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Google Documents Its Ranking Updates As Systems; Labeling Live Or Archived Notable Algorithms

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Google Documents Its Ranking Updates As Systems; Labeling Live Or Archived Notable Algorithms

Google has published a new document named a guide to Google search ranking system. That document outlines the “notable” ranking updates that are currently live and running for Google Search and also some of the historical updates that are either no longer in use or incorporated into other algorithms.

Also, Google’s Danny Sullivan sa these should be called ranking “systems” and not “updates.” “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,” Danny wrote.

Also note, Google has added a new spam policy named policy circumvention.

Currently Live Google Ranking Systems

Here is the list of currently live Google Search ranking systems that Google documented there. I will note anything I think it new or interesting, otherwise, we covered these before here and you can search this site for our past coverage of each update/system.

  • BERT: A system that Google uses to help them “understand how combinations of words express different meanings and intent.”
  • Crisis information systems
  • Deduplication systems
  • Exact match domain system
  • Freshness systems
  • Helpful content system
  • Link analysis systems and PageRank: Google noted “how PageRank works has evolved a lot since then, and it continues to be part of our core ranking systems.”
  • Local news systems
  • MUM
  • Neural matching: Google uses neural matching to “understand representations of concepts in queries and pages and match them to one another.”
  • Original content systems
  • Removal-based demotion systems
  • Page experience system
  • Passage ranking system
  • Product reviews system
  • RankBrain: Google said it helps them “understand how words are related to concepts. It means we can better return relevant content even if it doesn’t contain all the exact words used in a search, by understanding the content is related to other words and concepts.”
  • Reliable information systems
  • Site diversity system
  • Spam detection systems: Mentions of spam updates, SpamBrain, spam policies, etc.

No Longer Live Google Ranking Systems/Updates

Here is the list of Google ranking systems or updates that are no longer in use or incorporated into other systems.

  • Hummingbird
  • Mobile-friendly ranking system
  • Page speed system
  • Panda system
  • Penguin system
  • Secure sites system

Danny Sullivan of Google answered a question from Lily Ray in the Google Webmaster Help forums. The question was “Is it possible to get clarification about how the different ranking systems play into the core update system (or not).” Danny replied:

As the page explains, it covers:

“some systems that are part of our core ranking systems, which are the underlying technologies that produce search results in response to queries”

So in terms of the “core update system,” it’s not that we have such a thing. We have core ranking systems, multiple systems, which get help us produce results generally. Occasionally, we update these ranking systems. When we do, we share about that as a core update — the core systems are updated. Our blog post today talks about also why we’re going to be talking about “systems” apart from “updates” to help better clarify such things.

Marie Haynes did a deep dive on Twitter on some of these changes, here are some points I thought were cool that she pointed out:

Forumdiskussion kl Twitter och Google Webmaster Help.



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Microsoft Bing Event Today – Expecting ChatGPT Search Integration

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Bing Phone Typing

I am currently in Seattle and headed to the Microsoft Campus in Redmond for an in-person press event. I decided to go, assuming it would be related to ChatGPT and Bing but Microsoft would not tell me what it was about, nor would Microsoft let us say we are going to the event. Then yesterday at 2pm, when the news broke about Google Bard (story will be here), Microsoft said we can talk about the event.

So the news is out there that there is a event, see Techmeme. The email Microsoft sent says, “Microsoft has some exciting news coming in February and we’d like to invite you to an in-person experience at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond.”

“We can’t share a lot more at this stage, but you won’t want to miss it. This invitation is for you only, but if you’re unable to attend please let us know and we’ll see if we can consider another of your teammates,” Microsoft added.

Then after the Google news came out, Microsoft sent an email saying, “In light of recent announcements, you may now acknowledge your participation in tomorrow’s briefing in Redmond, leveraging the language in the briefing invitation.”

So yea, this press event seems to be about the Bing ChatGPT solution. I am very much looking forward to seeing what Microsoft Bing has to show here and I’ll be sharing the news here, on Search Engine Land and likely will be tweeting a ton @rustybrick. So make sure to follow me on Twitter to see the latest from Bing on this news.

And we have this photo of Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft with Sam Altman of OpenAI together last night:

I am expecting this to look a lot like the Bing ChatGPT interface leaks we covered earlier. Here are those screenshots:

Here is the home page screenshot that widens and enlarges the search box and says “Ask me anything”:

click for full size

Here is his screenshot of the results, the answers being returned:

click for full size

And here is the GIF he made of this:

Bing Search Chat Interface

More to come soon.

Forumdiskussion kl WebmasterWorld.



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Google Search People Cards Visible In US

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Google Man Cards

Back in 2020, Google Search introduced a feature named people cards. It was only available in India but now it seems like it might be expanding, as I can now see it in the United States.

Brian Freiesleben’s card, which he created when it was first announced by spoofing his location to be in India, is now showing up as a people card for searchers in the United States. Personally, I was able to bring it up on my mobile device in New York.

Here is a screenshot he shared of this on Twitter:

click for full size

He said, “I found my name now triggers a ‘people card’. This was introduced in Google India back in 2020. I spoofed my location back then to create the card and now (finally) it’s appearing.”

Glenn Gabe was able to replicate it as well:

Forumdiskussion kl Twitter.



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Google Search Bard, It’s ChatGPT Feature, To Trusted Testers

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Google Bard Butler Graphic

Well, we knew it was coming and here it is, Bard – Google’s answer to ChatGPT. Google is now having its trusted testers test out Bard and will soon roll it out more widely to users in Google Search and others products in the coming weeks, Google announced. It is not called Apprectice Bard but rather Bard.

I covered this when the news broke at Search Engine Land and as I pointed out, right now, Google does not have an answer for how to attribute or link to answers Bard generates – yet. But I do suspect Google will have some answer for it. I also mentioned that Google has been writing knowledge panels using AI and other methods since 2018 and said then it is not stealing. So it will be interesting to see what Google ends up doing here.

Bard is Google’s experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA, where Google can answer questions that might not have one right answer. Google said they will roll this out more widely in the coming weeks but for now, only trusted testers (who is outsourced to a third-party company) will be able to play with it.

Google said, “Soon, you’ll see AI-powered features in Search that distill complex information and multiple perspectives into easy-to-digest formats, so you can quickly understand the big picture and learn more from the web: whether that’s seeking out additional perspectives, like blogs from people who play both piano and guitar, or going deeper on a related topic, like steps to get started as a beginner. These new AI features will begin rolling out on Google Search soon.”

Here is a screenshot they shared of how it might look in Google Search:

Google Bard in Google Search

This is how it might look like in Google Search (without the attribution part…).

This is the Bard direct interface, not in search:

Google Bard GIF

I am super excited to see how this evolves at Google, Bing and others.

It is not too far off from the leaks of the Bing ChatGPT interface.

Here is Sundar Pichai’s tweets:

Here is some of the SEO community reaction:

Also, make sure to check out the roundup at Techmeme.

Forumdiskussion kl Twitter, WebmasterWorld.



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