Google’s RankBrain: What You Need to Know

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today Posted Jan 26th, 2016

If you want to optimise your website for the search engines, you will already know that this is an area that never stays still. SEO is constantly changing, largely because Google is constantly updating its algorithm. It does not do this to catch people out, but simply to improve the search results for its users.

One of the most recent and significant updates to its algorithm came in the form of RankBrain. Here is what you need to know about this update as you get to work on your SEO over the coming months.

Google Starts Using Artificial Intelligence

RankBrain is an AI machine learning system developed by Google. It was announced back in October 2015, but it has been used by Google to some extent since early 2015.

It uses AI technology to assist Google with improving the search results delivered to users, and it learns on its own without human input.

One thing it is not is a new algorithm. Instead, it forms part of the larger algorithm that Google uses, called Hummingbird. It affects the results, but only in combination with all of the other ‘signals’ that also make up the algorithm, including content, mobile friendliness, links and more.

Still a Bit of a Mystery

We still do not know a great deal about RankBrain. All we know is what Google has itself told us, which is that it is a way to help classify web results with greater precision.

Google has been doing this for a while already. Look at the Knowledge Graph, for example. Using this, you can search for a person by typing in a query like ‘who wrote the book alice in wonderland’, and Google will serve up the answer without you having to actually type in the person’s name. This is because it has a huge database of facts that contains relationships between those facts.

RankBrain is thought to be a way to help provide more relevant answers. If you think that 15 per cent of Google’s 3 billion daily searches have never been searched for before, that is a lot of searches to interpret.

RankBrain is likely being used to assist with the long-tail keyword searches that may be very specific by working out exactly what the searcher is really looking for, even if the searcher does not use the exact words they want to find answers on.

Do You Have to Do Anything?

RankBrain does not mean anything for your SEO. There is no sudden change in the rankings that will come in, such as when Panda and Penguin came along. Instead, you should focus on improving your overall SEO strategy.

This means sticking to the guidelines provided by Google including avoiding black-hat techniques and ensuring your site is mobile optimised. Continue to do this throughout 2016, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

From website content, blog articles, press releases, newsletters and email campaigns, we have the words to put your brand at the top of the pile. To learn more contact us on 01483 429222 or, to learn more, take a look at what we do as a digital marketing agency.

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