest quality and relevant sites in response to your search query needs. Google has gained an ability to interpret our vague searches and colloquial tones of voice but nevertheless you still want to create a sense of clarity throughout your site as you want Google to direct users to your site because its clear you have the answers. Google have been reasonably transparent about the updates which means we can make changes to our sites if our ranking has been affected. However, it has been said that the Hummingbird update hasn’t had too many negative results.

To discuss Googles updates further and how we can help to increase your ranking contact us today!

Instagram success: 6 things you need to know

Change is something that we deal with in our everyday lives, from a diversion on the way to work to price hikes in your favourite coffee house, social media is no different.

They regularly evaluate and update their algorithms (algorithms are a series of mathematical steps to help with performance resulting in an answer to a problem). Not too long-ago Instagram, the Facebook owned company, decided to do exactly this. Read on to see how this will affect user experience (UX).

What’s changed?

Cast your mind back to 2016 when Instagram changed the algorithm that created reverse chronological feeds, which essentially revealed the end of a plot before the start. The reverse chronological ordering was sacked off in 2016 due to many users missing 70 percent of all posts and 50 percent of their closely followed accounts. However, Instagram recently announced that they had adopted a new algorithm which follows a more chronological ordering with six factors. These give users greater post coverage along with a fresh feel. Instagram historically has been pretty quiet about how it all works but, on this occasion, they have opened up.

How the new algorithm works?

The updated algorithm not only looks at who their users follow it also makes calculations based on what users like and how they engage with posts. Posts are now personalised, with not one feed being the same as the next. Instagram believes that 90 per cent of posts curated by friends and family will now be visible, which is a huge leap compared with the previous 50 per cent in 2016.

The algorithm predicts what users want to view by applying its six stage criteria to ongoing engagement. Here are the six factors Instagram now uses…


Instagram decides how popular a post would be with its user. The more popular it feels the post will be the higher up it will show in a feed. It basically looks at previous scrolling and clicking behaviours and calculates these against current posts. If a user likes motorbikes and a post has been published about motorbikes, they will assume its going to be a winner.


The new algorithm will favour up to date posts against ones that are much older – as simple as that really. In response to this change professionals will need to be producing up to date materials to ensure they don’t end up archived and at the bottom of its followers’ feeds.


If a user comments, tags and interacts well with others, Instagram will assume they are in the friends and family category. Comment more on a user’s photos and videos and see how they begin to show up on your feed.


If Instagram is used regularly, the feed will look more chronologically up-to-date as Instagram is trying to show the latest posts that are considered interesting to its user. However, if you only scroll now and then, the feed will focus on what’s considered to be more popular and interesting to the user. It will be less focused on making the feed chronological in this instance.


The consequence to an account that has many followers is that posts will become diluted. The feed will contain a bit of everyone and not much of anything. Compared with an account that has just a few followers where posts will show more frequently and regularly. It may or may not be the right time to consider the theory less is more and unfollow those unwanted accounts.


Instagram will be put to work digging through its catalogue to find up to date posts that are of interest for a user who sits for hours scrolling through the feed. Highlights will more likely appear if engagement time is minimal… a bit like ‘the best bits’.

For professional who are using Instagram as a marketing tool these changes mean:

  • More content needs to be produced to stay on top
  • Avoid republishing work to save time as users will not engage with it if they have seen it before
  • Be more aware of when your audience is using Instagram, so your content is timely and doesn’t end up at the bottom before you have even started!
  • Engage your audience so they spend longer with you, and in turn your content will show up more regularly on their feeds
  • Leave comments and create a community that want to interact with you and your enterprise.

If you would like further help to develop a social media strategy that works with up to date algorithms and platforms, then say hello to one of our team at Proactive Marketing Solutions.