Ok so I’ve seen a resurgence of talk about Rank Brain chatter amongst the SEOs. I honestly wasn’t familiar with Rank Brain as I wanted to be and because Google is typically cryptic, I went to research. So Rank Brain is similar to Word2Vec as The SEMPost reports. Word2Vec basically attempts give words numerical values, vectors, or coordinates. So days of the week tend to have close numerical values. Verbs like can, will, may, and their contractions would have similar numeric values.
So what does this mean? Basically if we can give a numerical value to words, we can mathematically understand the meaning of a word, without the word actually being present. The closer the assigned value of two words, the closer the relationship.
Is this the death of SEO and Keywords? I don’t think so, at least not yet. This is just another step in the direction of Strings to Things. Things are covered by entities in Google’s Knowledge Graph. Rank Brain fills in the holes.
Ok so what are the takeaways. Not much has changed in SEO strategy. If you didn’t get the memo and you’re new to SEO or have time traveled back from 2005, the message is the same. Keywords aren’t enough. If you’ve got a page about [minimalist running shoes], it’s probably important to talk about subjects surrounding it: the materials it’s made of, injuries sustained by minimalist running shoes, the benefits, how to transition from a thick shoe to a thin one, some good places to take them out for a spin, yada, yada, yada. Even if Rank Brain hasn’t figured a query like “foot gloves that are great for strengthening plantar fasciitis injuries”, it will soon. Use your exact match keywords, stemmings, modifiers, and synonyms are for the present. Surrounding concepts for the near future. As Andy Grove said “Only The Paranoid Survive.”