The newest introduction to the search engine world is Google?s affectionately named ?RankBrain?, but what is it? What does it do? Is it going to affect the way your SEO performs?

The short answer to the latter three questions is ?No?, but we?ll talk more about that. Let?s discuss Google?s RankBrain.

What Exactly is RankBrain?

Google?s RankBrain is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that has been developed to aid the search results process by using machine learning. Machine learning is essentially exactly what it says on the tin: computer programmes that can teach themselves how to develop, change and react when they are exposed to unfamiliar information. It works in very much the same way as how a human brain learns different things, albeit with an even better memory. The important thing to mention about RankBrain is that the self-learning aspect of it means that it is automatically updating itself, those changes and updates to its algorithm would normally have to had been made by an engineer.

What is it Going to Do?

This is where it can get a little bit technical and tricky. RankBrain takes an extremely large amount of written language, formats it into a process that the computer can understand, i.e. mathematical entities, and in using this vast amount of data it assess words and phrases. If the computer encounters a phrase or word it isn?t familiar with, it refers to its large collection of data, evaluates similar words and phrases and makes educated guesses as to what you might have meant – still with us?

So What?s The Point of It?

RankBrain?s main purpose is to better tackle the unique searches that Google encounters, which has been reported to be 450 million searches every single day that the search engine has never seen before. Google have said that amount equates to 15% of all the searches it receives daily. It?s there to deal with all of the ambiguous and unique searches that pass through Google?s search bar.

Is There A Need For This?

There?s always a need for improvement. As mentioned previously, Google have to process around 450 million unique searches every day, given that Google process around 3 billion queries every 24 hours, there is a definite need for RankBrain to exist and the fact that the more it processes the more it learns which in turn improves the quality of the search results and therefore makes people continue to use Google.

When Are They Going To Use It?

According to Google, RankBrain has already been handling ?a large fraction? of their search queries, and have discovered it is already really important to how the internet search engine functions, with chief researcher Greg Corrado saying that turning off RankBrain now would be ?as damaging to users as forgetting to serve half the pages on Wikipedia? i.e. half of Wikipedia just not being there. There?s a very large chance that if you?ve typed in a particularly obscure question into Google recently then RankBrain has dealt with that query.

Does It Work?

The answer appears to be yes. Whilst Google have noticed the significant importance of RankBrain?s operation, they have also said it is beginning to outperform the very people it has been developed to help. Google?s search engineers were shown different web pages around topics and were asked to predict which web page would rank top in their genre. RankBrain was asked the same questions. The results? The humans were right 70% of the time, RankBrain was correct 80% of the time.

How Does This Affect Us And Our WebPages?

All of the evidence suggests it?s nothing but a positive in terms of SEO as long as you?re not trying to trick the search engines. If your SEO is within Google?s guidelines, you shouldn?t see too much of a difference in how your website will perform.

RankBrain is a very strong statement from Google in terms of the development of AI and also in the perceived willingness and need to rely upon technology to deal with more and more aspects of human thinking. It?s not clear yet whether RankBrain is already dealing with more queries than unique and unknown searches. What is known is that it has already had a larger impact on the way we use Google than we may have probably noticed.

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