Google recently published a new document on Google Search Central Developers Blog, listing all the notable ranking systems over the course of time, some of which are actively in use, and others that have either been done away with or have been incorporated into other ranking systems. It is an interesting insight into the world of Google and its systems, and is immensely helpful if you are looking to improve your SERP standings. Consider it a blueprint, sort of, and not a list, as Google also provided detailed (at some places) information alongside each system to help users understand it easily. In the following section, we have included all that Google has listed, that which is currently in use and also the ones that have been retired. You can read all about it on the Google Search Central page here.
A List of Current Google Ranking Systems
BERT: Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) is an AI system that helps Google understand different meanings and intents behind different combination of search queries.
Crisis Information Systems: It helps Google provide timely information in times of crisis including personal crisis situations, natural disasters, or other wide-spread crisis situations.
Deduplication Systems: It helps Google show only the most relevant of web pages among the millions that either match in content or very similar to each other, filtering unhelpful duplication.
Exact Match Domain System: It helps Google consider words in the domain name when a query is entered to determine if the content is relevant and useful to the searcher.
Freshness System: It helps Google display fresher content in the search results wherever it is a expected and should be the norm.
Helpful Content System: One of the most recent and important systems put in place, it is still evolving and helps Google show see original, helpful content written by people, for people, in search results.
Link Analysis Systems and PageRank: It helps Google understand how pages link to each other, what they are about, and which of them might be most relevant to the user.
Local News Systems: It helps Google identity Top Stories and Local News features and display sources of news wherever necessary and relevant.
MUM: It is an AI system called Multitask Unified Model that is able to both understand and generate language and was used to provide information on COVID-19 Vaccines.
Neural Matching: Another AI system that enables Google to understand concepts in search queries before matching them to the top relevant pages.
Original Content Systems: As the name suggests, it helps Google ensure that the search results that are shown are predominantly original and relevant.
Removal-based Demotion System: Among other things, it includes valid copyright removal requests and exploitative personal information practices, and enables Google to take action wherever necessary.
Page Experience System: Pages that load quickly, pages that are mobile-friendly, lack interstitials, and are served in a secure fashion benefit from this system and get priority in search results.
Passage Ranking System: Another AI system that enables Google to read and evaluate a particular section or passage of the page to determine how relevant it is to the query.
Product Reviews System: A system put in place to better reward genuine and high-quality product reviews written by experts after thorough analysis, personal use, and original research.
RankBrain: Yet another AI system that helps Google predict how search queries are related to concepts even if certain words are missing from the query, to provide high-quality relevant results.
Reliable Information Systems: It allows Google to demote low-quality pages and show more authoritative pages with trustworthy content in the search results.
Site Diversity Systems: It enables Google to generally not show two pages from the same website in the search results, so that no single site dominates and site diversity in search rankings is maintained.
Spam Detection System: There are numerous Spam Detection Systems and Spam Policies put in place by Google so that websites that don’t adhere to Google’s Guidelines don’t get unfair advantage in the search results.
A List of Retired Google Ranking Systems
Alongside the ranking systems that are currently operation, Google also listed retired ranking systems that have either been retired altogether or have been merged with other ranking systems. These retired systems are:
- Mobile-friendly Ranking System
- Page Speed System
- Panda System
- Penguin System
- Secure Sites System
While you’re at it, you can read all about some of the most important updates and algorithms in the history of Google updates and algorithms in the last decade or so. It’s a detailed and a very interesting account on how Google has evolved over the course of time. It also includes in-depth knowledge on how to prepare for algorithm updates as well as how to recover from them. You can read about it here.