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JohnW
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Hi Goodportz & Aidan,
A certain overlapping involved for both your observations.

Aidan, We are not disagreeing. I just happened to have the “wind” search results on hand from a discussion in another SEO forum.

As you know, G has always battled to deliver relevant results for short search queries. I started when the WWW contained around 50 million web pages. Now G claims to have indexed 130 trillion pages.

Searchers learned that they needed to increase the length of their search queries to cull the crud from results. In spite of the major improvements in G’s ability to interpret results, the length of search queries has grown from 2 words in the early 2000’s to its current level of up to 4 words. The most likely event of a short search query that generates irrelevant results is for the searcher to increase their search query length and try again.

With the query length growth, intent seems to be much more obvious to G and therefore RankBrain seems to exert less impact in modifying the results delivered for long queries.

There will be exceptions that I believe SEOs need to know to help with their SEO planning and advice to clients.

Goodportz,
Info relevance has always been G’s major goal. RankBrain is a new way to attain that objective.

I suggest that which aspects of RankBrain that kick in will depend on a number of factors. I believe it is dangerous to make blanket statements.

Certainly location of the searcher and the business is a factor in many searches but if the question is, “when was the battle of Hastings”, location is a total irrelevancy, as is currency (“newness”) of the information.

If the question is, “What is the Olympics 100 metres record”, you now want G’s latest info algorithm component to kick in to avoid out-dated records.

Then there is the issue of “what’s trending” in search. This may generate a huge number of search queries but what is the relevance of these to your client?

This issue seems to be a demarcation point between SEO and SEM. If your objective is to fortuitously grab a one-in-hundred click from someone in the early stage of their purchasing process, then buy appropriate Adwords. SEO tactics are likely too expensive for this marketing objective.

This is not a criticism of Adwords, more an observation on the need for different marketing visibility tactics to support different online communications objectives.