What Is Google’s RankBrain?

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Google rankbrain artificial intelligence

If you haven’t already heard, Google’s web search is now going to be at least partially controlled by artificial intelligence (AI) machines. No, this isn’t a joke! In fact, it is the next evolution in its search engine algorithm that is the result of Google having spent years investing in AI technology.

Google’s AI system, nicknamed RankBrain, will soon be responsible for delivering the millions of queries per second that people type into Google search in order to find information on the web. With machines now taking over search, you may be wondering exactly how this will impact your SEO efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions About Google RankBrain

Google’s always up to something truly amazing, but in most cases, it isn’t the easiest to understand. It’s always typically difficult to get answers to your most common questions. Browse our most frequently asked questions below to learn more about Google RankBrain:

How Does RankBrain Work?

RankBrain uses AI to turn written language into vectors, which are mathematical entities that computers are capable of understanding. As a machine-learning AI system, it can teach itself rather than having to be taught by humans or following programming.

As a result, RankBrain is currently being used to handle unique queries that have never been seen before by the search engines. However, it is not yet ready to act on its own without monitoring. In fact, a team of engineers makes periodic updates to the system by loading new data to help it better understand new search concepts. This is done to ensure that it ranks things correctly.

However, Google has been fairly secretive about how the technology works. They have not yet provided any information about the processes that RankBrain uses to guess which pages are the most relevant to a particular search query.

Is RankBrain Google’s Latest Search Engine Algorithm?

No, RankBrain is only part of Google’s search “algorithm.” In fact, Google’s search algorithm overall is known as Hummingbird, which was the official name given to it back in 2013. Therefore, if you are wondering what this means for you in terms of your SEO efforts, consider RankBrain as more of a ranking signal rather than a search engine algorithm.

How Often Is RankBrain Used?

RankBrain was rolled out in early 2015 and has been live for global search queries for the past few months. In June 2016, tech news site Backchannel revealed that Google was using RankBrain for every query that it handles.

How Important Is RankBrain?

According to a quote from a Google employee published in an article on Bloomberg, RankBrain is now the third most important ranking signal:

“RankBrain is one of the “hundreds” of signals that go into an algorithm that determines what results appear on a Google search page and where they are ranked,” said Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist at Google. “In the few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query, he said.”

However, given the fact that not much is known about RankBrain other than the official information that has been provided by Google, it is important that you don’t forget about the other important ranking signals. In March 2016, Google revealed that the top two ranking factors are content and links, ahead of RankBrain.

Can We Expect That Google Will Use More AI in the Future?

Absolutely. Google has made enormous investments into developing its AI capabilities. In addition, other companies including Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook are already exploring machine learning and AI, as well. Therefore, there is little doubt that AI technology is the future of online search.

How Can I Learn More About RankBrain?

If you want to learn more about how RankBrain works, Google has provided several research papers and articles to help you get started. Check out the links below to learn more:

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