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How the Algorithm RankBrain Works

Googles Algorithm Brainrank in San Diego, CA

Did you suddenly notice last year that Google was completing your sentences for you before you were even sure about what you were searching for? If you found that Google was throwing better matches for your queries, breezing through some of your more complicated questions and giving you accurate search results for vague queries and misspelled words, that was RankBrain at work. This new development is set to change the face of organic seo, according to many seo experts.

Since mid-2015 Google has been using a machine learning technology (and some say even Artificial Intelligence) called RankBrain to help deliver its search results. This algorithm handles queries and ranks websites according to a complex mix of factors. An algorithm is a set of steps that a computer program takes to accomplish a series of tasks. We all have ‘algorithms’ that we use every day to get things done. For instance, we have a set of steps and ingredients that we use to bake a cake. Of course algorithms in computer programs are a lot more complicated than baking a cake, but essentially they remain a set of steps that will get you to where you want to go.

Google’s query-interpreting and ranking algorithm uses a mindboggling number of factors to accomplish the task of deciding how to best answer a query, answering it and ranking websites. RankBrain joins other algorithm such as Panda, Pigeon and Top Heavy etc to drive Google’s overall master algorithm Hummingbird.

What sets RankBrain apart is that it is able to ‘understand’ natural ways of talking. It can predict meaning and relevance in order to present the most accurate search results. That means that even if you mistype something or even if you don’t quite know exactly what you are searching for, RankBrain is able to figure it out based on what other people have searched for in the past. This is why you get relevant search results that don’t even contain the words you typed in. This is almost revolutionary when you consider that traditional ranking systems take into account whether they can find your content, whether they think it is important and relevant to you. All of which is rendered useless, if the search engine cannot understand the question in the first place.  This is a huge game changer when it comes to SEO. Gone are the days when seo companies would strictly focus on keywords.

RankBrain ‘understands’ the query and is almost intuitive in its ability to do so. By continuously studying what people are searching for, RankBrain learns and refines future searches that it may never have come across before. This is significant if you consider that 15% of the queries that Google receives have never been searched before.

While we still don’t know how RankBrain processes its queries and what it factors in to rank websites and generate results, the algorithm is definitely one of the most striking modifications that Google has introduced. If you are interested in learning more about RankBrain or how it can affect your SEO, please call us and we will be happy to help.