Can You Optimize for Google RankBrain?

It has been common knowledge for quite some time now that there is very little point in terms of trying to optimize your onsite page content in an attempt to gain a competitive edge using the RankBrain algorithm.

Although Google does use RankBrain as a method of matching up an individual search query with a relevant result, the system is not used as a ranking signal and therefore there are no  SEO advantages to be gained by trying to optimize for it by manipulating content.

According to a Public Service Announcement from John Mueller, which was published earlier today on Twitter, webmasters would be much better off optimizing content specifically for their users as opposed to the algorithm itself.


“If optimizing for Rankbrain = make a great site, it seems like the Rankbrain part is irrelevant. Make great sites for your users, folks.”

John’s announcement reiterates a previous point made by Gary Illyes, from way back in June 2016 at the SMX Advanced gathering, when Gary said that you cannot optimize for RankBrain specifically because there is no score for it.

This is in stark contrast to the majority of Google’s other algorithms, such as Panda and Penguin, which are used as ranking signals and do actually assign a score to a page or an entire website based on link and content analysis.

So, what can be gained from this knowledge?

In a nutshell, if someone is offering to optimize your site whilst telling you that they can improve your search positions by increasing your RankBrain score, you should take what they are saying with a pinch of salt because this is simply not how the algorithm works or why it was implemented.