Understanding RankBrain for Attorney SEO

What is RankBrain and How Does it Impact SEO For Lawyers?

Google’s stated that, in addition to content and links when determining rankings, it places a lot of value on “RankBrain.” What is RankBrain? It’s essentially artificial intelligence designed to understand a user’s intent when they’re conducting a search. 

It’s important to understand how it works, so here’s a quick breakdown:

Let’s say someone searches for “car accident lawyer in Los Angeles.” Another person conducts a search for “lawyer after car accident in LA.” Someone else plugs in the phrase “Los Angeles auto accident attorney.” 

These are three different phrases, but you and I know that these three users are all searching for the same thing. So, the results for these phrases should, ideally, be the same. 

RankBrain is Google’s way of figuring this out. 

So, the RankBrain AI system interprets these searches. It tries to ascertain what each of the users wants to learn by inserting these specific queries. And, it determines which ranking signals are most appropriate and should be applied. 

Ranking signals are things like:

  • Keyword matching
  • Related keywords and text
  • Anchor text
  • Link diversity
  • Content quality and depth
  • Engagement
  • Content freshness, and
  • Domain authority.
RankBrain Factors

Back to the intent of the search: finding a car accident attorney in Los Angeles. In order to find the best results, RankBrain will search for pages that:

  • (a) contain keywords that match the specific query as well as related queries,
  • (b) have relevant information that’s discussed in-depth, and
  • (c) have positive user signals.

User signals include things like:

  • click-through rate (how many people click on a site),
  • dwell time (how long a user spends on a page after clicking through from Google’s search results), and
  • bounce rate (number of people clicking on a site and then returning to search results). 

The more people that click on a site and stay there, the more positive user signals RankBrain detects.

RankBrain will give those sites a lot of weight when making split-second decisions about what results should be provided for a given search.

What Can You Do to Optimize Your SEO Campaign When it Comes to RankBrain?

How can you make your law firm’s site more appealing to artificial intelligence that Google’s placing a lot of weight on during the ranking process? 

  • Focus on improving and optimizing the signals that RankBrain cares about. 
  • Create great, compelling, in-depth content that’s fresh.
  • Write content in a way that incorporates your target keyword and related keywords all on one page. 
  • Create a great link portfolio and work to get authoritative backlinks. 
  • Design and develop a website that really enhances the user experience. 

Think of it this way: RankBrain is looking for signals that indicate you’re doing attorney SEO right. So, don’t worry too much about optimizing your site for RankBrain – no one’s really sure if that can be done.

Instead, focus on all of the factors that RankBrain cares about: content, links, and UX.

Up Next: Keyword Research for Attorneys