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All You have to Know about Google RankBrain

Google RankBrain Algorithm

RankBrain is a rather new concept. First introduced in late 2015, bloggers are still adapting to it. Nevertheless, most experts believe that RankBrain will not bring a major revolution when it comes to SEO.

Google’s RankBrain is one of the first of its kind.

It is a machine-learning system that will only grow in potency as time goes by (at least Google staff thinks so).

Now, let’s look at some of its major characteristics and how to use them to your advantage.

What is RankBrain?

Each day there are millions and millions of new queries. Some of them are rather hard to understand. There are a lot of improperly defined questions or ambiguous searches.

As a way to automate the process, Google decided to introduce RankBrain.

Previously, we said that this is one of the first machine-learning systems. Its main purpose is to recognize the language patterns and based on them, provide the least irrelevant results.

The interesting thing about RankBrain is that it was first introduced as a way of tackling all these ambiguous queries. Even though there are millions of them, they still are a small percentage of total queries. For now, RankBrain is mostly used for testing Google’s technology which one day may be implemented in all searches.

How Does RankBrain Work?

Google uses its old algorithms to retrieve the results for each query. When an ambiguous query is entered into a Google search bar, the algorithm has a hard time starting. It provides results that have some linguistic connections to a query and may or may not answer the user.

Previously, this is where users would encounter a brick wall.

With this supposed answer, Google would end the query. The user may not be satisfied but that’s his problem.

RankBrain puts a stop to this.

Each time someone enters an ambiguous query, Google returns results per usual. And this is where RankBrain steps in. Based on the user’s feedback (time spent on a page, bounce rate, shares, and likes), RankBrain can determine which of these returned results are good and which ones are unsatisfactory. Through continuous learning, it is able to improve every next query and in time, it will even start applying its knowledge on newer before-seen queries.

Based on this, the future seems bright for Google users.

Examples of RankBrain

Here is one of the best and most commonly used examples of RankBrain:

Google Machine Learning System

As you can see, before RankBrain, Google found it hard to process certain queries.
It would analyze the search by dissecting it and finding the articles that have all these words within them. Due to this, the user was provided with some irrelevant nonsensical. 
Obviously “Iraqi Resistance” doesn’t have anything to do with the query. Unfortunately, due to a poorly formulated sentence, Google couldn’t understand the question in a proper manner.

With RankBrain all of these changes.

Now, the search is able to understand that the user is actually talking about “PDF security”. Instead of finding individual words, it is able to comprehend the true meaning behind them. Of course, this accomplishment is based on continuous learning where the search engine managed to adapt to slang, and natural language and to learn based on users’ feedback.

Here is a different situation.

The user types in “Redhead from the movie Arrival”. Before RankBrain, Google would provide the user with pages that talk about either redheads or the movie Arrival. But, after implementing this machine learning system, the search engine is able to tell that the user is actually looking for information about Amy Adams.
Pretty neat, right?

How can I use RankBrain to My Advantage?

Finally, we come to the important question.

In a nutshell, it is really hard to optimize for RankBrain. In a way, it is even pointless.

At this point, RankBrain processes only a small fraction of the total queries. By optimizing for those queries, you are wasting too much time on something that won’t yield enough profit to justify your input.

Instead, you should focus on the articles themselves.

In other words, you shouldn’t focus your attention outwards by pursuing particular keywords; you should put the focus on your own articles.

Basically, RankBrain should filter and refine queries. If your article is talking about “Used cars” and it is one of the best of its kind, Google will naturally funnel traffic towards it regardless of a particular search query (as long as it’s relevant of course).

There is no point in reaching out to Google; instead, you should allow Google to reach out to you. All you can do in this case is make sure that your article is informative so when a user finally reaches your page, he won’t be disappointed and he will send positive feedback to Google increasing your odds of appearing in other queries as well.


This is definitely a new era for SEOs.

RankBrain introduces an interesting concept; how far it will go remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, one thing is for certain. Google is constantly working on improving the user experience. This is something that will continue regardless. All you can do is play by the rules, improve your content, and hope that the users will see it as valuable.

Nikolay Stoyanov
Nikolay Stoyanov is the CEO of NikSto – an SEO company that offers SEO outsourcing, consulting, and white hat link-building services to clients all over the world. He’s a contributor to many of the most reputable websites about SEO.

Gangadhar Kulkarni

Gangadhar Kulkarni is an internet marketing expert and consultant having extensive experience in digital marketing. He is also the founder of Seogdk and Director at DigiTechMantra Solutions, a one-stop shop for all that your website needs. It provides you cost-effective and efficient content writing and digital marketing services.

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