On October 26, 2015, Google confirmed that it has invested in machine learning to improve the quality of results delivered by its search engine. Machine learning pertains to a computer’s ability to learn new things automatically by using the information it has to adapt to unique experiences. This takes human intervention out of the equation and automates the process.
This is a significant development for the search engine since the team had to code the algorithm manually. While human programming wasn’t removed entirely after RankBrain was rolled out, it lessened the burden on the developers by allowing the algorithm to make the necessary improvements on itself.
These are the two primary uses of Google’s RankBrain:
It does so by assessing searchers’ behavior upon delivering a set of results. If a large portion of users enjoyed content from a particular page in the SERPs for a given query, the algorithm would automatically boost its ranking. On the other hand, if it doesn’t provide you with the information you need, Google replaces it the next time someone searches for the same term and evaluates its performance.
RankBrain monitors how users interact with the SERPs. Some user experience metrics it tracks are organic click-through rate or CTR, dwell time, bounce rate, and pogo-sticking, which happens when searchers go back and forth the results pages in their quest to find the right answers to their queries.
RankBrain was a massive improvement for the search algorithm and changed how websites do their SEO. From content writing to optimizing each page, webmasters had to cater to the increased sophistication of the search engine. Of course, it did pave the way for more natural-sounding and conversational articles instead of the use of forced keywords that don’t blend seamlessly into the content.
At the time that it rolled out, RankBrain immediately became a critical ranking signal; placing as the third most important after high-quality content and having a robust link profile. Nonetheless, these elements work with several other factors in boosting your page’s rank.
The importance of context has become more prevalent with RankBrain and its integration in the core algorithm. As mentioned above, it definitely changed SEO. It doesn’t necessarily mean more work for you; just a few improvements and tweaks on determining user intent, keyword research, and domain authority.
Here are three critical concepts that emerged after RankBrain: