In November 2015, reports emerged indicating that Google had begun to use a new machine-learning artificial intelligence called “RankBrain” to improve its search engine results. Search Engine Land’s article on the new artificial intelligence indicates that RankBrain appears to be integrated as part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm. The affect RankBrain will have on SEO practices and SERP rankings is still unclear because, due to the machine-learning nature of RankBrain, it will “teach” itself as it participates in more and more search queries.
Here’s what we know so far about RankBrain and its effect on SEO.
One misconception about RankBrain is that its purpose is to affect the rankings of individual pages. However, Google indicates that RankBrain’s mission is to help the search engine better understand language used in search queries. Instead of focusing purely on the exact words entered in the query, relevant results without the exact words may show up on the SERP. Once the AI better understands the language used in search queries, it can then use that knowledge to improve and modify SERP ranks for those queries.
Due to the rapid technological growth in recent years, more and more users are using voice-to-text technology when inputting search queries. They are using more organic language versus the robotic language used when typing queries into Google search. RankBrain will be able to learn from this organic language used in spoken search queries and find better ways to provide relevant results. Out of all signals Google uses to help determine how to rank Web pages, RankBrain is ranked third.
Another reason RankBrain may help provide better search results is the 450 million searches per day that have never been entered before. Google and their AI’s ever improving language understanding can help find complex patterns between this and other queries to provide the best results.
Implications for SEO
There is no question that RankBrain is a game changer for anyone interested in search engine optimization. However, how the game has changed is still unclear, and only time will tell exactly how RankBrain has affected website rankings. Despite the ambiguous impact of Google’s new AI, sticking to the fundamentals of SEO is still crucial. While RankBrain is Google’s third ranked ranking signal, quality content and links are still at the top of the list. At Blayzer, we are up to date on all the latest industry leading techniques in Search Engine Optimization. Find out how we can help bring your website to the top of Google’s results page.