Write for Real People, Account for the Robots




By Patti Dalessio

With the Hummingbird algorithm release in 2013, Google incorporated user’s intent into the understanding of a search query. Last year Google confirmed it’s furthering this understanding of “User Intent” with the use of something called RankBrain.

“RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence system, the use of which by Google was confirmed on 26 October 2015. It helps Google to process search results and provide more relevant search results for users.” Bloomberg Business 

So what does this mean for you and your keyword strategy, your content creation and optimizing your performance in search engines like Google for the terms you care most about. Let’s take a look at Semantic Search and ways to include intent and contextual meaning into your website content.

Here’s an approach.

  1. Identify Your Primary Keywords.  Use Google (Auto Complete & Related searches) to narrow these ideas.
  2. Expand to Related Keywords, related topics, semantically connected keywords, adjacent concepts.
  3. Include Longer Tail Key-Phrases or even Questions Relevant to Searchers.

What you’re doing here is “all chips in” that you’ll reach the audience who’s looking for you and being explicit with the robots and not be narrow, overlooked or misunderstood. (Robots, in this case, are the algorithms and intelligence systems that are interpreting and indexing our web content)

Simple Example:

Let’s say I’m going to write about Purses, because I’m a fancy fashion blogger (or I aspire to freelance as such). My article is specifically about upcoming fall trends in purses.  Now because Google is smart and incorporates RankBrain and Semantic Search concepts – it knows the relationship between Handbag and Purse. But there are many names and synonyms of “Purse” – and some, it turns out are really strange.

This is from thesaurus.com.







I’m sure you can guess what I get when I start typing, “poke” into Google.






When I search for purses 2016 fall — Google Auto Complete tells me “colors” is being searched. I searched this phrase and do not see any top search results with this headline or topic. So, I’ve decided to write on “Handbag Color Trends for Fall 2016”

  1. Primary Keywords are purses, handbags, fall 2016, handbag color trends,
  2. Related Keywords.  I put the words “Fall Handbag Trends” into Uber Suggest and discovered some new ideas to include. Like secondary keywords like “autumn” and “designer handbag” and “latest”/”upcoming” trends — these are fun.
  3. Longer Tails Phrases – My favorite tool for this is Answer the Public. It’s terrific for questions to consider and a very cool interface.  I’m liking these questions to incorporate into my content.
    • “What handbags to buy for fall”
    • “What handbags do celebrities carry”

Most importantly, write to provide value, write for real people – and consider the robots.

Turns out I’m seeing a lot of red, wine, garnet, and merlot.

I really like this one –> 



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