What is Google RankBrain? Why is it important for SEO?


What is Google RankBrain? (and why is it important for SEO?)

SEO | 14 Mar 2022 |

Google now is getting smarter with AI and machine learning implemented on it.

They keep updating their algorithm to satisfy users’ needs. RankBrain is one of Google’s core algorithms that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) todetermine what is the most relevant search result for users. In 2015, Google announced that RankBrain is one of the third-most important ranking signals. Although RankBrain was launched quite a long time ago, it keeps updating and getting smarter every day.

Thus, understanding how RankBrain works would win your SEO strategy and get your website rank even better on the Google search result page.

How Does RankBrain Work?

RankBrain has 2 main functions which are understanding search queries & measuring how users interact with the search result. 

1. How RankBrain understands the search queries

Before RankBrain was implemented, Google’s algorithm was hand-coded and tested by the engineers and results were based on the search queries. However, it became a big challenge when they faced keywords that were new and foreign to Google. Therefore, they just guessed which keyword will provide a less accurate result for the users.

Nowadays, with RankBrain, Google understands better what users are looking for and can provide 100% accuracy in the results. Instead of doing keyword-matching, Google’s RankBrain turns the search term into concepts and provides results that cover that concept. With the concepts that RankBrain creates, Google tries to understand the search queries to provide the most relevant search results.

2. How RankBrain measures the user’s satisfaction

Other than understanding search queries, RankBrain also measures how users interact with the search results and identify whether they like the results shown or not. This will help Google to provide even more accurate and relevant search results to the users. When many users click on a certain page from the list of results, Google will boost the ranking of that particular page. The graph below shows how RankBrain uses UX signals to measure user satisfaction.

UX Signals


But how can RankBrain measure the user’s satisfaction? Google RankBrain pays attention closely to 4 factors include:

  1. Organic CTR (Click-Through-Rate)
  2. Dwell Time (a total time that users spend on a page from the search results before returning to the SERP)
  3. Bounce Rate (a percentage of how many users leave a page without taking an action)
  4. Pogo-Sticking (is when users visit several pages in search results to find the one that they are looking for)

From these 4 factors, RankBrain will identify how good the user experience of a page is. If the page has a good user experience, Google will up-rank its position as it is the page that most users are looking for and if the webpage has a bad user experience, the position will stay.


With that being said, it is important to understand how RankBrain works to plan for an even better SEO strategy and get your website to rank as #1 on Google’s search result page. Although it was already launched a long time ago, Google still uses it to this day and it is getting smarter each passing day. Therefore, if optimising the old strategy such as keyword matching or backlink no longer works, you may need to improve the quality of your content and backlink and focus more on users’ needs instead of what Google expects to see.

Alternatively, you can get us to plan your SEO strategy and get your website to rank as #1 on Google’s search result page. Click here to find out more on our services!