What Google’s New AI, RankBrain, Means For SEO

12 November 2015

What Google’s New AI, RankBrain, Means For SEO

RankBrain is Google’s newest release and would serve as an artificial intelligence system that would interpret what the user’s intent is when making a search query based on a set of relationships that the keyword is a part of. This would reflect how humans have natural conversations.

"if RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries."

Google research scientist Greg Corrado

RankBrain might be seen as the next evolution of what Google has accomplished with the Hummingbird release. According to Google, RankBrain has already become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query. They have run tests where the AI would correctly guess the “meaning” of a query 80% of the time versus humans who got the meaning correct only 70% of the time.

What this means for SEO

Google’s new release could mean that the days of trying to rank for specific keywords and phrases might (if not already) be over. Through RankBrain, you could see a page about David Beckham show up for a search query such as “Posh’s husband” without having the keyword Posh anywhere on the page.

An optimised website that conveys what the page is about can now be ranked for key phrases that do not appear on the page at all. This brings Google closer to what they envisioned when the company was founded: giving users what they want, regardless of keywords, through an artificial neural network of semantically related terms.

SEO is going to be much more advanced than just putting keywords on a page and getting backlinks to it. The focus will be on creating pages that serve the purpose of providing a user what they are searching for. Good site architecture, understandable site logic, and speed are going to be essential once RankBrain will take off.

RankBrain is probably one of the biggest news stories out of Google since their Hummingbird update and it will only get more and more “intelligent”. Creating an SEO optimised, content-driven website is the top priority for business owners who want to continue to attract customers and businesses online.

Do you think RankBrain is going to change how we optimise for search engines? Leave your comment below.