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Google RankBrain – What It Is and What It Means to Search Marketing

November 30th, 2015 by Shawn Kerr

Though announced on October 26, the new component of its search algorithm has been in place for a few months.  RankBrain’s purpose is to learn the “meaning” of a search query and that has many implications for anyone investing effort in search marketing, such as search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and inbound marketing with online content and marketing

What Is Google RankBrain?

Bloomberg originally broke the story about the new RankBrain development at Google.

Google RankBrain is hereIn essence, Google RankBrain has been designed to learn what you, as a user, are really asking when submitting a search query.  The result in using this new artificial intelligence is to deliver dynamic results rather than relying on historical data.  In tests, the RankBrain system beat Google’s own human search experts at page selection.

Google claims that, on average, 15% of queries submitted to Google have never been entered before.  RankBrain is designed to handle the “thinking” of how to respond those queries using its advanced understanding of language semantics along with mathematical processes to research, learn and respond on the fly, rather than using historical search data (which was the way Google handled these queries previously).  RankBrain will update itself automatically on an ongoing basis as part of its learning process.

Because it’s the dynamic, learning component of the overall search algorithm, RankBrain will also contribute to the monitoring of query trends and providing guidance data for the future changes to the core Google search algorithm, currently known as Hummingbird.

It’s important to note that Alphabet, Inc., Google’s parent company, is highly invested in artificial intelligence and machine learning, so this move should be seen as the first step toward more AI-based search results.

What Google RankBrain Is Not:

RankBrain is neither an algorithm nor a standlone algorithm update such as Panda and Penguin, their filters low quality content and links.

It is not a new metasearch, such as the recently canceled Google Hotel Finder.

It is not the new Knowledge Graph (which is also powered by artificial intelligence).  Google has stated that RankBrain isn’t replacing nor is it affiliated with Knowledge Graph.

What Does Google RankBrain Mean to Search Marketing?

Google has stated that RankBrain is now the third most important factor in rankings for search engine query results, so that alone earns it attention when considering your search marketing (SEO, SEM & Inbound Marketing) strategy.

Based on what is known and has been observed thus far, search marketing with the new RankBrain in place needs to prioritize:

Content Remains King

Content is still critical to search visibility and, thanks to RankBrain, now you have a chance to show up for more by optimizing content to specific long-tail keyword phrases.

Help Google RankBrain learn by grouping and linking specific content to relative larger relative concepts (WordPress Tags and Categories make this easy for you).

Schema

Schema needs to be present and accurate to remain competitive – test with Google structured data testing tool.

Optimizing for Mobile and Interconnected Devices Continue to Grow in Importance

Google’s investment Brillo & Weave indicates that optimizing your content for mobile and interconnected device continue to be the fastest growing market segments for the search engine.

RankBrain Got You Thinking You Need Help with Search Marketing?

The pace of change at Google is constantly increasing and keeping up with it is a challenge for the smaller business owner without the time or resources to devote to it.  Contact InsideOut for a marketing review and proposal for internet marketing services that will keep you ahead of your competition.