How RankBrain and Artificial Intelligence Help Outline SEO Strategy

5 Min Read. |

What is RankBrain?


RankBrain is a machine learning, artificial intelligence system; Intelligent enough to show most relevant and quality search results. With Machine Learning ability and Artificial Intelligence RankBrain is using the mathematical processes and an enhanced understanding of language semantics to learn more about what and why people are searching. It is applying those predictions to improve future search results.

What is Machine Learning?

Machine learning gives computers the ability to learn and to perform functions on their own without having to follow detailed programming or human instructions.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial intelligence enables electronics and computers to become as smart as humans and perform tasks,  such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

Facts about RankBrain

To better clarify exactly what RankBrain is, it is helpful to understand some facts about RankBrain –

  • It uses artificial intelligence to convert words into mathematical entities, called vectors. Vectors are a mathematical representation of how words are related to each other.
  • RankBrain is the third most important signal of Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm, which drives the overall search process to determine what results should appear on SERPs and where they are ranked.
  • It is not a new search algorithm or standalone program like Hummingbird, panda or penguin. RankBrain is an update or modification applied to the Hummingbird search algorithm.
  • It is not similar to Knowledge Graph. The Google Knowledge Graph is an artificial intelligence program too, but they both have different purposes. The top carousel ad when you search for movies or star casting and suggestions to explore more for related topics at the right side are the examples of Knowledge Graph. RankBrain process the search queries and come up with the most relevant pages for your search. In other words, it decides the page ranking.
  • It’s handles around 15% of Google’s daily search queries. These 15% queries are complex and never seen before. RankBrain is helping Google to better interpret and effectively translate these queries.
  • It is not programmed to respond to specific search queries. It has the ability to learn and it is improving with time. All of the RankBrain’s learning process takes place offline.

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How Does RankBrain Work?


RankBrain is the part of the Google search algorithm and Google uses it to sort billions of search result pages in order to determine which search results are most relevant to specific requests.  It uses artificial intelligence to insert words into mathematical entities in order to make them more understandable to computers. It will convert the unfamiliar words in to similar meanings words and filter the results accordingly. This improves accuracy of search results and efficiency of Google while handling new search queries. Machine learning allows it to learn and understand future complex searches so that it can interpret those search queries and relate all similar meaning topics.

According to Google, all of RankBrain’s learning takes place offline using the following mechanisms:

  • RankBrain establishes how to make predictions based on historical data it processed.
  • Predictions are then tested and proven before they can go live.
  • The cycle of offline learning and test is repeated each time a new search is entered into the system.

RankBrain also helps Google to decide website ranking. This is the third most important ranking signal of Hummingbird algorithm. Google is using more than 200 signals in order to determine website ranking. Some of the examples are headers, titles and bold words/phrases on a webpage, keywords highlighted in bold font, webpage’s responsiveness and “mobile-friendly” rating. All these signals along with RankBrain processed within Hummingbird and helps Google to decide which pages are shown and in what order, in response to a search query.

Tips to Optimize Your SEO Strategy For RankBrain:


RankBrain is designed to learn from historical data and predict user behaviors. It helps Google to interpret and respond to the millions of completely unique, complex and unfamiliar queries that it encounters each day. Since the Google search engine is using artificial intelligence, small details about your website will impact your SEO strategy.

Tips to Outline SEO Strategy

Let’s look at some of the important tips that help outline SEO Strategy-

  • Write your content in a simple, easily understandable and natural language that sounds human. Perfectly natural content is the best optimize content for RankBrain.
  • Your Meta titles should be well defined and meaningful. Don’t put too many keywords into the titles. Title should tell the objective of content creation.
  • Your Schema Markup should be up to date. Schema tells the search engines what your content means and RankBrain can learn what is your website all about.
  • Keyword research is very important for SEO. Use less competitive and Long-Tail keywords for your website.
  • Don’t Stuff too many keywords and don’t use your main keyword multiple times. Your website content should be crisp and easily readable. You can use synonyms and  related keywords and phrases n number of times, but the content should sound natural.
  • Be innovative and creative when writing content for your website. Do more research on what is important for your audience. Create a responsive and beautiful pages that provided useful information to your audience. If visitors stay longer on your site and explore other pages after the first page, then your content is well optimize for RankBrain.
  • Focused and quality content will improve your CTR and engagement rate. Higher engagement means higher ranking in SERPs. RankBrain will move down the top pages to bottom if those pages have lower engagement.
  • You should add only useful links to your site. Refrain yourself from using manipulative SEO practices.

It is very important to understand that RankBrain is not taking over  Google’s search algorithm. It is not a new search engine and it will not impact crawling and indexing ability of Google. The Hummingbird algorithm is composed of numerous components and RankBrain is one of them. Our basic SEO strategy will still be the same. RankBrain is giving an opportunity for marketers and business owners to understand their target audience and focus on quality content. Be smart and creative. Think from Audience perspective and not from Google’s perspective.

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  1. Mark Long

    Hi Shalini
    An excellent article for the newbie and a refresher’s course for the more seasoned writers like us and marketers in the field. Although, some SEO strategists may disagree with me, however, I feel this recap in the beginning of the year is quite necessary. It is a complete summary just a click away for anyone who needs to know even a small detail about Rankbrain. Keep it Up!

  2. Shalini Yadav

    Thank you Mark!


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