The RankBrain Algorithm

The AI addition to Google’s ranking algorithm.

What is Google’s RankBrain?

In 2013, Google announced the overhaul of their ranking algorithm through an update called “Hummingbird.” The update was extremely significant because it increased the flexibility of the code and allows additional features like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to be very easily implemented.

Now in 2015, Google launched RankBrain which was their AI solution to ranking. RankBrain enables Google to find better solutions to queries, understand nuances and human semantics, and reduce the workload of the Google Engineers.

While Google search engineers guessed correctly 70 percent of the time, Rank Brain had an 80 percent success rate.


In short terms RankBrain has improved or effected the following things:

  • Search pattern recognition
  • Response –> Query improvement (huge impact on SEO)
  • Black-hat SEO prevention
  • White-hat SEO mitigation (huge impact on traditional SEO)
  • Data processing
  • Able to understand human semantics
  • Clearer spelling corrections
  • Faster SERP generation

RankBrain’s impacts on SEO.

SEO is all about beating a search engine. While you’re not technically cheating, you’re playing by the rules in a way that the Search Engine wasn’t made for.

Now traditionally Search Engines can’t do anything about it, because there are fundamental principles that reflect how reliable a website is, how well it satisfies a query, and 200 other factors in Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm. These were hard-coded, meaning they would look something like this:

rank = 0
if Website A (backlinks > 1000) then:
  rank += 1
if Website A  (keywords > 100) then:
  rank +=10

Meaning they would be stagnant, and would have pre-written conditions. What RankBrain can do is alter that code as it learns. This could mean that if tons of low value websites have lots of backlinks, RankBrain could figure out that “Hey! Backlinks really aren’t that valuable,” and begin dropping the ranking bonus for backlinks from 1, to say 0.5, or even 0.1.

This has really impacted traditional SEO which relied on hard-coded algorithms.

Traditional SEO transforming into Technical SEO (TSEO).

Since hard-coded algorithms are becoming extinct quickly, how can you still beat a Search Engine? Well, there are aspects of a Search Engine that it still relies upon for the functionality of existing as a Search Engine.

These are the three key functions that Search Engines still abide by:

  1. Crawling
  2. Indexing
  3. Ranking

Ranking of course, has been taken over by RankBrain. Therefore through optimising Crawling, and Indexing, can a website still be technically optimised, this relates back to TSEO (Technical SEO).

Because Google still relies on scraping data from crawlers, processing it, analysing it, and categorising your website, there are still things you can do like optimising your javascript, your layout, keywords, HTML, CSS and tons more!

What is Technical SEO?

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Specialising in Technical SEO

SEOSPIDRE is an agency that focuses on Index & SEO in its modern state. Forget link-building, content creation, or on-page optimisation, they are things of the past. Technical SEO is carving its way into the SEO industry and you might as well hear it from the experts first.

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