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What Is RankBrain & Why Should I Care?

Fix all thin content. Check. Use disavow tool to remove bad links. Check. What’s next on the SEO checklist? Learn about RankBrain and why it has become the third-most important Google ranking signal.

RankBrain is Google’s artificial intelligence system that is interpreting a large percentage of search queries through machine learning. Machine learning is very much what it sounds like. It is a computer program that can teach itself and change based on the data it is presented. RankBrain embeds huge quantities of written language into math algorithms so they can be understood by a computer. If RankBrain comes across a search term or phrase it’s unfamiliar with, it can use its data to take a guess at what term or phrase has a similar meaning and arrange its results accordingly. Essentially it attempts to predict search intent.

RankBrain’s goal is to manage questions that Google has never seen before. Brand new search queries account for 15% of all searches. Current statistics show Google processes 3 billion searches daily. That means 450 million are brand new search queries Google has never seen before. It was obvious there had to be an automated process for handling these brand new queries. Enter RankBrain. The fact it can track what results are being clicked on based on the search term without a Google employee having to manually code this into their system is especially helpful.

RankBrain is quite accurate according to preliminary tests. Google engineers were shown web pages. They were asked to predict which page should appear at the top of Google results based on a given keyword. The engineers were correct 70% of the time. RankBrain was correct 80% of the time.

So what does this mean for your site’s search rankings, especially if signals sent from RankBrain is Google’s third highest ranking signal? In short it shouldn’t impact you and your site too much quite yet because at this stage it’s more of an improvement for Google searchers. It’s intended to help Google stay current on new queries, slang and topics that are trending.

If we absolutely have to predict how RankBrain will impact your site, my best guess at this point is that as RankBrain becomes smarter, it will actually reward you for doing SEO the correct way by needing less human intervention for penalizing sites that are doing SEO the black hat way. As long as you’re staying away from those black hat tactics, RankBrain should actually provide you with an advantage over your competitors.

Stay tuned! Things could get interesting!

About Brad Litwin

Brad Litwin is the Marketing Manager for A2 Hosting. He has been with the company since 2007. His specialties include affiliate marketing, content writing and SEO. In his spare time he enjoys running and reading.

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