Google has released a centralized page that provides information on their automated ranking system. It is called “A Guide To Google Ranking Systems” and their goal for it is to make it easier for creators and others to learn about their more notable ranking systems used in search. The guide shows how the ranking system works and also when those systems are updated.
They have also provided further clarification between “ranking systems” and “updates”. In the past, “update” has been used as the name of a particular ranking system, especially when new systems are launched. For example, the “page experience update” and the “helpful content update”, which were new ranking systems released in the past months. The use of “update” when these were released can be confusing when updates or improvements are made on those “updates” (systems). A “helpful content update-update” or an “update to the helpful content update” can be quite a mouthful and can be confusing.
Due to this, moving forward, they will be more precise with their wording when it comes to differentiating systems to updates. They will also be refreshing their help pages to reflect the terminology change.
It looks like Google have really been working on their documentation, from the renaming of the Google Webmaster Guidelines to Google Search Essentials, to new documentation added this year to help site owners, developers, creators, etc. learn more about how Google Search works. If you haven’t yet, it’s definitely a must to look through the update Google Search Essentials and the new pages added.