SEO in Orbit: Rankbrain, AI, machine learning and the future of search

The first ever webinar series sending SEO into space!


Rankbrain, AI, machine learning and the future of search

Aired on: June 19th, 2019

Bill Slawski leverages his knowledge of Google patents and the workings of search to break down probable search algorithms used today and postulate what it might look like under the hood of a future version of Google. Join us while we explore the future of technical SEO.


Bill Slawski
In Bill’s own words: “I am not a computer Scientist, and I am not a mathematician. I have an undergraduate degree in English and a Jurisdoctor in Law degree. I have been reading patents from the search engines since around 2005, to learn about what they have to say about search,searchers, and the Web. Many of these patents cover algorithms that aim to address particular problems, and I have found many helpful when it comes to performing SEO.”


Hosted by: François Goube
François Goube, serial entrepreneur, is the Co-Founder and CEO of OnCrawl. He has founded several companies and is actively involved in the startup ecosystem. Passionate about semantic analysis and search engines, he loves to analyze scientific Google publications and is a regular speaker at SEO conferences.

Webinar Summary

Presenting François Goube and Bill Slawski – [00:58]
What are AI and machine learning? – [03:07]
Areas covered by AI – [04:25]
– Natural language – [04:32]
– Question answering – [04:58]
– Mimicking human thought (neural networks) – [07:05]

Rankbrain – [07:48]
– Relation to Hummingbird and word context – [07:58]
– Query-rewriting in Rankbrain using word embedding approach – [08:45]
– Finding missing words in query – [08:54]
– Can you optimize for Rankbrain? – [09:39]

Additional Google algorithms using machine learning – [10:45]
– Using quality scores within categories – [11:24]
– Page popularity for navigational results – [11:50]
– Influence of SERP CTR – [12:09]

Rankbrain for meeting situational needs of searchers – [12:33]
Past keyword queries vs current spoken and conversational queries – [13:13]
Natural language processing approaches – [13:53]
– Neural Matching – [14:35]
– Word Embedding – [15:00]
– Semantic Frames – [15:23]

Using machine learning to identify authors based on writing styles – [17:25]
– Author scores patent using citation frequency – [19:04]
– Google Books N-Gram viewer – [19:25]
– Quality Score patent by N. Panda using language models – [19:40]

Future machine learning with structured data – [20:37]
– Answer passages and reinforcing textual content – [21:16]
– Fact checking and consistency – [22:08]
– Fact pages and how-to pages – [22:58]

Strategies to understand context on web page – [00:00]
– Use of knowledge bases and context terms – [24:40]
– Phrase-based indexing – [26:00]
– Building inverted index of topic predictive phrases – [26:15]

Webmaster subject knowledge in Schema – [27:46]
Evolving search and outdated SEO practices – [29:25]
– Repeated words in alt text – [29:54]
– LSI intended for small static databases – [30:23]
– TF-IDF works with access to full corpus only – [31:08]

Webmaster expectation and Google capabilities: need for communication from Google – [32:35]
Using frequently co-occuring words – [33:41]
– Statistical probability of phrase co-occurence – [34:54]
LSI vs using synonyms or semantically related content – [36:26]
Quick indexing with the URL submission tool – [38:27]
Bill’s hope for future markup: more information for patents – [41:00]
Is Answer Engine Optimization the future of search? – [42:04]
– Older indications of Google as an answer engine – [42:26]
– Sergey Brin: patent for algorithm to understand facts and relationships between facts – [43:15]
– Audio watermarks – [44:22]

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About OnCrawl

OnCrawl is an award-winning technical SEO platform that helps you make smarter SEO decisions. OnCrawl combines your content, log files and search data at scale so that you can open Google’s blackbox and build a SEO strategy with confidence. Backed by a SEO crawler, a log analyzer and third-party integrations, OnCrawl currently works with over 800 clients in 66 countries including e-commerce websites, online publishers and travel websites. OnCrawl produces actionable dashboards and reports to support your entire search engine optimization process and helps you improve your rankings, traffic and revenues.