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  • Posted on 2 June 2016

RankBrain: A Requiem for SEO

RankBrain: A Requiem for SEO

You read it right.

In a few words, this is what Marcus Tober, Founder of Searchmetrics.com, came to say at SMX Paris 2016, in front of a large audience of SEO gurus, content marketing enthusiasts and PPC experts.

For its’ 7th edition in Paris, the organizers of the biggest French search marketing conference, dedicated the first day’s closing keynote to RankBrain – Google’s latest algorithm update – where Marcus, definitely made the show.

“The internet is full of waste”.

We couldn’t agree more with this bold introductory statement from the German search specialist.

A tsunami of poor content (irrelevant, copy/pasted and keywords stuffed) has flooded the Web, with the goal to rank better in SERPs and drive qualified traffic.

That is the situation SEO professionals have been dealing with (leading very often, to the creation of even more content), until 2015 and the launch of RankBrain. With this technology, a new approach to organic search marketing was born – new horizons are now available!        

Machine Learning, Deep Learning, AI

The most important is not that RankBrain uses Machine Learning (versus Deep Learning) and is not (yet) a real Artificial Intelligence.

After this first day of conferences (Marcus’ keynote was one of the most interesting talk of the day) if there is one thing to remember it’s this: Google is getting smarter. Much smarter.

While you are reading these lines, the algorithm learned how to serve better results to a few more millions (billions if it happens, you are the slow type) of users queries, all this using Geoffrey Hinton’s Thought Vectors.

The consequence is that, more and more, Google will answer users queries just like a human would. Not by using dumb brute force processing and mimicking human brain, but by learning. Machine learning. Scared? You should be.

Content awakens

Long-time expected, this new paradigm of organic search also means that the old tricks of SEO won’t make it anymore to rank your website #1 for the keyword – say – mortgage.

Goodbye optimization of titles, descriptions and headlines. Forget about keywords density and quantitative link building. This is all past.

Now, web content should – more than ever – be aimed at human beings, bring value to reader/viewer/follower and fulfil the user intention.

But wait a minute, why hasn’t it always been like this?

SEO is dead, long live Users’ Intention

With RankBrain, the ranking factors are changing. And it will not affect everyone the same way: industries will be influenced differently, depending on user expectation and intention.

For example, if link building will continue to boost e-commerce rankings, the technique may not be helpful any longer for online financial services where Click Through Rates and Bounce Rates will have a major impact.

And, when it comes to keyword research, professionals of organic search should zoom out from the keyword level and focus on the topic level in order to provide more relevant content. Topical content that offers answers, not to a single keyphrase, but to an entire intention.

User Centric Optimization

Finally time has come to focus on users more than spiders: optimization for humans, not for robots. Should we be excited? Or, instead, worry about our SEO guidelines, soon outdated?

If change is already occurring (Google admits that RankBrain is already the third most important ranking factor along with links…and content), Google’s Machine Learning is also progressive and we might not see a radical reorganization of SERPs tomorrow.

But, because organic search is an evolving field, we might soon have to find a better name than SEO to refer to it.

Any ideas?



About NetBooster Group |http://www.netbooster.com

NetBooster is a leading independent European agency in digital performance marketing that makes its comprehensive expertise of digital marketing available to its clients to achieve the best possible performance for their investments. The agency invests in technology and covers the entire chain of online marketing through its European network: search engine optimisation and marketing, data and analytics (DnA), GroundControl Technology, display, affiliation, online media, creation, eCRM and social networks, with a recognised expertise in tomorrow’s digital marketing (Social Media, Video, Ad Exchange, etc.). Shares in NetBooster are traded on the NYSE Alternext Paris.


About SMX Paris |http://smxfrance.com/

SMX Paris reunites for the 7th time the most important Search Marketing experts to discuss the latest industry news, evolutions and best practices.


About Searchmetrics |http://www.searchmetrics.com/

Searchmetrics Suite, the world’s #1 search and content optimization platform provides its customers with competitive advantage and help them identify new business opportunities by exposing the content consumers are engaging with on industry and competitors’ sites.




For more information please contact 

NetBooster Q1 2016

Gregory DOMINE
Content Marketing Manager

Head of SEO and Content Marketing

Charlotte LOHOU
France Communication Manager




Posted by NetBooster (Group)