Google: “Our Ranking Systems Aren’t Perfect”

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Google’s SearchLiaison addressed concerns raised on X (formerly Twitter) regarding highly inadequate search results. He acknowledged that Google’s reviews algorithm could improve and outlined efforts to prevent undeserving websites from ranking.

Questioning Google’s Search Results

The interaction with Google began when a post highlighted a highly ranked site alleged to not meet Google’s guidelines.

@dannyashton tweeted:

“For the past six months, this review has ranked #1 on Google for ‘Molekule Air Mini+ review.’

It consists of 50% anecdotal content and 50% marketing messaging. There’s no in-depth original research.

How did they manage to reach the top of Google?”

Followed by:

“Instead of a third-party review (which is likely what searchers are seeking), Google ranks an article sponsored by the brand:

Searchers end up on an advertorial based on marketing materials:

There’s so little care that even the briefing notes were left in the published version 😞

And I believe I’ve found why it ranks #1… Money.”

The responses to the tweets were generally sympathetic, like this one:


And this is on the first page…

Is this what writing for readers has come to? Is this what people really want and need?

I think about people like my mom who wouldn’t know any better and wouldn’t think to dig deeper.

It looks good and sounds convincing, so it must be reliable.

I mean, that’s their objective, isn’t it? To deceive and profit.”

Google’s Algorithms Aren’t Perfect

SearchLiaison replied to those tweets, explaining that he personally reviews the feedback submitted to Google and discusses it with the search team. He also highlighted the immense scale of ranking websites, noting that Google indexes trillions of web pages, necessitating a scaled and automated ranking process.

SearchLiaison tweeted:

“Danny, I understand your perspective — just as I appreciated HouseFresh’s original post and similar feedback from others. I completely agree that our aim is to reward content that aligns with our guidelines. The HouseFresh post itself suggested that we have made improvements over time:

“From our observations, each rollout of the Products Review Update has stirred things up, generally benefiting sites and writers who invest time, effort, and resources into testing products before recommending them.”

However, there’s clearly more we can do. This isn’t new ground; I’ve previously acknowledged that our ranking systems aren’t flawless. I’m committed to improving how we handle content that deserves better recognition and adjusting our approach to content that doesn’t.”

However, it’s not a process where any individual evaluates content and decides “Okay, boost its ranking” or “Okay, lower its ranking.” Such a manual approach wouldn’t be feasible for a search engine that indexes trillions of web pages from around the globe. What’s needed are scalable systems that can handle this vast amount of content effectively. Continuous improvement of these systems is essential.

That’s our ongoing focus. We’re fully aware of these concerns and have taken note of feedback, including responses from our recent survey. I’ve personally reviewed each piece of feedback and organized it for our teams to explore further. This effort complements their ongoing work, which is already informed by earlier feedback we’ve received.”

Here are key points from SearchLiaison’s statement:

  • Google acknowledges the importance of aligning content with their guidelines, which likely cover aspects like positive reviews, helpfulness, and spam avoidance.
  • They recognize that their current ranking systems can be enhanced to better reward useful content and avoid promoting inappropriate content.
  • Google’s systems operate at scale.
  • There is a commitment to listening to feedback and continuously refining their algorithms.
  • SearchLiaison has confirmed they are actively reviewing feedback, organizing it for deeper analysis, and identifying areas that require attention to improve rankings.

What Is Taking So Long To Fix Google?

Another person raised a valid concern about Google’s process for rolling out updates that can disrupt rankings. It’s crucial to thoroughly test updates to ensure they enhance the quality of ranked sites rather than having unintended negative effects.

@mikefutia tweeted:

“Danny, were all your ‘system improvements’ thoroughly tested before they were rolled out? Your team must have known the upheaval in SERPs these recent updates would cause. Legitimate hobby sites crafted by passionate creators are being decimated by these updates. All in favor of Reddit, Pinterest, Quora, Forbes, Business Insider, and other frivolous sites gaining at their expense.

I doubt this chaos caught you by surprise. You knew these updates would bring this carnage.

And now, nine months later, not a single legitimate site has recovered. In fact, the March update made it exponentially worse.

Google admits they messed up and are working on it. But on behalf of thousands of creators, I ask: What’s taking so long?”

Google’s third-party quality raters assess search results before updates are implemented. However, numerous creators, site owners, and search marketers believe Google’s updates consistently steer search results in the wrong direction.

SearchLiaison’s acknowledgment is a positive step, conceding that Google isn’t flawless and is committed to enhancing search results. Yet, this provides little consolation to the thousands of site owners dismayed by the current trajectory of Google’s algorithm.

Original news from SearchEngineJournal