Have you heard of “RankBrain”? It’s made headlines lately due to Google’s announcement that it is now the third most important signal when determining final rankings.
So for those of us charged with keeping our company’s listing high in the rankings, it’s prudent to learn more about this and also understand how it fits into Google’s overall mechanism.
What is RankBrain?
In a nutshell, it’s Google’s latest enhancement to provide the best result to a search query. It follows in the footsteps of prior enhancements, like Panda and Penguin. RankBrain’s focus is on complex long-tail search queries. However it can only be a matter of time before this comes to all searches. The other very interesting thing is that it’s powered by machine intelligence (did someone say “SkyNet?” … for those of you not familiar with this, it’s from the Terminator movie series where the machines took over the world). So it’s learning, based upon input. And with at least 1 trillion searches per year. RankBrain will have plenty to learn from!
Understanding the Impact
RankBrain’s results process appears to be very similar to Google Adword’s generation of it’s Quality Score process. So if you have experience structuring your content for Adwords you already have a leg up on staying current with RankBrain. Quality content, structured for crawling, with strong inbound links from quality sites should still be at the top of your worklist.
Algorithm: Parts and Pieces
With this new addition it was getting a bit complicated to understand all of the pieces, so I thought a quick list might be useful:
- Hummingbird is the name of the overall search algorithm
- Panda: rewards great-quality content and demotes low quality content
- Penguin: lower the SERP of sites that practice black-hat SEO techniques
- Payday: to address link schemes (very spammy queries as Google would say)
- Pigeon: to improve local search results
- Pirate: algorithm updates to fight piracy
- … and of course RankBrain!