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A new guide to Google's ranking systems explains which systems are used and which are abandoned.

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An update refers to a one-time change to ranking systems. A system, such as RankBrain, is constantly running in the background. For example Google's helpful content algorithm is always running in the background, but it can be updated to work better.

Google's current guide defines ranking "systems" and "updates."

Google's current ranking systems

Listing Google's ranking systems in alphabetical order.

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Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, or BERT:

Google's crisis information systems:

Google's deduplication techniques:

01.

02.

03.

helps Google grasp how words can have diverse meanings.

deliver SOS notifications while looking for natural disasters.

 avoid serving duplicate or near-duplicate pages.

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Exact match domain system:

Freshness systems:

Beneficial content system:

04.

05.

06.

A mechanism that assures Google doesn't overcredit websites with exact-match domains.

show fresher results for predicted searches.

A system that ensures users view genuine, helpful content, not just search engine-optimized stuff.

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Link analysis systems and PageRank:

Local news systems:

MUM:

07.

08.

09.

assess what pages are about based on how they link to each other.

display relevant local news sources.

is a language-understanding AI system. It enhances featured snippet callouts but not ranking.

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Neural matching:

Original content methods:

Removal-based demotion systems:

10.

11.

12.

lets Google match concepts from queries and pages.

help Google prioritise original information, including original reporting, over citations.

Systems that demote websites with several content removal requests.

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Page experience system:

Google's Passage Ranking System:

Product Review System:

13.

14.

15.

A system that evaluates web pages for user-friendliness.

identifies "passages" of a web page to determine its search relevance.

A system that compensates expert authors who write informative product reviews using original research.

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RankBrain:

Reliable information systems:

16.

17.

helps Google understand word-to-concept relationships. Google can offer results without exact query phrases.

Google's systems elevate authoritative pages, demote low-quality content, and reward quality journalism to show accurate information.

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Spam detection systems:

Site diversity:

18.

19.

deal with Google's spam restrictions.

stops Google from presenting more than two results from the same site.

Google’s Retired Ranking Systems:

These systems are historical. These are in other systems or Google's fundamental ranking mechanism.

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Hummingbird:

Mobile-friendly ranking system:

Page speed system:

01.

02.

03.

Google's 2013 ranking system upgrade. Google says systems have evolved.

A system that favours mobile-friendly content. It's now in Google's page experience system.

2018's Page Speed System favoured fast-loading mobile content. It's now in Google's page experience system.

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Panda system:

Penguin system:

Secure sites system:

04.

05.

06.

2011's Panda system favoured high-quality, original content. It joined Google's core rankings in 2015.

2012's Penguin system demoted spammy link-building websites.

2014's Secure Sites System preferred HTTPS websites. It's part of Google's page experience system.

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