Google Web Search is one of the best and most popular web search tools available on the Internet. Dominating the world’s market share of search, Google distinguishes itself by its constant innovation and reliability in answering user inquiries. In more recent years, this innovation has manifested in its new machine-learning program Google RankBrain. Making significant advancement in the last year, it is important to understand what Google RankBrain is and its impact on SEO.

Google RankBrain Background

Google RankBrain is a program that has made strides in the last few years in sorting search results from Google Web Search. Utilizing artificial intelligence, it detects the best way to arrange and present search results to a user. Surpassing previous hard-coded programs to deliver results, Google RankBrain changes how the algorithm works. Depending on the keyword phrase, this program increases or decreases the influence of content freshness, length, backlinks, and other ranking factors. After these changes are made, Google RankBrain will examine how well it fulfilled user needs, then either implement it or revert the changes.

Before RankBrain, Google sifted through pages to target the correct keyword phrases entered into searches. If a phrase had not been searched for prior, Google technology was not able to understand the user’s request. Now, RankBrain machine-learning software takes written language and turns into mathematical elements known as vectors. This allows the computer to understand a request to provide precise and accurate results. Unlike its hard-coded counterpart, RankBrain is able to guess meanings to expressions even if it is not initially familiar with them. This has produced an unprecedented level of effective search results.

Impact on SEO

Most often, Google searches produce thousands, even millions of results. Determined by which results that search tool users click on, these web pages received a boost in SERP rank. This means that the next time a user searches for something similar, the webpage that was previously clicked by previous visitors will appear higher on the SERP. On the other hand, a page’s rank will decrease if it does not indicate fulfillment of a user’s inquiry.

While Google RankBrain is a positive development in user experience, it poses new changes for how SEO may be approached. Because of machine-learning RankBrain, long-tail phrases are not as significant as they once were. Now, variations of similar search phrases will produce almost identical SERPs. For this reason, it is important to shift strategy from making multiple pages individually optimized for alternate phrases to centering focus on one keyword for an entire phrase. This will put your web pages in a more advantaged position. That being said, RankBrain is still in early stages, so SEO experts should continue to monitor how it progresses over the next year. Most likely, RankBrain’s prevalence in searches has only just begun.