With technology on the rise in this day and age, there’s no doubt that we are truly living in “the future”. Computers are becoming smarter, cars are becoming higher-functioning, phones are becoming more advanced, and everything in between. The newest breakthrough in computer learning and Search Engine Technology is the artificial intelligence system known as RankBrain.

What is RankBrain? It is a computer system used to improve online search engines through a ranking process based on dozens of factors. It is self-taught, a form of artificial intelligence. RankBrain is promising to provide users of search engines with more accurate search results, better content, and even the ability to find the answers you want without entering the specific website.

How does it all work? The first step is to understand SEO machine learning. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When a search engine can learn and grow more accurate within itself – it greatly aids in the optimization of the search engine. The machine becomes self-taught and can even go through “practice rounds” offline so as to learn how to produce search results that are more accurate and meet the users’ needs. If a user is looking for generic facial tissues, but types in the brand name of Kleenex instead, a machine-learning Search Engine will provide both links to the brand name as well as other facial tissue products. Or if a user is looking for the shoe brand Rainbows and not the scientific phenomenon that happens after rainfall, SEO machine learning will allow the search engine to understand the difference and better meet the user’s need.

RankBrain fits in because it serves to streamline this process. RankBrain involves machine learning, using its own algorithm and ranks to produce search results, get feedback, and learn how to better search in the future. RankBrain uses detailed programming to understand its ranking process and it also can receive critique in order to create better searches. It is self-taught however, gaining knowledge through each search it completes. RankBrain seeks to identify pages with accurate, relevant, clear, saturated information and present those to the user first. This eliminates the need for the user to search through pages and pages of Internet content to find “what they really wanted”.

The second step in understanding the RankBrain model is to look at the factors which are involved in the page ranking process. What does RankBrain search for? There exists an entire Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors that anyone can access. These factors include, but are not limited to: quality, word match, page security, location, reputation, research, spam, and mobility. Web pages that are relevant and can pass through these qualifying steps will be presented to the search engine user first. Each web page is awarded points based on these factors. If a page, for example, can be viewed on a desktop and on a phone, it is awarded points for mobility. If a page leads to a lot of spam or advertisements, it may be rewarded less. This is all for the use of the person using the search engine so they may get relevant information time and time again, no matter what search.

The last step to understanding RankBrain is to understand the knowledge graph it uses to optimize searches. What is Knowledge Graph? The knowledge graph is a box that appears at the top of the list of websites provided after a search that includes a snippet of relevant information from the top page that the user may read without ever having to click on any of the websites. This is to further streamline the search process, giving users a quick definition, recipe, or instruction set (for example) without them having to click on a website page and dig through information. The Knowledge Graph provides information in short, often bullet-point lists for clarity. If there is subsequent information that can’t be provided in the graph but should be noted, the graph will tell the user that there are “3 more items” – or whatever the case may be – that they should click the link for.

RankBrain provides the knowledge graph as a way to give users a quicker and more simplified answer, further narrowing down the content through the qualifying elements, and learning faster what the specific user is interested in. The Knowledge Graph doesn’t seek to take users away from relevant websites, but instead works to alert users to websites they didn’t know were available to them. It’s more of a test to see if the website listed first indeed has what they are looking for, or if they should narrow their search results.

So, why does RankBrain serve as a breakthrough system for SEO? It has quickly become one of the top most important ranking factors for its main user: Google. Recently, an article was released by Google, placing RankBrain in the top three most important search engine “signals”. The RankBrain system is allowing search engines to learn more quickly and provide better answers to its users through every single search. This table of factors is completed in only microseconds of time, giving each search thoroughly researched results every time. And as RankBrain becomes smarter and more precise, it will only keep improving!

RankBrain is a breakthrough in SEO technology and is changing the way people can use search engines. It is an incredible algorithm committed to learning and adapting to the user’s style. RankBrain puts SEO technology in a spot to continuously grow and work better for the users.


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1 Comment

  • Nikolay Stoyanov

    June 29, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Great article David. There is so many people speculating how RankBrain will completely replace humans, being able to function and improve on its own. Do you think that this technology will be able to meet people’s demands or will Google have to introduce another, more improved system?