Google is now using machine learning technology called RankBrain as part of Hummingbird to help decide search results. Earlier, search results from algorithms have been calculated on the basis of previous search data. RankBrain interprets queries that are different and unusual such as colloquialisms and deduces what would be optimal to serve the user. Through refinement of this artificial intelligence (AI) technology Google aims to answer any search query with the best and accurate results. RankBrain can actually look into the intent of the search and not just the keyword. It is trying to be more human in the way that it provides search results.
RankBrain is at present considered the third strongest ranking factor in terms of the search results provided to users on a global level. This is very significant to search engine optimization. When tested against Google engineers, RankBrain was found to index pages correctly 80% of the time compared to a humanâ€™s 70% success rate.
A Bloomberg article reported that RankBrain is Googleâ€™s AI search development affecting 15% of searches. This is something big. Typically, most algorithm changes affect 1% to 4% of all searches internationally. According to Greg Corrado, a senior Google research scientist, RankBrain has been used to interpret a very large fraction of the millions of search queries processed every week. If 15% of international searches is being affected, it will surely have a strong impact on SEO.
Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google is in favour of RankBrain and said that â€śmachine learning is a core transformative way by which we are rethinking everything we are doing.â€ť
What does this bode for SEO? Google has stated that this new development will not counteract SEO efforts. Users are bound to notice a significant difference due to the use of RankBrain – the search results would be more relevant regardless of their search input being unusual or vague. Here are some things to note:
- Citation and reference will have increased importance with regard to RankBrain.
- If your site has more mentions and relations for terms relevant for your business, RankBird will interpret your site relates to more searches and has stronger references.
- Optimizing for three keyword phrases or building comment links may not work anymore because with AI technology your site needs to be referenced through quality content on quality sites.