Google RankBrain – How AI Impact Google Search

Google RankBrain – How AI Impact Google Search

Prior to the evolution of RankBrain, Google’s algorithms were hand-coded by the Google Engineers and worked by scanning the pages that have the exact match to the keyword. Every time when a user entered a new query, Google has to hit a guess of what exactly a user is searching for.  The prior working was:

  1. The engineers wrote a code that they think would improve the search results.
  2. They test the code.
  3. If it worked correctly then they permanently implemented that change.

The task that took one month to crawl and index 50 million pages in 1999, the same task takes less than a minute to process in 2012. But still, after processing numerous queries 15% of queries are new and never asked before.

For instance, if you searched for the “best computer program” or “best computer software” Google showed up the very different results for both the queries. Because Google used exact match to search the queries and reflect the results. The user didn’t get the exact answer to what he asked for every time he entered a new query. Google needed an appropriate solution to this problem and that’s when RankBrain was introduced.

Google RankBrain

RankBrain is a machine-learning algorithm that uses AI to filter the search queries entered by the user. It helps Google to understand new and unique search queries. RankBrain filtered the results accurately because it learns from the users and series of the database based on people, places and things and updates itself on its own rather than being instructed by a set of programs. It is established to make the predictions based on historical data it proceeds. It has now been confirmed as Google’s third most important ranking signal. It observes the search query and sees how a user responds to the results.

Fact: Google processes 40,000 search queries every second which constitutes over 3.5billion searches per day and about 1.2trillion searches per year. RankBrain sorted all these queries as contextual chunks or segment, search for the results that have the exact context rather than returning the results that have exact matching keywords. It searches for the long-tail keywords and the complex queries that were never processed before and refine the results based on the context. As stated above it learns from every query entered by the user, each time it processes a query, the machine learning engine makes adjustments in its algorithm and relate to the past searches it had.

Understanding the Working of RankBrain

It mainly has two jobs: Understanding the search queries and observing how people interact with the result.

Understanding the search queries: RankBrain has changed the game in terms of the search query. For instance, if a person has searched for the “best restaurants in Birmingham” then Google showed up the pages which contain the exact keywords and ranked the websites containing the keywords more accurately before the RankBrain. But with the evolution of the RankBrain, it will now analyze the search query and understands like human what exactly are you looking for.

As you see, it will look for the results that satisfy the user’s query instead of showing the keyword-rich pages. Now it will analyze the meaning behind the whole query and gives the best result.

Observing the Searcher’s Interaction: It will observe the user interaction with the given page results. Like if the user likes a common page in the results then it will boost up the ranking of that particular page. On the other hand, if the user does not like the page then it will drop the ranking or can either replace the page with another one. Every time the user searches for a particular query, it will observe the pages and make changes accordingly.

As stated by Google, RankBrain was being used to process 15% of queries the system had never encountered before.

How Would It Impact SEO?

RankBrain is helping Google to understand the queries despite the fact that they use slightly different words or completely different. Now keyword matching is not that important, link diversity neither here nor there, anchor text does not matter too much and what is most important is the freshness. Because if you are not fresh, it means you are not showing searchers what they exactly want and Google will not display you. Domain authority is somehow important because surely Google doesn’t want to get spammed by the low-quality domains. The most needed is the engagement of the users that will indicate the Google that the searchers are satisfied by the given results. You need to match your SEO focus, brand and type of signals that you hit to the queries that you care about.


People say that the SEO is dead with the evolution of the RankBrain but as per our understanding, it’s not at all correct. We still are getting organic traffic to our website. As some people are not aware of the fact that Google changes its algorithm two times a day that sum up to 600 times per year. It’s really burdensome for us to understand what exactly is important and what we need to do to rank our website. Although the main factor for ranking is still the same i.e. content and links. With the emerge of the RankBrain – a machine learning technology, we get more filtered search results. It allows Google to give context to the complex search queries. Thus, until and unless your intent behind the keywords is not clear, it won’t work. So, we should go for the relevant content for the keyword and optimize it to solve the user’s problem.

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