History of Google Algorithm Updates [Infographic]

Google search engine algorithms since 2002

Google algorithms are constantly evolving to provide users with the best possible experience. Over the years, Google has made several major updates that have had a significant impact on the way that search results are displayed. perhaps the most famous of these is the “Panda” update, which was rolled out in 2011 in an effort to reduce the visibility of low-quality websites.

Since then, Google has continued to refine its algorithms, making hundreds of small changes each year. In 2015, the company made a major update known as “Mobilegeddon” which boosted the rankings of mobile-friendly websites.

History of Google Algorithm updates

Google is constantly changing their algorithm to provide the best possible search results for their users. This can make it difficult for business owners to keep up with the latest changes and ensure that their website is optimized for Google’s ranking factors. In this blog post, we will provide a complete history of Google algorithm updates. We will also discuss what these updates mean for your business and how you can stay ahead of the curve!

Panda update

The first major update to Google’s algorithm was the Panda update, which was released in 2011. This update was designed to target websites that were “thin on content” and provided little value to users. As a result, many website owners saw their traffic drop significantly after this update was implemented.

Penguin update

In 2012, Google released the Penguin update, which targeted websites that were using black-hat SEO tactics to artificially inflate their search rankings. This update caused a lot of businesses to lose traffic, as they were no longer able to rely on unethical methods to improve their visibility.

Hummingbird and Pigeon

2013 saw the release of two major updates: Hummingbird and Pigeon. Hummingbird was a complete overhaul of Google’s algorithm, designed to provide better results for queries that were more than just a few keywords. Pigeon was an update to the local search algorithm, which impacted businesses that relied heavily on local searches.


In 2014, Google announced their “Mobilegeddon” update, which favored websites that were optimized for mobile devices. This was a major shift in the way that Google ranked websites, and it caused many businesses to invest in responsive design and other mobile-friendly features.

RankBrain and Possum

2015 saw the release of two more major updates: RankBrain and Possum. RankBrain is an artificial intelligence system that helps Google interpret queries that are not well-defined. Possum was an update to the local search algorithm that favored businesses with a physical location in close proximity to the searcher.

Mobile-First” index

In 2016, Google released their “Mobile-First” index, which means that they now use the mobile version of your website as the primary source of information when determining your rankings. This is a major change, and it is important to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices if you want to rank well in Google.

2017 has been a relatively quiet year for Google algorithm updates, but we expect that there will be more changes in the future. As always, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest changes and ensure that your website is optimized for Google’s ranking factors. Contact us if you need help keeping your website up-to-date!

BERT update

And earlier this year, Google introduced a new algorithm called “BERT” which is designed to improve understanding of natural language queries. As Google continues to evolve, it’s likely that we’ll see even more major updates in the future.

Helpful content update

In 2022, Google has rolled out “Helpful content update“.

Check out this nice infographic about the history of Google major search ranking algorithm updates. Since early 2017 Google officially does not confirm many updates and declares these as part of Broad Core Algorithms. The details of the Google algorithm updates can be found here. The recent one is BERT update Sep-October 2019.

Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers codenamed BERT, is a machine learning advancement made by Google involving it’s Artificial Intelligence innovation efforts. BERT model processes words in relation to all the other words in a sentence, rather than one-by-one in order. This gives more impetus to the user intent and context of the search query and delivers results that the user seeks.

All you need to focus on quality content. The quality of content guideline can be found here .

Google Algorithm Updates

How to cope up with Google ranking algorithm updates

Summary: Significant Google Search Updates

  • Google has made thousands of updates to its search algorithm since its inception in 1998.
  • Some of the most significant updates in recent years include Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, RankBrain, and BERT.
  • Panda update (2011) targeted websites with low-quality content and resulted in significant ranking changes.
  • Penguin update (2012) targeted websites with spammy links and over-optimized anchor text, causing significant ranking drops.
  • Hummingbird update (2013) aimed to improve the understanding of user intent behind search queries by incorporating natural language processing techniques.
  • RankBrain (2015) was introduced to help Google understand the meaning behind more complex queries and provide more relevant results.
  • BERT update (2019) utilizes a deep learning algorithm that analyzes the context of words in search queries to provide more relevant results.
  • Core updates are regularly rolled out by Google to improve the search experience and relevance of search results.
  • Google has also introduced various search features such as featured snippets, knowledge panels, and image and video carousels to provide users with more useful information.
  • More recently, Google has been focusing on mobile-first indexing, which prioritizes mobile-friendly websites and content.
  • Google has also emphasized the importance of page experience factors, such as page speed and usability, in ranking websites in search results.
  • Additionally, Google has made efforts to combat misinformation and improve the quality of search results by introducing measures to detect and penalize fake news and harmful content.
Updated on: March 5, 2023

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