Pirate Google Algorithm Updates – Panguin Timeline by Barracuda Digital
 

Pirate
Google Updates

Hi there, welcome to the “Pirate” Google algorithm updates timeline by digital marketing agency Barracuda Digital.

The Pirate update with its two iterations to date, first rolled-out on 11th August 2012, with the second update being pushed live on 21st October 2014.

The purpose of the update was to penalise sites with repeat copyright violations, probably via DMCA takedown requests.

So here are all the Pirate updates. Hope you find it useful and see you soon.

Question: Why are pirates called pirates?
Answer: They just ARRRR!

 

Read more

    2018

  •  

    Unconfirmed Update - 14/12/2018

    A pre-christmas Algo Update? Possibly. Chatter is limited on the forums, but there are some users reporting big swings in traffic over the last few days. So we are calling this one and adding it to the Panguin Algo timeline. From what we've read, this update seems to be favouring established brands.

     
  •  

    Halloween Update - 25/10/2018

    Some forum chatter going on about a possible update, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Not confirmed by Google. Could possibly be targeted at specific niches.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable - further update 6th Nov

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 16/10/2018

    Some forum chatter going on about a possible update, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Not confirmed by Google.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 08/10/2018

    Some forum chatter going on about a possible update, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Not confirmed by Google.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 04/10/2018

    Possibly a tweak to the Google Birthday Update (27th Sept), but a bit of forum chatter going on about a possible update, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Not confirmed by Google.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Google Birthday Update - 26/09/2018

    Towards the end of the month Barry Schwartz was able to confirm with Danny Sullivan of Google that there had indeed been a more minor update that started impacting on the 26th September. However, the wording 'small' is in relation to the number of websites impacted, and not the level of impact (which has been big) for those hit by it.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Rank Ranger - in-depth analysis

     
  •  

    Google Images Update - 24/09/2018

    Google announced that it's bringing its image search more in-line with its regular SERP ranking algorithm. In other words they'll now be using things like a website's overall authority to rank its images in image search (and therefore what you see in main SERP image features when they appear). Content freshness was also a factor that was cited as now having greater importance in image search.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 19/09/2018

    A bit of forum chatter going on about a possible update, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Could be an update. Not confirmed by Google
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 11/09/2018

    A bit of forum chatter going on about a possible update, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Could be an update. Not confirmed by Google
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 22/08/2018

    A bit of forum chatter (not lots) going on about a possible update, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Could be an update. Not confirmed by Google. May be a tweak to 1st August (Medic) update
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land - analysis by Eric Enge

     
  •  

    Core Quality (Medic) Update - 01/08/2018

    Google has confirmed it has rolled out another of its broad core quality algorithm updates. The roll-out finished around Wednesday 8th August. The advice from G hasn't changed, in that there's nothing specific to optimise or re-optimise for. If you've seen a dip coinciding with this update, and you haven't changed anything on your website, then it could be your competitors have done something new, or something they were already doing is now being given more credit.

    ACTION: If the above is the case for you, then a thorough competitior analysis combined with a keyword/topic content gap analysis is often a great way forward. If you'd like some help with that, then drop us a line.

    +Google Announcement
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land - still rolling out
    +Search Engine Land - fully rolled out
    +Search Engine Roundtable - Not just health

     
  •  

    Speed Update - 09/07/2018

    After 6 months of build-up, Google has released its "Speed Update". This is an aknowledged and "named" Google update. Up to this point, website speed has been a ranking factor for desktop search, but not mobile search. This update brings website speed as a ranking factor to mobile search. As with the desktop version, this will only affect the slowest loading websites in terms of a ranking signal (and only for some queries). Essentially, if you're giving users a poor experience on mobile due to your website loading slowly, you can reasonably expect you mobile Google rankings to drop.

    REMEMBER: toggle "Mobile" above your Panguin chart and click "Go", to only look at your Google organic mobile traffic.

    ACTION: If you're worried about your website's speed and you'd like some help, then drop us a line. We can audit your website's speed, tell you what needs to be done and implement it for you (if you don't have internal dev resource).

    +Google Announcement
    +Search Engine Land Announcement
    +Search Engine Land FAQs

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 18/06/2018

    A bit of forum chatter going on around ranking flux, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Could be an update. Not confirmed by Google.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Video Carousels - 15/06/2018

    Google has replaced the old-style video thumbnail results in the SERPs, with scroll-able (left and right) video carousels that seem to be displaying on average 8+ videos in a sequence. The change started on about the 6th June, but really hit home on the 15th June.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 08/06/2018

    A bit of forum chatter going on around ranking flux, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Could be an update. Not confirmed by Google.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 24/05/2018

    A bit of forum chatter going on around ranking flux, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Could be an update. Not confirmed by Google.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 14/05/2018

    A bit of forum chatter going on around ranking flux, plus several of the SERP tracking tools have picked-up above normal flux. Could be an update. Not confirmed by Google.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Core Quality Update - 16/04/2018

    After a pretty crazy March in terms of volatility in the SERPs, April looks as though it's now heating up as well. This update has been confirmed by Google as another core update and continued rolling out (and causing flux) for well over a week (more like 2).
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Core Quality Update (cont) - 28/03/2018

    Another suspected continuation of major core quality update from earlier in the month. The original update has been confirmed by Google and was designed to help websites that have been under-rewarded. That means it is rewarding rather than penalising. If you've been 'hit,' then it's a case of improving quality of content and links (Expertise, Authority, Trust - EAT) and user experience quality. You've seen a hit because your competitors have improved.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Core Quality Update (cont) - 23/03/2018

    Suspected continuation of major core quality update from earlier in the month. The original update has been confirmed by Google and was designed to help websites that have been under-rewarded. That means it is rewarding rather than penalising. If you've been 'hit,' then it's a case of improving quality of content and links (Expertise, Authority, Trust - EAT) and user experience quality. You've seen a hit because your competitors have improved.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Core Quality Update (Brackets Part 2) - 14/03/2018

    Continuing on from the major core quality update from a week previous, more major SERP flux is being reported. This update has been confirmed by Google and has been designed to help websites that have been under-rewarded. That means it is rewarding rather than penalising. If you've been 'hit,' then it's a case of improving quality of content and links (Expertise, Authority, Trust - EAT) and user experience quality. You've seen a hit because your competitors have improved.
    +G-Squared Interactive
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Answers Without Search Results - 13/03/2018

    Google has rolled-out an experiment (viewable by everyone) whereby certain search queries are triggering an asnwer only, with no search results. Here's what Google's Danny Sullivan had to say in his tweet, "For calculator, unit converter & local time, we’re experimenting with a condensed view to further speed up load time. People who search for these tools rarely use full search results, but the results will remain available for those who want them via the 'Show all results' button."
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Google Posts - for musicians - 08/03/2018

    Google is expanding its "Google Posts" SERP feature to any musicians that have knowledge pannel results. This is the feature that allows verified entities and organisations the ability to post content direct to the Google servers and have it appear alongside their knowledge panels. Google Posts where originally trialled for Trump and Clinton during their presidential election race.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Google

     
  •  

    Core Quality Update (Brackets Part 1) - 07/03/2018

    Google has confirmed they have released one of their regular ("several times a year") core quality algorithm updates. Here is Google's statement on Twitter:
    "Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year. As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded. There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages."
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land
    +G-Squared Interactive

     
  •  

    Multiple Answer Boxes - 28/02/2018

    Starting today, Google is rolling out multiple "answer boxes" for some search queries. Also known as "organic position zero," "answer boxes" are designed to answer a search query without clicking any further than Google's search results. However, they do include a link throught to the website that has profered the information that Google has scraped (thus the website in question whose content has been scraped by Google leap-frogs the queue to the top of the SERP). The kind of queries that will receive more answer boxes are:

    • Queries/searches that already trigger an answer box
    • Queries/searches where the question has a degree of ambiguity in terms of searcher intent

    By way of showing the user that it is trying to both understand the intent and answer the query, Google will show multiple answer boxes and rewrite the question in each instance, so as to show the user which interpretation of their query is being answered.

    Immediate implications are that more SERP real estate is going to be taken up and we now have Position Zero, Position Zero +1 and so on in Google organic search. This spells more opportunity in terms of optimising for answer cards, but also a threat for "conventional" organic SERP entriesRoll-out begins today on mobile and will propagate to desktop in time.

    +Google Announcement
    +Search Engine Land

     

     

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 20/02/2018

    After a relatively quiet start to February, we have a possible algorithm update kicking-in on or around the 20th - nothing crazy, but there's deffinitely been a bit of webmaster/seo chatter alluding to SERP flux.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 15/02/2018

    After a "Happy New Year" from the algorithm on the 8th Jan, the theme looks to be continuing. More algorithm tweaks, again seemingly off the back of what was done in December. SERP flux and subsequent webmaster chatter ensued.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 08/01/2018

    In what seems like a continuation of the December algorithm change bonanza, there has been a noticable up-tick in webmaster and SEO chatter reporting on flux in the Google SERPs. Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable postulated that this may have been tweaks to the preceeding December updates. That's unconfirmed, but certainly well within the realms of possibility.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  • 2017

  •  

    Unnamed Update - unnatural links - 26/12/2017

    Off the back of blackhat chatter and complaints, Google seems to have released an update that targets private blog networks (PBNs), link spam and other unnatural link acquisition. Too early to tell if just a mass set of manual penalties being issued, or something algorithmic (or both!).
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +G-Squared Interactive - December Analysis

     
  •  

    Celebrity Update - 15/12/2017

    Google has released an update that seems to have had the effect of impacting celebrity websites. One possible reason for the consistent drop is that prior to the 15th, celebrity sites have been treated differently to other websites by Google's algorithm. The fact is, many celebrity websites are not good from an SEO/content best practice point of view. A case in point is that Katy Perry's site has stayed at the top of the SERPs for her 'brand' term and is markedly better from an SEO/content point of view than many others.
    +G-Squared Interactive
    +G-Squared Interactive - December Analysis

     
  •  

    Maccabees Update(s) - 12/12/2017

    Google has confirmed it's released several updates at around this time. These have been grouped (for now) under the title 'Maccabees' as the chages associated with this update are the most widespread.

    The first major symptom seems to be that websites using doorway pages have been hit hard. In other words, websites with a large number of landing pages targeting large arrays of keyword permutations. If you're a business with a set of services that you deliver to different locations, and you have an array of very similar (to each other) pages on your website that target each service for each location, then Google (it would seem) has you in its cross-hairs.

    Symptom two is more akin to Fred and the core quality updates that police low value and ad-heavy, or affiliate-heavy websites. All that aside, there does seem to be some collateral damage with this update, with good websites being unfairly hit. Possibly some algo tweaking required from Google here!

    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable - Analysis
    +Search Engine Land
    +G-Squared Interactive - December Analysis
    +Google - what is a doorway page?
    +Wikipedia - who were the Maccabees?

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 05/12/2017

    This update looked like a pre-cursor to what then happened on the 12th December - a group of quality focused updates under the title "Maccabee's Update." Essentially, it targeted websites with a high number of very similar (to each other) pages, created for the purposes of targeting many keyword permutations e.g. services + locations. In other words, "Doorway Pages." These pages tend to offer poor user experiences and are usually designed purely to capture organic traffic, to then have it convert elsewhere on the given website.
    +G-Squared Interactive - December Analysis
    +Google - what is a doorway page?
    +Wikipedia - who were the Maccabees?

     
  •  

    Mobile First Index - 07/10/2017

    Gary Illyes a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst has recently announced that the first mobile-index is gradually being implemented, initially starting with just a 'few sites'. However, when looking at the number of sites indexed by Google, a 'few' could actually relate to a significant number of websites. Illyes replied that there was no reason to be concerned with the rollout because Google are still in the testing phase and the implementation will be carried out very slowly. Gary Illyes further added that a full rollout and implementation of the mobile-first index would not be in the foreseeable future. This admission certainly came as a surprise as the rollout was not expected until 2018. It appears however that encouraging initial results have encouraged Google to proceed with the index.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land - FAQs

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 27/09/2017

    It was on Tuesday that small changes began to appear in relation to the Google algorithm and rankings throughout the SEO industry and search results. Considerable discussion has taken place in SEO forums and algorithm monitoring tools have been responding to the latest round of changes, some of which have been significant. The combination of SEO discussion and movement in rankings has continued through to the 29th. Webmasters and SEOs remain alert as the changes continue to take place. 
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 19/09/2017

    It was over the weekend of the 16th that concern was raised over Google search results, particularly within the ongoing thread in WebmasterWorld and in discussions in Black Hat World. A flurry of comments began on Saturday but the discussion quickly faded. It is thought that whatever occurred on Saturday was quickly remedied on Sunday. Then, the following Tuesday (the 19th) movement began again with another flux in the search engine results. 
    +Search Engine Roundtable 16th
    +Search Engine Roundtable 19th

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 16/09/2017

    On the weekend of the 16th, there were many people expressing concern over the Google search results particularly in the WebmasterWorld thread and Black Hat World. Initial concern was expressed early on Saturday, but the discussions quickly faded. It was thought that whatever changes that were made on Saturday morning were addressed the following day. On Tuesday the 19th further chatter and SERP flux were reported which may have indicated some further changes.
    +Search Engine Roundtable 16th
    +Search Engine Roundtable 19th

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 08/09/2017

    A heightened level of chatter from Webmasters highlighted that a potential algorithm update was to take place on 6th September and there followed a sustained period of discussion surrounding an update to the SERPs on Google. It is however unclear whether the two of these occurrences are related in terms of an update.
    +Search Engine Roundtable 6th
    +Search Engine Roundtable 8th

     
  •  

    Possum 2 - 22/08/2017

    Joy Hawkins, a local search expert identified that a local pack algorithm update which occurred a year ago, nicknamed the Possum update has significantly decreased in activity since 22 August 2017.
    +Sterling Sky
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 19/08/2017

    It appears that Google have been pushing quality updates on a monthly basis now (undertaking a refresh of its algorithms in relation to quality) and this is just another of those updates.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +G-Squared Interactive

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 25/06/2017

    It appeared that around Sunday, June 25, Google began to roll out a large search algorithm update. Although the updates were not confirmed beyond the standard reply from John Mueller, increased discussion in the industry indicated that a real Google algorithm update had taken place.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Rank Ranger

     
  •  

    Google Posts - for all GMB users - 22/06/2017

    Google is expanding its "Google Posts" SERP feature to all Google My Business users. This is the feature that allows verified entities and organisations the ability to post content direct to the Google servers and have it appear alongside their knowledge panels. Google Posts where originally trialled for Trump and Clinton during their presidential election race.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Google

     
  •  

    Local Panel Update - 07/06/2017

    Following a month of testing, confirmation came from Google with Search Engine Land that a new user experience had been fully implemented for both local panel and mobile search results. Consequently, users can now quickly toggle between the overview information for local business and their corresponding customer review tab.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 17/05/2017

    It was noted today that some SEOs and webmasters began to notice that automated tracking tools were picking up on signs that would point to a large Google algorithm update. That being said, there hasn't been a huge number of webmasters or SEOs raising concern in white hat or black hat forums.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +G-Squared Interactive

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 04/05/2017

    Glenn Gabe over at G-Squared Interactive commented that since the Autumn of 2016, a series of updates were carried out in a very short timeframe. He had hinted that Google may be increasing the frequency of their 'quality updates'. In his eyes, 2017 has certainly followed that pattern. He further states that early indications show core ranking updates that focus on quality have been increasing in frequency. He lists the updates relevant to this that have happened since the beginning of 2017, as follows:

    • 5 January 2017
    • 7 February 2017
    • 7 March 2017 (Fred)
    • 26 April 2017
    • 4 May 2017
    • 17 May 2017

    As can be seen, the updates have changed from every few months to monthly or (on some occasions) even more frequently.

     
  •  

    Local 'Superlative' Update (US Only) - 27/04/2017

    It is important for local businesses to receive good reviews and positive ratings and this seems to be increasingly relevant. It was only yesterday that Google began to include the quality element into the snack pack interface in relation to some local searches, particularly when key search terms such as 'best' and 'great' were used (applicable to the US only).
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 26/04/2017

    Glenn Gabe over at G-Squared Interactive commented that since the Autumn of 2016, a series of updates were carried out in a very short timeframe. He had hinted that Google may be increasing the frequency of their 'quality updates'. In his eyes, 2017 has certainly followed that pattern. He further states that early indications show core ranking updates that focus on quality have been increasing in frequency. He lists the updates relevant to this that have happened since the beginning of 2017, as follows:

    • 5 January 2017
    • 7 February 2017
    • 7 March 2017 (Fred)
    • 26 April 2017
    • 4 May 2017
    • 17 May 2017

    As you can see, the updates appear to have changed. Previously they were carried out every few months. Recently they have switched from every few months to monthly or even more often than this.

     
  •  

    Project Owl - 25/04/2017

    Project Owl created by Google was a three pronged attack focusing on problematic content and fake news.  'Project Owl' Google aimed to improve results by focusing on authoritative content and obtaining feedback regarding Featured Snippets answers and suggested searches. Google are aware that they have a search quality problem. It has been plagued since November with concerns about offensive search suggestions, unsettling answers and fake news which have been appearing at the top of the SERPs. Project Owl was created in an attempt to address these important issues. Google have stated however that this issue affects 0.25% of all search queries. The algorithmic search quality changes are approximately 10% implemented and are likely to reach 100% in the following days. However, despite these changes, Google are aware that they cannot eliminate the problem entirely.

    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +The Telegraph

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 17/04/2017

    It appears that there has been some form of update. Although the update doesn't appear to be at the same levels of Penguin, Panda or Fred, a significant update has caused a lot of discussion in the community and has been picked up by automated tracking tools.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Google Posts - 22/03/2017

    Google are allowing more verified entities and organisations the ability to post content direct to the Google servers and have it appear alongside their knowledge panels (sometimes above, sometimes below). Google Posts where originally trialled for Trump and Clinton during their presidential election race, but has now been extended for museums, movies, musicians & sports groups.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Google

     

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update (content related) - 07/03/2017

    This latest update appears to be unrelated to the unconfirmed link algorithm change that occurred earlier in February. It seems that this latest update is more related to Panda because it is based around issues such as site quality and content as opposed to link factors.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Fred Update - 07/03/2017

    It has been acknowledged, albeit reluctantly that the Fred Update was launched at the beginning of March 2017. Fred has caused quite a bit of trepidation within the SEO community because some webmasters have witnessed a substantial drop in traffic. For some as much as 90%. 

    Key Points on the Google Fred Penalty:

    • It seems that Fred is a core Google algorithm update
    • In the majority of cases, the update hit affiliate websites with thin content and those without a clearly defined content theme
    • Websites with poor backlinks were also hit
    • A number of sites felt the impact of the Fred update. To facilitate the recovery process it is important to identify the key areas that were penalised and focus on improving them
    • Improvements to recover from the penalty will include removing, updating or redirecting poor content, reducing ads and reviewing backlink profiles to improve clarity

    The name of the update "Fred" was created by Gary Illyes from Google who jokingly mentioned that all Google updates should be called "Fred."


    +Ignite Visibility - Fred Analysis
    +Search Engine Land - Google confirms update
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +maavdnbo.be
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Major Update - 07/02/2017

    While this update doesn't seem to relate to anything specific such as links or spam, it seems to be related to a normal, yet unconfirmed Google update which results in changes to rankings in the SERPs.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +G-Squared Interactive

     
  •  

    Japanese Content Quality Update - 03/02/2017

    This morning, a significant algorithm update hit Google Japan which focused on low quality websites. The update resulted in certain websites moving down the results in the SERPs. 
    +Japanese Google Webmaster Blog
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    PBN update or mass de-indexation - 01/02/2017

    It has been reported within BlackHatWorld that this update aimed to target Private Blog Networks (PBNs), with some webmasters who use this SEO strategy expressing concern over changes to rankings since the 1st February.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Major Update (Groundhog) - 01/02/2017

    It has not been confirmed by Google, but a number of tracking tools report activity surrounding an update within the last 48 hours. However, there has been little discussion about these changes amongst webmasters. Black hat forums were much more active in relation to this update, particularly in the BlackHatWorld forum where it was suggested that this update could be targeting PBNs (Private Blog Networks).
    +Go Fish Digital
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Mobile Intrusive Interstitial Penalty - 10/01/2017

    This penalty is only applicable to intrusive interstitials which occur directly after following a mobile search result to a specific web page. The update does not penalise or impact pages after this. If you have an intrusive interstitial which appears later in the click path on your website, this will remain unaffected. Only intrusive interstitials that link directly from the SERPs will be affected.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Journal
    +G-Squared Interactive

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 05/01/2017

    From Glenn Gabe over at G-Squared Interactive:

    Since the autumn of 2016 a series of updates were implemented in a very short period of time. Since then, early indications have shown that Google may be increasing the frequency of their 'quality updates'. At the beginning of 2017, this pattern has only continued. Here are a series of core ranking updates which have focused on quality in the beginning of 2017:

    • 5 January 2017
    • 7 February 2017
    • 7 March 2017 (Fred)
    • 26 April 2017
    • 4 May 2017
    • 17 May 2017

    Did you notice anything interesting? The updates seem to have changed from every few months to at least once a month or on occasions, even more frequently than this.

     
  • 2016

  •  

    Unnamed Major Update - 14/12/2016

    Several Google trackers reported a substantial flux between the 14 and 15 December including a rare, MozCast temperature of 109°F. A lot of activity was reported in the community as well but Google did not confirm that an update had taken place.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Major Update (part 2 of 2) - 18/11/2016

    On 10th November and again on 18th November a major spike (106°) was detected by MozCast. Discussion in the industry was high on both occasions, with some suggesting that the second spike was a reversal of the update that had taken place first. Google did not confirm either event. It was suggested by Glenn Gabe that the changes may have been as a result of Google testing the mobile-first index and then rolling it back. 
    +G-Squared Interactive
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Major Update (part 1 of 2) - 10/11/2016

    A major spike was detected by MozCast on both 10th November and again on 18th November. Considerable industry chatter was reported on both occasions with some suggesting that the second spike was to reverse the effects of the first update. Google however did not confirm anything. Glenn Gabe did state that it was possible that it was Google testing their mobile-first indexation which was then rolled back.
    +G-Squared Interactive
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Penguin 4.0, Phase 2 of 2 (#12) - 06/10/2016

    A reversal of all previous Penguin penalties marked the launch of the second phase of Penguin 4.0. This seemed to occur after the new code was implemented and may have taken as long as two weeks. Activity post Penguin had one final peak which happend around 6th October. However it is not certain whether this was Penguin or a new update. Algorithm flux finally started to reduce after 6th October.

     
  •  

    Penguin 4.0, Phase 1 of 2 (#11) - 27/09/2016

    The first stage of Penguin 4.0 may have been launched between the 22 and 23 September and this was the implementation of a new, gentler Penguin algorithm which devalued bad links rather than penalising websites. Although the exact timeframe for this update has not been confirmed, it is believed that this rollout took a good few days to fully update and may have been related to an algorithm Moz temprature spike (113°) on 27th September.
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Penguin 4.0 Announcement (#10) - 23/09/2016

    After almost two years the eagerly anticipated announcement was made by Google concerning a major Penguin update. It was suggested that Penguin is now real time and embedded into the 'core' algorithm. Initial impact assessments were small but it was later discovered that the Penguin 4.0 rollout was unusually long and occured in multiple phases (see 27th September and 6th October).
    +Google
    +Forbes
    +Search Engine Land
    +Moz - Rand Fishkin
    +Moz - Dr. Pete

     
  •  

    Image / Universal Drop - 13/09/2016

    It was recorded by MozCast a nealy record 111° temperature and a 50% drop in SERPs with image (universal/vertical) results. The changes to universal results opened up an organic position on page 1 resulting in significant ranking shfits. It was said however this was likely to be part of a much larger update.
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 02/09/2016

    Early indications this morning show that changes are taking place in the core web search results. Within the SEO community there are some indications of a possible update. It seems that there were two key updates in the last twenty four hours. A significant update based around core web search began early this morning or late last night. The second update was (local) Possum. 
    +Search Engine Rountable
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Possum 1 - 01/09/2016

    Although it was unconfirmed by Google, extreme temperatures were recorded by MozCast (measuring 108°). In addition to this there was a drop in local pack prevalance and the local SEO community reported a significant change in pack results. The data suggested that this update (or a simultaneous one) also had a dramatic impact on results in organic search.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land
    +Quicksprout

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 02/08/2016

    This morning reports emerged in relation to changes and fluctuations in the Google search results. Some were saying that these changes occurred following after the reversal of an update which was implemented a week ago.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 27/07/2016

    In the last few days webmasters have been reporting and welcoming various shifts in their traffic from Google with some fluctuations in search results. 
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Mobile Friendly #2 - 12/05/2016

    On the Webmaster blog it was announced by Google that they will be enhancing the effects of the mobile friendly algorithm that was launched on 21 April 2015. Google announced that the update will begin in May and it would increase mobile friendly ranking signals. They added that if you already have a mobile friendly website, you do not have to be alarmed because you will not be affected by the latest update. When the update takes place, it will be implemented slowly so you won't see significant changes in relation to non-mobile friendly websites once the algorithm has been rolled out. 
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Unnamed Major Update - 10/05/2016

    MozCast and other Google weather trackers identified a historically rare week long pattern of activity surrounding algorithms including a 97 degree spike. Google did not confirm that an update had been carried out and no other explanation is available.  
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    AdWords Shake-up - 23/02/2016

    Significant changes were made to Google in terms of AdWords after it was decided to remove the right hand column of ads entirely from the SERPs. The 4-ad top-blocks on commercial searches would be implemented instead. While this was an update that related to paid search, it did have substantial implications for the Click Through Rate (CTR) for both organic and paid search results, particularly in relation to competitive keywords.
    +Moz
    +The SEM Post

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 16/01/2016

    An additional Google update has been confirmed this weekend, but it is a core update rather than one related to Penguin. Google were quick to respond that this update was the same as last weekend, focusing on their core algorithm. 
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 08/01/2016

    Over the weekend Google delivered a core ranking algorithm update. Given that this is a core algorithm update, there are no specific details to identify what changes were made but many webmasters reported a significant flux in rankings. When Google confirmed this update, it was announced that Panda had been incorporated into the main algorithm as was the case in the final quarter of 2015. Nevertheless, the Panda element is not running in real time and was not updated at the weekend. Furthermore, it is unclear at this stage if site owners and webmasters are going to experience Panda updates in a different way following on from the recent changes.  
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land
    +Searchmetrics
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  • 2015

  •  

    Phantom #3 - 19/11/2015

    On a daily basis countless web pages are analysed by Google quality raters which aim to improve the quality of search results. An update to their detailed guidelines was made by Google on the 12 November 2015. Shortly after this, Searchmetrics reported substantial movement in their visibility data and ranking. Is it possible that this is a Phantom Update III emerging? It does appear that the search results have been changed to bring them in line with the updated guidelines. 
    +Searchmetrics
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Hacked Spam - 05/10/2015

    From the Google blog:

    Google have been recently implementing a number of algorithmic changes to address hacked spam in the search results. A high number of legitimate websites are targeted by spammers and are used to engage in abusive behaviour. Typically this includes promotion of traffic to low quality websites, downloads of malware, porn and the marketing of counterfeit goods or illegal pharmaceutical drugs to name a few. 

    Websites that do not put in place suitable best practices in terms of security can leave their websites being vulnerable to hackers. This can include government websites, universities, small business and company websites, restaurants, conferences and hobby organizations. Cyber criminals and spammers intentionally seek out these types of websites and inject web pages with malicious content to gain rankings and traffic in search engines. 

    Consequently, Google are aggressively targeting hacked spam in order to safeguard webmasters and users. 

    It is estimated that the algorithmic changes will affect approximately 5% of queries depending on the language. 

    As a result, if your website exists in any hacked spam keyword niches but your site is a legitimate one, you could benefit form the SERPs 'de-cluttering' which will be favourable for your site. This will leave you in a much stronger position. 

    +Google Blog

     
  •  

    Panda 4.2 (#28) - 17/07/2015

    Google stated that a refresh of Panda began over the weekend, but it will take months to fully implement. The roll out is being undertaken at a very slow pace. As a result any impact on your website will be gradual. The Panda algorithm is a site wide algorithm but some web pages may not see an immediate change. Google have added that this will affect between 2 and 3% of English language search queries. 
    +Search Engine Land
    +The SEM Post
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Phantom #2 - 03/05/2015

    Following a number of reports relating to large scale ranking changes originally named 'Phantom 2', Google have acknowledged that a core algorithm change had taken place which targeted 'quality signals'. This update seems to have resulted in a broad impact but Google did not provide any specifics in relation to the nature of the signals. Looking back, it may be that this was the roll out of Rankbrain. 
    +Search Engine Land
    +CNBC

     
  •  

    Rankbrain - 30/04/2015

    26 October, 2015 - announcement date
    A major announcement was made by Google who revealed that machine learning had been part of the algorithm for a number of months and it contributed to the third most influential ranking factor. It is believed that the actual launch occured at some stage in Spring 2015, which is why the update displays a different time to when the update was actually announced officially.
    +Bloomberg
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Mobile Friendly #1 ("Mobilegeddon") - 21/04/2015

    On 21 April 2015, a new, mobile friendly ranking algorithm was released by Google. This is designed to boost mobile-friendly pages in the search results pages. One of the most effective ways to prepare for this change is to identify whether Google considers your web pages to be mobile friendly by using its dedicated Mobile-Friendly Test Tool.
    Further Reading:
    +Google Blog
    +Moz
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land (Advanced)
    +TechCrunch
    +Forbes

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 04/02/2015

    It has been reported by many SERP trackers and webmasters that a significant flux in Google search engine results pages has occurred. Speculation has ranged from an update focusing on ecommerce through to one relating to mobile usability. It was originally thought that the update was linked to Panda, but Google confirmed that it was neither a Penguin or Panda update. They did however release a response to questions surrounding the potential update outlining that 'tweaks' were continuing but a specific update was not going to be announced.   
    +Search Engine Roundtable

    +Searchmetrics

     
  • 2014

  •  

    Pigeon - rest of English speaking world - 22/12/2014

    A Pigeon update has been released by Google to the rest of the English speaking world (with the exception of India). The major algorithm update rolled out by Google named Pigeon extended to the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The original update initially hit the United States in July 2014. An update was confirmed on the 22nd but it may have been rolled out as early as the 19th. 
    +Search Engine Land
    +BrightLocal
    +Fat Media

     
  •  

    Penguin 3.4 (#9) - 06/12/2014

    This upate was part of the wider 3.0 implementation. Penguin updates aim to target websites which are thought to be spammy, particularly those who are violating guidelines from Google in relation to linking. 
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Penguin 3.3 (#8) - 05/12/2014

    This was an update that formed part of the wider roll out of 3.0. Penguin updates specifically target websites which are classed as being spammy or they are violating Google guidelines in terms of linking. 
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Penguin 3.2 (#7) - 02/12/2014

    Part of the 3.0 implementation, Penguin updates aimed to address websites that were using questionable linking practices and who violated Google guidelines.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Penguin 3.1 (#6) - 27/11/2014

    Part of the 3.0 implementation, this update was related to Penguin which aimed to target spammy websites, particularly those who were violating Google guidelines with poor linking strategies. 
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Pirate #2 - 21/10/2014

    Over two years since the first DMCA/Pirate update, Google launched another update which aimed to address piracy of digital media and software. This update was very specific and resulted in a small group of sites experiencing a significant drop in rankings.
    +Searchmetrics
    +TorrentFreak

     
  •  

    Penguin 3.0 - Everflux (#5) - 17/10/2014

    Google implemented a Penguin refresh more than a year after the previous Penguin 2.1 Update. This update was much smaller than anticipated with less than 1% of US and English queries being affected. It was probably data only rather than a new Penguin algorithm. The timing of the update was also vague, especially on an international basis. Google claimed at the time that it was implemented over a number of weeks. 
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +G-Squared Interactive

    December 10, 2014
    It was announced by a Google representative that Penguin had made the transition to continuous updates rather than infrequent and significant updates. Although the exact timescale for updates was unclear, this appeared to fit in with the ongoing flux that occurred following Penguin 3.0 which included unconfirmed reports of Penguin 3.1

    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    "In The News" Box - 10/10/2014

    It seemed that Google had made a change to News box results. However it was later announced that they had expanded news links to a greater range of potential websites. News results in the SERPs also increased with major news websites reporting substantial changes in traffic. 
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Panda 4.1 (#27) - 26/09/2014

    The latest version of the Panda update has been announced by Google. Panda was developed as a filter to penalise thin or poor content from ranking well in the SERPs. In a post on Google+, Google stated that the roll out was slow and it had begun earlier in the week. They added that the changes will continue into next week before completion soon after. Depending on location, between 3% and 5% of search queries will be impacted. Google said that the latest release was more precise to enable high quality, small and medium sized websites to rank more effectively. 
    +Google Announcement
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land
    +G-Squared Interactive

     
  •  

    PBN mass de-indexation - 23/09/2014

    Within Black Hat and Grey Hat communities, much discussion is taking place in relation to Google's efforts to target Private Blog Networks (PBNs). In the past few days, Google has targeted a number of PBNs that are being used to manipulate rankings. Google distributed hundreds, if not thousands of manual action notifications to those websites who were using this technique. 
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Authorship Removed - 28/08/2014

    After a drop in authorship photos on 28 June Google announced the complete removal of authorship markup. They also added that it would not be processed any more. By the following morning, many authorship bylines had completely disappeared from the SERPs. 
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    HTTPS / SSL Update - 06/08/2014

    Following many months of speculation, Google announced that they would give preference to secure websites. They added that encryption would provide a light boost to rankings. It was also stressed that this would start out small but it may increase if the change delivered positive results. 
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Pigeon (US Only) - 24/07/2014

    Applicable to US search results only, Google transformed local SEO with an update which significantly affected some local search results and the way in which they processed location cues. Google claimed that Pigeon created more effective connections between the local and core algorithms. 
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land
    +Blumenthals

     
  •  

    Authorship Photo Drop - 28/06/2014

    A surpise announcement was made by John Mueller on 25 June to state that Google would be dropping all authorship photos from the SERPs. This was complete around 28 June. 
    +Moz
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Payday Loan #3 - 12/06/2014

    Google launched a major iteration less than a month following the Payday Loan #2 anti-spam update. Official statements highlighted that 2.0 specific sites while 3.0 focused on spammy queries.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Panda 4.0 (#26) - 19/05/2014

    Confirmation from Google identified a major Panda update which very likely incuded both a data refresh and an algorithm update. Approximately 7.5% of search queries delivered in English were affected. Matt Cutts further added that it was being rolled out on 5/20, while over at Moz, it was suggested that the updates began much sooner than this.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Payday Loan #2 - 16/05/2014

    Shortly before Panda 4.0, Google completed an update to its 'Payday Loan' algorithm which specifically targeted spammy queries. Although it was not clear when rollout was delivered exactly (Google had indicated 'this past weekend' on 20th May). Back-to-back updates meant that it was difficult to identify.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 24/03/2014

    A spike in webmaster chatter combined with major algorithm flux trackers between the 3/24 and 3/25 resulted in speculation that a new 'softer' Panda update had been delivered. A number of websites reported changes to their rankings but this update was not confirmed by Google.  
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +G-Squared Interactive

     
  •  

    Top Heavy #3 - 06/02/2014

    Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam made an announcement to say that Google had carried out a refresh of its Page Layout Algorithm. This filter, also referred to as a Top Heavy algorithm pushes websites further down the SERPs where there are too many advertisements at the top of the page or if the ads are considered to be distracting for users.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  • 2013

  •  

    Authorship Shake-up - 19/12/2013

    Over a period of approximately a month, authorship markup was eliminated entirely from around 15% of search queries as predicted by Matt Cutts at Pubcon Las Vegas. The fall bottomed out around 19 December, but the numbers remained fluid and had not recovered to earlier levels.
    +Moz
    +Hive Digital

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 17/12/2013

    The majority of global flux trackers reported historically high levels of activity. Google would not confirm an update suggesting that they avoid updates near the holidays. In addition, a rise in some Partial Match Domains (PMDs) were reported by MozCast but the patterns were quite vague.
    +Dejan Marketing
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 14/11/2013

    A number of Google trackers highlighted unusual activity which occurred at the same time as reports relating to widespread DNS errors in Google Webmaster Tools. Google did not confirm an update at the time and the nature and cause of this flux remained unknown.
    +Moz
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Penguin 2.1 (#5) - 04/10/2013

    Following a 4 and a 1/2 month gap, another Penguin update was launched by Google. With a 2.1 designation it was likely that this was primarily a data update rather than a significant change to the actual Penguin algorithm. The overal impact did appear to be moderate but some webmasters reported that they had been hit hard.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Mugshot Update - 03/10/2013

    Arrest information and photographs from US government websites were picked up by Mugshot sites. This data was then used to create landing pages which will rank effectively in the search engine results pages. When an individual then searches for their own name and sees the result, it is likely that they will pay to have it removed. Websites charge anywhere between $30 and $400 to remove the page and there are multiple sites that they need to pay to have their information removed. More often than not, arrests did not lead to a trial or a guilty charge but the web pages don't provide this level of detail. Google has however, taken proactive steps to stop these mugshot websites from ranking so highly in the SERPs.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Hummingbird - 20/08/2013

    Google announced the release of Hummingbird on 26 September, and suggested that it had been rolled-out the previous month. It is likely that this was around the time when there was a MozCast spike and a number of reports of flux between 20 and 22 August. Hummingbird has been likened to Caffeine and appears to be a core algorithm update which may power a series of changes to semantic search and the Knowledge Graph for months to come.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    In-depth Articles - 06/08/2013

    A new type of news result has been added by Google which focuses on in depth articles targeting long form, evergreen content. When it was launched, it included links to three articles and appeared in approximately 3% of tracked searches by MozCast.
    +Google
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Unnamed Update - 26/07/2013

    A significant spike (105° F) was tracked on Friday by MozCast with other sources reporting significant activity over the weekend. Google did not confirm that an update had taken place.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Moz Google+

     
  •  

    Knowledge Graph Expansion - 19/07/2013

    It appeared that almost overnight, queries in relation to Knowledge Graph (KG) entries increased by more than half (+50.4%) within the MozCast data set. Furthermore, over a quarter of all searches identified some form of KG entry.
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Panda Recovery (Detuning) - 18/07/2013

    A Panda update was confirmed by Google although it was unclear whether this was part of a wider schedule of 10-day rolling updates or whether it was something completely new. It was suggested that this was algorithmic and intended to soften some of the previous penalties that resulted from Panda.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Multi-Week Update - 27/06/2013

    A reply was tweeted by Matt Cutts from Google that suggested a multi week algorithm update that would take place between 12 June and the week after 4 July. The specifics of the update remained unclear but there were significant changes in rankings during that period which peaked on 27 June (as reported by MozCast data). It seemed that Google had been carrying out some tests in relation to proposed changes, but these were later rolled back.
    +Moz
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Payday Loan #1 - 11/06/2013

    An update from Google that aimed to target a range of 'spammy queries'. These included those in niches such as payday loans, pornography and other heavily spammed queries. At SMX Advanced, Matt Cutts outlined that the update focused on unique link schemes which go against Google guidelines. He also added that this worldwide update rather than one restricted to the US. Approximately 0.3% of US search queries were affected by the update, while 4% of Turkish queries were impacted where web spam is higher. This is a multi-faceted roll out which is expected to occur over the next one to two months.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Penguin 2.0 (#4) - 22/05/2013

    Following several months of speculation the 4th Penguin update (referred to as 2.0 by Google) arrived but the impact was moderate. The specific details of the changes that were made remained unclear, but some evidence suggested that Penguin 2.0 was targeted at page level. That being said there was a twist to Penguin 4. This was because the update contained Penguin 2.0 technology which Google added was a new generation of technology that would stop spam more effectively.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Domain Crowding (SERP Clustering #3) - 21/05/2013

    An update to domain crowding and diversity deep in the SERPS (beyond page 2) was released by Google. The timing of this update remained vague but it was suggested it was rolled out shortly before Penguin 2.0 in the US and perhaps even the same day on an international basis. Matt Cutts explained that once a cluster of approximately four results from a specific domain has been seen, subsequent pages are less likely to show you results from that domain name.
    +Briggsby
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Phantom #1 - 09/05/2013

    Around 9 May a series of reports appeared to indicate that there had been an algorithm update. The specifics of this update was not known but many sites reported significant losses in terms of traffic.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +G-Squared Interactive

     
  •  

    Panda #25 - 14/03/2013

    At SMX West it was pre-announced by Matt Cutts of a Panda update and it was suggested that it would be the last update before Panda was integrated into the core algorithm. Although exact dates were unconfirmed, it was anticipated that it would take place either on the 13th or the 14th.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land

    Panda Dance — 11 June 2013 Although this was not an actual update to Panda, Matt Cutts provided crucial clarification at the SMX Advanced. It was suggested that Panda was still being updated on a monthly basis and each update was being implemented over the course of a 10 day period. This was not the everflux that had been expected following Panda #25.  
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda #24 - 22/01/2013

    The first official update of 2013 was announced by Google who claimed that 1.2% of search queries were affected. However, this did not seem to be related to discussion around the 1/17-18 which remained unconfirmed by Google.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land

     
  • 2012

  •  

    Panda #23 - 21/12/2012

    Rumors of a Google update were confirmed by Google who announced on Twitter that a Panda refresh would be pushed out today. Approximately 1.3% of English search queries would be affected.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Knowledge Graph Expansion - 04/12/2012

    Non-English queries had been added by Google to Knowledge Graph functionality. This included Italian, Russian, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese. However, the update was much more than simply translation and served to enhance the capabilities of the Knowledge Graph.
    +Google
    +TechCrunch

     
  •  

    Panda #22 - 21/11/2012

    The Panda 22 (data refresh) was announced by Google and it affected 0.8% of search queries in English, perhaps to the extend that a regular user may notice. This is slightly lower than Panda 21 which was released on 5 November which impacted 1.1% of English search queries.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    MetaFilter - 17/11/2012

    MetaFilter announced in May 2014 that they had been hit by an algorithm update but this did not correspond particularly well with any of the well known algorithm filters or updates. However, it has now been confirmed in June 2014 by Google that MetaFilter was hit by a different algorithmic filter and Google are trying to rectify the MetaFilter false positive later on in 2014. MetaFilter is perhaps a vulnerable site that many early internet users remember with fondness before the likes of Facebook, Twitter, BuzzFeed and Reddit appeared, bombarding us with quizzes, articles and endless posts. The update that was rolled out from 17 November 2012 appears to have significantly impacted on forum based websites.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda #21 - 05/11/2012

    On a worldwide basis, Google stated that the update will affect approximately 0.4% of search queries that would be noticed by a regular user. For those who were searching in the United States and using the English language, this percentage is slightly higher at 1.1% according to Google. This marks the 21st confirmed Panda update and reflects the 4-6 week release schedule.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Top Heavy #2 - 09/10/2012

    A refresh of the Page Layout Filter was announced by Google for a second time following the initial announcement in January. Known as the Top Heavy update, the algorithm targets websites where there are too many adverts above the fold. This update is the second that has been confirmed of its kind in Google's ranking system. The update rolled out on 19 January 2012 impacted less than 1% of English search queries. The second update on 9 October 2012 impacted 0.7% of English search queries.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Penguin 1.2 (#3) - 05/10/2012

    The head of Google's spam team, Matt Cutts released a series of tweets about the Penguin update. The first of these stated that a refresh to Penguin was on its way and approximately 0.3% of English search queries would be noticeably affected.  Spanish impact would be ~0.4% while the Italian impact would ~0.3% of all search queries.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    August/September 65-Pack - 04/10/2012

    The monthly list of search highlights was published by Google and it listed 65 updates for August and September. These updates featured 7 result SERPs, an expansion to Knowledge Graph, updates to page quality calculations and changes to the way in which local search results were determined.
    +Google

     
  •  

    Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update - 28/09/2012

    Google made an announcement that they were changing the way Exact Match Domains (EMDs) were going to be handled. This resulted in a large scale devaluation which reduced the presence of Exact Match Domains by more than 10%. Official word was that approximately 0.6% of search queries were affected.
    +Moz
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda #20 - 27/09/2012

    On Thursday, the 27 September, Google began to implement a new update to Panda. Rather than being an actual data update this was an update to the Panda algorithm. A series of notable differences occurred on Thursday even though the full roll out will take a further 3 to 4 days. This update is expected to affect approximately 2.4% of English search queries and to an extent where a regular user may notice changes. Search queries in other languages have not felt the impact as much. 
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Panda 3.9.2 (#19) - 18/09/2012

    An additional Panda update has been announced by Google and it is expected that approximately 0.7% of search queries will be impacted as a result. With the roll out of the Panda refresh webmasters should see some flux in the coming days.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    SERP Diversity (SERP Clustering #2) - 14/09/2012

    It has been noticed recently that Google search results can sometimes seem to be dominated by web pages from the same domain. Matt Cutts the Head of Google's spam team released a tweet explaining the update as a small algorithm change to improve the diversity of search results and range of domains that are listed in the SERPs. This update also partly reversed the effects that resulted from the 'Brand update' carried out on 31 August 2010.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 3.9.1 (#18) - 20/08/2012

    A further Panda data update was rolled out by Google, but the impact appeared quite small. The Panda 3.0 series did run out of numbers once it reached 3.9 so the latest update was called 3.9.1.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    7-Result SERPs - 14/08/2012

    A significant change was made to the Top 10 by Google, limiting it to just 7 results for the majority of queries. Research found that this change was implemented over a couple of days and had an effect on approximately 18% of keywords tracked by Moz.
    +Moz
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    DMCA Penalty "Pirate" (#1) - 11/08/2012

    Starting from next week commencing the 13 August, Google had announced that sites with repeat violations of copyright, primarily through DMCA takedown requests would be penalised.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    June/July 86-Pack - 10/08/2012

    The Search Quality Highlights were delivered as one post following a summer break. Some of the major updates included one to Panda data and a series of algorithm refreshes in addition to an improved rank ordering function and a boost in ranking for sites from 'trusted sources' as well as changes to clustering.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 3.9 (#17) - 24/07/2012

    A new Panda update was rolled out a month after Panda 3.8. As a result, rankings fluctuated for 5 to 6 days although none of these days showed results that stood out amongst the rest. It was claimed by Google that ~1% of queries were impacted.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Panda 3.8 (#16) - 25/06/2012

    A further Panda data refresh was rolled out but this focused on data only rather than the actual algorithm and it had a much smaller impact than Panda 3.7.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Panda 3.7 (#15) - 08/06/2012

    An additional update was rolled out by Google in relation to Panda, but less than 1% of search queries were affected. Data in relation to fluctuations in rankings suggested that the impact was considerably higher than the previous updates delivered through Panda 3.5 and 3.6.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Moz

     
  •  

    May 39-Pack - 07/06/2012

    Following the release of their monthly Search Highlights, Google stated that 39 updates had been carried out in May. Some of the significant changes included improvements to Penguin, enhanced detection of link schemes, title and snippet rewriting changes and further updates to Google News.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Penguin 1.1 (#2) - 25/05/2012

    Following the Penguin algorithm update, Google implemented its first targeted data update which confirmed that the processing of Penguin data was taking place outside of the main search index, very similar to data in Panda.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Knowledge Graph - 16/05/2012

    As a further step toward semantic search, Google began to roll out Knowledge Graph. This was an integrated display in the SERPs that provided additional information about people, places and things. As time progresses you will begin to see more and more knowledge panels appear in the search results.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    April 52-Pack - 04/05/2012

    A list of 52 updates and corresponding details was published by Google from April which included several changes linked to the Penguin update. Other updates included a larger base index (by 15%), site links updates and improved handling of pagination.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 3.6 (#14) - 27/04/2012

    Less than a week after Panda 3.5 was released, Google delivered another update. The implications of this update were unknown but it appeared that any effects were minimal.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Penguin (#1) - 24/04/2012

    Following many weeks of speculation surrounding a penalty relating to over optimisation, Google rolled out the Webspam update. This was shortly renamed to Penguin. A number of spam factors were addressed by Penguin including keyword stuffing. It was estimated that approximately 3.1% of English search queries were affected.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 3.5 (#13) - 19/04/2012

    This week marked a busy time for the algorithm, Google quietly released another Panda update. A combination of changes made the impacts of this update quite difficult to measure but it appeared to be a routine update with little impact.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Parked Domain Bug - 16/04/2012

    A series of shuffles in ranking were reported by webmasters and Google confirmed that there had been a data error. This error resulted in some domains being mistakenly classed as 'parked domains' and consequently they were devaluated. This was not an intentional change to the algorithm.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    March 50-Pack - 03/04/2012

    In its latest publication, Google delivered a batch of update highlights that identified 50 changes that occurred in March. These changes included a confirmation that Panda 3.4 had been released as well as additional changes to anchor text scoring, an update on the image search and changes to the way in which queries were interpreted.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 3.4 (#12) - 23/03/2012

    An announcement was made by Google on Twitter in relation to a new Panda update which was being rolled out. Within the public statement it outlined that approximately 1.6% of search results would be affected by Panda 3.4.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    BuildMyRank de-indexation - 19/03/2012

    Efforts to reduce web spam resulted in many link networks being de-indexed including Build My Rank. +more info

     
  •  

    Venice (local search) - 28/02/2012

    Within the monthly update Google mentioned a code name 'Venice'. This was a local update which was used to localise (aggressively) organic results and facilitate the integration of local search data. The exact date of the roll out was unclear.
    +Moz
    +Catalyst eMarketing

     
  •  

    Panda 3.3 (#11) - 27/02/2012

    A relatively minor, post flux Panda update was rolled out which occurred three days after the 1 year anniversary of Panda. This was an unprecedented period of time for a named update.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    February 40-Pack - 26/02/2012

    A second set of 'Search Quality Highlights' at the end of the month was published by Google which listed more than 40 charges in February. Key changes included updates to image searches, multiple image searches, several freshness updates (that included 2 sections of the old algorithm being phased out completely) as well as the Panda update.
    +Google

     
  •  

    Top Heavy (#1) - 19/01/2012

    This update impacted fewer than 1% of global searches. Google took a number of steps to improve search results and they launched an algorithmic change which looks specifically at web page layout and the content that you see on the page when you click through to the website from the results page. This change does not impact any sites who use ads above the fold to a certain degree but it did affect sites where there are so many ads at the top of the page it can be difficult to identify the main content on the page. This improvement to the algorithm affected websites where only a small amount of content is visible above the fold or relevant content is pushed further down the page in favour of advertisements.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 3.2 (#10) - 18/01/2012

    Although Google had confirmed there was a Panda update, they did suggest that there had been no changes to the algorithm. It was however uncertain how this update fitted into the 'Panda Flux' in recent data updates that occurred more often.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Search+ Your World - 10/01/2012

    A significant shift in personalisation was announced by Google. This update aggressively moved Google+ social information and user profiles into the SERPs. There was also an addition of a new, toggle button to switch off personalisation.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    January 30-Pack - 05/01/2012

    Over the previous month, 30 changes were reported by Google which included the quality of landing pages in relation to image searches, site links which were more relevant, additional rich snippets and a range of improvements to related queries. However, the difference between features and algorithm updates did become less clear. 
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  • 2011

  •  

    December 10-Pack - 01/12/2011

    A second set of 10 updates were outlined by Google and it was announced that these posts would be released every month. The updates included a variety of changes including query refinements, detection of parked domains, freshness of blog and image searches. The exact dates of the updates however remained unknown.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 3.1 (#9) - 18/11/2011

    Once Panda 2.5 had been rolled out, a period of 'Panda Flux' emerged on Google. During this time, updates began to occur more often although they were minor changes. Some industry experts called the update on the 18 November 3.1, even though officially 3.0 hadn't been released.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    10-Pack of Updates - 14/11/2011

    This was said to be one of the more unusual updates. Matt Cutts published a post that listed the 10 most recent updates to the algorithm in an attempt to be more transparent. It isn't exactly clear what the original timescale was and most of the updates were relatively minor. That being said, it did demonstrate a change in how Google communicated changes to algorithms.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Freshness Update - 03/11/2011

    An announcement from Google stated that an algorithm change had taken place which favoured freshness and this would affect up to 35% of search queries. This was up to 3 times the impact of Panda 1.0. The update affected time sensitive search queries but placed great emphasis on content that was up to date.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Query Encryption (Not Provided) - 18/10/2011

    It was announced by Google that search queries would be encrypted, primarily for reasons surrounding privacy. Unfortunately this had a detrimental impact on organic keyword referral data, delivering 'not provided' for certain types of organic traffic. Following its launch this number only increased in the weeks that followed.
    +Google
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Panda Flux (#8) - 05/10/2011

    Through a Tweet by Matt Cutts, it was reported that there would be a flux that related to Panda in the coming weeks, but this would be ~2%. A series of Panda updates, albeit minor were rolled out on the 3 October, 13 October and 18 November respectively.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 2.5 (#7) - 28/09/2011

    Google rolled out another update to Panda after more than a month. The details of the exact changes were unclear, but some websites reported significant losses.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Pagination Elements - 15/09/2011

    Link attributes rel=next and rel=prev were introduced by Google in an attempt to fix duplication and crawl issues created by pagination. An announcement was also released stating that canonicalisation and automatic consolidation had been improved for 'View All' pages.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Expanded Sitelinks - 16/08/2011

    Following a period of experimentation, Google officially implemented expanded site links predominantly for brand related queries. Initially these were 12 packs but it appeared that Google had restricted this to 6 soon after the update was rolled out.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 2.4 (#6) - 12/08/2011

    Panda was rolled out on an international basis both for global English and non-English queries. This was with the exception of queries in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. In the affected countries between 6% and 9% of search queries were impacted.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 2.3 (#5) - 23/07/2011

    Increased discussion amongst Webmasters indicated that another update had been rolled out by Google. It was unclear what the changes involved or whether it was simply an update to Panda data and ranking factors.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Stone Temple

     
  •  

    Google+ - 28/06/2011

    Following a series of failures on social media, Google began a serious attack on Facebook with the launch of Google+. This new social media platform was based around circles for sharing content and was closely integrated into Google related products such as their Gmail feature. Social 'pioneers' were quick to sign up and after just 2 weeks, Google+ had 10 million users.
    +Google
    +TechCrunch

     
  •  

    Panda 2.2 (#4) - 21/06/2011

    As Version 2.2 was officially acknowledged, Google continued to update sites that had been affected by Panda. The Panda updates happened independently from the main index and they were not undertaken in real time.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Schema.org - 02/06/2011

    Confirmation came from Yahoo, Google and Microsoft in relation to a consolidated approach to structured data. A series of new 'schemas' were also introduced in an attempt to enhance search results and improve accuracy for web users.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda 2.1 (#3) - 09/05/2011

    Another set of changes were rolled out by Google which were initially called Panda 3.0. These changes weren't covered in detail by Google and they appeared to be particularly minor in nature.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Panda 2.0 (#2) - 11/04/2011

    The Panda update was rolled out to cover all English search queries globally and it was not restricted to English speaking countries. A number of new signals were also integrated which included information about site users blocked through the SERPs, either through the Chrome browser or directly.
    +Google
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    The +1 Button - 30/03/2011

    In response to competition by several social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook, Google released their +1 button which was displayed directly next to results links. When users clicked on the +1 button, search results could be influenced within their social circle, both in relation to paid and organic search results.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Panda / Farmer (#1) - 23/02/2011

    Up to 12% of search results were affected by a significant algorithm update. Panda aimed to tackle content farms, thin content, websites with high ad-to-content ratios and addressed a series of other quality related issues. Panda was due to be rolled out over a couple of months, heading to Europe in April 2011.
    +Wired
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Attribution Update - 28/01/2011

    Following a series of high profile spam cases, Google responded with an update to remedy content attribution and prevent scrapers. It was reported by Matt Cutts that approximately 2% of search queries were affected.
    +Matt Cutts

     
  • 2010

  •  

    Negative Reviews - 03/12/2010

    An expose in the New York Times described how DecorMyEyes, an ecommerce based website had managed to rank based on negative reviews. This resulted in Google adjusting the algorithm to prevent websites using similar tactics from ranking well in the SERPs.
    +Google
    +The New York Times

     
  •  

    Social Signals - 01/12/2010

    It was confirmed by both Google and Bing that social signals were used to determine ranking and this included data from Facebook and Twitter. Confirmed by Matt Cutts, this was a relatively new development, but it was something that had been expected for a long time by SEO specialists.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Instant Previews - 09/11/2010

    Within the Google search results, a magnifying glass appeared. This allowed web users to quickly preview landing pages directly from the SERPs. This highlighted a renewed emphasis by Google on the quality of landing pages as well as design and usability.
    +Google

     
  •  

    Google Instant - 30/09/2010

    Building on Google Suggest, Google Instant was released which displayed the search results as the user typed in their query. The impact however only proved to be very small.
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Brand Update (SERP Clustering #1) - 31/08/2010

    Google began to allow multiple appearances for the same domain within the SERP. Before this was released, domains were restricted to 1 or 2 listings, or perhaps 1 listing with other results displayed underneath but indented to indicate they were from the same site.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Caffeine - 08/06/2010

    Google completed their roll-out of the Caffeine infrastructure following months of testing. This update not only increased Google's speed, but it integrated indexation and crawling more effectively which resulted in a fresher index. According to Google freshness improved by 50%.
    +Google Blog
    +Search Engine Land
    +The Register

     
  •  

    May Day - 01/05/2010

    Webmasters identified a substantial drop in their long tail traffic toward the end of April and into May. It was later confirmed by Matt Cutts that May Day was an algorithm change which affected long tail. Websites that featured lots of thin content were hit particularly hard and this was even more so with the Panda update.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Google Places - 15/04/2010

    The 'Places' feature was rolled out in 2009 but it was originally a component of Google Maps. When Google Places was officially launched this re-branded the Local Business Centre and Places pages were integrated more effectively. Local search results and a series of new features were added including options for local advertising.
    +Search Engine Land
    +Google

     
  • 2009

  •  

    Real-Time Search - 15/12/2009

    A number of real time feeds were integrated into the SERPs from websites such as Twitter and Google News. Sources continued to expand over time and included more 'real time' social media feeds.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Caffeine (Preview) - 15/08/2009

    A preview of a huge infrastructure change was released by Google. This was designed to increase the index and improve indexation and ranking so that they were in real time. The timeline for this update spanned a number of months, with the final implementation beginning in the US in the early part of 2010 and running until the summer. 
    +Mashable
    +Google

     
  •  

    rel=canonical tag - 15/02/2009

    Joint support from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo was announced in relation to the Canonical Tag. This enabled webmasters to send canonicalisation signals to search bots without it having an impact on human web visitors.
    +Matt Cutts
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Vince - 15/02/2009

    A number of SEOs reported that a significant update was released that favoured high profile brands. This update, Vince was deemed to be a minor one by Matt Cutts, but many SEOs felt that the effects would be profound with lasting implications.
    +SEO Book
    +Search Engine Land

     
  • 2008

  •  

    Google Suggest - 15/08/2008

    Google Suggest was introduced in a major change to their logo and a box home page. This displayed suggested searches in a dropdown box below the main search bar where the web user typed in their search query. This Google Suggest would later go on to power what eventually evolved into Google Instant.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  •  

    Dewey - 25/04/2008

    Toward the end of March and into early April, a significant shuffle took place but specific details about any update were unclear. Some suspected that it was something to do with Google pushing its own internal properties including Google Books, but there wasn't substantial evidence to support this theory.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  • 2007

  •  

    Buffy - 15/07/2007

    To honour the departure of Vanessa Fox from Google, this update was dubbed Buffy. Although no one quite understood what actually happened, but Matt Cutts confirmed that Buffy was a series of minor changes.
    +Matt Cutts
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Universal Search - 15/05/2007

    Although it was not your average algorithm update, Google began to integrate news, video, local and a range of other options into the traditional search results which substantially altered the format. The old SERP that displayed 10 listings ceased to exist.
    +Search Engine Land

     
  • 2006

  •  

    False Alarm - Unconfirmed Update - 15/12/2006

    In December, there were signs of an update as well as reports of significant ranking changes in November, but Google didn't report any major changes at the time.

     
  •  

    Supplemental Update - 15/11/2006

    It appeared that Google had made changes to the way in which filtered pages were managed and the supplemental index throughout 2006. Although it felt like it was a penalty, it was claimed late in the year that it was not.
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  • 2005

  •  

    Big Daddy - 15/12/2005

    Similar to the more recent Caffeine update, Big Daddy was more of an infrastructure update which concluded at the end of March 2006. Big Daddy completely changed the way in wihch URL canonicalisation and 301/302 redirects were handled by Google, as well as addressing a range of other technical issues.
    +Matt Cutts
    +Moz

     
  •  

    Google Local/Maps - 20/10/2005

    Following the launch of the Local Business Centre in March 2005 and emphasis on encouraging businesses to keep their information up to date, Google carried out a merger which combined its maps into the local business centre. This was a move which would initiate a series of changes in local SEO.
    +

     
  •  

    Jagger - 15/10/2005

    A number of updates were released to target low quality linking issues such as reciprocal links, paid links and link farms. The Jagger update was implemented in three stages between September and November 2005, with the greatest impact being felt in October.
    +Search Engine Roundtable
    +Webmaster World

     
  •  

    Gilligan - 15/09/2005

    Gilligan was also referred to as a false update where webmasters saw ongoing changes. Google claimed that there hadn't been any major algorithm updates. In a blog post, Matt Cutts outlined that Google had updated the index of daily data but the Toolbar PR and other metrics had only been updated once in three months.
    +Search Engine Watch
    +Matt Cutts

     
  •  

    Personalized Search - 15/06/2005

    Personalised search that was rolled out in 2005 aimed to tap into user search history to adjust the search results automatically. This update was unlike any previous attempt at personalisation. Initially the impact was small, but Google went on to use search history for a number of applications.
    +Search Engine Watch
    +Google

     
  •  

    XML Sitemaps - 15/06/2005

    This update enabled the submission of XML sitemaps through Webmaster Tools which bypassed traditional HTML sitemaps and providing SEOs a little influence over indexation and crawling.
    +Search Engine Watch

     
  •  

    Bourbon - 15/05/2005

    A number of changes were being rolled out in relation to search quality. Although no one was quite sure about what the change was exactly, Webmaster World members speculated that Bourbon had changed the way in which non-canonical www. vs. non-www. URLs and duplicate content were processed.
    +John Battelle's Search Blog
    +Search Engine Roundtable

     
  •  

    Allegra - 15/02/2005

    Ranking changes were witnessed by webmasters, with some suggesting that the update Allegra had affected the Sandbox while others believed that it was the LSI that was impacted. There was also speculation as to whether suspicious links were being penalised.
    +Search Engine Watch

     
  •  

    Nofollow - 15/01/2005

    In an attempt to eliminate spam and strictly control the quality of outbound links, Google, Yahoo and Bing collaboratively introduced what is known as the no-follow attribute. This helps to clean up poor links such as spammy blog comments. Although this was not a traditional algorithm update, it did have a substantial impact on the link graph.
    +Search Engine Watch

     
  • 2004

  •  

    Brandy - 15/02/2004

    A series of changes were rolled out by Google which included a huge index expansion. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) served to increase the focus on the relevance of anchor text and the idea of link neighbourhoods. LSI improved the ability of Google to understand related words and phrases (synonyms) and enabled keyword analysis to progress to the next level.
    +webpronews.com
    +SitePoint

     
  •  

    Austin - 15/01/2004

    Any issues that were overlooked by the update 'Florida' were addressed by Austin. Google continued to tackle on page strategies that proved to be deceptive including meta tag stuffing and invisible text. There was some speculation that Google had implemented the Hilltop algorithm and began to take page relevance very seriously.
    +Search Engine Journal
    +Search-Marketing.info

     
  • 2003

  •  

    Florida - 15/11/2003

    As one of the more prominent updates, this was perhaps the one that put the SEO industry on the map. A number of websites lost their rankings following-on from this update, and business owners were furious. Florida effectively eliminated many of the SEO strategies from the 1990s including keyword stuffing, and made the SEO landscape far more interesting .
    +Search Engine Watch

     
  •  

    Supplemental Index - 15/09/2003

    In an attempt to index documents without impacting on performance, Google separated some results into what was known as a supplemental index. The dangers of having results move into the supplemental index was a hotly debated SEO topic until the index was later re-integrated.
    +Search Engine Watch

     
  •  

    Fritz - 15/07/2003

    Fritz brought to an end the monthly Google Dance. Rather than entirely overhauling the index on a monthly basis, Google changed this to an incremental approach. As a result, the index now changed on a daily basis.
    +Matt Cutts explains algo updates and data refreshes
    +Wired exclusive

     
  •  

    Esmeralda - 15/06/2003

    Esmeralda was the last of the monthly updates from Google and a more continouous process started to emerge. Everflux replaced the Google Dance and it was the Esmeralda update that signalled the start of some major infrastructure changes for Google.
    +Webmaster World

     
  •  

    Dominic - 15/05/2003

    Although several changes were highlighted in May, the specifics surrounding Dominic were particularly vague. The Google Bots, 'Freshbot' and 'Deepcrawler' searched the web and a significant number of websites reported bounces. Furthermore, the way in which backlinks were counted or reported appeared to change dramatically.
    +Webmaster World

     
  •  

    Cassandra - 15/04/2003

    Google implemented a series of steps to address some basic issues with the quality of links including extensive linking from co-owned domains. Cassandra also heavily penalised sites for hidden text and links contained within web pages.

    +Webmaster World

     
  •  

    Boston - 15/02/2003

    The first named Google Update which was announced at SES Boston. Initially, Google aimed to roll out major updates on a monthly basis. The first few updates combined a series of algorithm changes and large index refreshes (known as the 'Google Dance'). As the updates were rolled out more frequently, the monthly schedule of updating soon disappeared.

     

     
  • 2002

  •  

    1st Documented Update - 15/09/2002

    Before the introduction of the first named update 'Boston', there was a major shuffle which took place in the Autumn of 2002. Although the details are unclear, these changes appeared to be much more than the monthly PageRank and Google Dance updates. One webmaster said of Google: "they move the toilet mid stream".
    +Webmaster World
    +Level343

     
  • 2000

  •  

    Google Toolbar PageRank (TBPR) - 15/12/2000

    The browser toolbar was released by Google as well as its Toolbar Page Rank (TBPR). This was the start of many years of arguments in the SEO community. Soon after the TBPR was released, the Google Dance began.
    +Google

     

Business Breakfast Event
@EightClubLondon
Thursday 22nd November

GET TICKET
Forget brass... where there's muck, there's digital PR gold. PR is a traditional business discipline that long pre-dates SEO, the internet and frankly seems as old as the hills. For some time, PR and SEO have been intersecting whether they like or know it or not. It's a brave new world and it can turbo charge your marketing. But PR only works if the idea is good enough, and to be good enough, ideas need to stick. So what makes an idea sticky and how do you get it coverage? We'll show you. [digital PR, sticky content, SEO]

Panguin
Tool

European Search Awards 2018 - Shortlisted

Have you been hit by a Google algorithm update?
Visualise the impact on your organic traffic.

Use for free