Last month, Google announced that they had implemented a new machine-learning artificial intelligence system named “RankBrain” to sort search results.
- How does RankBrain fit into the signals? Hummingbird contains other parts, such as ‘Panda’ to eliminate spam, ‘Pigeon’ to boost local results, ‘Top Heavy’ to lower ad-heavy pages and ‘Pirate’ to deter copyright infringement. RankBrain is the newest of these parts and is said to now be the third-most important signal for ranking search results.
- What does that mean exactly? The name “machine-learning” and “artificial intelligence” reveals that they are using a new system that is adaptive and can teach itself how to do something without human interference or updating detailed programming. It is not replacing the existing algorithm, known as ‘Hummingbird’, but rather, has been added as a smaller component of it.
- How does Hummingbird work? This powerful algorithm sorts through billions of pages with each search, using hundreds of different criteria in order to rank pages and present search results. It uses around 200 signals from websites. Most signals can be triggered with strong SEO copywriting. Some signals include words on the webpage, bolded words and if a page is mobile-friendly.
- What does RankBrain do? RankBrain is said to help interpret search queries. It is expected to help users find what they are looking for, rather than the exact terms that they searched for. The system will help Google eliminate some of the human effort that goes into providing valid results for the 450 million new searches entered each day. Many “long-tail” searches that involve multi-word searches will be compared and connected to other long searches, and more specific searches using RankBrain. That way, future searchers get relevant results they are after, regardless of whether the query entered is complex or vague.
- How can I use it to improve search rankings? Google is still being pretty vague about how exactly the new system will impact rankings. The overall idea is that more relevant content will be presented. So it will likely help small, local business that have an existing SEO strategy to improve their rankings.
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