Most search queries are handled by Google, and Google is notorious for constantly changing the way searches are processed and ranked: What worked well in the past may lead to penalties today, and what works today might be only a small part of a good strategy in six months.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Google has announced a new update to Hummingbird, the search algorithm it adopted in 2013. What is surprising is the nature of that update: RankBrain is based on machine learning, also known as artificial intelligence. RankBrain
Not too long ago, Google searches understood synonyms, but not much else. Getting a good search position meant building a strategy around specific keywords related to your industry – words and phrases Google could associate with a few obvious meanings. Now, it is learning to return search results based on user intent, even if the search query doesn’t use common keywords at all.
This does two things: It dilutes the power of old-fashioned thinking about SEO and it provides more relevant search results for end users. After all, “good” search results – the results users want, even when they don’t know what they want – are exactly what Google is in the business of promoting.
How RankBrain Impacts B2B
Enterprises: Three Vital Lessons
RankBrain reaffirms Google’s commitment to engaging content that serves the needs of buyers. While it’s impossible to predict exactly what the full impact of RankBrain will be, there are three core principles that B2B firms can rely on in this time of change:
- Content Must Be for Buyers: RankBrain proves again that effective Web content provides the information buyers need in the formats they want. Building complex, counter-intuitive approaches around “attracting search engines” is a recipe for disaster.
- SEO is a Process, Not a Project: SEO can yield enormous ROI, but the commitment of effort and expertise must be consistent over time. When an SEO strategy has adequate time to build, it is a powerful, cost-effective tool that multiplies your leads and sales.
- Buyers’ Needs Change – So Should Sites: Innovative content formats like video marketing and infographics make a big difference in B2B. This is especially true as more decision-makers access seller sites using mobile devices and have less time to contemplate their purchase decisions.
Few B2B enterprises have the internal resources to launch and maintain a focused digital marketing strategy; one where SEO and great content work hand-in-hand. In the age of RankBrain, partnering with experts is more important than ever.