Google Search ranking improvement aims to surface hidden gems
Google has rolled out ranking improvements aimed at showcasing more content from social media, blog posts, forums and more that share personal insights and experiences. This is the hidden gems announcement Google made back in May, but this update is not part of the helpful content system. It is part of the Google core ranking system, Brad Kellett, Senior Director on Google Search product and engineering told us.
Hidden gems. Google said these “hidden gems” are when people share their first-hand knowledge and their own personal insights and experiences with others on the public web. Google wants to highlight such content in its search results and search interfaces.
Not a core or helpful content update. When Google initially announced the hidden gems ranking topic, it mentioned that it would be part of a future helpful content update. Instead, it ended up as part of Google’s core ranking system designed to promote more “authentic” content. This content can come from forum posts, social media posts, blog posts, or other web pages. As long as the content is authentic and shares personal insights and experiences, and if the content is found to be helpful, it might appear. It is not explicitly classifying something as a “gem,” but instead the idea is that this type of content can be perceived as especially helpful and in the past, might have been harder to appear in the results.
Google told us back then that the hidden gems feature was not live yet but it seems like it was. Google today told us it actually went live as part of the core ranking system a few months ago but Google told us it wasn’t live less than a month ago. Although, what Danny Sullivan wrote back then was “This work is still continuing and is not part of this particular update. We’ll share more about our work in this area in the future.” So while we all interpreted that it was not live yet, it didn’t necessarily mean that.
How does it work. I asked how does Google know if the person posting is really authentic. People make up personas, make up names, on the web, on social media, on forums and post anything. Google didn’t want to give me any of its secret sauce but implied it is less about the person posting and more about what content that person posts.
It sounds like if the content triggers some sort of authenticity signals, not that Google has an authenticity ranking signal, but if the signals Google uses for this ranking system show that the content is helpful, insightful and through personal experiences, then maybe Google will highlight that content more in search.
Why we care. Google began introducing this improvement to core ranking a few months ago and now has fully introduced it as part of its core ranking and you may start to see more search results from forum posts, social media posts, blog posts and more showing up in search.
This may impact where your sites or clients site rank for a given query, so keep an eye on the search results and see if your keywords and content is impacted by this new hidden gems Google ranking algorithm.