Google Publishes Guide to Current & Retired Ranking Systems

06 Jan, 2023 Google News

Previously, learning about Google updates required a bit of searching around through Google’s blog, Twitter, and other platforms. Additionally, the terminology they used when describing new systems and the updates to those systems used the same word – “update” – leading to much confusion. Because Google generates an estimated $111 billion in economic activity in the United States alone, it can be clear to see how any miscommunication can lead to disastrous problems across the entire digital marketplace.

To combat this problem, Google recently published a blog introducing the public to its new guide to Google Search ranking systems. Alongside this helpful guide, they included a change in their previous terminology so that their system introductions and system updates are more clearly distinguished from one another. To understand how this guide functions, it is important to learn this change in terminology. That begs the question: what is a Google search ranking system as it is currently defined, and how does it differ from an update?

What is a Google Search Ranking System?

For previous large-scale changes to their algorithm, Google always used the word “update”. For example, the most recent large update came to us in August 2022 in the form of the “Helpful Content Update”, named for its goal to demote spammy or unhelpful website content and promote websites that directly answered their visitors’ search queries. Because this affects Google as a whole and is a system that will be in place for an extended period, Google has decided to change the terminology so that the “Helpful Content Update” would now be called the “Helpful Content System.”

Why? The goal of this change in terminology is to ensure that systems and updates to those systems are distinguishable from one another. Going back to the previous example, if we continued calling the system implementation the “helpful content update”, then an update to that system would be the “update to the helpful content update.” That’s difficult to even say, let alone understand in a meaningful way.

To fix this miscommunication, Google has changed the terminology so that future system implementations will be called that: systems. The Helpful Content Update would now be called the Helpful Content System, with any updates to that system being called the Helpful Content System Update.

After saying “Update” and “System” over and over again, it can feel like the words begin to lose all meaning. However, keeping up with the difference between systems and updates is almost as difficult as keeping up with the systems and updates themselves. While Google is going through its previous posts and updating its terminology, they have also compiled a guide to its search ranking systems to make it easier for people in the digital marketplace to understand exactly how the algorithm works without the need for an extensive background in computer science.

About the Guide to Google Search Ranking Systems

The Guide to Google Search Ranking Systems is a centralized page with a list of notable system implementations and their updates. This guide also notes the update history for each system and what those changes mean for how the system functions as a whole. Included in the guide are systems involved in producing search results in response to queries as well as those designed for specific ranking needs.

The current guide includes system implementations going back to the Secure Sites System that was announced in 2014. While it doesn’t have all the system implementations and their updates, the amount of content it does have listed neatly in one place written in plain English is a very useful resource for those wanting to learn the basics and get a surface-level understanding of how Google functions.

Learn More About Ranking System Guides from Our Team

Sadly, there is no easy, comprehensive list that describes how the Google algorithm works and how you can use it to boost your business. This is mainly due to each business’s highly unique needs, as it is difficult to make a comprehensive list that applies to everybody. For many businesses, this can be problematic as the number of people using the internet to find local goods and services continue to grow and your business can suffer if you don’t take advantage of that market. Luckily, BluShark Digital provides personalized SEO strategies for your business so that you can get the digital footprint you need to grow your business and clientele. Contact us today to see how our incredible team can become part of yours!