Keeping up with all of Google’s ranking algorithms and systems can be a lot. It seems like every time you turn around, the search engine has pushed out some new ranking system that brands need to be aware of if they want to reach users on the largest search engine around. 

Making matters even more complicated, Google also occasionally retires older systems as they become obsolete or redundant over the years.

Thankfully, Google has released a comprehensive guide to its many different ranking systems so you can be sure you are optimized for the most important ranking signals without investing resources into systems that are out of use. 

Ranking Systems Vs. Ranking Updates

Along with information about each ranking system and how it influences your standings on Google Search, the guide clarifies the language between ranking updates and ranking systems.

These terms have been used somewhat interchangeably but Google is finally drawing a clear line between the two.

According to the guide, a ranking system is something that is constantly operating behind the scenes – such as RankBrain or the helpful content system.

On the other hand, a ranking update is a one-time change to the ranking systems. For example, Google regularly rolls out updates to its spam detection systems.

Active Google Ranking Systems

Here are Google’s currently active ranking systems in alphabetical order:

  • BERT: BERT (or Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is an AI system that allows Google to understand how combinations of words may change meanings and intent
  • Crisis Information Systems: This is a system Google has in place to handle important information during times of crisis – both personal and public. For example, the system helps intervene when users search for content related to potentially dangerous personal crises, such as suicide, sexual assault, or poison ingestion.
  • Deduplication Systems: This is used to help Google avoid delivering search results with duplicate or nearly identical content.
  • Exact Match Domain System: A system is used to balance the importance of ranking brands highly for searches containing their exact business name without giving too much credit to sites with domain names that exactly match broader queries.
  • Freshness Systems: Google’s freshness systems work to show newer content more prominently for queries where it would be expected.
  • Helpful Content System: The relatively new Helpful Content System guarantees that users see original content written with their needs in mind, rather than content crafted specifically to rank well.
  • Link Analysis Systems and PageRank: These systems determine what content is about and what pages may be most helpful for specific queries based on how pages across the web are linked together.
  • Local News Systems: Google uses this to highlight information from local news sources when they will be the best resource for a query.
  • Neural Matching: This lets Google understand representations of concepts in queries and match them with the most relevant pages.
  • Original Content Systems: Google’s Original Content Systems help identify the original source of content and highlight them above those who simply cite it.
  • Removal-Based Demotion Systems: The system responsible for demoting or removing content with a high volume of content removal requests.
  • Page Experience System: The Page Experience System is designed to assess which sites will provide the best user experience.
  • Passage Ranking System: Passage ranking is an AI system used to identify specific sections of content which may be most relevant for search.
  • Product Reviews System: As part of Google’s shopping tools in search, Google uses the Product Reviews System to reward highly reviewed products and to showcase reviews that contain the most insightful or relevant information.
  • RankBrain: RankBrain is an AI system crucial to the search engine’s ability to understand how words and concepts are related and return more relevant content – even when all the exact words in a search may not be present.
  • Reliable Information Systems: These are a number of systems that ensure Google’s search results prioritize information from reliable sources.
  • Site Diversity System: The Site Diversity System prevents Google from showing more than two specific pages from the same domain in the top results for a query.
  • Spam Detection Systems: The Spam Detection Systems identify content and behaviors which violate Google’s spam policies and deal with them appropriately by demoting or delisting them.

Retired Google Ranking Systems

  • Hummingbird: Originally rolled out in 2013, Hummingbird was a broad overhaul to Google’s ranking systems. Since then, Google’s recent systems have evolved past the need for this system.
  • Mobile-Friendly Ranking System: This system rewarded sites that were optimized to render well on mobile devices. Since then, it has been absorbed into the Page Experience System.
  • Page Speed System: Initially a standalone system that highlighted sites that loaded quickly on mobile devices, this system has since been incorporated into the Page Experience System.
  • The Panda System: Panda was released in 2011 with the purpose of surfacing high-quality, original content. Since 2015, it has been part of Google’s core ranking systems.
  • The Penguin System: The “cousin” to Panda, Penguin demoted websites that used spammy linkbuilding strategies to rank abnormally well. It has been part of the core ranking systems since 2016.
  • Secure Sites System: Originally, it gave a small boost to sites that adopted HTTPS security protocols when it was less commonly used across the web. Though HTTPS sites are much more common these days, the system is still in use as part of Google’s Page Experience System.

Google is rolling out several new updates and features for Google Search aimed at making it easier for users to find the content they are looking for.

Among the announcements, the search engine revealed new ways to use augmented reality (AR) and Google Lens to shop for products and find information like how to get a dish you’ve been craving from a nearby restaurant. 

Below, we will go over the announcements one by one to break down the details and when you can start using these tools to help users find your products and services.

Introducing Multisearch For Food

Google is working to unite its search tools including Google Lens and Maps so that users can seamlessly combine types of searches into one powerful search.

For example, using multisearch, you can now take a picture of a meal in Google Lens and add a text modifier such as “near me” to discover what restaurants serve that meal.

“This new way of searching will help me find local businesses in my community, so I can more easily support neighborhood shops during the holidays,” said Cindy Huynh, Product Manager of Google Lens.

This feature is rolling out for all English-language U.S. users today.

Search For Specific Dishes

Along with the announcement above, Google revealed that users can also simply search for specific dishes by name to find information including who serves this dish, pricing, ingredients, and more

As Google’s Sophia Lin says:

“I often crave comfort food this time of year — like truffle mac and cheese — but I don’t always know where to find it. Lucky for foodies, starting today, you can now search for the exact dish you’re craving and see all the places near you that serve it.”

AR Shopping Tools for Shoes and Makeup

Seeing how new products will look once you leave the store has always been difficult for consumers, but Google is using augmented reality to visualize potential product purchases before you buy.

The first way Google is doing this is by allowing you to see potential show purchases in your living space. 

Starting today, shoppers can not only see high-quality 3D models of shoes. They can spin them around, zoom in on details, and even see the shoes as they would look in your typical surroundings.

Importantly, this is available for any brand with 3D assets of their shoes or home goods.

Additionally, Google has upgraded its AR shopping tools for makeup to include a broader range of skin tones and models with a more diverse set of features. 

The search engine has added over 150 new models with a diverse spectrum of skin tones, ages, genders, face shapes, ethnicities, and skin tones to test cosmetics on.

Google is officially rolling out frequency targeting controls for video ads on YouTube according to a new blog post from the company.

With this move, advertisers can now take control and set limits for how often individuals see their ads.

In the past, the only way to do this was through connected TV campaigns in Google Display & Video 360 – more advanced advertising tools and features.

What Is Frequency Targeting For Ads?

Frequency targeting lets advertisers set a target number of times their ad will be shown to specific users.

This helps make the most of ad budgets by preventing ads from being repeatedly displayed to unreceptive audiences.

As the announcement for the feature explains:

“This will help advertisers optimize towards more precise reach and frequency, while ensuring that we continue to provide a suitable advertising experience for viewers. Target frequency allows advertisers to select a frequency goal of up to four per week and our systems will optimize towards a maximum unique reach at that desired frequency.”

Why Set a Frequency Target For Your Ads

Though there may be times when repeatedly seeing the same ad may be beneficial to motivate potential customers, there is a limit. Most studies indicate that repeatedly seeing ads is much more likely to contribute to diminishing returns and bad will with consumers.

For example, one Google-commissioned study found that TV advertisers see a decrease in ROI of 41% when the frequency of their ads was more than 6 views per week. Based on the data, more than 46% of ad impressions were above this threshold, making nearly half of ad impressions wasted.

The study says:

“Almost half of the linear TV impressions in our study were considered waste but the same study from Nielsen shows that brands can increase their average weekly frequency from one to three on YouTube with a consistent ROI.

“This is a huge opportunity for marketers to maximize their impact across the same set of people they are already reaching today.”

Final Details

Frequency targeting is now rolling out to all Google Ads users around the globe. 

Google claims that over 95% of all campaigns using frequency targeting hit their goal using the tool in testing.

Instagram is finally making it easy for many users to schedule posts or reels up to 75 days in advance without the use of third-party tools or services.

In the past, the only official solution to scheduling when content goes live on the platform was through the desktop tool Meta Business Suite. 

Now, many users and almost all brands will be able to schedule content drops up to 75 days ahead of time directly from the iOS or Android Instagram apps. The only catch is that users must have a professional account which is free for brands or professionals on the app.

How To Schedule Posts on Instagram

Professional accounts can now schedule posts containing the most popular types of content on Instagram including:

  • Single Pictures
  • Image Carousels
  • Videos
  • Reels

Currently, the feature allows users to schedule these posts up to 75 days before they are to go live. 

To do this, open the Instagram post composer and tap “Advanced settings” to find the option to “Schedule this post.”

From there, you can select the exact time and date you want the content to be published. 

This will let you get the most impact out of content releases by getting in front of your audience when they are most receptive. You can also use this to synergize content releases with the content being published on other platforms or product releases to amplify your content’s influence. 

For more, check out the announcement from Instagram here.

TikTok is once again facing a potential ban in the United States after FCC commissioner Brendan Carr raised dire concerns about the app’s risk to national security. 

This is the second time the company has come under fire by US government officials. During Donald Trump’s presidency, the company was threatened with a ban until one was rejected in federal court. 

The issue now is the same as it was then – TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company. As TikTok continues to become massively popular in the US, some worry there’s an unprecedented risk for the app to funnel data on US citizens to China. Others have suggested the prominence of the app and its current influence on American culture creates a risk for propaganda to influence American citizens.

Is TikTok Getting Banned?

The short answer, for now, is that TikTok is not getting officially banned in the US.

No formal actions have been taken, and the Federal Communications Commission does not have the authority to directly regulate or ban the company. However, the FCC has a significant influence on those that do – Congress. 

For example, it was Carr’s recommendations that largely led to the Chinese company Huawei being banned by Congress. 

What Has Carr Said?

The latest concerns over a ban were sparked by comments made by FCC commissioner Brendan Carr during an interview with Axios

When asked about his view on TikTok and its potential security risks, Carr plainly stated “I don’t think there is a path forward for anything other than a ban.”

Furthermore, the commissioner showed little hope that the company may come to an agreement with the US government that would allow it to remain operating in the country:

“Perhaps the deal CFIUS ends up cutting is an amazing, airtight deal, but at this point I have a very, very difficult time looking at TikTok’s conduct thinking we’re going to cut a technical construct that they’re not going to find a way around.”

How Is TikTok Responding?

For now, the company seems to be confident that they will reach a deal to continue operating and downplayed Carr’s role in any discussions about the issue. As a representative from TikTok told CNN:

“Commissioner Carr has no role in or direct knowledge of the confidential discussions with the US government related to TikTok and is not in a position to discuss what those negotiations entail. We are confident that we are on a path to reaching an agreement with the US government that will satisfy all reasonable national security concerns.”

As such, it is safe to assume that TikTok will remain in the US for at least the short-term future. How long it can withstand the growing concerns remains to be seen, though.

A new case study from SEO researcher Joy Hawkins at Sterling Sky seems to finally debunk a myth that has lingered around Google reviews – that keyword-rich reviews could help a site’s ranking in search results.

The idea does make a certain amount of sense. Reviews can help spotlight specialties or unique services that companies offer and could provide a valuable signal to determine the most relevant results for specific searches.

Based on their findings, however, Sterling Sky says having customers put] keywords into local reviews on a business listing “does not improve rankings.”

It is important to note that the test is definitely limited. 

For the study, the team gradually added product ratings including the phrases “fresh cut Christmas trees” and “Christmas trees” for a small Christmas tree seller with minimal online presence, rankings, or SEO efforts.

The Results

Sterling Sky says that the new keyword-rich reviews did not improve the company’s keyword rankings, even after six months.

The graphics below illustrate that the rankings did not improve for either keyword. In the case of the first phrase, rankings actually got worse by the end of the study, while rankings for the second keyword phrase remained approximately the same.

Hawkins concludes that there is no need for brands “to include certain words in their reviews.”

“First of all, this is hard to do and you often come across as weird or odd. And secondly, and most importantly, this case study shows that it does not improve rankings!

At the end of the day, Google probably focuses more on contextual information within reviews to help rank local businesses, rather than looking for exact keyword matches. Not only is this harder to abuse, it provides a more rich and more detailed understanding of a local business listing than a single keyword.

Google is officially releasing its bumper ad tool to the general public. The tool, now being called simply “trim video”, makes it easy to turn existing videos (up to 140-seconds long) into short but sweet clips that can then be used as bumper ads for video campaigns.

Though the tool has been in testing in various forms since 2019, this is the first time the general public has been given access to it for their campaigns. 

In the time the tool was in beta testing, Google says it has “helped hundreds of brands drive more reach, frequency, and efficiency by effortlessly generating 6-second bumper ads.”

The announcement of the tool describes trim video like this:

“Trim video is a video ad production tool that helps advertisers make new bumper ads from their longer video assets quickly. Trim video uses Google Machine Learning to simplify the process of bumper ad creation by identifying the most important frames in a long ad and turning them into 6-second videos. It also has simple editing features that allow advertisers to modify the final output.”

Using the tool is as simple as copying and pasting a link to one of your existing YouTube videos or your Google Ads library. From there, you’ll be given four different options you can edit further or save as a bumper ad. 

To access the trim video tool for yourself, sign into your Google Ads account and select the asset library page. Then, select the tools and settings icon and look under “Shared Library” to find “Asset Library”. Here you’ll find the trim video tool under the Video section.

For more about the trim video tool, read the full announcement or visit the Help Center article dedicated to the tool.

Meta is introducing a slew of updates to Facebook Groups as part of the Facebook Communities Summit, including new ways to share content, new admin controls, and more.

Groups have been a core part of Facebook for years, bringing users together around a central theme. Meta says that most Facebook users are a part of at least 15 active groups, with over 100 million group joins each day. For brands, Groups have also provided a space to become recognized as an industry authority and to build relationships with potential customers. 

The new updates announced for the Communities Summit are:

  • Reels in Facebook Groups
  • Share Facebook Group events in Instagram Stories
  • Customize Facebook Group Profiles
  • New ways to recognize Facebook Group community members
  • Updates to the Admin Assist tool
  • Ways for Group Admin to allow content normally flagged by Facebook

Reels In Facebook Groups

The social network has been making Reels more prominent over the past few months, so it was only a matter of time before the short videos made their way into Groups.

In the past, users could only post Reels to Groups using a workaround that included publicly posting the Reel and sharing that post to a Group.

Now, Group members can directly post their Reel to a Group without sacrificing the privacy of closed communities.

Share Group Events To Instagram Stories

Public events can now be promoted in Instagram Stories, making it easier to grow communities and attract non-group members to upcoming gatherings. As the announcement reads:

“Whether you’re a group admin hosting a meet-up to celebrate a community milestone, or a Group member sharing your passion with friends, this feature can help you showcase your community more broadly.”

Customize Facebook Group Profiles

To keep Group members up-to-date and build better connections, Meta is adding two new ways to customize your Group profiles.

Firstly, Groups can now customize the information in the About Me section of their profile to highlight important information for the community. 

Additionally, admins and members can now add indicators to their profiles showing whether they’re open to messages from other group members.

Recognize Top Group Members

Facebook Groups are testing a new way to highlight members who are contributing the most to the community. As Meta describes, the new system allows users to earn points through reactions and comments on posts. Users with the most points can then be given badges celebrating their contribution to the group.

Users can also take on a new role within Facebook Groups as a “socializer” or group member who goes out of their way to make others feel welcome, connected, and motivated to participate in the community.

Updates To Admin Assist Tools

The existing tools for admin are being expanded with new moderation options and ways to take action on content posted to the group.

With the new tools, the admin can automatically move or remove posts rated as false by third-party fact-checkers. Along with this, group admin can use the Daily Digest to easily review the latest actions taken in the community. 

Approve Content Flagged By Facebook

Facebook is working with group admins to give group leaders ways to approve non-offensive content which may otherwise be flagged and removed by Facebook’s automated systems. 

In the announcement, Meta gives the example of a group for fish tank enthusiasts. Within these communities, it may be common to call a fish “fatty” in a way that is not intended to be offensive. Previously, Facebook’s tools would flag this content despite the clear context and intent.

The new feature is being granted to eligible groups based on a variety of criteria. For example, the announcement notes that a group may not be eligible if the admin were previously part of a removed group.

For more about these features and all the latest info about Facebook Groups, check out the full announcement here.

Google is updating its online shopping features on desktop with a new focus on visual elements including an increased focus on product images.

The company released a screenshot as an example so you can see how product search results start with a row of thumbnail images.

As users scroll down the page, they will also see details about pricing, user reviews, and ratings for specific products included in the result,

When clicked on, the product listings bring up a panel with more information and links to purchase the product from different retailers.

Most importantly, the panel does not interrupt your browsing process and users can immediately resume shopping from where they left off.

As before, users can also filter product results using a number of categories including brand, type, retailer, and discounted products.

The announcement says about the overhaul:

“Whether you’re looking for clothes, electronics, beauty products or home goods on desktop, you’ll see a more visual feed of shopping results that includes products, brands, articles and videos from across the web.”

Additionally, Google says these product results and search filters are all dynamic, so they will continuously be updated to include the newest products, popular retailers, and up-to-the-minute discounts.

The new Google shopping update is already rolling out to all users and should be available to everyone within the next few days.

With Halloween fast approaching, Google has updated its Frightgeist website with all the latest search trends for this year’s spooky holiday.

The Halloween Frightgeist site has tracked the biggest holiday search trends annually, with a primary focus on Halloween costumes.

Notably, the tool allows you to go beyond the national search trends to find out details for a specific city or state. 

For example, it appears fairy costumes are particularly popular this year in Tulsa, as the leading costume-related search.

As Google says about the Frightgeist page:

“Every year, trillions of searches take place on Google, and Google Trends gives us an unparalleled look at what the world is searching for.”

“With Frightgeist, we went on a hunt to find the most popular Halloween costumes of 2021. Pulling from the top 500 costume searches in the United States, Frightgeist used Google Trends to tell people what costumes were trending around them and help them find a costume that was sure to turn heads.”

Below, we are going to cover the top costume search trends both nationally and in the Tulsa area, and a little bit more of what you can do with this data.

Top National Halloween Costume Ideas in 2022

  1. Witch
  2. Spider-Man
  3. Dinosaur
  4. Stranger Things
  5. Fairy
  6. Pirate
  7. Rabbit
  8. Cheerleader
  9. Cowboy
  10. Harley Quinn
  11. Clown
  12. Vampire
  13. 1980s
  14. Hocus Pocus
  15. Pumpkin
  16. Chucky
  17. Doll
  18. Angel
  19. Batman
  20. Bear

Top Halloween Costumes In Tulsa Oklahoma for 2022

  1. Fairy
  2. 1980s
  3. Spider-Man
  4. Chucky
  5. Spider

The Frightgeist site also allows you to see more details about each trending costume idea, including where it is most popular across the country, how it has performed in past years, and more.

Lastly, the site includes a costume selection wizard you can use to brainstorm what to wear this Halloween. The costume wizard lets you adjust sliders for spookiness and uniqueness and toggle between classic and modern costumes that are trending locally or nationally.