Google Algorithms Updates History


Google is one of the most popular search engines and the SEO mechanisms try to decipher the important parameters of effective results of display on a search engine. The world of SEO needs to adapt to the ever changing updates posted by Google. Here is a quick sneak into the history of updates of the Google’s Algorithm.

Number of Google Algorithm

Google Algorithm Updates till September 23rd, 2014

  • Panda 4.1 was the latest update posted by Google as early as September 23rd ‘2014 that revolves around boosting the rankings of sites that can be lodged in small and medium sized category due to improved quality of content. The highlight of this update is that it has the innate capability of spotting weak and low quality content. This was the Panda Update 27.

Google’s 27th Panda Update

  • It was on August 28th ‘2014 that the authorship markup of photos was completely dropped and it was a follow up action of the announcement on June 28th ‘2014 that all authorship photos will not be considered by the SERPs.

Google Authorship Removed

  • It was on August 6th’2014 that Google brought to limelight, its decision of giving higher priority to secured sites and thereby the focus should shift to HTTPS/SSL.

HTTPs Ranking Singal

  • On July 24th ‘2014 came the announcement that there are going to be significant changes in the results of the location based search. Therefore, your local search results were now going to be more closely linked with the conventional web search ranking signals.

Google “Pigeon” Updates Local Search Algorithm

  • On June 12th 2014, came the update Payday Loan 3.0 that was a major improvisation of the Payday Loan 2.0 launched on May 16, 2014. These updates were mainly to iron out spam. The Payday Loan 2.0 was mainly targeting the websites that were spammy, however, the Payday Loan 3.0 had mainly targeted the queries that were spammy in nature.

Google Spam Algorithm Version 3.0

  • The Panda Update 26 happened on May 20th of 2014 and is named as Panda 4.0. The major aim of this update was to restrict sites with low quality of content from getting higher rankings.

Google Begins Rolling Out Panda 4.0

  • There were some changes in the ranking that were observed around the period of March 24th and 25th of 2014, however, there was no official confirmation from Google about any updates to the algorithm Panda.

Another Algorithm Update

  • In February on the 6th day of the month in the year 2014 came the update of Page Layout that targeted websites that contained too many ads placed before reaching the fold and were top heavy in the sense that they were over populated with ads in the very beginning of the website.

Page Layout Update

Google Algorithm Updates in 2013

The year 2013 also witnessed a lot of updates to the algorithm of Google.  The updates are as follows;

  • On December 19th of 2013, there was an update due to which the authorship markup was removed.
  • It is a standard that is maintained by Google that they do not post any updates during the holiday season, however, there was change noticed as there was an elevation in Partial Match Domains. However, this update was never confirmed by Google.

Unnamed Update On December 17th

  • The effect of another unconfirmed update was felt on November 14th 2013 when the Google Webmaster Tools witnessed a huge influx of DNS errors.

Unconfirmed update on 14th November

  • Penguin is another spam filtering algorithm of Google that underwent an update on October 4th ‘2013 and was christened as Penguin 2.1

Google Penguin 2.1

  • The core algorithm of Google, Hummingbird underwent an update around the time of August 20th, the announcement for which was made on September 26th as it impacted the Knowledge Graph  and the semantic search.

Google “Hummingbird” Algorithm Update

  • On August 6th of 2013 there was an update from Google that facilitated the occurrence of high quality content and in- depth articles so that one could get a lot of knowledge from one article itself.

In-depth Articles in Search Results

  • On July 19th ‘2013 Google launched the update of Knowledge Graph  Expansion.
  • It was on July 18th of 2013 that a update to the algorithm of Panda was made that was considered as the reason to tone down some of the punishing attributes of the earlier Panda update.
  • In the period of June 12th to July 14th  a “Multi week” update had happened as confirmed by Google and raking changes were witnessed around the period of June 27th ‘2013.

Google’s Matt Cutts: Multi-Week Update

  • On June 11th ‘2013 the Payday Loan update was announced targeting spam websites.

Payday Loan Update

  • Penguin 2.0 was launched on May 22’2013 that impacted the page level results and was aimed at filtering away spam.

Penguin 4, With Penguin 2.0 Generation Spam-Fighting

  • Domain crowding was addressed by Google with an update that was released on May 21st’2013.
  • The algorithm Panda underwent update number 24 and 25 on January 22nd and March 14th of 2013 respectively. There was another speculated Phantom update on the 9th of May that could have been the testing grounds of the Penguin 2.1 that was rolled out in the subsequent months.

Google Algorithm Updates in 2012

The updates to the Google algorithm that took place in the year 2012 that impacted the traffic to the websites and the rankings are as follows:

  • The Panda Update number 23 was rolled out on December 21st of 2012 that impacted around 1.3% of the queries in English just before the dawn of Christmas.
  • The Knowledge Graph Extension update took place on December 4th of 2012 that impacted the queries in multiple languages and had improvised capabilities of Knowledge graphs that impacted the websites rather than just the mere translation activities.
  • Panda Update number 21 and 22 came around November 5th and 21st respectively that impacted a sizeable portion of the queries in English.
  • An update to the Page layout algorithm was announced on October 9th’2012 and the original algorithm was launched in January.
  • The third Penguin update or Penguin 3.0 was released on October 5th 2012.
  • On October 4th 2012 the impact of the 65 updates launched during the period of August and September of the year was felt.  Changes to the determination of local results, measuring of page quality, knowledge graph extension and 7 – result SERPs were a subsequent effect of the updates.
  • As per the official confirmation around 0.6% of the English queries were affected by the Exact Match Domain update that changed the way Google was earlier treating the exact match domains. This happened on September 27th ‘2012.
  • The Panda Update Number 20 was rolled out on 27th September ‘2012.
  • Panda Update number 18 and 19 were rolled out on August 20 and September 18 of 2012 respectively. The naming of Panda was thereby made as 3.9.1 and 3.9.2 for the updates as per their order of occurrence.
  • On August 14th 2012, Google launched the 7-results SERPs update according to which the search results of the queries were restricted to top 7 in contrast to the earlier norm of top 10.
  • On August 10th’2012 Google announced that it would start penalizing websites that carried out copyright infringement in accordance with DMCA takedown requests.
  • On August 10th came the announcement of 86 pack update that happened across the months of June and July.
  • Panda Update number 16 and 17 or rather Panda 3.8 and Panda 3.9 were launched on June 25th and July 24th of 2012 respectively.
  • Unnatural Link warnings were sent out by Google on July 19th 2012.
  • On June 7th, Google confirmed the news of 39 updates that happened in the month of May of 2012.
  • Penguin 1.1 was brought to daylight on the day of 25th May’2012.
  • On May 16th’2012 the Knowledge Graph update was launched.
  • On May 4th 2012 Google confirmed the 52 pack update that happened across the month of April.
  • Panda  Update Number 14 or Panda 3.6 was launched on April 27th ‘2012.
  • The “Webspam Update” that was later christened as Penguin was unveiled on April 24th ‘2012 that would penalize aspects like keyword stuffing etc.
  • On April 19th 2012 came the Panda update number 13 or Panda 3.5.
  • On April 16th 2012, Google confirmed that there was an error that led to some domains being devalued or become parked domains; however, there was no algorithm change.
  • On April 3rd 2012 came the confirmation of the 50 pack update that happened in March.
  • On March 23rd 2012 came the update number 12 for Panda or Panda 3.4.
  • On March 12th Google released a video about Google’s processes and main concerns.
  • Panda Update Number 11 or Panda 3.3 happened on  February 27th’2012.
  • On February 27th ‘2012 a confirmation came regarding a pack of 40 updates after the announcement of a pack of 17 updates in the month of February that was made on 3rd February’2012.
  • On February 27th Google also announced a Code name Venice that was targeted towards consolidating local search results.
  • On January 19 the initiation of Page Layout algorithm was done wherein Google would penalize websites that were top heavy or had too many advertisements above the fold.
  • On January 18th ‘2012 came the update number 10 for Panda or Panda 3.2.
  • On January 10th 2012, Google announced the integration of Google+ social data onto SERPs and they also informed about the capability to restrict personalization with the help of the toggle button.
  • On January 5th came the announcement of a pack of 30 updates that happened in the prior month that impacted search by images, quality detection of the landing page, connected query improvement s etc.

Google Algorithm Updates in 2011

The year of 2011 also saw a number of updates to the Google algorithms:

  • A pack of 10 updates was unfolded on December 1’2011 wherein the updates had happened in the prior months.
  • Panda Update 3.1 or update number 9 was launched on November 18th 2011.
  • There was some change in the way Google communicated its algorithm updates and a pack of 10 updates were announced on November 14th 2011.
  • A Freshness Update happened on November 3rd 2011.
  • There was a Query Encryption update launched on October 18th’2011 that effected the organic keyword referral data.
  • The Panda update number 7 and 8 that is known as Panda 2.5 and Panda Flux respectively happened on September 28th and October 5th 2011 respectively.
  • On September 21st of 2011, Google confirmed that 510 algorithm updates were made in 2010.
  • Algorithm with Pagination Elements was introduced on September 15th 2011 that saw the launch of attributes like “Next” and “Prev” on the search results.
  • A pack of 6 updates happened, though initially 12 were announced on August 16th 2011 that was mainly for the expanded site links of brand queries.
  • Panda 2.3 and Panda 2.4 namely update number 5 and 6 happened for algorithm Panda on July 23rd and August 12th 2011 respectively.
  • Google unveiled its social media platform Google+ on June 28th 2011.
  • Panda 2.2 which was Update number 4 , Panda 2.1 which was Update number 3 and Panda 2.0 which was Update number 2 were launched on June 21st, May 9th and  April 11th 2011 respectively.
  • An attempt of consolidation towards structured data was made with the launch of Schema.org on June 2nd 2011.
  • The +1 button was introduced as a means to promote content in one’s social circle on Google+ on March 30th 2011.
  • The Panda Farmer update was launched on February 23rd 2011.
  • In an attempt to restrict scrapers and as a befitting response to spam Google launched Attribution update on January 28th 2011.
  • Overstock.com was penalized for some of their over enthusiastic SEO efforts in the month of January 2011 and that impacted some of the other sites as well due to the updates made by Google.

Thus, Google has been making a lot of updates to its algorithms. It was in the year 2010 that updates like Social Signals, Negative reviews, Instant reviews etc. were launched. Updates like May Day, Caffeine and Brand Update were also launched in the year 2010. Prior years have also witnessed a lot of updates as well.

Leave a Comment