Google has become one of the most recognized company on the planet, but it wasn’t always so well-known. Way back when, Google was only just a simple search engine and today it is one of the most used search engines on the planet.
Google is notorious for making constant updates to its search engine’s algorithms and never telling the users the updates that it has made. In 2015, Google introduced the RankBrain algorithm to its search engine. This integrated artificial intelligence into its search engine algorithm.
RankBrain made it easier for Google to process search results and offer more relevant results for its user’s searches.
Life before RankBrain
Before RankBrain, Google would feed its algorithms with a lot of data, so the robots would crawl all over the internet and index as many URLs as it would find. This would be stored in a database.
Now, when a query was made, Google would break down each word, and search for it individually. It would then show the pages that it would feel was the most relevant. However, it would only make the searches based on the keyword, instead of actually understanding what the user wanted. So, if a user searched ‘talking dog mystery cartoon’ for Scooby Doo, it would actually show results for talking dog and mystery cartoons, instead of actually understanding that the user wanted ‘Scooby Doo’.
This changed when RankBrain was introduced. Let’s delve a little deeper into what RankBrain actually is.
What is RankBrain?
Google’s RankBrain is an AI (Artificial Intelligence) program that helps Google understand search queries. It helps make it easier to process queries and offer more relevant suggestions to user searches. It embeds a wide range of written languages into mathematical entities, and named vectors, that the machine can understand.
RankBrain is not pre-programmed like the older Google searches and instead it actually learns from the user’s behavior and usage pattern and updates itself accordingly.
According to Google, the objective of RankBrain is ‘to present the users with the best search engine experience by taking their least amount of time so that when users type in a search query, they receive almost immediate results’.
How RankBrain Works
Instead of focusing on individual words, RankBrain tries to understand the meaning behind the entire phrase. The algorithm is expected to manage and understand complicated long-tail queries in an effective manner, as well as understand the ways in which the search keywords are related to certain topics.
RankBrain is capable of understanding patterns behind the queries and makes connections among them. If it doesn’t understand a certain query, it guesses the meaning with similar sentences or words and filters the result accordingly, making it more accurate for new tries.
RankBrain uses machine-learning to continually teach itself using data such as the keywords users interact with, the bounce rate of a page, the pages that user clicked on, time spend on a certain website, backlinks, etc. It can also increase or decrease the importance of backlinks, content freshness, content length, domain authority and so on, depending on the keyword.
In the shortest terms, RankBrain performs two main functions:
- Understanding search queries (keywords)
- Measuring how people interact with the results (user satisfaction)
How Rank Brain Affects SEO
RankBrain was introduced in over a dozen languages, including English and Hindi. The main purpose of this algorithm was to provide more accurate search results and offer a more satisfying search experience for its users. With the introduction of RankBrain, there has been a shift in how keywords are used and viewed.
The way we define keyword campaigns has changed. Before RankBrain, if you picked keywords that were not used by users, then your campaign would be a huge failure. However, with RankBrain, your SEO campaign can become adaptable to changes.
One big change that RankBrain brings in is less one word keyword and more long-tail keywords. Since, RankBrain understands the intent behind the phrase or search queries, it no longer focuses on single word keywords. Marketers also need not cover the same variants of different keywords such as colors and colours, or widget and widgets.
RankBrain Misconceptions Debunked
There has been a few misconceptions that have risen when it comes to RankBrain. Here they are:
Advertising – In reality,RankBrain is not influenced by the amount of money spent on advertising. It does not modify regular organic search results based on advertising spend.
Social Sharing – RankBrain is not affected by the number of times a website is liked or shared on social media.
Market Areas – RankBrain does not play a significant role in highly competitive markets. It is capable of possibly influencing a more competitive search query just as much as one that anyone seldom searches.
How to Optimize for RankBrain
According to Google, RankBrain is the third most important ranking factor when it comes to filtering searches. Here’s a few things that you should keep in mind when optimizing for RankBrain.
- Map Your Website
First understand the layout of your website, and for this you will need to map your website. You will have breakdown the content on your website according to type of content and pages categories. After this, you will have to understand which entities are present within your content and analyze how pages with entities are linked.
- Research the Intent Behind Every Keyword
With machine learning integration, RankBrain now has the ability to understand your keywords more effectively. This means, you will have to research the intent of the searcher behind your every keyword. If you don’t, you can end up wasting a lot of time and money in your keyword campaigns.
- Craft Long-From Content
Once you are sure what the intent of the searcher is, you must work on your content accordingly. The main objective of RankBrain is to present the user in the very first search with the content that they are actually looking for. So, you now need to design content to help solve the problem that the searcher is looking for. Content is king and you have to be able to provide this content, if you want your website to rank higher on Google’s search pages.
Google’s RankBrain has single-handedly made it easier and much harder for marketers around the world. While searchers will get more relevant searches, marketers will now have to focus on building more effective long-tail keywords.
Sunay is Professional Digital Marketer and Content Strategist at Eduonix Learning Solutions the Online Learning Platform. He has 2 years of core experience in Digital Marketing, Content Strategy and Blogging.