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Google Algorithm Updates

Initially, in the 90s, search engines were not as effective as they are today; It mainly focused on keyword matching and backlinks. Therefore, it was quite easy for low-quality websites to rank high by targeting their exact keywords with lots of backlinks.

To solve this problem, Google introduced an algorithm to filter the results so that it could clean the web. Since then, Google has been constantly updating its algorithms to maintain and improve the efficiency of its search engine.

Some of the major updates from Google, which helped filter the sites more accurately and clean the web effectively, are given below:

2019 Update

BERT update:

In October 2019, this update, Google upgraded its algorithm and hardware to understand the BERT Natural Language Processing (NLP) model. BERT allows Google to better interpret and understand searches of languages and thus improve search results.

Site diversity update:

It was introduced in June 2019 to improve conditions where there was more than two biological lists of sites.

2018 Update

Mobile Speed ​​Update:

In 2018 Google introduced a mobile page speed update to include page speed as the ranking factor for mobile results. Google said it would only affect slow mobile sites.

2017 Update


It was introduced on March 8, 2017 in response to thin, affiliate-heavy, ad-canceled content. It targets sites or blogs that provide low-quality content and are created primarily to generate revenue through advertisements.

2016 Update

Penguin 4.0

Penguin 4.0 was announced on 23 September 2016, with some changes such as it would be part of the core algorithm, update in real time, and be page specific rather than affecting the entire domain.

Mobile friendly boost update

It was launched on 12 May 2016 to help mobile-friendly sites on mobile search.

2015 Update

Panda 4.2

On 17 July 2015, Google rolled out Panda Refresh (Panda 4.2). It has no immediate effect on ranking. According to Google, this affected 23% of English-language search queries.

Mobile Friendly Update (Mobilegeddon)

It was commissioned on 21 April 2015. This made mobile-friendliness an important ranking factor for mobile searches. Its job was to boost the ranking of mobile-ready pages to provide quality and relevant content to mobile users.

2014 Update

Penguin 3.0

It was introduced on 17 October 2014. It was just a refresh that helped those websites increase their rankings, which were de-ranked in previous updates (Penguin 2.1).

Panda 4.1

This was the 27th edition of Panda released by Google on 23 September 2014. Google said it would help search engines identify poor content so that small or medium-sized websites with quality content could rank better.


It was launched in July 2014 for local businesses. Google said that it will create a close relationship between local and core algorithms so that people can find useful and accurate information in local search results.

Panda 4.0

This Panda update was introduced on May 19, 2014 to help small websites and businesses with limited resources. This was a data refresh or a change in the Panda algorithm.

2013 Update

Hummingbird 1.0

It was introduced by Google on 20 August 2013 to better understand the changing face of the web. It was able to understand the intent of longer search terms rather than identifying a specific keyword. This helped Google recognize long-tailed search terms and rank the answers of such long-tailed keywords properly. This enabled users to ask questions and receive appropriate answers.

2012 Update

the Penguin

It was introduced on 24 April 2012 to target sites that were spamming search results using links or some other link network specifically designed to boost rankings. Google issued warnings through Webmaster Tools and penalized sites for not following their guidelines.

2011 Update

Panda / Farmer

It was first launched in Feb24 2011. This algorithm was used to score webpages based on content quality and to de-rank sites with low-quality content. Its job was to identify, and identify content farm sites offering thin content or sites with high-content ratios.

2010 Update


In June 2010, Google updated its caffeine algorithm to introduce a new web indexing system. This helped Google improve search engine speed and integrate crawling and indexing resulting in a fifty percent fresher index.

2009 Update

Caffeine (preview)

In August 2009, Google released caffeine (preview), an upcoming infrastructure change to improve and integrate the indexing, crawling and range of its search engine index.


It was introduced in February 2009. This was seen as a major change that would support the big brands but Google’s Matt Cuts clarified that it was a minor shift focused on ranking of signs like trust and authority.

2007 Update


It was introduced in June 2007. The update was named in honor of Google’s Vanessa Fox. Matt Cutts said it was just a few minor changes such as the integration of search results with news, images and videos, etc.

2005 Update

Big Daddy

It was rolled out in December 2005. This was an infrastructure change that brought in new technology related to URL canonicalization, redirects, etc. It helped prepare Google for future development.

2004 Update


This update was launched in February 2004. This expanded Google’s index and included Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), which enabled Google to better understand synonyms.


It was introduced on 23 January 2004. This update was actually some improvement over the Florida update. It targeted on-page spam tactics such as invisible text and meta-tag stuffing.

2003 Update


It was introduced on 16 November 2003. This brought significant changes to Google’s algorithm and eliminated the use of keyword stuffing to manipulate search results.


It was introduced in July 2013. With this update, Google changed its way of updating the index; Now, instead of indexing every month, it started indexing on a daily basis.

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