What is RankBrain

Paul Baguley

Most people would have heard the word algorithm and maybe even something about how Google uses algorithms handcrafted by engineers to give you those ever so wonderful search engine results that we all love.

Well now there’s something called RankBrain which has come to play.

RankBrain is a machine-learning artificial intelligence that is being used by Google to process a large amount of search results each day. Though it’s not entirely replacing the current algorithm known as Hummingbird, this is the system that processes what searches people are making and crawl through billions of pages ultimately to rank the ones it has determined to be the best at the top of the search results.

While it would seem that RankBrain rather than being a replacement it is something that will concentrate more on a part of the Hummingbird algorithm and this would be the part that interprets what people are searching for and then understanding how to better submit the request in varying ways.

For Example:

Someone might search for “Bruce Wayne.” In the past, Google and the other search engines might have found pages with only that exact word. But over the past few years and especially since Hummingbird launched in 2013, Google has gotten better at understanding the relationships between words. So a search for “Bruce Wayne” may bring back pages and information that also matches “Batman”,” The Dark Knight“, or even “The Caped Crusader”.

RankBrain appears to be the latest way of processing queries in this way and one that is going beyond what has been used before. Using artificial intelligence to embed huge amounts of written language into mathematical entities called vectors which a computer can comprehend. If RankBrain is to see a word or phrase that is not well known to it, it will be able to make a guess based on words or phrases that might have a similar meaning and then it will filter those results accordingly. This makes the machine a more effective way of handling never before seen search queries.

It will be interesting to see how RankBrain develops over time and how much Google will let it dictate the search results.

Even though Google have changed the algorithm to be machine learning still doing the correct things on your website such as Meta Data, content, user experience, social media and blogging are still the key factors in bringing traffic to your site from Google.