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A Look Behind the Digital Curtain

For many users, the Google search engine is a bit of a mystery. Why do some links and pages show up on the first page, and why do others lurk in the no-man’s-land of the second page and beyond? 

That is a question that SEO, or search engine optimization, experts are fit to handle. They can mention keyword research, content creation, web analytics, and other methods that can make it easy to “rank” on search engines, meaning get that coveted first-page spot. 

Yes, the SEO methods can make it easy to rank, and provide insight into what Google pays attention to when it comes to selecting which pages get highlighted, and which do not. 

However, what should be mentioned is that there is no trove of hunched-over computer programmers sifting through websites to decide which are worthy of page one and which ought to be thrown to obscurity. 

The truth is that artificial intelligence, or AI, is behind all of this business, and learning about the AI tools behind Google search can make it easier to capitalize on their ranking methods. Read on to learn about the most important technology that drives the world’s number one search engine. 

By the end of this article, you will know the names of some of the most powerful and influential search engine algorithms in the world, which will help you up your content creation game, and overall SEO strategy. 


Implemented by Google in 2015, this algorithm changed the search engine game. It has slowly become a dominant algorithm for the search engine, being used in less than a quarter of searches to now being employed for just about every one. 

RankBrain, like many search engine algorithms, is a Natural Language Processing, or NLP, tool. NLP is related to helping computers understand natural languages such as English. This goes beyond knowing the difference between a dog and a cat, and can be quite complex, dealing with the syntax and semantics of languages that, to a non-human, are hard to understand. 

The primary concern of RankBrain is building a better understanding of the concepts within a given query. So, instead of discerning the word “cat” in a query and searching for articles and pages also containing the word “cat,” RankBrain strives to understand the concept of “cat,” how it relates to the animal kingdom, cat as a subject of study and cat as a pet to be taken care of, and the like.  

As RankBrain has evolved, so has its scope—it is now available for all, or so Google says, languages and regions. 

Neural Matching

Launched a number of years after RankBrain, in 2018, neural matching is similarly instrumental to the search engine, being used for just about every query and applied to searches in every language and from every region. 

What neural matching does is figure out how relevant a content piece is to a certain query. This is done by searching for elements and concepts found in a search, like “best cat toys,” and finding articles pertaining to that topic. The entire page is analyzed to divine the nature of the content, and whether it is useful and relevant to the search or not. 

So, when searching for “best cat toys,” you are likely to find articles about, well, which cat toys are the best for your pet cat. What you are unlikely to find is articles that are on entirely different subjects, and only feature a mention of cat toys, for whatever reason, within the article. 

Biderectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT)

BERT uses neural networks, which are complex systems of analysis that deconstruct and reconstruct data to create highly accurate predictions and solutions. Here, the solutions are about the specific combinations of words in a given query, and how they affect the outcome. 

This can also pertain to the order of the words in a search, so that the searches “cat toy” and “toy cat” each lead to different results. 

Once again, the majority of queries in all languages and regions have come to use BERT, which was launched in 2019. 


AI is used in search engines to divine the meaning of words and the importance of their order. If you want to use AI solutions to rank higher, better your customer outreach, and other marketing and general operations processes, then do not hesitate to give Guardian Owl a call for SEO solutions.