A discussion on Google algorithms never get to and end :) We have been discussing about Google and search engine algorithms in general now in a series of posts. While Accelerated Mobile Pages got traction in the last few months; there was also another interesting update from Google on another algorithm component called RankBrain. RankBrain is not an algorithm update in itself; its more a component of a wider algorithm that we discussed earlier - Understanding Google Hummingbird.
What is RankBrain?
We know that Hummingbird algorithm aims to change Google from a search query/result engine to a knowledge engine. Rank Brain could be considered as the major part of the algorithm that helps Google to achieve its goal. Rank Brain is the machine learning/artificial intelligence component embedded to capture the semantics better and further perhaps ingest information into features like Google Knowledge Graph. I think this is one component, which SEOs won't be able to go behind directly (except utilizing things like schemas and mark ups)
RankBrain - One of the most important ranking signal
RankBrain is considered to be among the top three ranking signals Google use. There are supposed to be more than 200 ranking signals used by Google. Rank Brain's machine learning code is expected to connect between ambiguous and vaguely connected queries to provide meaningful results/answers. Over-time it is expected to build a memory of its learning within the algorithm. Thus it is expected to understand the intend behind a search query.
Examples of RankBrain
While a clear and evident example of how RankBrain is impacting search queries; its believed is addressing vague long tail queries. One evident way to see the benefit of this is in usage of various semantic combinations of words in a query. See below for an example -
So essentially Rank Brain is just another factor to make searches and search results smarter! If you would like to get a more in-depth understanding of what rank brain is and what it isn't; do check out Moz's article here.
Here are the other blog posts in which we have discussed search engine ranking algorithms and updates -