Date posted

05 Dec 2022

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Google’s guide to search ranking systems

Google recently released a guide to its search ranking systems which details each of the ranking systems that are used to serve relevant, useful search results.

What are search ranking systems?

The term ‘update’ has often been used when talking about a ranking system, such as ‘the page experience update’ or the ‘helpful content update.’ However, when there’s an update to an update the terminology gets confusing. So, moving forward, they’ll be referred to as ‘systems’ (i.e. ‘the helpful content system’) and updates can be made to those systems.

Ranking systems are continuously running and assessing your site against Google’s metrics, while updates are a one-time change to a system.

How does Google’s new guide help marketers?

The new guide to Google Search ranking systems is beneficial as it:  

  • Provides greater clarity on Google’s ranking systems.
  • Details retired systems that have been incorporated into the core algorithm or another system, suggesting they’re fundamental for Google to serve reliable results.
  • Gives clear guidance; we’re explicitly told that the deduplication systems happen with featured snippets. If you rank with a snippet you won’t appear in the organic listings below it, and the page experience system gives preference to content with a better page experience if all else is equal when weighed up against the competition. This information helps to inform best practices and prioritise fixes.

How can it be used to inform search strategy?

It’s not often we get a peek behind the curtain at Google, and although the new guide won’t give you all the secrets to a number one ranking, it will help you to understand some of the factors and signals Google uses to serve informative relevant results.

Explore the guide to Google Search ranking and assess your website, content, and organic search strategy against the guidelines. Also, remember that updates are now referred to as systems so you’ll hear this terminology more often.

If you need further information or support strengthening your organic search strategy, get in touch with our team today.