This past spring, Google’s own Andrey Lipattsev announced the top three search ranking factors, and local SEO pros listened in awe as they updated their strategies and metrics. For the first time in digital marketing history, Google (aka, the king of the online marketing world) has provided us with a sneak peek into what they use to determine search rankings, other than those pesky Penguins and Pandas! Hopefully, this article will help you if you have experienced a drop in google rankings recently. So, without further ado, I present to you the much-anticipated top three VIPs of Google search rankings: links, content, and the RankBrain algorithm.



Links, Content & RankBrain: The VIPs of Google Search Ranking

Last year, Google announced that their RankBrain algorithm was the “third most important search ranking factor,” which leads us to believe that links and content are tied for first place in the race to the top. Watch the video below to see exactly what Lipattsev had to say about the top three Google search ranking factors.

No time to watch the video? No worries – you can read the entire Google Q&A video transcript here.

A Killer Content & Linking Strategy

In the local SEO game, web content is outrageously important. It is critical to ensure you’re always including your primary and secondary geo-targets, high-volume keywords, and proper headings. The overall objective is to craft content using high-volume keywords and locations, but still sound conversational and professional. A great tip is to always read content aloud before publishing. If it sounds cheesy or robotic, scrap it and start over. Itching for even more SEO copywriting tips and tricks? Click here!

As Lipattsev summarizes in the Google Q&A video above, webmasters can build better sites if they follow a detailed content strategy and pay more attention to the links that point to their site. Links should be used correctly, meaning that they shouldn’t be overstuffed on a page, and should be embedded within specific keywords and phrases. It’s also important to use UTM parameters (Urchin Tracking Module) to measure traffic from each link.

So, there you have it folks – conversational content with high-volume keywords and links that make sense. Seems easy enough, right? Great! Now, get out there and revamp your web content!

RankBrain: What You Need to Know

The Google RankBrain algorithm uses a learning technology machine called “RankBrain” to assist in the processing of search results. Similar to AI, the RankBrain algorithm utilizes machine learning to acquire knowledge and make connections as they apply to search rankings. Keep in mind, RankBrain is only part of Google’s search algorithm (formerly known as Hummingbird), not the entire determining factor.

Simply put: RankBrain works by sorting through billions of web pages to find the most relevant options for each search query, even if the query doesn’t contain a specific word or set of words. Click here to learn more about RankBrain, how it works, and how it could help your search rankings.

Final Thoughts

Before you scrap your SEO strategy and start focusing on the three items above, it’s important to remember that Google considers many other factors when ranking in websites in SERPs. For example, ensuring your site is mobile-friendly and your NAP is aligned across all local listings and directories will also play an important role in Google search rankings. However, now that we know that content, links, and RankBrain are the top three considerations, it’s important to ensure that the five-star treatment is given to these areas.