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Concise History of Google Algorithm Updates

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Concise History of Google Algorithm Updates

During the late 90s and early 00s, the Google wasn’t as accurate and powerful as it is today. Back in past, the search engines were more of keywords matching and link-referencing objects, and they accomplished the rankings by using two aspects – keywords and inbound links. But now, the scenario has been changed.


Every year Google make updates on its algorithm for hundred times, in which most of the updates are minor but some of them roll out as major changes that affect the mechanism of search engines in a significant manner.


The professionals working in Top 10 SEO companies, should have a brief idea about the history of Google algorithm updates which can help them to understand the fluctuations emerged in organic web traffic and rankings. Ultimately, it would help you to make some improvements in best SEO services and other mechanisms of search engine optimization.


Below we have presented the concise history of Google updates that had the great impact on the search results.

2016 Updates

#1. Penguin 4.0 

Google finally announced  Penguin update after almost 2 years on September 23,2016. This new Penguin is now operating  in real time and is baked into Google’s core Algorithm. Initial impact assessments were surprisingly small, with almost no reports of Penguin recoveries.

Penguin is now part of our core algorithm 

Google updates Penguin, says it now runs in real time within the core search algorithm


#2. Image/Universal Drop

It rolled out on September 13, 2016. MozCast recorded a 50% drop in SERPs with image (universal/vertical) results. The universal result shake up an organic position on page 1, causing substantial ranking shifts, as a part of much larger update.

Penguin 4.0: Was It Worth the Wait?

#3. Possum

Arrived on September 1, 2016, MozCast recorded a drop in local pack prevalence, and the local SEO community noted a major reshuffle in pack results. Data suggests this update (or a simultaneous update) also heavily impacted organic results. The main purpose of the update was to diversify the local results and also prevent spam from ranking as well.


#4. Mobile friendly 2

Google rolled out another ranking signal boost to benefit mobile-friendly sites on mobile search on May 12, 2016 just more than a year after its original ‘Mobile Friendly’ update. Since the majority of sites today are mobile friendly, latest update would have small impact in comparison to previous one. 

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm boost has rolled out 

Continuing to make the web more mobile friendly

Google Core Quality Rank – January 09, 2016


Recently, Google made changes into the Google Core Quality Rank Algorithm, which has the volatile fluctuation in both Mobile and Desktop versions. Officially, Google announced that this is not the Penguin update. And with this change in core algo, it is indicated that Google Panda has now become the part of Google’s Core Ranking Algorithm.


Now onwards, the Google Panda will work as one of the signals for Core Ranking Algorithm while measuring the quality of sites on the basis of Google guidelines.

Google Confirms: Core Search Ranking Update Took Place But Not Penguin Related 

2015 Updates



HTTPS Update – December 17, 2015


Google declared that it will now index HTTPS (Stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) pages with default mark since the user's security stands at top priority. Web sites using HTTPS are being honored by Google with improvised rank in search results.

In the scenario of sharing content, Google has set criteria which determine, whether it will show the HTTP page of HTTPS page.


RankBrain (Undisclosed Related Search Update) – December 10, 2015


On 10th December 2015, the update on Google RankBrain caused a massive boom in the SERP features of Google. The potential changes resulted in significant rise in the count of search results while represented the better quality in the average word count of Related Search Results.


However, Google has not confirmed this major algorithm update yet. But according to the analysis, the search result changes are due to the RankBrain.

Google Turning Its Lucrative Web Search Over to AI Machines (Bloomberg)

FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm (SEL)

Hacked Sites Algorithm – October 05, 2015


The update on Hacked Sites Algorithm seems like an aggressive action of Google to remove hacked sites from the search results, which can lead to the improvised quality in the search.  Many reporters stated that a massive count of websites are hacked by spammers and shows their abusive behavior in the form of promotions for low-quality websites, malware downloads, porn, advertising of goods and more.


With the update in Hacked Sites Algorithm, around 5% queries affected across the board in several languages.


Panda 4.2 Update – July 18, 2015


Since September 2014, this revision in Panda 4.2 was the first one. The update arrived with a bad news for spammed links and websites which contain low-grade content. Unlike the past Panda updates, which caused a noticeable increase in organic ranking, the 4.2 update has made various websites to suffer the rank penalty, due to their content quality. With this update, Google has proved that it highest priority to the users search experience.


Note that: The Panda 4.2 update has impacted 2 to 3 percent of English queries

Google Panda Update: Everything We Know About Panda 4.2 (The SEM Post)

Google Panda 4.2 Is Here (SEL)

Google Core Quality Update – May 03, 2015


During the end of month April or the starting of May, Google came up with the change in Core Algorithm, which is associated with the quality signals to determine the page ranking for search results.


Many news reports stated that there is 22% decrease in the search traffic. Moreover, Google confirmed the update on 19th May that now the quality signals will be processed in a different manner as there is an update to the overall ranking algorithm.


Google Mobile-Friendly Update – April 21, 2015


On 21st April, Google included mobile-friendliness as a ranking aspect, which had the significant impact on the search results, massively on mobile searches worldwide, across all languages. On the other side, with this change Google successfully provided improved and relevant data to the users.


Many people predicted that mobile-friendliness can destroy various small business units. But on contrast, these small business units happily adopted the change and now implementing SEO mechanisms as per the Google algorithm.

Finding more mobile-friendly search results (Google)

7 Days After Mobilegeddon: How Far Did the Sky Fall? (Moz)

Unnamed Update – February 05, 2015


There was a major spike in the Google algorithm during February 2015, but Google has not confirmed yet.


However, Google said that this update is not related with Panda or Penguin.

Significant Google Search Algorithm Update Yesterday (SER)

Google Brand-eCommerce “Update” causing fluctuations (Searchmetrics)

2014 Updates



Google Local Algorithm Update – December 22, 2014


Originally, Google Local Algorithm was introduced in July 2014, but during December, Google expanded the algorithm for English countries worldwide. This update enabled the Google to deliver more accurate and relevant results to the local queries.

Google Pigeon Update Rolls Out To UK, Canada & Australia (SEL)

Local Search Results Affected as Google Pigeon Update Hits UK (Strategy Digital)

Penguin 3.0 Update (Extended) – December 11, 2014


During the end of 2014, the Penguin Algorithm had significant change, since its evolution. And later, Google confirmed that Penguin will be showcasing more continuous updates in order to optimize the search engine results. 

Google Says Penguin To Shift To “Continuous Updates” (SEL)

Pirate Second Update – October 21, 2014


Google introduced another update to counter the digital media piracy. The pirate update affects only those websites that have received DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) inscribe request. The first update for Pirate was introduced in the year 2012, and after two years Google helped the copyright owners with the launch of Pirate second update.

Google Pirate Update Analysis and Loser List (Searchmetrics)

Google's New Search Downranking Hits Torrent Sites Hard (TorrentFreak)

Penguin 3.0 Update – October 18, 2014


Penguin 3.0 update rolled out during October 2014, and Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google UK, Pierre Far confirmed the report. It was affirmed that less than 1% of English US queries has been affected in the search results.


This update was beneficial for those websites which have cleaned up the web spam aspects discovered during the past Penguin update.

Google AutoCorrects: Penguin 3.0 Still Rolling Out & 1% Impact (SER)

Penguin 3.0 Analysis – Penguin Tremors, Recoveries, Fresh Hits, and Crossing Algorithms (GSQi)

News Links – October 2014


Google made a display change in the News links which was announced like, the news links will be shown as the larger set of potential links in a different tab. With this addition, the key news sites reported generous traffic changes on their website.

Google’s “In The News” Box Now Lists More Than Traditional News Sites (SEL)

New Publishers Upset With Google's "In The News" Box (SER)

Panda 4.1 Update – September 23, 2014


The Panda 4.1 update is considered as a significant update that counters those sites which comprise low-grade content with high precision. It is gradually expected to affect approximately 3 to 5 percent of queries at international level.


This update is a mix of positive and negative points, since its working good for medium-sized businesses but became a disaster for small business units.

Panda 4.1 — Google’s 27th Panda Update — Is Rolling Out (SEL)

Panda 4.1 Analysis and Findings – Affiliate Marketing, Keyword Stuffing, Security Warnings, and Deception Prevalent (GSQI)

Google Authorship Eliminated – August 28, 2014


Google was analyzing the Authorship aspect from a user’s perspective while estimating its potency for the number of clicks. And finally, on 28th August, Google decided to stop showing authorship in the search results.

Official Announcement from John Mueller (Google+)

It’s Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results (SEL)

HTTPS Update – August 06, 2014


After months of consideration finally, Google declared that they would give preferences to the secure websites in search results. Google thought, that this update would be a minor change, but it turned out to be massive positive change.

HTTPS as a ranking signal (Google)

Google Starts Giving A Ranking Boost To Secure HTTPS/SSL Sites (SEL)

Google Local Algorithm (Pigeon) Update – July 24, 2014


Google disturbed the local world of SEO, with the new update in Local Algorithm. This update dramatically changed the search results for local queries and modified their handling and interpreting processes. This update helped the Google to provide more relevant search results for local queries.

Google “Pigeon” Updates Local Search Algorithm With Stronger Ties To Web Search Signal (SEL)

Google Updates Local Algo with More Web Based Signals - Turmoil in SERPs (Blumenthals.com)

Authorship Photo Elimination – June 28, 2014


Google made a surprise announcement during June 28, 2014, that it will eliminate all authorship photos from the search engine result pages.

Google Announces the End of Author Photos in Search: What You Should Know (Moz)

Google Removes Author Photos From Search: Why And What Does It Mean? (SEL)

Payday Loan Algorithm Update 3.0 – June 12, 2014


Just after the month of Payday Loan Algorithm 2.0, Google rolled out its another version. This version targeted all spammy queries which are related to payday loans, casinos, accidental claims and number of others that delivers a large number of search results.

Google Spam Algorithm Version 3.0 Launches Today (SER)

Panda 4.0 Update – May 20, 2014


The motive of Panda is to penalize those websites which contain poor quality content along with scraper sites. On the other hand, Panda helps in promoting that website that encloses great content for the users. Thus to accomplish the motive more effectively, Google arrived with Panda 4.0 update.

Google Begins Rolling Out Panda 4.0 Now (SEL)

Panda 4.0, Payday Loan 2.0 & eBay's Very Bad Day (Moz)

Payday Loan Algorithm 2.0 Update – May 18, 2014


A declaration made by Google for the update of its Spam Algorithm which encounters those queries that result in number of spammy links. It is reported that this update is going to affect a huge amount of queries in different languages, in which English comprises the count of 0.2%.

Official: Google Payday Loan Algorithm 2.0 Launched: Targets “Very Spammy Queries” (SEL)

Unnamed Algorithm Activity – April 18, 2014


There was an indication of volatile activity by Google during the month of April in 2014. But there was no official declaration on this update. In addition, many SEO forums observed the change in SERP results.


Unnamed Update – March 24, 2014


There was a rumor by SEO forums and Webmaster that Google has updated the Soft Panda. But officially, this update was not announced by Google.


Top Heavy 3 Update – February 06, 2014


With this update, Google revised their page layout algorithm, which is referred as Top Heavy. It targeted those web pages which contains excessive ads above the fold. The goal of Google Page Layout Algorithm – to make user search experience more efficient and fast, while delivering the information they are looking for.

Google Updates Its Page Layout Algorithm To Go After Sites "Top Heavy" With Ads (SEL)



2013 Updates



Authorship Rich Snippet Update – December 18, 2013


This update is considered as the "most dramatic Google change of 2013". The authorship results decreased by 15%, where the major cause was the qualification of rich snippets.

Google's December Authorship Shake-up (Moz)

Authorshipocalypse! The Great Google Authorship Purge Has Begun (Virante)

Unnamed Activity – November 15, 2013


Almost all SEO trackers observed a high activity in search results. But Google has not confirmed yet. It was indicated that Partial-Match Domains are extended, but the pattern was not clear.


Penguin 2.1 Update – October 04, 2013


Google launch – the new Penguin 2.1 was the most highlighted change in the Google fight against web spam. The overall impact with Penguin 2.1 update seemed to be moderate, although some of the SEO forums designated it as a major shot.

Penguin 5, With The Penguin 2.1 Spam-Filtering Algorithm, Is Now Live (SEL)

Google Penguin 2.1 Was A Big Hit (SER)

Hummingbird Update – August 21, 2013


Google launched the new search algorithm on 21st August which was referred as Hummingbird. The objective of this algorithm is to return more personalized results to the users based on their location and evolving trends.

FAQ: All About The New Google "Hummingbird" Algorithm (SEL)

Some Reports Of An August 21/22 Google Update (SER)

In-Depth Addition – August 06, 2013


Google included a new aspect to the news results section i.e. “In-depth articles”. This newly added aspect is dedicated to the long-form and everlasting compositions.

In-depth articles in search results (Google)

Inside In-depth Articles: Dissecting Google's Latest Feature (Moz)

Unrevealed Activity – July 26, 2013


A weekend Google update activity was on air, during the month of July in 2013. Since some changes were observed in the searches, but Google has not returned any information regarding this activity.


Multi-week Algorithm Update – June 27, 2013


The Matt Cutts mentioned on Twitter, that Google will be rolling out with the multi-week algorithm update. The pattern of updated algorithm was not clear, but there was high fluctuation in rankings during the time period. It seems, that Google was testing the algorithm and rolled it out as a new update.

Google's "Multi-Week" Algorithm Update (Moz)

Google's Matt Cutts: Multi-Week Update Rolling Out (SER)

Payday Loan Update – June 11, 2013


Google announced the Payday Loan Algorithm update, specifically for those websites which contain payday loans and porn. It was declared on 11th June, but it implemented after one or two months.

Google Payday Loan Algorithm: Google Search Algorithm Update To Target Spammy Queries (SEL)

Google Spam Algorithm For Spammy Queries: Pay Day Loans+ (SER)

Google Dance Update – June 11, 2013


Actually not the Google dance, but it is related with Panda update. Matt Cutts made an important clarification on the subject indicating that Google will roll-out Panda update which will help in the improvements of ranking.

Google’s Panda Dance: Matt Cutts Confirms Panda Rolls Out Monthly Over 10 Of 30 Days (SEL)

Penguin 2.0 Update – May 22, 2013


According to Matt Cutts, the new edition of Penguin helps the Google to explore the sites deeply for web spam. The update had the greater impact on webmasters and SEO.

Penguin 4, With Penguin 2.0 Generation Spam-Fighting, Is Now Live (SEL)

Penguin 2.0/4 - Were You Jarred and/or Jolted? (SEOmoz)

Domain Crowding Update – May 21, 2013


Google introduced the new update, in order to control the domain crowding in the search engine page results. The time period for this change was not clear, but it seemed to be rolled out just prior the Penguin update.


Phantom Update – May 09, 2013


During the period of May 2013, many reports emerged with the statement as “New Google Algorithm Update”. The nature of algorithm was imprecise, but numerous sites experienced significant traffic loss.


Panda Update 25 – March 14, 2013


The update 25 for Panda was another attempt to handle the spammed links in search results. Many people claimed that this would be the last update of Panda before it is integrated with core algorithm.


Panda Update 24 – January 22, 2013


On January 22, 2013, Google introduced its first official update, which claimed to affect 1.2% of queries in English language.

2012 Updates



Panda Update 23 – December 21, 2012


With this Panda update, about 1.3% of English language queries got affected. And note that, this happened, just before the Christmas holiday.


Panda Update 22 – November 21, 2012


Google’s Panda got revised 22nd time and it was reported that it will affect 0.8% of English queries in search results.


Panda Update 21 – November 05, 2012


Google rolled out the 21st Panda Update, which reported that it will affect 1.1% of English language queries. The update emerged just after five weeks of 22th Panda Update.


Top Heavy 2 Update – October 09, 2012


Google evolved with an update for its original page layout algorithm. This algorithm counters those web pages which comprises lots of ads above the fold. It was uncertain, that this change was an algorithm update or the data refresh.


Penguin 1.3 Update – October 05, 2012


On 5th October 2012, Google released a minor data update on Penguin, which affected 0.3% of English queries. This update was the third Penguin release.


September 65-Pack – October 04, 2012


There were total 65 changes for the months August and September. Google introduced a new set of features, extended Knowledge Graph at international level in English language and also worked for the search engine improvements.


Panda Update 20 & Exact Match Domain – September 27, 2012


The two massive updates Panda Update 20 and Exact Match Domain (EMD) arrived on the same day. Panda update 20 claimed to have an impact on around 2.4% of search queries. Whereas, the update in Exact Match Domain modified the Google’s approach to manage the low-quality matches.


Panda Update 19 – September 18, 2012


The 19th update of Panda was reported as minor shot, as it affected 0.7% of English queries.


Panda Update 18 – August 20, 2012


Yet another Panda update rolled out in the year 2012, but its impact was less in numbers. It affected less than 1% of queries in English language.


7-Result SERPs – August 14, 2012


In August 2012, Google made a significant change in the searches, as the number of search results limited to 7 for each page. It seemed that Google moved away from its conventional 10 listings per page. This update impacted around 18% of keywords.


Pirate Update 1 (DMCA Penalty) – August 10, 2012


The first Pirate update rolled out during August 2012, with the aim of helping copyright owners. For instance, the websites containing multiple submitted copyright requests will experience a decrement in their Google rank.


Panda Update 17 – July 24, 2012


After a month, since Panda 3.8 emerged, Google arrived with the new update of Panda. The rankings for search results fluctuated for 5 to 6 days. Moreover, Google claimed that less than 1% English queries will be affected.


Link Warnings – July 19, 2012


Regarding unnatural or artificial backlinks, Google sent out a large number of link warnings through Google Webmaster Tools. In a completely new scenario, Google declared that these warnings may not express the serious issue.


Panda Update 16 – June 25, 2012


With only data changes, Google evolved the new update for Panda 3.8. There were no changes to the algorithm.


Panda Update 15 – June 08, 2012


Google arrived with yet another Panda update, which claimed to affect less than 1% queries. The results indicated that fluctuation was relatively higher than the last update.


May 39-Pack – June 07, 2012


Google introduced its monthly search highlights and delivered 39 updates in the month of May. The major updates include improvisation in Penguin, improved link-scheme detection, changes in Google News section and modifications in title and snippets.


Penguin Update 2 – May 25, 2012


This Penguin update was referred as the data revision by Google while claiming that would affect less than 0.1% queries of English.


April 52-Pack – May 04, 2012


In the process of monthly search highlights, total 52 changes were emerged during April month by Google. The major updates comprise changes in Penguin, improvised pagination handling, and updates on site links.


Panda Update 14 – April 27, 2012


Another revised version of Panda rolled out on 27th April 2012, but with few upshots.


Penguin Update 1 – April 24, 2012


After weeks of consideration, Google came up with an update for web spam, which was soon designated as Penguin. The key aspects associated with this update includes keyword stuffing, various spam factors etc. This update claims to impact about 3.1% of queries in English language.


Panda Update 13 – April 19, 2012


The 13th update of Google Panda helped new websites and big brands in their SEO mechanism. This update wasn’t that bad for SEOians.


March 50-Pack – April 03, 2012


A wide range of total 50 updates introduced in the month of March by Google. Changes in images search, Panda 3.4, anchor-text changes and updates in local intent queries were the major part of March 50-Pack.


Panda Update 12 – March 23, 2012


This time, Google announced the Panda update via Twitter. According to the public statements, the 14th update of Panda impacted around 1.6% of queries.


Venice, Panda Update 11 and 38 More – February 27, 2012


According to Google, they rolled out an amalgamation of updates which majorly includes – Venice updates (Engaged with the improvement of local universal results while depending on the rankings of main search results), 11th Panda update (Helps Google in delivering accurate and relevant results to the users) and 38 more updates related to the improvements in search quality.


Top Heavy Update 1 – January 19, 2012


Yet another update on Google page layout algorithm in order to devalue those websites which contain excessive ads above the fold.


Panda Update 10 – January 18, 2012


Google confirmed the Panda data update on 18th January, although it suggested that algorithm wasn't updated that time.


January 30-Pack – January 05, 2012


There was a declaration for 30 new updates by Google during early January. Sliding towards the key updates - better site links, rich snippets, image search changes, improvements in landing page quality and search query improvisation. 


In many cities, there are professional SEO firms which provide assistance with the emerging updates of Google. People who seek for their assistance, take help from Google and search for these companies. You can also search for these companies by using the SEO companies with your city name. For example SEO Chester companies (If you are residing in Chester) or SEO Leeds companies, if you are living in Leeds. 

2011 Updates



December 10-Pack – December 01, 2011


Google declared the second set of updates, comprising refinements associated with search queries, update with domain detection, revised blog search, and image search.


Panda Update 9 – November 18, 2011


After the update on Panda 3.1, the numbers of refinements were emerging frequently. Although, the update on November 18 was minor. It was affecting less than 1% of searches.


November 10-Pack – November 14, 2011


Total number of 10 minor updates was introduced by Google in the month of November. Its key refinements included support on cross-language, rich snippets, factors that affecting rank and display, and many others.


Freshness Update – November 03, 2011


With this update in November, Google expressed its focus on fresh content and made changes on regular basis. This update affected 35% of total search queries.


Query Encryption Update – October 18, 2011


The search query encryption update took place in the month of October by Google, due to some privacy reasons. The number of query encryption updates increased in few weeks followed by the launch.


Panda Update 8 (Flux) – October 05, 2011


Related to this Panda update, Matt Cutts tweeted “expect some Panda Flux update in the coming weeks, which will be affecting -2% of queries”, reflecting its minor update characteristic.


Panda Update 7 – September 28, 2011


After more than a month, Google came up with another update on Panda. This update showed its focus on larger reaching analysis of websites and their content quality. Due to which, some websites reported large-scale losses with their rank.


Pagination Elements Updates – September 15, 2011


In order to fix the issues associated with crawling and duplication, Google introduced new elements such as rel = “next” and rel = “prev”. Alongside, Google also mentioned that these attributes have improvised the automatic consolidation and canonicalization.


Expanded Sitelinks Updates – August 16, 2011


After so much of experimenting, finally, Google rolled out the new feature for websites named as expanded sitelinks. Mostly, it used for brand queries. Firstly, it was the set of 12 links, but further, it was limited to 6 counts.


Panda Update 6 – August 12, 2011


This time, the Panda update was standing for all languages such as English language search queries and non-English language queries. It was reported that this update affected 6 to 9 percent of all searches.


Panda Update 5 – July 23, 2011


Yet another update for Panda. Google introduced the new factors, but the pattern was not clear. This update was simply for data and ranking factors.


Google+ Introduced – June 28, 2011


After facing some serious social media failures, Google finally brought a competition for Facebook in the form of Google+. Google+ comprises circles for sharing links or texts and comes integrated with other Google products like Gmail. Note that, within two weeks Google+ reached to 10 million users.


Panda Update 4 – June 21, 2011


With this update, Google countered those websites that sweep content from the original sources. It prevented the violators to get higher rank in search results.


Schema.org Update – June 02, 2011


Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! together declared that they will support the consolidated approach of structured data. Regarding this, they created a range of new schemas to get enhanced rank in the search results.


Panda Update 3 – May 09, 2011


Yet another round of changes to Panda rolled out by Google, but this time with no official announcement.


Panda Update 2 – April 11, 2011


Google emerged with new Panda updates for all English language queries worldwide. There were new user feedback signals integrated to Panda.


Plus 1 Button To G+ - March 30, 2011


On 30th March 2011, Google introduced a new function to Google+ i.e. Plus 1 button. This button allows optimization through recommendations.


Panda Update 1 – February 23, 2011


On the date 23rd February 2011, Google introduced their Panda update. They changed their algorithms by pointed out the web sites, comprising low-quality content and excessive links. This was a major update of Panda, as it affected 12% of searches and initiated the new era in SEO mechanism.


Attribution Update – January 28, 2011


To provide responses on high-profile spams, Google evolved with some major attributes updates. These updates contributed in reducing scraping mechanisms. It affected total 2% of search queries.

2010 Updates



Google Instant Update – September 08, 2010


Expanding on Google suggest, Google Instant rolled out in the month of September. Automatically suggesting the options for the completion of a search query is the major asset of Google Instant. It was reported that 15 different technologies were utilized to develop this Google function.


Brand Update – August 2010


Google started allowing a single domain to appear multiple times on SERPs. Talking about the past, the domains were restricted to get displayed with 1 or 2 listings.


Caffeine (Rollout) Update – June 2010


Google launched its new indexing system, which is known as Caffeine. This newly launched system provided 50% of fresh content as compared to the previous indexing system. Moreover, it created the largest set of web content for Google.


May Day Update – May 01, 2010


During the late April and early May, the webmasters noticed an impactful drop in their long-tail traffic. Later, Matt Cutts confirmed about the update on the algorithm which impacted the long-tail traffic. Most of the websites experienced loss in their ranks.


Google Places Update – April 20, 2010


Google launched a new feature called Google Places for the users. This feature has created a better approach for users to find best places. With this update, Google Local Business Centre turned into Places.

2009 Updates



Real-time Search Update – December 2009


This update was related with real Twitter feeds, Google News and indexed content which were integrated with the real-time feed on SERPs.  The sources were expanding frequently comprising the social media channels and many others.


Caffeine Launch – August 10, 2009


Google provided a sneak preview to its next-generation indexing system. It was named as Caffeine and also Google invited people to test it.


Vince Updates – February 20, 2009


This update was all about trust, reputation and authority, which helped in providing better quality results to the users. It pushed big brands to hold the top place in search results.


Rel=canonical Tag – February 2009


A new tag declared jointly by Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! The canonical tag enabled the webmasters to send canonicalization signals to Google crawlers.

2008 Updates



Google Suggest Introduction – August 25, 2008


As a major update, Google launched a new feature named as Google Suggest. When you try to enter a search query, Google attempts to complete the query by suggesting related search terms.


Dewey Update – April 02, 2008


There was an urge in the SEO community after the Dewey update, but the specifics of this update was not clear. Some major changes implemented on the search results, but not more than that.

2007 Updates



Buffy Update - June 17, 2007


Buffy seems to be an accumulation of smaller updates but comprises impact on the single word search queries. During this update, no one was sure what happened.


Universal Search Update – May 16, 2007


As it name indicates, Universal Search combines all the results from Google web, news, video, images, books and blogs at one place.

2006 Updates



False Alarm Update – December 2006


There was some commotion related with an update during December 2006. Due to which changes in the rankings were observed.


Supplemental Update – November 2006


Throughout the year 2006, Google seemed to make some changes in the indexing procedure and the mechanism of filtering for pages.

2005 Updates



Big Daddy Update – November 01, 2005


This update was started in November 2005, but not deployed completely till the end of March 2006. It was a changing infrastructure which defines the approach on how Google deal with URL canonicalization.


Jagger Update – October 19, 2005


This update by Google targeted all the low-grade links along with link farms, which helped in reducing spamming.


Google Local & Maps Integrate – October 06, 2005


Google introduced Google maps to provide both local and mapping information at one place.


Gilligan Update – September 08, 2005


It was not designated as an update but it was a refresh. Although, this change was a major move to the search engine’s index process. Later on, it was referred as “False Alarm”.


Personalized Search Update – June 28, 2005


With an update on personalized search, Google provides more accurate and personal results by accessing your personal search history.


Google Sitemaps Update – June 02, 2005


By using Google Sitemaps, the website owners are allowed to make an XML file which contains all the URLs which they want Google to crawl. Submitting these XML files through Google Webmaster Tools makes some required inclusion in the web index of Google.


Bourbon Update – May 20, 2005


This update was associated with the duplicate content and non-canonical URLs. Moreover, it affected total 3.5% of all search queries.


Allegra Update – February 02, 2005


A Google’s LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) algorithm is named as Allegra. Update to this algorithm, affected some ranking factors and also other tweaks.


No Follow Attribute Update – January 18, 2005


This new feature is small for Google, but an important one. This attribute counters the comment spam. Webmasters access this attribute by simply adding rel = “nofollow” to those links, which site visitors adds in the comments. Google performs its role by not adding any inbound link credit to the sites. With this update, Microsoft and Yahoo also supported Google.

2004 Updates



Brandy Update – February 17, 2004


Google came up with a number of changes which comprises index expansion, Latent Semantic Indexing, increased focus on anchor text and the concept of neighborhoods. Due to this update, Google stepped ahead in terms of synonyms understanding and keyword analysis.


Austin Update – January 23, 2004


The missed aspects of Florida update was cleaned up by Austin. This update targeted all the unconventional practices and was intended to make some improvements in the search results. Many websites were victimized by this change and it created a sensation for various SEO forums.

2003 Updates



Florida Update – November 16, 2003


Florida update is considered as an aggressive change which had banged the SEO world. Various sites lost their ranking on a large-scale, due to this update.


Fritz Update – July 01, 2003


For quicker and more accurate information, Google switched from monthly index updates to an updating process which changes a percentage of index procedure every day. These smaller changes on the daily basis are being referred as everflux.


Esmerelda Update – June 15, 2003


Esmerelda update starts from the point where Cassandra and Dominic update left their parts in the fight against poor quality backlinks and hidden text or links.


Dominic Update – May 14, 2003


The approach of crawling internet was again changed and the fight against manipulative link practices initiated.


Cassandra Update – April 12, 2003


The focus of this update was completely on link-quality, hidden links, and hidden texts. This was the first time Google allowed all banned sites to send request for reconsideration.


Boston Update – March 07, 2003


This was the first named Google update which was declared at SES Boston. It was a combination of few algorithm changes and index refreshes (It is also referred as Google Dance). It improved the algorithm of analyzing backlink data embracing impact on SERPs.

2002 Updates



Google Dance Initiated – September 26, 2002


This update was designated as the first major change in Google practices. Google Dance seemed to have a major impact on the relevance ranking. Although, it has increased the importance for anchor text quality.

2000 Updates



Google Toolbar Launch – December 11, 2000


Google launched its new Toolbar. This plugin allows the user to perform the search through any web page or within any website. This was the scenario when a site doesn’t have its own search engine.


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