Google Documents Search Ranking Updates As Systems; Labels Live Or Archived Notable Algorithms

Nov 22, 2022 • 7:51 am | comments (3) by twitter mastodon | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Google has published a new document named a guide to Google search ranking system. That document outlines the "notable" ranking updates that are currently live and running for Google Search and also some of the historical updates that are either no longer in use or incorporated into other algorithms.

Also, Google's Danny Sullivan said these should be called ranking "systems" and not "updates." "Going forward, we'll be more precise with our wording when differentiating systems from updates. Yes, we'll still have things like a "helpful content update" or a "product reviews update", but when possible we will explain those as updates to the respective systems, such as the "helpful content system" and the "product reviews system." We'll also be refreshing our help pages to reflect this terminology change, over time," Danny wrote.

Also note, Google has added a new spam policy named policy circumvention.

Currently Live Google Ranking Systems

Here is the list of currently live Google Search ranking systems that Google documented there. I will note anything I think it new or interesting, otherwise, we covered these before here and you can search this site for our past coverage of each update/system.

  • BERT: A system that Google uses to help them "understand how combinations of words express different meanings and intent."
  • Crisis information systems
  • Deduplication systems
  • Exact match domain system
  • Freshness systems
  • Helpful content system
  • Link analysis systems and PageRank: Google noted "how PageRank works has evolved a lot since then, and it continues to be part of our core ranking systems."
  • Local news systems
  • MUM
  • Neural matching: Google uses neural matching to "understand representations of concepts in queries and pages and match them to one another."
  • Original content systems
  • Removal-based demotion systems
  • Page experience system
  • Passage ranking system
  • Product reviews system
  • RankBrain: Google said it helps them "understand how words are related to concepts. It means we can better return relevant content even if it doesn't contain all the exact words used in a search, by understanding the content is related to other words and concepts."
  • Reliable information systems
  • Site diversity system
  • Spam detection systems: Mentions of spam updates, SpamBrain, spam policies, etc.

No Longer Live Google Ranking Systems/Updates

Here is the list of Google ranking systems or updates that are no longer in use or incorporated into other systems.

  • Hummingbird
  • Mobile-friendly ranking system
  • Page speed system
  • Panda system
  • Penguin system
  • Secure sites system

Danny Sullivan of Google answered a question from Lily Ray in the Google Webmaster Help forums. The question was "Is it possible to get clarification about how the different ranking systems play into the core update system (or not)." Danny replied:

As the page explains, it covers:

"some systems that are part of our core ranking systems, which are the underlying technologies that produce search results in response to queries"

So in terms of the "core update system," it's not that we have such a thing. We have core ranking systems, multiple systems, which get help us produce results generally. Occasionally, we update these ranking systems. When we do, we share about that as a core update -- the core systems are updated. Our blog post today talks about also why we're going to be talking about "systems" apart from "updates" to help better clarify such things.

Marie Haynes did a deep dive on Twitter on some of these changes, here are some points I thought were cool that she pointed out:

Forum discussion at Twitter and Google Webmaster Help.

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