The Facts about Google’s RankBrain Algorithm
Google has come up with yet another way to rank sites in its index, this time taking advantage of machine learning to create the unusually named RankBrain algorithm. But what does this mean for webmasters and are there any major SEO implications of a search engine algorithm that should get smarter over time?
Machine Learning Explained
To understand this algorithm you need to know what machine learning is capable of achieving. In short, it is a form of artificial intelligence that allows an algorithm to improve automatically over time without the need for human input. So Google is clearly hoping that it will be able to set this algorithm off and allow it to develop and improve on its own.
The machine learning abilities of this recently announced algorithm are not going to redefine the way in which Google works independently. Instead it is going to be embedded in amongst the search giant’s existing algorithms, complementing the systems rather than superseding them, according to Bloomberg.
This means that it will sit alongside much-publicised parts of Google’s search arsenal including Panda and Penguin and will probably be thought of in the same terms once the full extent of its influence and impact are understood. For the time being it is only just emerging and has yet to be explained in any meaningful detail.
Search Rank Signal Significance
This algorithm may be new, but it has become hugely important to search rank in recent months, with Google stating that it is now the third most influential signal used to determine where pages should be positioned on SERPs. The top two signals remain a closely guarded secret, so it is intriguing that the search giant would even make such a statement in the first place.
This revelation has doubtlessly been allowed to permeate into the media because RankBrain itself is not something which SEOs can address head-on, at least not in the short term. Knowing that it is a powerful factor in the way in which Google ranks sites is fairly meaningless without understanding exactly how it operates. And since it is based on machine learning technology it must be constantly changing in any case?
End User Experience
So how will this new algorithm impact Google’s users? It seems that for the time being it is largely helping the firm to serve accurate results even if a person has entered keywords and phrases which are not particularly precise. This means that search queries which are relatively vague can be dealt with quickly and appropriately by Google in ways that were not previously possible.
Observers have pointed out that Google has offered this kind of functionality of years, but this algorithm is helping it to do far more than serve results based upon synonyms and misspellings. In short, it is about helping SERPs to become ever more refined based upon particular combinations of words. So if a site fulfils the other requirements of SEO success then the new algorithm’s influence should ultimately be a positive one.