Google’s New RankBrain AI; What Is It All About?

Netmatters Ltd
Posted by Netmatters Ltd
28th October 2015

What Is AI?

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, which is the idea of creating a machine that can teach itself through experience, things that would typically require intelligence done by humans. AI’s are often referred to as “machine learning artificial intelligence” due to their ability to learn from their own mistakes to make themselves more accurate. AI up to this point has not been widely successful, with the development of such systems being difficult due to their nature.

What Is RankBrain?

RankBrain is an artificial intelligence that Google created with the aim of increasing the accuracy of search terms that have not yet been seen by Google before. RankBrain interprets these searches and makes predictions about what the new words could mean and relates them to better known searches. The way it does this is by taking vast quantities of written data and converting this into mathematical vectors that it can then understand, then from this point analyses any phrases it cannot understand. At this point using the other data it has obtained from the rest of the text, it gauges an accurate guess at what the unfamiliar phrases and words mean. RankBrain has been deciphering approximately 15% of all searches that Google has been unfamiliar with and in an experiment got 10% more predictions correct about search rankings than the Google engineers who created the algorithm in the first place did.

Google has claimed that RankBrain is now the “third most important signal” used when ranking a website, which has taken many search marketers by surprise. Google have not released the 2 most important factors (in usual Google fashion) or has not stated which signal that RankBrain replaced, but it is likely that these two factors are content quality/keywords and backlinks. RankBrain is however probably making a big impact in the search’s we do every day and it is unlikely that Google would make an AI the third most important ranking signal if it was not doing a lot for the search accuracy.

Will RankBrain Affect SEO?

RankBrain has just been announced to the public, so it is unlikely that this will mean really anything for SEO just yet. The focus should always be on quality for SEO, with this update existing to improve the experience of Google users so the two go hand in hand. In time however, the development of RankBrain may change the way we optimise websites, with the ability to stay in front of search marketers becoming a possibility for Google.

With time advancements like these will continue to increase in sophistication, so it will become increasingly important to offer nothing but high quality content. The days of black-hat SEO are in the past, with spammy tactics producing nothing but punishment from Google. It is undeniable that Google has come a long way as a company and there are no signs of these advancements stopping any time soon. 

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