Back in November 2015, Google dropped one of its famous announcements that looked set to reshape the marketing landscape forever. The introduction of RankBrain saw Google integrate machine learning into its core algorithm and the dawn of AI search is now upon us.

Marketers debated the long and short-term implications of such an announcement. Cries that the machines were taking over dominated the more extreme end of the reaction, while other marketers were a little more pragmatic in their assessment. Either way, Google’s RankBrain is already making search a smarter entity and the proof is already rolling in.

 

Google Search is getting smarter

A recent study by American firm Stone Temple showcases how a number of searches have changed since the introduction of RankBrain. You can check out the infographic they put together below or get your own copy here:

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RankBrain essentially uses machine learning as a way to help Google Search become more intelligent without the help of human technicians. In other words, Google is now learning on its own. The aim is to improve how it interprets some of the more difficult to understand search queries. The Stone Temple infographic includes searches like “why are pdfs so weak,” referring to a number of security concerns around PDF files.

Essentially, the wider study found that 54.6% of all SERPs have been improved since the introduction of RankBrain. That’s pretty damn impressive.

 

What does this mean us mere mortals?

Well, aside from the impending terminator-style apocalypse, RankBrain opens up a new realm of possibilities when it comes to long-tail keywords. Machine learning is like a whole new expansion upon Hummingbird which originally had us chirping over the concept of long-tails. Now Google is getting even smarter at interpreting those more leftfield or difficult to interpret searches. And it will keep getting smarter too.

An almost 55% improvement on search relevance since November last year means there will be a tonne of new keyword opportunities worth exploring. You’ll also find new content opportunities and ad campaign ideas now that Google is smarter at understanding what users are asking.

RankBrain also reinforces the importance of understanding the questions you audience wants to ask. You need to answer those questions with your content and offer solutions through your ads. Google is working hard to make sure it pairs them up to the right queries, but you need to know those questions to get your content and ads in the game. This is incredibly important in a web where thousands of articles answer the same common questions and hundreds of ads fight over the same keywords.

So, if you haven’t done any keyword research since November 2015, now would be a good time to have another look. This could be vital to advertisers as the CPCs continue to rise since Google decided to ditch ads in the right column of search results.