It is well-known that Google’s artificial intelligence system, known as RankBrain, significantly contributes to a searcher’s query.
The two signals that are stronger, according to Andrey Lipattsev, the Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google Ireland, are content and inbound links. Most of us have known this for some time, of course, but it’s always nice to have it reaffirmed by the guys in the know.
Yet Lipattsev goes on to remark that the 3rd position of RankBrain is not set in stone:
“If you look at a slew of search results and open up the debugger to see what has come into play to bring about these results,” Lipattsev comments, “certain things pop-up more or less often. Certain elements of the algorithm come into play for fewer or more cases…If you do that, you may see elements of RankBrain having been involved.”
In other words, all is not quite as we thought.
“It’s not like having three links is ‘X important’ and having five keywords is ‘Y important’, and RankBrain is some ‘Z factor’ that is also somehow important,” Lipattsev continues, “and if you multiply it all together [you’ll understand how your page is ranked] it’s not how it works.”
In fairness, Google is doing its best to improve translation of search queries to relevant results but its machine learning algorithms are still struggling.
Lipattsev goes on to explain further that although it’s difficult for Google to claim that ’typed queries’ on mobile and desktop are subsiding, voice search is certainly becoming increasingly relevant.
Apparently, Google expects this latest tactic to make us all sound more robotic than human; as we tend to overthink our queries when typing in search words, the big engine is expecting us, henceforth, to use more stop words and mechanical language.
So do we adjust our brains to thinking non-human and come up with a search query the machine will better understand?
Perhaps it would be better if we did things the other way around. We could surely continue to be our normal human selves and get the machine that learns algorithms rather than language, to learn our language?
Like many new concepts, it’s always going to be better to target the young or the people who haven’t yet developed the habit of speaking in what the engine thinks is a natural way. It seems the future of search is in Google’s hands.
Back to page ranking signals. Whilst links and content, in no particular order, are the top two factors for Search Engine Results Page (SERPS), it looks as if machine learning is catching up fast.