What is Google RankBrain?
RankBrain has changed the search engine game forever. Using Google search use to be all about putting a keyword term in the search box and hoping for the best result. Then with multiple and evolving updates, Google algorithms continued to go through a rigorous metamorphosis. Each algorithm has a pattern and guidelines that need to be followed (if you want to avoid a penalty). Some websites back in the day were able to skate by with hardly any optimization and no clear message of value.
That was then.
RankBrain is machine learning artificial intelligence. What does that mean? It means that Google has developed an algorithm that takes search to a whole other level. RankBrain has the ability to teach itself when exposed to various forms of data. It takes historical search data, interprets that information and makes educated predictions for future searches.
RankBrain “learns” search queries and retains that data, allowing it to understand those queries and related words more effectively. It identifies patterns of a particular search and discovers other search results that are similar in nature.
Search Engine Optimization use to be all about the keyword. Then as time passed, it became about long-tail keyword terms. RankBrain goes so much further than that and has become a major ranking factor.
Search engines were not created with websites and businesses in mind. They were created to help people find solutions.
How is RankBrain a Ranking Signal?
These days, when someone enters a search query they most likely use complete questions or statements. The reason is that users want information quickly and believe the more details (data) they put in a search box, the faster a solution will reveal itself. Because RankBrain has been studying search queries diligently, it seeks out ranking signals. This could be a long-tailed keyword term within a website’s conversational content, title tag, meta-description, etc. The signals could also be based off of whether that search query is in a headline, or based off of a particular geographical location (think local search). Either way, it looks for words in any given query and tries to match it with relevant search results previously not associated with that search term.
Basically, RankBrain closes the gap in data to deliver the fastest and most relevant results. It literally refines search results from past and present using complex long-tail queries. This is why optimizing your website’s structure and content is more important than ever. RankBrain itself is a ranking signal, and the better it understands your content, the better chance you have at placing higher in SERPs.
Let me add a little clarity for you. RankBrain is part of the Hummingbird Algorithm. And that algorithm has other elements that include Panda and Penguin. Hummingbird rewards websites and their pages depending on the links that point back to them. Content is also a ranking signal. So, when RankBrain analyses your site, it’s looking for various other ranking signals. Most importantly it’s looking to see if your content is natural, unique and has links from other domains pointing at your pages.
There are 3 main ranking signals:
Will Machine Learning Affect SEO?
Yes. If anything, it will force businesses online to focus on engaging their visitors more efficiently and provide solutions that match search queries more precisely. When using Google Analytics and Search Console, you’re looking at the behavior of visitors. That’s exactly what machine learning is doing. It’s decoding the behavior of users (humans) and anticipating the best results based off of that behavior.
For example, RankBrain is not only learning about your search queries but others who are making similar searches. So it makes sense to optimize your website for people and not search engines. Find better ways to engage your audience. It also helps to have your SEO and developer map out concepts and integrate best practice to influence the behavior of visitors.
Machine learning is used to determine the closest relationship of multiple search queries that deliver the best results. If your site has good conversational content, quality links, and focuses on the concerns of your target audience…then you’re main ranking signals are in place.
As time goes on, machine learning artificial intelligence, such as Google RankBrain, will refine search as we know it. Will you be ready?