The RankBrain update from Google is a new machine algorithm that promises to make a huge difference in searches. The update has attracted a lot of attention over the last couple of months, but what exactly does it do, and what does it really mean for webmasters?
The Evolution of Google
Over the last 10 to 15 years, Google has devoted a lot of time to machine learning algorithms, but rather than trying to replicate human intelligence, they are focused on Artificial Narrow Intelligence – ANI – which is the concept of making a machine that has intelligence that equals or exceeds human intelligence at one specific thing. That is what Google is aiming for with Hummingbird and RankBrain.
Answering Unique Questions
RankBrain is focused on answering questions that Google has never seen before. These unique questions account for around 15 per cent of Google’s traffic, and Google uses a number of ranking signals and factors to determine how to answer them. RankBrain is just one part of how those queries are processed and understood, and it is an important part of modern SEO because it is an algorithm that will learn and improve itself over time.
Hundreds of Signals
There is a lot of confusion about what RankBrain actually is. It’s important to understand that RankBrain is not a replacement for Hummingbird or any of the other tweaks and signal changes that Google has made in recent months.
If you search for Bournemouth web designers, you will still find that companies such as Expect Best that are located in that area will enjoy stronger rankings than someone outside of the area. Domain authority, content, keywords, age, and all those other factors still matter.
RankBrain just changes the way quality is defined.
Over time, with multiple iterations, the algorithm can learn what makes a website high quality and what indicates that a site is not high quality. It can learn to understand strange phrasings, colloquial terms, and all the other things that traditionally confound computers. It is a bridge between humans (which are unpredictable) and computers (which like rules). By refining the understanding and retrieval parts of the search algorithm, RankBrain will hopefully take Google one step closer to being an intuitive interface for all of the information that is available to us on the web.