As many of us have noticed now that we are past the point in time that Marty McFly traveled to in Back to the Future, and the future is now. Many things that were once considered farfetched science fiction have become a reality. From smartphones to self-driving automobiles, Google is always unveiling some hot new technology that will change the way we live.
Their next big invention is nothing short of amazing, and it’s going to change the face of search engine results. Google has developed cutting-edge artificial intelligence that affects a great portion of Google search queries. Dubbed “Rankbrain,” this artificial intelligence has already been used to intelligently return the results of search queries using a method that the world has never seen before. But before you get too excited, you should know that this algorithm is not a complete replacement to the existing Google search algorithm. Instead, it is a component feature much like the past Penguin and Panda updates. It has become a sort of ranking signal (more on this claim later) that is used in the process of accepting user queries as input and making intelligent guesses as to the content that people are really searching for.
In the past, the Google algorithm lacked this feature. Though the Google algorithm is highly advanced and has ranking signals to locate the most pertinent content, there are still a lot of keywords that people use to locate content for which few relevant websites try to compete for. These lower competition keywords can produce lackluster results, and the goal is to help the user find their information despite the cryptic keywords that they use in their queries.
It is Rankbrain’s purpose to fill in the blanks and read between the lines. Users don’t always type in the most relevant keywords when they are searching for content, and this new addition to the algorithm finds related information that the user could be searching for.
For example, let’s pretend that a user was searching on the Internet for “coconut oil.” In the recent past, the algorithm would have likely returned indexed entries that more or less showed pages with exact matches for this term. However, as the algorithm has increased in sophistication and complexity over the last few years, it has become much better at finding more relevant content. With the addition of Rankbrain, the search results might include pages of related information that match connected ideas such as “healthy fats,” “heart health,” or “omega-3 fatty acids.”
How Rankbrain Works with the Existing Algorithm
There seems to be some confusion online about exactly how Rankbrain integrates with the existing algorithm. Some people see it as a ranking signal, but this could be the wrong way to think about it for one reason. In the past, whenever a new update to the algorithm came people have found illegitimate ways to “game” the search engine. Even with legitimate practices, there are certain and measureable actions SEO professionals can take that have been proven to increase a site’s rankings. For example, keyword use and the number of back-links a site has are quantifiable and proven strategies to climb in the SERP’s.