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

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What is the Google Penguin Algorithm?

The Google Penguin Algorithm was announced by Google soon after, the Panda update had been rolled out.

Penguin’s aim is to improve the quality of its ranking websites.

Lets have a closer look at the update

The Google Penguin Algorithm has an overarching mission to clean up the search engine results page (SERPS). By penalising pages which, entertain poor practice, such as using link schemes and keyword stuffing. Whilst rewarding sites that are high in quality and working to the Webmasters Guidelines.

A small percentage of search engine requests made in English were affected upon the release of the alogorithm. Nearly half a decade and 10 ‘document’ updates later the Search engine optimisation (SEO) community recognise and understand the work that Penguin sets out to do. During 2017 Penguin became part of the core algorithm.

Penguin will identify and penalise sites which aim to deceive and manipulate Google. Examples of the kinds of sites which Penguin will penalise are ones designed not for its users. But to achieve greater ranking through finding loopholes and shortcuts.


What Penguin identifies as being negative

Keyword Stuffing

This is the overuse of keywords in an unnatural way. So Google believes the site has answers to search phrases.

Link Schemes

This is where a user acquires backlinks from low quality site. To create a façade of popularity to fool Google into ranking the site more favourably.

Although Penguin regards the above as deceptive it also condemns the following techniques:

  1. Hidden links and text
  2. Pages with irrelevant keywords
  3. Doorway pages
  4. Automatically generated content
  5. Unwanted redirects

Ways to get back in Penguins good books

Some leg work should be done in order to, either recover from the Penguin update, or to protect yourself from being hit by the algorithm. You should action a clean up operation involving the removal of bad and spammy links. Rewrite content which currently over uses keywords to provide quality to your visitors. Your keywords should be natural and not repetitive. Furthermore, avoid over optimization of site pages.

To conclude

Penguin favours websites that are considered safe and trustworthy. Similar to other algorithms like Panda or Hummingbird. If you can demonstrate that your site provides a useful service or is a helpful resource and you follow the Webmasters Guidelines. Then you will reduce or eradicate the negative impact of Penguin when Google next reviews your site.

For further advise or guidance on the Penguin algorithm feel free to contact our team.

Understanding Google’s Algorithm update: Fred

Let’s identify who Fred is and discuss how we can protect ourselves against google’s Algorithm update

Who is Fred?

During March 2017 website owners were noticing a drop in ranking. No announcements were made about Google algorithm updates at the beginning of March, which left people confused and questioning why their rankings had been hit. However, towards the end of the Month Google put us in the picture and explained that there hadn’t been a specific algorithm update, but in fact, Google did and still do daily updates to ensure quality websites are rewarded. Moving forwards, we now refer to all the general updates that happen as Fred.

More about the Fred updates

If you noticed changes in your rankings during March 2017 you weren’t alone. If your drop in ranking was sudden and unexplained it is likely that you have been hit by these Google’s updates. Websites entertaining the idea of black hat SEO techniques are penalised for these poor practices.

If you were / are doing one of some following, your drop in ranking can most likely be linked to these updates:

  • Too many ads on your website
    The number of ads present on your website out numbers the content on your pages.
  • Thin content
    The information and blog content are of poor quality, minimal and vague. If your content is of a low standard and doesn’t compare to other websites in your industry.
  • Aggressive monetization
    Having too much focus on making money or encouraging a return using dodgy practices.
  • Mobile compatibility problems
    A website design needs to be responsive and translate well when using a mobile phone and tablets.
  • Poor user experience (UX)
    Content and website elements are disorganised, difficult to navigation, bad links and on-site errors.

Part of the Fred updates focused on tackling the above issues and from doing so informs us that Google are fighting back at websites which try to cheat the system. If your focus is on monetization rather than being a useful online resource, then your website ranking is likely to suffer. You may be unaware that these practices are questionable and if that is the case there are improvements that can be made. We can of course be proactive and ensure the above are not techniques being utilised on your website. However, if you are unsure about identifying the cause then its probably most effective if you get a professional to help you quickly identify the issue.

Let’s be proactive and work with Fred

Websites with excellent UX are favoured by Google. By making changes and working with white hat SEO techniques you will avoid penalties.

Although it can be difficult to identify general Google updates and their impact, it is generally a good idea to follow these practices. Use our check list to improve your website and it’s ranking.

  • Ensure your content and blogs are clear and relevant to the service you are providing
  • Add to or remove content that is thin
  • Regularly maintain your website, its content and ensure you have no errors
  • Remove ads or reduce the amount on your website so the ratio of content to ads is more fair
  • Check that your website is responsive and translates well to mobile and tablets
  • Don’t keyword stuff, and ensure the keywords used are relevant
  • Improve website trustworthiness
  • Give a clear indication of what your website is about
  • Build your website reputation through positive reviews, quality back links and awards

You can also use Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to cover the basics and gain a broader understanding. Alternatively contacting a professional to take your project on will help to manage the issues raised.

Last words about Fred

Ultimately, consider your visitors and users. Give then a quality story and explanation of your business/ service. Make their visit to your website one that is effortless and enjoyable – all in all a good experience. Show off your credentials and make your testimonials, reviews and awards noticeable to the world.

Finally, repeat after me… Quality, Quality, Quality

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