Google Algorithm Updates

History of Google Algorithm Updates


What are Google Algorithms?

Google’s algorithms are a complicated system that retrieves information from its index of search results and immediately give the best results to a search. Google makes use of an array of algorithms and various ranking factors to provide pages ranked according to relevance in its search engine result page (SERPs).

In its beginnings, Google only made a few updates to its algorithm. Today, Google makes thousands of adjustments each year. The majority of these changes are so small that they’re largely ignored. But, occasionally the search engine makes significant algorithmic changes that dramatically affect the SERPs, such as:

FloridaBig Daddy
Freshness AlgorithmPage Layout Algorithm
Venice UpdatePenguin
EMD (Exact Match Domain)Payday
MobilegeddonQuality Updates

Below we have compiled a full list of Google algorithm launches, updates, and refreshes that have rolled out over the years, as well as links to resources for SEO professionals who want to understand each of these changes.

All Updates

May 2022 Core Update

Google announced on Twitter the launch of a major core update, dubbed”May 2022 Core Update. It is part of a string of changes Google performs to the overall process of ranking all through the year. This update started in May 22nd, 2022 and was completed on June 9, 2022.

March 2022 Product Algorithm Update

Google announced on the Blog of the Search Central Blog an update to its product review rankings, which will allow the company to recognize the most reliable reviews. The update is expected to take around a couple of weeks to finish.

Learn more about Google’s efforts to offer higher-quality product reviews for search people through The Keyword and get Google’s guidance about how best to create top-quality product reviews.

Page Experience Update

Google has announced via Twitter that the update to the user experience is gradually rolling out for desktop searches, and is scheduled to be complete in March 2022. Google gives developers more information regarding the update to the page experience through Google Search Central.

December 2021 Product Review Update

Google announced on the Google Search Central Twitter page that its December 2021 Product Review Update began rolling out to English language pages on the web today it is expected to take 3 weeks to finish. Google shared a link to blog posts on review updates for products, and to the website to get more information.

November 2021 Local Search Update

Google announced on Twitter that it would be launching a Local Search Update, which began on November 30, and was completed on the 8th of December. Google also advised businesses to examine their guidelines regarding how to improve local ranking.

Broad Core Update

Google Search Central announced via Twitter that a large core update was scheduled to be released the following day. They directed webmasters to their guide about what website owners should be aware of core updates that were last updated in August of 2019.

November 3, 2021 – Google Spam Update

As per a Tweet sent by Google Search Liasion, a spam update was released between November 3 and 11th, 2021 as part of their regular efforts to improve the search results. They recommended in their announcement that webmasters continue to follow the Webmaster Guidelines.

July 26, 2021 – Google Link Spam Algorithm Update

Google announced that an algorithm update that aimed at eliminating and identifying link spam was starting to be released. Google warned that sites that engage in link-spam strategies could be affected by ranking changes, with guest, sponsored, and affiliate content likely to be affected. Google stated that the update will be out for “at least” two weeks and could affect several languages.

July 2021 Core Update Completed

Google Search Liaison confirmed via Twitter that the Core Update rollout was finished on the 12th of July. There were no additional details provided.

July 2021 Core Update

Google Search Liaison announced via Twitter that the core update for July 20, 2021 was in the process of rolling out and should take anywhere from one to two weeks to finish. Google’s instructions regarding Core updates is available at the Google Search Central Blog.

June 28, 2021 – Spam Update Part 2

Google Search Liaison announced via Twitter that the second phase of their anti-spam update been launched on June 28, and will probably be finished that same date. The announcement originally referred to a blog post on the Google Search Central Blog, which was updated in April 2021 regarding how Google combated spam on Search in 2020.

June 2021 Spam Update

The Google’s Danny Sullivan announced via Twitter an algorithm update aimed at tackling spam was being rolled out to results from searches. The release of the update is expected to be completed on the same day. He also said that a third spam update would be coming within one week. Google provided no specifics regarding the specifics of this update. intended to do.

June 15, 2021 – Page Experience Update

Google has confirmed that it’s much-anticipated Page Experience update has started rolling out. The websites shouldn’t be expecting to experience drastic changes due to the update Google states, adding that any abrupt spikes or drops will be controlled through the gradual rollout process. The rollout is expected to be complete before the end of August 2021.

Known Victims Protection – On June 10, Pandu Nayak

Google Director and Fellow of Search has published a blog article posted on The Keyword blog. In the post, he spoke about Google’s efforts in improving the algorithm that will degrade sites who “employ exploitative removals practices” and “predatory practices.” He also gave a link users can make use of to report online harassment.

June 2, 2021 – Broad Core Algorithm Update

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan made it clear via Twitter that a major base algorithm upgrade was slated to go live. Sullivan added that some of the planned improvements weren’t fully prepared for this update, and the ones that aren’t will be released as part of a similar update to the core algorithm which is scheduled for July.

April 8, 2021 – Product Reviews Update

The new algorithm for ranking search results modification was created to encourage “product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products.” In the statement, Google also shared nine helpful questions to ask when writing and publishing reviews of products.

February 10, 2021 – Passage Ranking

The Google Public Liaison to Search, Danny Sullivan, announced on Twitter the Passage Ranking officially launched for English-language queries within the United States. In the words of Google: “This change doesn’t mean that we’re now indexing individual passages on their own, independent of pages. We’re still indexing webpages and taking into consideration information about whole pages to determine their ranking. We can now look at pages’ passages as an additional ranking factor.

December 2020 Core Update

Google confirms a key algorithm update that, the core update for December, 2020. Update will be released on December 3 in 2020. It is the third core algorithm update for in the year calendar. A significant number of years have passed from the previous core update, when compared to the typical time between these kinds of updates.

May 2020 Core Update

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan announced via Twitter that Google will be unveiling a large update to its core algorithm. Around 90 minutes later, he made it clear that the update was in progress and could take anywhere from a week to a month to fully roll out.

January 22, 2020 – Featured Snippet Deduplication

The Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed via Twitter that pages that are featured in a area are no longer re-used in normal Page 1 organic listings. This change was a major impact on the entirety of pages in the search results, across the globe.

January 2020 Core Update

The Google’s Danny Sullivan announced via a tweet that a large central algorithm upgrade was set to be announced. Google also gave the same advice like it did for the other recently released updates to the core algorithm’s broadness.

December 9, 2019 – BERT (Worldwide)

Google’s Danny Sullivan tweeted that BERT began its global launch, which includes the following languages in its rollout: Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azeri, Basque, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Simplified & Taiwan), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kannada, Kazakh, Khmer, Korean, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Lao, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian Malay (Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia), Malayalam, Maltese, Marathi, Mongolian, Nepali, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tajik, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek and Vietnamese.

October 25, 2019 – BERT Update

Google has released the BERT Update in a press release, describing it as the most significant change to Google search over the last five years. Google makes use of BERT models to help comprehend queries from search engines. Google stated that this change affected both rankings for search and featured snippets, as well as BERT (which is a shorthand for Bidirectional Encoder Representations of Transformers) is expected to be utilized in 10% of U.S. English searches.

September 24, 2019 – Broad Core Algorithm Update

The Google’s Danny Sullivan announced via a tweet that a large update to the core algorithm was scheduled to be released in only a few hours. It could take several days to roll out. Google’s instructions were similar to what it had been for other updates to the core algorithm in recent times.

August 1, 2019 – Featured Snippets Update

Google released an update to its algorithm that will affect the quality of featured snippets that appear in results of searches. This update will enable Google to locate the most current featured snippets in queries in which the latest information is most valuable.

June 2019 Core Update

On June 2nd, Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan tweeted that Google was releasing the new core algorithm for broad search release on the 3rd of June. The following morning, Google said that its update is in place and would begin rolling out to its different data centers over the next few days. Like any major update to the core algorithm, Google tells us there is nothing specific to address as a core update is a broad update that covers many factors.

March 2019 Core Update (a.k.a. Florida 2)

Google’s search liaison Danny Sullivan confirmed via Twitter the announcement of a worldwide general update to the core algorithm. SEJ confirmed that the update is crucial and was one of the largest Google updates over the past few recent years. Sullivan has once more recommended following the instructions it gave in the wake of the March 9, update for 2018.

February 13, 2019 – Valentine’s Day Update

The algorithm trackers and industry chatter suggested that an unconfirmed update was made prior to and on this date. But, unlike other updates, mostly positive shifts in rankings were reported.

October 31, 2018 – Unconfirmed Halloween Update

Some webmasters reported changes starting around Halloween, perhaps indicating an (unconfirmed) Google update. There was no evidence of a major update in this case. Most likely, the reason for the chatter was a spillover from the core algorithm update in August update as well as Google expanding its use of neural matching.

September 27, 2018 – A “Small” Update

On the 27th of September (Google’s 20th anniversary) there were a lot of people in the SEO community noticed noticeable spikes and declines in traffic, suggesting that an update was taking place. Certain websites affected by the general core algorithm update have seen a rebound. Google’s search liaison Danny Sullivan confirmed via Twitter September 29 that some kind update that was a “smaller” update had taken place (but it wasn’t a large key algorithm upgrade).

August 1, 2018 – Broad Core Algorithm Update

Google has confirmed on Twitter on its third occasion in 2018 the launch of a major overhaul to its core algorithm. When it did so the Search Liaison for Google Danny Sullivan recommended following the instructions it gave in the wake of the March 9 update. The update was called “Medic” by some in the medical industry, despite the fact that Google stated that it was an update to the general ranking of websites and did not target specific medical sites.

April 16, 2018 – Broad Core Algorithm Update

Google confirmed on Twitter the launch of a second general algorithm update and also said that it was comparable with the 9 March Update of 2018, which dealt with the relevance of content.

March 9, 2018 – Broad Core Algorithm Update

On March 12 Google confirmed on Twitter that it had rolled out a “broad core algorithm update” was released the previous week. Although Google provided no details, Google said the changes were designed to “benefit pages that were previously under-rewarded,” and recommended everyone to “continue building great content.”

December 12, 2017 – Maccabees Update

A few members of the search community complained that their websites were affected by the update between December 12-14. Google confirmed a few minor adjustments to the algorithm’s core algorithms during the period, but emphasized the significance of this period of change.

September 8, 2017 – Fall Flux

Discussions in the industry and monitoring tools have indicated that some type of (still not confirmed) Google update may have been implemented on this date. Glenn Gabe, president of G-Squared Interactive, also detected several notable Google modifications that affected search results and traffic beginning September 8. Then came further volatility and fluctuations on September 18, 25 29 and 28, as well as on October 4 8, 12, and 4.

August 19, 2017 – Quality Update

SEO ranking tools and Webmasters observed a slight fluctuation on August 19-20. There are signs that this could be yet another (unconfirmed) Google quality update. The ranking casualties included: Pages that are classified as “categories,” pages that contain high-quality or thin content, aggressive advertisements as well as other negative elements of user experience as per an analysis conducted by Glenn Gabe, president of GSQi. There was suspicion that Google began testing the algorithm on the 14th of August because pages that were affected (either either positively or negative) at this time were further affected on the 19th of August.

July 9, 2017 – Quality Update

SEO ranking tools identified some slight fluctuations on July 9 and could be another (unconfirmed) Google quality update.

June 25, 2017 – June 25 Update

Many SEO tracking tools identified the presence of a significant, yet not confirmed, Google update on the date. A study found that this update caused largest changes in the rankings of pages between positions 6-10. While it affected a wide range of areas, the food and beverage industry was most affected.

May 17, 2017 – Quality Update

From May 17 to for around a week, SEO tracking tools have reported a lot of SERP fluctuations. Although the effect isn’t huge however, the sites affected by this update tend to experience issues with deceptive and aggressive advertisements, UX issues, and low-quality or thin content.

March 7, 2017 – Fred

The Google’s Gary Illyes jokingly referred to this algorithm update by the name of “Fred” and the name stuck. This algorithm was not a joke for the people affected. The major algorithm change appeared to be primarily targeted at content with low value. The 24th of March Illyes declared the algorithm update was confirmed. However, Google hasn’t shared details but instead has said that all the information about Fred is within the Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines.

Source: Search Engine Journal

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