The Google RankBrain algorithm explained

The Google RankBrain algorithm explained
Photo: Geralt, Pixabay

To search through the billions of requests for information typed into its search engine daily, Google developed an artificial intelligence called RankBrain. It searches through queries and words or phrases it is unfamiliar with and learns them, so they can be filtered along with other requests to create the search engine results you see.

RankBrain has quickly become one of the most important factors for determining what is seen on search engine results pages. However, the artificial intelligence program, or AI, is only one element within Google’s algorithm, called Hummingbird, which sorts through billions of web pages to provide the search results when a query has been made.

Provides accurate results

RankBrain has helped Hummingbird provide more accurate results because it can learn words and phrases it may not know. In addition, it also learns them specifically for the country, as well as language, in which a query is made. So, if you look up a query with the word “boot” in it within the United States, you’re going to get information on footwear. However, if the query comes through the United Kingdom, then the information could also be in regards to storage spaces in cars.

This allows results to queries to be more accurate, as Google can now take more words into account because RankBrain saves searches with certain keywords which are usually omitted, but instead need to be given more emphasis. For instance, if you wanted the search results for “cookie recipes without sugar,” the word “without” used to be ignored by Google’s algorithm. Now, thanks to the help of RankBrain saving the searches, Google’s searches can provide results for sugar-free cookie recipes.

RankBrain is used to refine search engine requests since Google receives three billion queries per day. Among those queries are some which have never been seen before, which in 2013, accounted for about 15% of all queries. This means approximately 450 million requests each day have never been made before, so they need to be understood and translated to provide accurate search results.

Performs complex interpretations

Among many of the interpretations RankBrain must do are more complex queries containing long-tail requests by searchers. By being able to interpret these complex queries better, Google can help find web pages which the searchers will like. RankBrain learns by being able to connect seemingly unrelated complex searches to better understand their similarities, which lets it better understand future searches and their relation to certain topics. It then associates the group of searches to help find the results it thinks users will like the most.

RankBrain as a ranking factor

Google’s AI program is ranked as the third most important ranking factor or signal when determining how well a website will rank on results pages. This is because it can help classify what is on web pages based on their content. This may be because it can better summarise what is contained on a page than Google was able to in the past. Although it does touch all the searches, it wasn’t designed to change their order or how they appear for many searches.

Common misconceptions about RankBrain

There are many misconceptions about how RankBrain helps rank searches and what factors may influence the rankings.

Money spent on advertising

The money spent on advertising has no impact on RankBrain and does not influence how it ranks web pages. Whether a company spends hundreds of thousands of dollars using AdWords or spends no money at all, it has no influence on RankBrain and organic search results. Advertising on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter doesn’t influence search results either.

Social sharing

Although social sharing when backlinks are created to content is important to increase the rank of websites on search results pages, favouriting or sharing websites does not influence RankBrain. Social sharing is not used in the algorithm because it was once thought to be “too noisy,” and because there was no way to control future access to data.

Web page optimisation

Although Google’s algorithm allows for web pages to be optimised by using specific keywords or phrases and optimising technical elements like title tags or page speed, RankBrain works differently. The only way SEO specialists can optimise for the AI program is to write in natural language as if a human, instead of a machine, was reading the content. In addition, page optimisation can also be done by creating web pages and content focused on a keyword phrase and any phrases related to the keyword.

You would begin by finding keyword phrases to use for your topic and then testing those phrases on Google. When you do so, you will find a set of similar keyword phrases that you can also use in the content of your webpage, for instance, inserted within a blog. However, you want to be careful, as you don’t want to stuff your content with keywords, but instead want to use the phrases naturally within your content.

Remember, you are writing for real people, so you want to use natural language and provide the type of information which they will like and want to share. RankBrain emphases quality content which will be considered among the best results when searchers want to find the type of information you’re writing about. It isn’t about manipulating search engine results, but providing great content.

Lastly, be sure to study analytics after posting the content on your webpage, to see if people are viewing the content and sharing it on social media. Check the site’s bounce rate, and see if people who have read the content left comments or viewed other web pages on your site. This will provide you with the information you need about the quality of your content instead of merely focusing on how well it helped your website rank.

As a business owner, this information can be overwhelming, which is why you need to hire SEO experts who are familiar with RankBrain to create the content your site needs. They can also manage your website and use its analytics to improve the content so that it will work well with RankBrain to help the site attract more web traffic.