Google Officials Reveal: Everything You Need To Know About Google’s NEW Search Ranking System
Attracting your target audience online can be a challenge, especially with Google’s ever-evolving algorithms and search ranking methods.
In late 2022, Google developers officially published ‘A Guide to Google Search ranking systems’ and released the following statement:
“We regularly improve these [Google Search Ranking] systems through rigorous testing and evaluation and provide notice of updates to our ranking systems when those might be useful to content creators and others.”
To ensure continued success in organic search, business owners must stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in search engine optimization.
In this guide, we’ll reveal which systems Google uses to rank search results, which ones are retired, and Google’s new, must-know terminology.
But before we begin, let’s cover the basics:
Table of Contents
How Are Google Searches Ranked?
Google’s ranking systems sort through billions of web pages and content in the Search index to present the most relevant, useful results.
Search algorithms look at many factors and signals, including:
- The words used in the query
- The relevance and usability of pages
- The expertise of sources
- The users’ location and settings
Now you know how Google utilizes its search ranking system to provide accurate results, let’s take a look at their newly-published terminology.
New Google Search Ranking Terminology
In the past, many search systems were known simply as “updates.” Google has now provided a new distinction between “systems” and “updates.”
A system, such as RankBrain, runs continuously in the background to deliver search results. An update, on the other hand, refers to a single change made to the ranking system with the purpose of improving its functionality.
For example, Google’s helpful content system is always active, but it may receive updates from time to time.
Other examples of ranking updates include core algorithm updates and spam 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.”“
– Google Developers
Current Google Ranking Systems
Short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, BERT allows Google to understand how combinations of words can express different meanings and intent.
Crisis Information Systems
Google has developed systems to provide helpful and timely information during times of crisis, whether those involve personal crisis situations, natural disasters, or other wide-spread crisis situations:
- Personal Crisis Information: During times of personal crisis, such as suicide, sexual assault, or drug addiction, Google’s systems are designed to display hotlines and information from trusted organizations for relevant queries.
- SOS Alerts: In the event of a natural disaster or widespread crisis situation, Google’s SOS Alerts system will display updates from local, national, or international authorities. These updates may include emergency phone numbers, maps, translations of useful phrases, and donation opportunities.
Google’s search system shows only the most relevant results to avoid unhelpful duplication.
Exact Match Domain System
A system that ensures Google doesn’t give too much credit to websites with domain names that exactly match a query.
For example, someone might create a domain name containing the words “best-places-to-eat-lunch” in hopes all those words in the domain name would propel content high in the rankings.
Designed to show fresher content for queries where it would be expected.
For example, if someone is searching about a movie that’s just been released, they probably want recent reviews rather than older articles from when production began.
Helpful Content System
Created to better ensure users see original, helpful content, rather than content made primarily to gain search engine traffic.
Link Analysis Systems and PageRank
Systems that determine what pages are about and which might be most helpful in response to a query. Among these is PageRank, one of Google’s core ranking systems developed in 1998.
Local News Systems
Systems that work to identify and surface local sources of news whenever relevant, such as through Google’s “Top stories” and “Local news” features.
The Multitask Unified Model (MUM) is an AI system that can both comprehend and generate language. It is not utilized for general search ranking but rather for targeted applications such as enhancing searches related to COVID-19 vaccine information and improving the featured snippets displayed.
Neutral marching is what Google uses to understand representations of concepts in queries and pages and match them to one another.
Original Content Systems
A system that prioritizes original content in search results, including original reporting, ahead of those who merely cite it.
Removal-Based Demotion Systems
Systems that demote websites based on content removal requests.
Page Experience System
A system that evaluates multiple factors to determine the quality of a web page’s user experience.
Passage Ranking System
Used to identify individual sections or “passages” of a web page to better understand how relevant a page is to a search query or term.
Product Reviews System
A system that rewards high-quality product reviews, content that provides insightful analysis and original research, and is written by experts who know the topic well.
An AI system that helps Google understand how words are related to concepts. This allows Google to return results that don’t contain exact words used in a query.
Reliable Information Systems
In cases where reliable information might be lacking, Google’s systems automatically display content advisories about rapidly-changing topics.
A system that prevents Google from showing more than two webpage listings from the same site in the top results.
Spam Detection Systems
Spam detection systems, including SpamBrain, deal with content and behaviors that violate Google’s spam policies.
Retired Google Ranking Systems
The systems listed below are noted for historical purposes. They’ve either been incorporated into successor systems or made part of Google’s core ranking systems.
A significant improvement to Google’s ranking systems that rolled out in 2013. Systems have evolved since then, Google says.
Mobile-friendly Ranking System
A system that prioritized content optimized for mobile devices in 2018 has now been integrated into Google’s page experience system.
Page Speed System
A system that gave preferences to content that loaded fast on mobile devices has now been integrated into Google’s page experience system.
A system that preferred high-quality and original content became part of Google’s core ranking systems in 2015.
A system that demoted websites with spammy link building practices.
Secure Sites System
A system that preferred websites secured with HTTPS has now been made part of Google’s page experience system.