Articles

Google algorithms arranged by years of update

by Harish Tiwari Digital Marketing Expert
Florida Update (16 Nov 2003) - This is the update that introduced nuance into SEO. Google rolled out this huge update while they were still powering Yahoo! Search & before Yahoo! switched to their in-house search algorithm.

Nofollow launched(18 January 2005) - Google would later shift the purpose of this tag from fighting blog comment spam to something which should be required on any paid links.

Universal Search (16 May 2007) - Google mixes in YouTube, news & other vertical search types into their core index. later they add their knowledge graph and a variety of paid-only verticals in areas like hotel search, flight search, financial products, product/shopping search.

Google Suggest(25 August 2008) - This auto-completes user search queries after they start typing their search query, which attempts to drive them down well-worn paths, further minimizing traffic sent to misspellings and some lesser searched for longtail phrases. 

Vince Update: (20 February 2009) - this is where we started the whole "brand, brand, brand" stuff. note this happened *after* the financial crisis when Google's revenue growth stagnated & Google share prices plunged. March of 2009 was the bottom of the stock market plunge when congress pushed FASB to allow for widespread accounting games by relaxing mark-to-market requirements.

Google Instant: (8 September 2010) - made Google suggest the default search behavior. On July 26, 2017, Google turned off this feature, but in the 7 years it existed it helped consolidate search query volumes into tighter buckets which users still rely on as they type, particularly on mobile devices.

2011
Panda Update 1.0: Feb. 24, 2011, impacts 12% of queries, US & English only.
Panda Update 2.0: April 11, 2011 (about 7 weeks later) impacted about 2% of queries, incorporated user block signal, hit eHow & was rolled out internationally in the English language.
Panda Update 2.1: May 10, 2011 (about 4 weeks later)
Panda Update 2.2: June 16, 2011 (about 5 weeks later) allegedly improved scraper detection (though Google has still asked for help on this front)
Panda Update 2.3: July 23, 2011 (about 5 weeks later)
Panda Update 2.4: August 12, 2011 (about 3 weeks later) rolled out to foreign languages except for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. impacted 6% to 9% of search queries.
Google analytics changes (that further obfuscated some data)
July 28th - Google blended image traffic in core search traffic by default. Previously they were seen as separate traffic sources.
August 11th - changed session handling, which increased visit counts while offsetting that with lowering time-on-site metrics, higher bounce rates, and such.
August 24th: (about 2 weeks later) not an official update, but several folks here that were using the subdomain work-around for a few weeks to a month or so saw their sites whacked on the 24th.
Panda Update 2.5: September 28, 2011 (about 10 weeks since August 12 update)
general update notes
some sites that were hit saw improvements, some sites that had recovered (like Daniweb.com) were once again re-hit.
using subdomains, HubPages had recovered over 100% of their Panda-related traffic loses.
YouTube was yet again another big winner.

this was the first Panda update where Google issued a weather report for future updates
On October 4th there was flux / 2.5.1 ... after publicly complaining about being hit again Daniweb recovered once again (along with some other large sites), showing how responsive Google is to public relations issues.
On October 13th there was another round / 2.5.2
On October 18th/19th there was another round / 2.5.3
Panda 2.6/3.0: November 18th, 2011
Panda 3.1: December 13th & Panda 3.2 December 19th (smaller/minor updates)

2012
Panda 3.2 January 16th to 22nd - claimed to be folding data in rather than an algorithm update
Ad Heavy Update January 19th
Panda 3.4 March 23rd
Panda 3.5 April 19th
Penguin update April 24
notice how Panda updates were included tightly on either side of this to make the weekly "what changed" SEO services have many changes appear all at once so that it is harder to isolate variables & impacts.
Panda 3.6 April 27th
Penguin 2 / 1.1 May 25th
Panda 3.7 June 8th
Panda 3.8 possibly June 25th
July 17th Japanese & Korean Panda update
Panda 3.9 July 24th
Panda 3.91 August 20th
Panda 3.92 September 18th
Panda 4.0 / 20 September 27th through October 3rd, 2.4% of queries impacted
EMD Update September 28th/29th update lowered the rankings of exact match domain names
Penguin 3 October 5th
Ad Heavy Update 2 October 9th
Panda 21 November 5th
Stealth update which hit MetaFilter November 17th
Panda 22 November 21st
Panda 23 December 21st

2013
Panda 24 January 22
Image Search interface update January 23
Panda 25 is out & Google says they are unlikely to confirm or announce any further Panda updates. March 15
Panda 25.1 (not announced, but likely started between May 5th & 7th)
May: Phantom/Quality update 1
Penguin 4 / 2.0 May 22nd, impacts 2.3% of queries
Spammy Query Update June 11th
Unnamed Authority Boosts: on June 26th & July 1st, Google dialed up the weighting on some signals aligned with domain authority (or, conversely, they dialed down the weighting they place on raw matching relevancy). On July 9th they dialed it back slightly.
Panda 26 July 16 - 18...allegedly more granular
Mobile searches as direct visits somewhat fixed: on July 29th/30th Google started showing a lot of mobile searches as keyword (not provided) where they were showing up as direct website visits in the past ... this was the leading edge of a multi-month campaign of Google's where they hid about an additional 1% daily of search traffic...driving the not provided percent from under half to about 90% in about 2 months (the included chart below is slightly lagging).
Unannounced update: August 21st/22nd
Hummingbird: extension of Google's scrape-n-displace efforts...apparently started around August 26th or perhaps September 4th (though rolling out in phases).
The wave of manual link penalties: September 3rd/4th
Penguin 2.1 October 4th
unannounced Panda refresh December 17th

2014
3rd Top Heavy Page Layout Algo update: February 6th
Spammy Query algo update 2.0: weekend of May 17th, impacts 0.3% of queries to a noticeable degree (the original version launched)
Panda 4.0 May 20th, impacts 7.5% of English language queries to a noticeable degree. the original Panda impacted 11.8% of English language queries to a noticeable degree.
Spammy Query algo update 3.0: launched on June 12th, this one is claimed to impact spammy sites whereas the prior version was claimed to focus more on spammy queries.
June 22nd: unannounced Panda update
Pigeon local search update: July 24th
August 27th / 28th: unannounced Panda update
September 25th through the first week of October, though some saw movement on the 21st: Panda 4.1 update impacting 3 to 5% of search queries.
October 17th: Penguin 3.0, though there was an overlapping Panda update used to mask it. The refresh affected under 1% of US English queries.
November 27th: continuation of Penguin 3, with more recoveries.
December 18th: Pigeon update rolled out to Canada, Australia & the UK.

2015
January 24th: David Naylor believes Google may have rolled out a mobile-friendly related ranking factor then.
March 16th: on March 16th Brian White announced Google would soon roll out a doorway page update.
Mobile-Friendly Design Update April 21st: Google announced on February 26th that Google will launch a mobile-ranking update on April 21st. The algorithm will be applied in real-time & have a page-level impact. While the 21st was referenced as the day of the update, many people did not see any significant changes until a day or two later & the update was scheduled to roll out over the following week. For as heavily hyped as the update was, it has fairly minimal impact on search traffic.
April 28th & May 3rd: unannounced update, which some people thought was associated with Panda. Google claimed there was "no update" but informed SEOs looking at the SERPs noticed a significant change. Glenn Gabe & HubPages' Paul Edmondson wrote about the change, which Google later confirmed as a "quality" update. This update was also called Phantom 2.
June 16th: an update appeared to extend some of the impacts of query deserves freshness (QDF)
July 19th - ?: Panda 4.2 is slowly rolling out over many months, with some biweekly data refreshes lasting through September.
September 16th: Phantom/Quality update 3
October 5th: Google updated their display of search results for some keywords commonly targeted by hackers to show fewer organic results on the first page.

2016
January ~ 8th - 11th: update to the core ranking algorithm
Feb 23: Google shifted from showing up to 8 right rail text ads & up to 3 top ad units to showing no right rail ads (unless they are shopping ads) and showing up to 4 ad units at the top of the search results. Around the same time, Google announced they were shutting down their Google Compare / Google Advisor vertical shopping comparison service which operated in markets like credit cards, mortgage rates, and insurance. A couple of days later Google added more whitespace between the search results to further push the organic results below the fold.
March 3, 14 & 21: adjustments which appear to be related to phantom updates (thus related to search quality / Panda).
May 11: mobile-friendly update 2.0 now live.
June: Phantom/Quality update #4
July 26: broad rollout of Google AdWords expanded text ads, which further displace organic results by pushing them below the fold on more devices.
September 1st: local update
September 2 (ongoing throughout the month): likely a quality update, either new singal reweighting or a quite major data refresh. (I believe this was them testing Penguin 4).
September 20: Google AMP live in mobile search results in categories beyond the news.
September 23: Penguin 4.0 live. real-time updates & more granular impacts rather than sitewide hits.

2017
January 10: mobile interstitial usage ranking demotion
February 1: unannounced update which hit some sites using low-quality link sources, such as private blog networks (PBNs)
February 3: Japanese content quality-related update
February 7: unnamed update, likely associated with Panda & some of the AI aspects of their relevancy scoring for the quality of user experience
March 7th - 9th: update Fred
May 17th: another quality-based update
June 20th: Google launched its Jobs search feature in its web search results
June 25th: quality update
July 26th: Google dropped Google Instant search results
August 14th & 19th: another Google quality update
August 22: update to local result filtering
August 30th: Featured snippets switched to leveraging AMP on mobile devices
December 15th: many official celebrity sites saw their rankings fall. Many versions of the Google Remote Rater guidelines instructed raters to put a "vital" rating on official websites, so the idea of seeing a celebrity's official website drop from #1 to #9 for their own name is quite significant. The month of December also had other minor updates in the early to mid parts of the month. In addition, on December 26th many people were sent manual penalty notifications for unnatural link profiles. Overall this was likely the most volatile December in history, breaking from Google's alleged policy of trying to keep the ecosystem fairly stable during the holidays & throughout the late holiday shopping season.
2018
February 15: Chrome to begin adblocking on sites it deems to have a poor Ad Experience based on the Coalition for Better Ads standards.

Early March: Core algo update focused on search quality. The update was rolled out over time in multiple waves, with significant volatility in the results on the 7th & 14th, followed by another wave of volatility on the 18th & 23rd.
March 26: Google began broadly rolling out mobile-first indexing, which uses the mobile version of a page as the canonical version.
April 16: Core ranking algo updated once more. Glenn Gabe wrote about how the March & April updates tie together.

July 9th: mobile page speed became a ranking factor for search (previously the speed signal was focused on desktop searches)
July 24th: pages not using HTTPS are marked "not secure" in Chrome 68.
August 1st - 7th: broad core update which had a significant impact on sites in the health category & some other your money your life (YMYL) categories.
August 22nd: yet another update
September 18th - 20th: elevated volatility
September 24th: for their 20th anniversary Google announced improvements to visual search, adding a news feed to the default search homepage, grouping related searches in journeys & more layers to the knowledge graph. Some branded search queries now include classification groups at the bottom of the search results for things like storage companies, computer manufacturers, multinational corporations, etc.
September 26th - 27th: elevated volatility
October 31 - November 7th: unnamed update
2019
February 27: increased volatility shown on multiple rank trackers
March 12: Google announced a broad algorithm update, which was significant enough that WebmasterWorld founder Brett Tabke dubbed it Florida 2.0, though it is unrelated to the original Florida update from 2003. So far it appears some sites with egregious anchor text repetition were hit hard, while the apparent anchor text adjustment also coincided with a rescoring of other search quality-based algorithms. Many sites which were hit on the August 1st update in 2018 recovered according to many of the rank monitoring tools. Google also stated the update was not associated with any major change in their neural matching technology: “Neural matching has been part of our core ranking system for over half-a-year. None of the core updates we have confirmed coincided with some new use of neural matching,” the company said.

April 7: Major reverberation on the above Florida 2.0 update. It appears Google is mixing in showing results for related mid-tail concepts on a core industry search term & they are also in some cases pushing more aggressively on doing internal site-level searches to rank a more relevant internal page for a query where they homepage might have ranked in the past. Google also has some issues with many pages being dropped from their search index. 

April 27: minor update, perhaps a continuation or rescoring of the above update which began on March 12th.
June 3 - 8: another major core update. the Daily Mail's Mail Online lost half their organic search traffic & 90% of their Google news feed traffic

June 4 - 6: update to promote increased result diversity by typically limiting the number of results that can appear from any individual domain (inclusive of subdomains) to 2 results in cases where the user intent is not navigational to that particular site 

About Harish Tiwari Advanced   Digital Marketing Expert

200 connections, 15 recommendations, 499 honor points.
Joined APSense since, March 14th, 2019, From Noida, India.

Created on Jul 29th 2019 01:30. Viewed 70 times.

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