Google Podcast highlights rating systems and updates


In the latest episode of Google’s “Search Off the Record” podcast, research moderator Danny Sullivan joins the show to discuss a timely topic.

In conjunction with the launch of Google Core algorithm update August 2023Sullivan addresses common questions and misconceptions about rating systems.

This article is an overview of the 34 minutes episodehighlighting the most relevant ideas.

Google ranking systems

Sullivan pointed out that Google’s ranking system is not One algorithm however a lot The systems work together.


“A lot of people think, ‘Oh, there’s a Google algorithm, and that’s it, it’s this big giant thing.’ And of course, as we all know, there are multiple systems that all come into play.

Classification updates versus rating systems

Google discussed the change from pointing to Google algorithm updates with specific names to display as continuous rating systems.

For example, the update formerly known as “Panda” is now seen as a stable and integrated part of the rating system.

This reflects how these algorithm changes have been fully integrated into Google’s search results and continually improved.

Google ranking systems are listed in the official documentwhich includes current and retired systems, and shows how the research has evolved.

However, the documentation does not list all Rating system, just some major examples.

Regarding the purpose of Google’s documentation on rating systems, Sullivan says:

“It seems like it would be useful to include a lot of these so people understand them, and especially for SEOs and creators, so they can understand some of the people who engage in rankings on a frequent basis.”

Biggest misconception

The podcast touched on the misconceptions of SEO professionals about ranking algorithm updates.

One misconception is that every new update requires a rework of your SEO strategy. However, Sullivan does not agree with this view.

On how to respond to the new classification update, Sullivan says:

“If you see a change after launching one of these systems or releasing an updated system, that’s probably a sign that you’re, well, maybe you don’t align properly what these things were looking for with what Google generally tries to find.”

Google increased transparency

Google aims to communicate more about its ranking systems, but Sullivan made it clear that this does not indicate that it is making more changes than usual.

When asked how SEO professionals would respond to Google being more transparent, Sullivan joked that some might try to “play around” or manipulate things to rank higher.

However, he made it clear that Google provides this information to help people improve their content for people, not just chase rankings.

“I guess I feel like our transformation these days is less about these specific things and more about the mindsets that you have to follow.”

Sullivan said that if SEOs use the guidelines to create better, more useful content, there is no problem with that.

The Future of SEO: Authentic Content

The conversation concluded with Sullivan giving the following advice: Create authentic, engaging content tailored to your target audience.

He believes that the most successful websites are those that manage to produce content not only to rank in search engines but also to provide real value to users.

“Now, more than ever, to have this original content that you’ve created because you have an actual audience in mind that you know will reach directly to it, that’s your way forward as you try to navigate this world of how rating systems have evolved.”

Although staying informed is essential, Sullivan says most updates don’t require drastic adjustments to your overall SEO approach.

Featured image: Screenshot from, August 2023.


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