Google Retires Ranking Systems but None should be Ignored

By December 9, 2022 No Comments
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By Cheryl Goldsmith

Google has retired six list ranking systems but all of them have been incorporated into updated algorithms programmes so none should be ignored.

The search engine giant published a new ‘guide to Google search ranking systems’ last month and the document reveals which systems are currently in use and which ones are now dormant.

Google states in the guide that Hummingbird, its mobile-friendly ranking system, page speed system, Panda system, Penguin system and Secure site system have all been retired.

However, this does not mean that SEO practitoners and businesses should ignore these systems because – as Google states – they have ‘either been incorporated into successor systems or made part of our core ranking systems’.

What has gone:

Hummingbird – this was launched way back in August 2013 and was a major improvement to Google’s overall ranking systems – however these have evolved since then so it has been retired.

Mobile-friendly ranking system – this was another major update introduced in 2015 and effectively gave preference to websites that rendered better on smartmobiles than desktop. This has now been incorporated into Page Experience so it tells SEOs that websites must continue to perform on mobile devices or its rankings could be impacted by the algorithm.

Page Speed system – this was brought in around 2018 and was designed to ensure that content that loaded faster on mobile would rank better in the mobile SERPs. This has also been included in the Page Experience system so no real change here.

Panda system – this update, nicknamed ‘Panda’ made shockwaves when it was first added as some websites saw their rankings plummet. Panda, announced in 2011, was aimed completely at weeding out poor low quality content and ensuring that high-quality, original content appeared at the top of the SERPs.

Penguin system – another big change to Google’s algorithm was the Penguin update which was released 10 years ago. Designed to combat ‘black hat’ sites involved in links spam, Penguin was also integrated into the search engine’s core ranking system in 2016.

Secure sites system – this was announced in 2014 and was brought into to effectively force businesses to secure their sites with HTTPS which at the time, was still fairly uncommon, with sites still using HTTP. It worked as virtually every site today is HTTPS and is it now part of Google’s Page Experience system so still matters.

Google also stated in the guide that the below 19 ranking systems are all still currently in use so it is vital sites do not trigger these systems which could affect rankings, decrease organic search traffic and negatively impact a company’s enquiries and sales.

Crisis Information systems
Deduplication systems
Exact match domain system
Freshness system
Helpful content system
Link analysis systems and PageRank
Local news system
Neural matching
Original content system
Removal-based demotion system including legal removals and personal information removals
Page experience system
Passage ranking system
Product reviews system
Reliable information systems
Site diversity system
Spam detection systems

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