Google’s RankBrain is now being used for every search query and the machine learning system is said to affect “lots” of rankings.
Last year, we were told the machine learning system only applied to around 15% of all searches. However, Google is now confident RankBrain is reliable enough to be applied to every search.
The ‘most important’ ranking signal
News that RankBrain is applied to all searches doesn’t come as much of a surprise at this stage. We’ve been hearing for a while that it’s one of the most important ranking factors.
This is quite reassuring, too, because it’s the part of Google that’s best equipped to understand the context of search queries. Google has long been able to understand the difference between fruit and technology when your query contains the word “apple” but searches get more complex than that
RankBrain is better equipped to understand slang and other forms of casual speech – and it constantly learns to improve results. It also makes the search engine less dependent on specific keywords and better at interpreting meaning.
Rankbrain doesn’t affect ranking for every query
It’s important to make this clear: RankBrain now applies to every query but it doesn’t necessarily affect the ranking for each of them. We’re being told it does have an impact on “lots” but it doesn’t mean every query will be changed.
RankBrain is a fundamental part of Google’s algorithm but there are still hundreds (or more) factors at play. You wouldn’t want RankBrain thinking too hard about searches for “weather in Manchester” and other basic stuff.
In terms of what you need to do about this, there isn’t all that much to say. Just focus on creating relevant content for the queries your audience genuinely have reason to search. This is the kind of content Google wants to deliver and precisely the idea behind RankBrain – so just follow suit.