Introducing our new guide to Google Search ranking systems

Monday, November 21, 2022

Over the years, through blog posts and other public communications, Google has regularly shared information about our automated ranking systems and how they operate. Now we've created a centralized page called A guide to Google Search ranking systems to make it easier for creators and others to learn about our more notable systems. This new page will also help us as we communicate how our systems work and when we update those systems.

Ranking systems versus updates to those systems

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.

Other useful pages about ranking systems

This new page joins others that we've added this year that are related to our ranking systems. As a recap:

Also be sure to check out our new Google Search Essentials: for many people, this is all that's needed to start on the path to success with Google Search. If you have any questions, leave a comment in our forum post in the Search Central Help Community. You can also send feedback on the documentation page itself by clicking the Send Feedback button.