With search engine optimization (SEO) maintaining its presence as one of the most effective marketing techniques on the Internet, it’s no wonder that over time, new technical changes in algorithms have made the task of ranking both sites and keywords more difficult to understand and execute. While this used to be an easy task that involved including keywords into the content of your website, Google has continually progressed its ranking technology to provide more quality results to its users.
With the launch of RankBrain, Google’s new algorithm solution, earlier this year, has it stepped into the field of artificial intelligence? One might think so, as RankBrain queries for so much more than the keywords of the past, taking SEO to the next level.
Breaking down RankBrain
Understanding RankBrain, boils down into recognizing that Google wants to provide users ranking content that is relevant. The way users are using Google to search has changed, as now it is seeing complete questions and more complicated keyword searches being inputted.
With RankBrain, Google is incorporating machine-learning artificial intelligence to process a good portion of it search engine searches each day. While, RankBrain doesn’t replace Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm, it is being used more regularly by the company.
RankBrain looks at what someone searches for and expands that into various ways the request could be interpreted. For example: if you were to search for Italian food, RankBrain would search the millions of website pages on the Internet that would be relevant to this keyword. It would also look at results that have a relationship with Italian food, bring back results such as; Italian restaurants in your area and recipes for Italian food. All of these results are related to your original search term and have a relationship with the term Italian food, making them relevant and possible results that you would be interested in.
In the past, Google would have only provided ranking results for the exact keyword you were searching for, making it imperative that you inputted the exact search term you were interested in getting results for. RankBrain is allowing Google to get better at understanding of the relationships between words, creating complementary search results that would also be of interest to the user.
How Does RankBrain Work?
As an artificial intelligence system, RankBrain is able to embed large amounts of written language into mathematical entities. These entities are known as vectors that the computer can understand when processed.
If RankBrain would come across a word or phrase that isn’t familiar to it, it can use artificial intelligence to make an interpretation as to what words or phrase might have a similar meaning. It would then filter the results accordingly. This makes the whole machine more effective at handling completely new searches that it has never seen before. Google has said that 15% of the queries it gets each day, it system has never seen before.
RankBrain is able to teach itself how to do recognize words and phrases and interpret them, rather than having to be taught by an outside source such as; a human or detailed programming.
How Does Artificial Intelligence Come into Play?
To understand artificial intelligence, you must realize that it is possible for a computer to become as smart as a human. It can do this by being taught and expanding on what it has learned. This allows it to make connections and conclusions, providing RankBrain the ability to find relationships between search terms and search results.
It is the ability for artificial intelligence to learn on its own that makes it such a powerful technology. Its ability to draws conclusions from what it already has been taught, makes it highly effective down the road as it continues to learn and expand its knowledge base over time.
How Does RankBrain Fit in with Google’s Other Search Tools?
RankBrain is not the sole algorithm tool, Google uses to make search decisions. It is part of several pieces that Google has working together to create ranking results. Hummingbird is the overall search algorithm that incorporates RankBrain as one of its newest parts. RankBrain doesn’t handle all searches, as the overall Hummingbird algorithm takes the majority.
Also, working in conjunction with Hummingbird is Panda, Penguin and Payday. These systems are designed to fight spam; with Pigeon being used specifically to improve local search results. Top Heavy is another tool in Google’s arsenal, which demotes web pages that have heavy placement of advertising on its pages. The Mobile Friendly system, gives priority to websites that are optimized for mobile devices and Pirate is used to eliminate copyright infringement.
What About PageRank Signals?
Even with the advent of BrainRank, Google still uses PageRank signals to signify if your website is relevant to a user’s keyword search. It is estimated that there are more than 200 major ranking signals and within that, another 10,000 or more sub-signals used for web page ranking.
PageRank provides a score to the webpage based on the number of signals it was able to pick up on your site. These signals are identified by PageRank and processed by the Hummingbird algorithm, selecting which webpages to rank in response to a search.
Bringing It All Together
With Google incorporating new tools to evaluate web pages, SEO is becoming an ever-changing technique. It is more important than ever to provide relevant information on your website that users are looking for and will engage with.
Keyword are becoming less important to Google’s algorithms as now search engines are determining how a user interacts with your website. Having repeat users and users that find what they are looking for in your web page content, helps in projecting your ranking. Google is looking at post-click activity and user satisfaction with your website as all ways to rank you within its search engine results.
Google is about providing the user the best experience possible. It wants to give the user exactly what it was looking for on the first page. Creating original content on a regular basis helps in this way as this content is deemed relevant and what the user is looking for.
As Google continues to change and update its algorithms for processing and calculating search results, it is important to stay knowledgeable about how this affects your SEO. Keeping up on the changes will ensure your website continues to rank in search engine searches. Keep your content relevant and engaging to users, as this is signal for Google that your web page is what users are looking for and should appear in search results.