Google’s RankBrain & Other Search Updates
Google is using a machine learning technology called RankBrain to help deliver it’s search results. Here’s a brief summary and history of other Google Search algorithm updates.
Google is using a machine-learning artificial intelligence system called “RankBrain” to help sort through it’s search results. Wondering how that works and fits in with Google’s overall ranking system? This is what we know about RankBran today.
RankBrain is Google’s AI search development – affecting 15% of searches using artificial intelligence to interpret search quires to serve the best results for users. Most algorithm changes affect around 1 to 4% of all searches internationally on first iterations. So 15% of international searches being affected by AI is sure to have an impact on what the face of search optimization looks like!
Not to long ago the internet power house Google, has rebranded itself as a subsidiary of Alphabet. The newly formed Multinational Tech Conglomerate openly announced a wealth of subsidiary companies that are changing the world. Really!
RankBrain is Google’s name for a Machine-Learning artificial intelligence system that is used to help understand and process Search Requests.
What is Machine Learning?
Machine learning is where a computer teaches itself how to do something rather than being taught by humans or following detailed programming input from a programmer or a group of programmers and technicians.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
True artificial intelligence, or AI for short, is where a computer can be as smart as a human being. At least in the sense of acquiring knowledge. Both from being taught and from building on what it already has learned. Building new connections or vectors from new information and existing knowledge.
True AI only exists in science fiction movies or books. In practice, AI is used to refer to computer systems that are designed to learn from it’s interactions with people and other computers.
How is AI different from machine learning?
In terms of RankBrain, it seems that they’re fairly synonymous. You may hear them both used interchangeably. You may hear machine learning used to describe the type of artificial intelligence approach that is being implemented.
Is RankBrain the New Way Google Ranks Search Results?
No, RankBrain is part of Google’s overall “search algorithm”, a computer program that’s used to sort through the Trillions of pages it knows about and find the ones deemed most relevant for particular queries people type into the search bar on the Google Chrome browser. RankBrain seems to be the part of the algorithm that has the job of interpreting a search query that is not easily understandable. A search that is using slang (colloquialisms) or un-popular wording.
What is the Name of Google’s Search Algorithm?
Hummingbird is the name of Google’s search algorithm. For years the overall algorithm didn’t have a formal name. But in the middle of 2013, Google overhauled it’s algorithm and gave it the name Hummingbird.
Exactly why the name Hummingbird was chosen or how it was chosen is only something that we could speculate on. Any way, that isn’t really what is important. Knowing how it works is.
Is RankBrain part of the Google Hummingbird search?
Yes, Hummingbird is the overall search algorithm. Just like a car has an overall engine in it. The engine itself is made up of various parts. It has a fuel system, a cooling system and exhaust system. Gas goes in and energy comes out. In the same way, Hummingbird encompasses various parts. RankBrain being one of the newest part of the overall Hummingbird algorithm. RankBrain doesn’t handle all searches because, only the overall algorithm can. A search goes in, it gets interpreted and then an answerer is selected that the overall algorithm deems to be the best answer for that search at that time and place.
Hummingbird also contains other parts with names familiar to those in the SEO space, such as Panda, Penguin and Payday designed to fight spam. Pigeon was designed to improve local search results. Top Heavy was designed to demote ad-heavy pages. Mobile Friendly was designed to reward mobile-friendly pages and Pirate is designed to fight copyright infringement.
What’s the Google Algorithm called, PageRank?
PageRank is part of the overall Hummingbird algorithm that covers a specific way of giving pages credit based on the links from other pages pointing to them. PageRank is special because it’s the first name that Google gave to one of the parts of it’s search engine ranking algorithm in 1998 when it began.
What are the Signals that Google uses for Ranking?
Signals are used to help determine ‘how to rank web pages.’ For example, it can read the words on a web page, so words are a signal. If some words are in bold, that might be another signal noted. The calculations used as part of PageRank give a page a PageRank score that’s used as a signal. If a page is mobile-friendly or loads fast (or slow), is another signal that is registered by Google’s overall algorithm.
All of these signals get processed by various parts within the Hummingbird algorithm to ultimately figure out which pages Google shows in response to various searches conducted for services, products or information.
How Manny Signals are There?
Google has fairly consistently spoken of having more than 200 major ranking signals that are evaluated, that, in turn might have up to 10,000 variations or sub-signals. They typically just say “hundreds” of factors. Some of these factors will have “more weight” or be more relevant to different types of websites and content on the web pages. Of course, the actual search terms have an affect too.
For example, a local service company that doesn’t have a website that is easily seen on a mobile device will be in major trouble maintaining any type of rankings in 2018. Google’s “Mobile First” initiative and an all “Mobile Search Engine” will go into effect mid 2018. That is sure to catch many folks off guard.
Is RankBrain an Important Signal?
RankBrain was said to be the third most important factor for ranking web pages by Google. We have a tendency to think of our website as one thing. But, in reality Google and other search engines see our website as pages. Many of the algorithm “signals” that we are discussing are applied on a page by page basis.
From Mr. Paul Corrado’s interview from Bloomberg,
“RankBrain is one of the “hundreds” of signals that go into an algorithm that determines what results appear on a Google search page and where they are ranked. In a few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the 3rd most important signal contributing to the search query.”
At Google, Corrado has worked for some time on brain inspired computing, and has served as one of the founding members and the co-technical lead of Google’s large scale deep neural networks project.
Is RankBrain Really Helping?
If RankBrain really is such a integral part of Google’s search algorithm process that it’s reported to be the 3rd most important signal, then it must be helping. It’s not something that Google would do unless, they really believed it was helping search users and improving the accuracy of the search results. After all, Google is the best search engine out there and most likely will continue to push the boundaries of technology and innovation.
As you probably can tell, there is quit a bit of information and data that Google uses to deliver the Search Results that they do. One constant that can be counted on is Google continuing to be the search market leader in the industry.
Another constant is the search algorithm changing and being updated. Ever changing the landscape of search engine optimization.
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