What the Heck is Google RankBrain?

Posted by Michael Waverka on May 6th, 2019 in Marketing & Design

Google is easily the most trusted source for online information in the world. We rely on the search engine for just about everything from restaurant recommendations and weather forecasts to song lyrics and self-diagnosis. Ever wonder how the search platform consistently delivers trusted and relevant information to your most pressing questions? Or how it determines what qualifies to shop up at the top of page one? We'll let's take a look at a core component of Google's algorithm, known as RankBrain.

Google's release of RankBrain, is one of the biggest updates in its history and has made big waves in determining what results are shown when you initiate a search query. Using machine learning, RankBrain helps Google determine the most relevant results to display based on criteria like your location, true search intent, and information others may have found helpful.

How Does It Work

Let’s put ourselves in Google's shoes for a minute and try to understand the intent of a search query. Take a search like “Super Bowl location” as an example.

You could be looking for answers in regards to historical information about the very first Super Bowl, venue size of Super Bowl LIII, the location of 2020’s event, or even directions to the arena.

Now, imagine trying to give a relevant answer to the vague query. Without additional context, you likely wouldn’t be able to provide information that matched the intent of the searcher.

Using RankBrain, Google is able to mathematically calculate results based on patterns it has learned while tracking search behavior and uses that data to decide what results show up in the SERP.

Google answered the query with a featured snippet, in this case, an answer box with a list of all Super Bowl event locations. Using its RankBrain feature, Google thinks the intent of the search is to learn about past and future physical super bowl locations.

Now, let’s say it's just days after the Patriots (Go Pats!) claim their 6th Super Bowl title and you search the given query. While a recent event may seem more relevant, Google leans on collected behavior to determine the majority of searchers are actually looking to find information about where the 2020 showdown will be held.

Next, imagine you are in Atlanta on Super Bowl LIII game day and conduct the same search. Rather than spitting out the same results or information about Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Google would likely acknowledge your physical location and showcase driving or walking directions to the Superdome.

As Google methods continue to change what displays in the SERP, it leaves us asking one question...

How Does This Impact Your Business?

If you have a business and/or a website, one of your top goals need to be about your SEO and being found online.

There’s no question that RankBrain will play a vital role in your SEO rankings in 2019. If your site is already full of quality, rich content, you are well on the right path. Your objective should be to keep your content relevant, conversational, and up-to-date for search intent.

If you are serious about improving SEO for your website, optimizing with Google RankBrain in mind is key. Contact us today for expert SEO guidance and management. We take the hassle and confusion out of optimizing your website!