RankBrain – Google integrates science fiction into their algorithm

By November 4, 2015 Blog Feed No Comments

You may have heard the term “RankBrain” recently. That’s the name Google has given their latest search algorithm technology. It’s a bit of science fiction that has finally found a place in the online search environment.

A little back-story: In recent years, search queries on Google have been shifting from short keyword searches to longer, more “conversational” searches – mostly due to the adoption of mobile devices (smart phones and tablets), and the user’s ability to speak their search queries directly into browsers. This trend of more conversational queries resulted in Google completely overhauling their search engine and algorithms back in September, 2013 (known as the “Hummingbird” update).

Back to the future: It’s 2015 and Google has now surpassed 100 Billion searches per month. Currently, 15% of Google’s daily search queries have never been seen before. Google engineers spend their days crafting algorithms to deal with the new search queries, to determine the best webpages to rank on top.

Goopgle-RankBrainNow comes the “science fiction” part of our story. Remember HAL, the artificial intelligence computer on the Discovery One spacecraft in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey? HAL could think for himself. He could create new ideas, concepts and mathematical equations based upon its input. Well, that’s what Google is up to!

RankBrain is the name of Google’s new artificial intelligence (AI) that works in the search engine’s back-end, to increase the speed and accuracy of their webpage indexing. Yes, it’s an AI – basically a computer smart enough that it can teach itself. It is not a major algorithm update, like Panda, Penguin or Google’s Mobile update. What RankBrain does is help the Googlebot to self-improve or “learn” which search results are most relevant for queries. In a comparison, human search engineering methods guessed the correct top Google search results 70 percent of the time. RankBrain, however, had an impressive 80 percent success rate.

Fathom partner BrightEdge wrote a good article about RankBrain and what it means for searchers and website owners. “Google continuously looks for new ways to interpret queries and spit back the most relevant, useful information for users. The desire to better manage queries led to the development and release of their new machine-learning capabilities.” ~ BrightEdge

Google has official stated that the RankBrain signal is the third most important signal in its ranking algorithm.

Other important Google algorithm ranking factors:

  • Inbound Links
  • Content Relevancy
  • User Experience
  • Domain Authority
  • Pogo-Stick rate (Long-click VS short-click)
  • Click-Thru-Rate

Artificial intelligence (AI) is not really that new of a concept. Fathom has already been utilizing this type of AI self-improvement technique for some of our clients. We’ve teamed with BrightEdge to leverage an AI learning technology that helps our clients optimize their digital experiences and enhance content performance. This allows for quick and accurate, automated decisions about the brand’s content, helping to maximize impact.

Want to know more? Read any of the links contained in this post, or drop me a line at: lengel@FathomDelivers.com

Larry Engel

About Larry Engel

As SEO Strategist for Fathom, Larry Engel oversees the research, design and implementation of search engine optimization (SEO) methods for the Fathom Education team. BrightEdge & Google Certified, Larry's experience also includes 12 years in account management, 5+ years as a Certified Google Advertising Professional and 6+ years’ concentration in SEO. Larry has a mini MBA in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers University.

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