Google’s Latest Guide to Their Ranking Systems

After a handful of updates this past year, Google was kind enough to release an updated guide to all the systems that play a factor into how they rank websites.

And when they use a variety of specific factors and variables, they are able to come up with the specific algorithms that we face every day when we search for things on the web.

Let’s go over some of the things they shared in their new documentation.

Google Terminology: Updates vs. Systems

To educate marketers and business owners, Google is clarifying some of the languages often associated used on their platforms:

“In the past, the term “update” has often been used as the name of a particular ranking system, especially when a new system has been introduced. For example, our system to measure page experience was called the “page experience update” and more recently, our system that evaluates the helpfulness of content was called the “helpful content update“.

This can be confusing when we make improvements to systems, especially if a system is constantly operating like our helpful content system. A “helpful content update update” or an “update to our helpful content update” is difficult to say, much less understand!

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.”

Current Active Ranking Systems

In no particular order, here are the systems Goolge has listed in their guide that currently factor in search results:

  • Deduplication Systems
  • Local News Systems
  • Crisis Information Systems (Personal)
  • Crisis Information Systems (SOS)
  • Product Reviews System
  • Neural Matching
  • Reliable Information Systems
  • Exact Match Domain System
  • Removal-Based Demotion Systems (Legal and Personal Information)
  • Site Diversity System

Moved and Retired Systems

Over the years, as new updates have been released, many well-known updates in the past have been retired, such as:

  • Hummingbird
  • Panda
  • Penguin

On the other hand, there are also systems that have been retired due to being incorporated into newer systems. The three below are now all a part of the Page Experience system:

What This Means For Marketers

While this doesn’t necessarily impact what SEOs are doing in their work, it does give us great inside knowledge of what types of things the Google algorithms look into when curating SERPs. If anything, Google creating this guide shows that they want to help digital marketers, and know we are diligently listening to what they have to share. Want to learn more? Sign up fo our email newsletter to get alerts when Google releases new updates to their systems!

Sarah Blocksidge

About the Author

Sarah Blocksidge

Sarah is the Marketing Director at Sixth City Marketing and has been with the company since 2016. Her main role is to attract more B2B clients for the company. Over the years, she has been mentioned on HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, Fast Company, Mashable, and many other notable sites.

Our Partners & Awards