Google’s RankBrain Now Used in All Search Queries

Tandem Answers Common RankBrain Questions

Leading digital marketing agency in Fort Lauderdale announces latest Google organic search update; RankBrain now used in all search queries.

Everything You Need to Know about RankBrain

Since 2015, it has been no secret that Google uses a machine-learning technology to help deliver its search results, and it’s called RankBrain.

However, the latest news surrounding RankBrain’s part in Google’s overall algorithm states that the machine learning tool is now used in ALL search queries that the massive search engine handles – a big jump from only 15% just last year.

For those who are unfamiliar with how Google ranks search queries:

According to Search Engine Land, the first and second most important signals that come before RankBrain in Google’s Hummingbird algorithm are: Links and Keywords.

Links: Digital marketing agencies in South Florida explain that Google counts links based upon a system of votes. Google and Bing both leverage links as a way of providing relevant answers to searchers. The issue with counting links is that many links do not get counted. The example most commonly used here is Wikipedia. Wikipedia has no unique information, only facts, and resources from other sites. Those sites are then linked to at the bottom of the Wikipedia page, but they use “nofollow” attributes so that they are not “counted votes” in search engine calculations. Ultimately, nofollow tags cause those links to be rendered useless in terms of their vote, but not in terms of traffic.

Keywords: Of course, you will hear that the phrase “content is king” is outdated – and nearly every digital marketing agency in Fort Lauderdale will disagree. According to Google in March of 2016, content and links are the two most important factors in their entire algorithm (although they wouldn’t say which comes first). When Google spiders crawl billions of pages during a search, they are looking for words within content and words within code. The back-end (code and meta) of each piece of content must be optimized for the keywords and phrases the page is aiming to rank for.

How many signals are in Google’s algorithm?

The short answer is hundreds! Google has been fairly transparent when saying that they have more than 200 major ranking signals that are evaluated when ranking pages, sites, and delivering results in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). You can check out The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors to see what factors are considered when delivering a single search result.

How RankBrain Fits into the Equation:

Google began testing machine-learning (a computer that teaches itself how to do something instead of being taught or programmed manually by humans) in order to help search queries match consumers with more accurate results.

To be clear, RankBrain is NOT Google’s complete algorithm, but a factor that is now the third most important component in their overall algorithm.

Google took signals like links, words, stemming for word variations, synonym smarts, and the Knowledge Graph to make connections between words and understand them in a more complex manner.

RankBrain is taking the process out of the manual hands of humans, who were still generally doing all of the work to deliver relevant results based on personally created lists or database connections, and putting the process into the hands of a self-evolving machine. Since Google handles over three billion searches per day, 20 percent of which are “long-tail” searches that have never been seen before, RankBrain more effectively interprets the searches and handles the volume.

RankBrain will continue to learn on its own and understand more patterns and connections over time. Ultimately, even the most complex queries will be able to be matched with the most relevant results.


Tandem Tip:

If you notice that your position has changed in Google SERPs, it may be due to the increased use of RankBrain. It is still unclear, but RankBrain may actually influence the results and the order in which they appear – but it also may not. Since RankBrain is machine/computer-driven, it may start taking a search term and defaulting it to a more popular search phrase.

For example: “pizza in Fort Lauderdale” might default to “best pizza in Fort Lauderdale”, depending on which search phrase is the most popular.

There is nothing that you can do other than focus on creating great content, using keyword variations, and using long-tail keyword phrases. Use the Google waterfall to see what the most popular search phrases are, and utilize them wisely in your content.


For more SEO news, tips and tricks, be sure to stay up-to-date with our Tandem blog.