I love when Gary Illyes talks about Google. He was asked about what is RankBrain and goes off to explain that “RankBrain is a PR-sexy machine learning ranking component.” I would love to see how Google’s sexy PR team talks to Gary about this comment. He said this on an AMA he is running on Reddit.
Google first revealed RankBrain back in October 2015. As I understand it, RankBrain is Google’s query interpretation that uses artificial intelligence.
Gary explained it again, a slightly different and more sexy way saying:
RankBrain is a PR-sexy machine learning ranking component that uses historical search data to predict what would a user most likely click on for a previously unseen query. It is a really cool piece of engineering that saved our butts countless times whenever traditional algos were like, e.g. “oh look a “not” in the query string! let’s ignore the hell out of it!”, but it’s generally just relying on (sometimes) months old data about what happened on the results page itself, not on the landing page
I am not sure if this tells us anything more about RankBrain. In fact, years ago, Google’s Paul Haahr explained Googlers don’t fully understand it. But most Googlers are telling SEOs to stop obsessing about RankBrain, it is a waste of time and you can’t optimize for it.
Forum discussion at Reddit.