RankBrain is Not a Ranking Factor, Designed to Understand Query Intent

Since RankBrain was launched, a lot of confusion has been seen over how exactly it affects SEO and owners of websites. What many are not appreciating is the fact RankBrain is built for search queries that Google has never experienced before. Google’s Gary Illyes cleared the misconceptions surrounding the launch of the system and touched on areas connected to RankBrain and how they will be affected.

According to Gary Illyes, RankBrain allows for easier understanding of queries and has no effect on crawling or indexing, neither does it replace anything. From the initial launch of RankBrain, it has been known that it was meant to work with queries but as usual, there have been speculations about how it really works.

If you are worried about the crawl budget of your website, you will feel happy to realize that RankBrain does not impact crawl budget. Google’s John Mueller answered this question and explained only big websites that are more concerned about indexing should work on their crawl budget. After all, it is something Google has designed perfectly to ensure they do not send too many requests thereby accidentally bringing a website down. There are different factors that affect a website’s crawl budget, but RankBrain is definitely not one of them.

It is also reported that RankBrain has been helping in the 15% search queries Google has not seen before. RankBrain works with artificial intelligence to embed huge amounts of written content into mathematical vectors that can be understood by the computer. If the RankBrain engine sees a word or phrase that looks unfamiliar, it will guess to words that could have similar meaning and filter the search results according to this criterion. This is only about results and does not in any way affect the ranking of sites on Google.

This is an important update that many are missing, simply because they have not learnt how exactly it’s meant to work. Illyes also confirmed that RankBrain does not make up its Algorithm signals, something many people are assuming RankBrain initiates. It weighs signals existing at a particular time to understand and offer answers to queries more precisely.

RankBrain is also available in all languages. This is important because it helps to show the engine can be used regardless of the language applied. It is not restricted to specific types of queries but works with all kinds of queries to offer relevant answers.

The system is also periodically retrained. To further clear speculations, Gary Illyes stated on Twitter that RankBrain is not continually learning, meaning it does not evolve with each query submitted. Therefore, this is less of a factor when sorting ranking signals, something many SEO professionals have only been speculating.


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