Google RankBrain: What It Is & How It Affects SEO & Search Results

google rankbrain artificial intelligence

RankBrain is part of the Google Hummingbird algorithm that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to change words into mathematical formulas that can be understood by computers. Google uses it to sort search results.

It also functions somewhat like a ranking signal, similar to content and links, but with one big difference: RankBrain takes unfamiliar and known words and phrases and delivers the best answers based on the algorithm.

The Most Important Way to Optimize for RankBrain

RankBrain acts as a backup when Google doesn’t understand the language. To do this, RankBrain uses databases of entities to “seed” the algorithm. It uses AI to build relationships between the entities over time so that its “best guesses” become even more accurate.

Businesses and marketers can rely on a single important asset to improve search outcomes even more:

Write good content that sounds the way people talk and write normally. Use natural language.

Using natural language when writing content allows RankBrain to determine the context of the terms being searched. This is important, as RankBrain is constantly adjusting to its previous experience, teaching itself new words and phrases.

Other Things to Do When Optimizing for RankBrain

Of course, writing great content isn’t the only thing you can do to improve your chances. Remember the algorithm matches signals to query intent when serving up search engine results. Thus:

  • Don’t throw in extra keywords “just in case” when they don’t match the intent of most users.
  • Bear in mind that one size does not fit all when trying to strengthen your brand. Some brands demand freshness, while others require deep content with many links to build authority.
  • Remember that some SEO techniques from the past are no longer critical. For example, don’t worry about exact match keywords or anchor text—they are not as relevant anymore.

Learn How to Make RankBrain Work for Your Website

Although RankBrain has been around for a while now, it has evolved. When first used by Google, it handled approximately 15 percent of searches. Today, it handles almost all of them, if only to determine user intent based on the phrasing of a query.

To learn more about RankBrain and how to make it work for you, contact our SEO specialists for help.