The Google Algorithm has Dropped Mobile-Friendly, Page Speed, Secure Sites & Page Experience As Retired Ranking Systems
Google has updated its documented ranking systems page over here to remove four ranking systems from the list, including removing three ranking systems. Google has removed the page experience system from the main list, not adding it to the retired list, and removed mobile-friendly ranking, page speed, and secure sites systems from the retired list.
This makes you wonder if any of those were significant or actual ranking systems in Google’s search ranking algorithms ever. All those ranking algorithms were tiny and barely made a dent in your rankings, but maybe this is proof of that!
Here are the ranking updates/systems that were removed from the list:
Why did Google remove it? Well, as you know the other day Google said it was dropping page experience where it is more of a concept of sorts rather than an actual ranking system.
Google’s FAQs on that specifically wrote, “Page experience signals had been listed as Core Web Vitals, mobile-friendly, HTTPS and no intrusive interstitials. Are these signals still used in search rankings? While not all of these may be directly used to inform ranking, we do find that all of these aspects of page experience align with success in search ranking, and are worth attention.”
Google added, “What does this mean for the “page experience update”? The page experience update was a concept to describe a set of key page experience aspects for site owners to focus on. In particular, it introduced Core Web Vitals as a new signal that our core ranking systems considered, along with other page experience signals such as HTTPS that they’d already been considering. It was not a separate ranking system, and it did not combine all these signals into one single “page experience” signal.”
We are surprised Google did not rename the “product reviews system” to just the “reviews system” on that page while making these changes, by the way…
What do you all think? Were these ghost algorithms that did nothing but convince us to take these usability and security changes seriously? A fake carrot and stick, if you will.
Update: Here is more from John Mueller of Google on this change. John said the change was because “We’ve seen people hyper-focus on these numbers, that’s not a good use of time & energy.”
Google Documents Search Ranking Updates As Systems; Labels 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 said 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
- 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.
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