Weekly SEO Recap: RankBrain and Archive Search

This week in search we saw the following important events: Google (finally) got a brain; we’re getting search for the web’s history; Google said Penguin will come before the end of the year.

Joost's weekly SEO recap


In a piece on Bloomberg Google talked about using AI for their search results, something that we’ve been speculating as coming for years now. They call this AI “RankBrain” and seems to be somewhat related to Hummingbird. It took a while for me to realize this, but there’s a reason this was revealed on Bloomberg, not on a search marketing conference or a technical conference. This has a profound impact on the business overall.

The “key phrase” of the whole piece, to me, was this one:

If RankBrain sees a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with, the machine can make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the result accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.

This means it’s a true aim at semantic search. At relating topics. At finding entities and relating them to each other and thus providing you with results that are truly what you meant.

There is one post so far that does a good job of explaining what RankBrain could be (in my opinion), and it’s this post by Kristine SchachingerThis satirical piece – on Google getting a heart too – hit the ball home as well though!

Wayback Search Machine

The Wayback machine is a huge project that archives pages and has been archiving pages on the web for ages. You can look up the history of any website on it, for instance for yoast.com. This week they announced that they’re building a search engine, which would allow you to do history keyword search.

I think this will get a whole lot of people thinking about how to get rid of pages in those archives, as it will make your mistakes from the past painfully visible.

Google Penguin is coming

I wrote about Google Penguin extensively recently, and Google has now said that a new version will come before the end of the year. I expect a roll out just before the holiday season, as that’s something Google has done more of in recent years. This will force many people who spammed their way to the top of search engines to scramble and possibly pay for ads. I’m personally curious how this update will affect the search results.

That’s it, see you next week!

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