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    3 mins

    RankBrain Algorithm

    06 June 2023

    What is Google RankBrain?

    Google RankBrain, a crucial component of Google’s core algorithm, utilises machine learning to determine the most relevant search results for users. With the introduction of RankBrain, search queries now undergo an interpretation process that takes into account various factors such as the searcher’s location, personalisation, and the words used in the query itself. By understanding the true intent behind the search, Google is able to deliver more accurate and tailored search results.

    One of the key advantages of RankBrain is its improved ability to interpret search intent. Before RankBrain, search algorithms primarily relied on slightly more basic signals, like keyword matching, link metrics and content quality, to determine search results (still vital ranking factors of course!) However, these signals, when not used alongside RankBrain, often fell short in capturing the true intent behind a search query. Hence…RankBrain!

    Machine learning and the analysis of vast volumes of data allows RankBrain to look beyond the literal interpretation of keywords and take into account various contextual factors. For example, RankBrain considers the searcher’s location, search history, and previous interactions with search results. By analysing these factors, RankBrain can discern the underlying intention of a search query.

    RankBrain also utilises pattern recognition to identify common behaviours and trends in user searches. By identifying patterns, the algorithm can make informed predictions about search intent even when faced with ambiguous or incomplete queries. This means that even if a user enters a vague search query, RankBrain can draw upon patterns it has observed in the past to deliver more accurate and relevant results.

    RankBrain has the ability to adapt and improve over time. As it processes more data and learns from user interactions, it continuously refines its understanding of search intent. This adaptive learning allows it to stay up-to-date with evolving user behaviours and preferences, ensuring that search results remain relevant and helpful.

    In short, RankBrain’s machine learning capabilities enable it to go beyond surface-level signals and delve into the nuanced aspects of search intent. By considering contextual factors, recognising patterns, and adapting to user behaviours, RankBrain significantly enhances the interpretation of search intent, leading to more precise and personalised search results.

    Does RankBrain change the way we do SEO?

    This entirely depends on what kind of SEO strategies you use! RankBrain may represent either a minor or major change in your SEO efforts. For instance, let’s consider the search query “best smartphone.” Pre-RankBrain, SEO practitioners may have been laser focused on factors like keyword optimisation, backlinks, and content quality. However, with the introduction of RankBrain, the interpretation of this query becomes more sophisticated.

    RankBrain takes into account various factors such as the searcher’s location, search history, and previous interactions with search results. It recognises that the word “best” in the query implies that the searcher is looking for a recommendation rather than just general information about smartphones. As a result, search results may include articles or reviews that highlight the top-rated smartphones, considering factors like performance, camera quality, and user satisfaction.

    In this example, RankBrain’s ability to understand search intent enables it to deliver more relevant results that align with the user’s true needs and preferences. SEO practitioners need to consider these contextual factors and create content that addresses the specific intent behind the search query.

    RankBrain also emphasises the importance of providing comprehensive and in-depth content. It was the final nail in the coffin for the ‘one keyword, one page’ style of SEO that proliferated doorway pages and thin content. Instead of creating separate pages for related keywords, such as “piano removals”, “wardrobe removals” and “gym removals” a web publisher should instead focus on consolidating this into a single piece on “heavy item removals”. This approach aligns with RankBrain’s understanding of search intent and improves the chances of ranking higher in search results.

    Moreover, RankBrain’s impact extends beyond individual keywords. It analyses the semantic relationships between words and phrases, allowing it to identify related topics and concepts. As a result, creating content that covers a broad range of relevant topics and provides comprehensive information can help improve visibility and relevance in RankBrain-powered search results.

    In conclusion, RankBrain’s impact on SEO highlights the significance of understanding and optimising for search intent. By considering contextual factors, creating comprehensive content, and aligning with RankBrain’s interpretation of search intent, SEO practitioners can enhance their visibility and relevance in search results.