Deciphering Rank Tracking with ‘RankBrain’ at the Helm

SEO campaigns are on the rise and it is only fitting we talk about certain overlooked concepts regarding the same. However, if you are still living in an era of simplified and obsolete link building— this post might not make sense to you.

In the subsequent sections, we will be talking about search queries and how they have been impacted by the arrival of a new algorithm— RankBrain. Before moving any further into this article, we need to understand that some concepts of SEO hold true even in 2017 and rank tracking is certainly one of them. There are individuals who search queries and are readily presented with options. However, the choices made by them determine the popularity of the company or a specific website— helping it rank higher on Google.

It does matter how the website ranks. Rank tracking is indicative of the fact that customers are preferring company listings over the engulfing competition. This is the reason a post like this is needed, uncovering the myths and realities associated with rank building, in the era of RankBrain algorithm.

That said, rankings and related data are obfuscated courtesy the arrival of local searches, mobile optimization and even paid listings. However, we will be keeping the paid aspects out of discussion for a while as organic rank tracking has nothing to do with the dollars splurged. SEO rankings are still misunderstood at multiple levels and it’s time we address the elephant in the room— once and for all.

RankBrain and its Impact

RankBrain isn’t a typical algorithm but something that treads on the lines of artificial intelligence. As this program from Google readily affects search queries— user engagement seems to an integral part of the same. Unlike the previous instances of addressing user queries, RankBrain algorithm brings forth advanced ‘conversational’ searches in addition to a more natural processing of all queries. At the end, it offers the right set of results to the right user— readily at the perfect time.

While this technology is yet to be leveraged completely, it is still showing signs of improvement— allowing businesses with rank tracking and other similar metrics. RankBrain definitely offers a great platform for content pieces to appear but the ranking predictions are actually pretty difficult to make.

Moreover, the landscape associated with modern day SEO involves local searches, voice-centric searches and even the mobile-first layout which in turn makes rank tracking exceedingly difficult.

Can Rank Tracking be Measured?

There can never be a one word answer for this. However, as businesses, we need to look at certain aspects which can pave the way for a more definite answer. We are in a RankBrain-inspired environment which in turn is still in a state of flux. Here are the queries which need to be addressed beforehand:

  1. RankBrain involves machine learning which develops continually— making it nearly impossible to measure comparative data.
  2. The reports need to formulated according to responses and real-time statistics.
  3. With natural processing being such an important factor, keyword variations are expected to lose their tracking mojo.
  4. At the end, RankBrain shows up with personalized results and therefore websites might not be able to predict overall user engagement and nature of keywords, increasing or decreasing the same.

Moreover, there is no point competing with RankBrain manually as for humans it is literally impossible to process such humongous proportions of data sets and convert them into vectors that are reliable and relatable at the same time.

Remedial Measures??

Now when we have established that rank tracking is pretty difficult to materialize with RankBrain in picture— it would be interesting to know what other platforms are doing in order to combat the same. It is no secret that every marketer is trying to get hold of rank tracking details and the associates are mostly showing up with obsolete reports and charts. However, the best approach— at this hour would be to run crawls across locations, data sets and even devices— in order to get the clearest of pictures. Single set of details isn’t going to be enough.

One technique to combat RankBrain and its elusive mechanism is to track and target broader topics, preferably keyword clusters. The idea here is to encourage relevance over quantity as this is where RankBrain pitches in. Unlike the SEO firms which believe in shortcuts to success, RankBrain is expected to work better with analytics platform— offering deeper insights into overall optimization and audience requirements.

We need to look strategically into the user behavior as RankBrain works on the lines of user engagement. Therefore, if you are still looking to track ranking with RankBrain at the hindsight— it would be advisable to delve deeper into specific audience segments— segregated according to locations and devices.

Certain bits need to be implemented even at the website level as businesses need to connect queries with the underlining topics. As RankBrain interconnects diverse topics with engagement metrics, it is necessary for businesses to cover areas with wider search results, aggregated rankings and even better audience interaction.


Be it spoken queries or typed searches, businesses will keep working on rank tracking metrics— in order to grow and prosper. However, it might not be as simple as it would have been in the absence of RankBrain algorithm. Businesses must realize that if they are looking to improve accuracy and work on relevant targeting— they need to come with an upgraded hierarchy— especially in this RankBrain-centric industry.


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