The History of Google Algorithm Updates
This page tracks the complete history of Google algorithm updates, from the early days of PageRank to the latest updates targeting content quality and user experience.
Google Search is updated thousands of times a year to improve the search experience and quality of results. The process involves ongoing improvements to different systems, which help identify the most relevant and reliable information from hundreds of billions of pages in their index. These updates improve the relevancy of the search results and help sites from around the world get discovered.
Page Last Updated on April 4, 2023
2023 Ranking Updates
All Recorded Algo Updates 2023
This update brings new languages to the product reviews update including English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish.
This update targeted all content types to promote high-quality web pages and may help some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better in search results. Black Hat Community Primarily Affected.
An update that targets review websites who offer reviews about products, services, and things. The update rewards high-quality, insightful, and well-researched content from knowledgeable experts or enthusiasts.
An update aiming to improve search results. A drop in page performance post-update doesn't indicate an issue; it's about content relevance. It is not specific to any one type of content - and affects all types of content, all types of sites and in all verticals.
An update that emphasizes the importance of content being reviewed by experts, discourage falsely updating content dates for freshness, and warn against adding or removing content just to appear "fresh." Google has adjusted its stance on machine-generated content, suggesting a more accepting attitude, warns against hosting unsupervised third-party content.
An update that targets cloaking, hacked, auto-generated, and scraped spam content in multiple languages, including Turkish, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Hindi, Chinese, and others.
An update designed to enhance search quality and reduce the prevalence of low-quality, spammy content in search results.
2022 Ranking Updates
All Recorded Algo Updates 2022
An update that included all the signals from the mobile version of the page experience update, except for the page needing to be mobile-friendly.
An update meant to help Google identify high-quality product reviews and reward them with better rankings.
A broad core algorithm update that made broad changes to how Google's ranking systems assess content.
A refresh meant to reward high-quality product reviews.
A sitewide signal that rewards content that helps or informs people, rather than content created primarily to rank well in search results.
An update that seemed less significant than previous core updates, including the May 2022 core update.
An update that rewards English-language product reviews that are helpful and useful to searchers.
An update that rolled out the latest improvements to Google's systems that detect search spam, affecting all languages.
An update that added new signals to its classifier and brought the helpful content update globally for all languages.
A global update that aimed to neutralize any credit passed by unnatural links and targeted spammy links.
2021 Ranking Updates
All Recorded Algo Updates 2021
An update that changed how Google ranks specific passages from a web page in search results.
An update that better rewarded product reviews that go above and beyond.
The first of two back-to-back Core Updates that Google rolled out.
An update that built on a transformer architecture, like BERT, but 1,000 times more powerful and capable of multitasking.
An update that used a new set of metrics to understand how users perceive the experience of a specific web page.
The first part of an update that was released to Google's systems.
The second part of an update that targeted both web results and image results.
A comprehensive update that changed the whole algorithm slightly, but not any single function specifically.
An update that aimed to "nullify" spammy links across the web and multiple languages.
An update to Google's search spam detection systems.
The third and final Core Update of 2022, impacting websites and SEO across all languages.
A global update that was a “rebalancing of various factors we consider in generating local search results.”
An update that rewarded outstanding product reviews in search results.
Historical Updates 1998-2020
All Updates 2011-2020
An update that focused on identifying and penalizing websites with low-quality content, particularly those with high levels of duplicate content, thin content, and low user engagement.
An update that improved Google's ability to provide more relevant and personalized local search results.
An update that targeted websites with spammy and manipulative backlink profiles, penalizing them for over-optimization and "black hat" link building practices.
An update that targeted websites with exact match domains (such as keyword-rich domain names) that were low in quality or spammy.
An update that targeted websites with excessive or intrusive ads above the fold.
An update that targeted websites with high volumes of copyright infringement complaints, reducing their visibility in search results.
An update that introduced natural language processing and semantic search capabilities, enabling Google to better understand the meaning behind search queries and provide more relevant results.
An update that focused on improving local search results and providing more accurate and relevant information for local businesses and services.
An update that prioritized mobile-friendly websites in search results, encouraging website owners to optimize their sites for mobile devices.
An update that introduced machine learning and artificial intelligence to Google's ranking algorithm, enabling it to better understand the intent behind search queries and provide more relevant results.
An update that focused on improving local search results by providing more accurate and diverse results for similar queries.
An update that targeted websites with low-quality content and aggressive ad placements, penalizing them for prioritizing revenue over user experience.
A series of updates that aimed to improve the quality and relevance of local search results, particularly for service-oriented queries.
An update that focused on improving the quality and expertise of search results in the health and medical fields, leading to significant fluctuations in rankings for health-related websites.
An update that introduced advanced natural language processing capabilities, enabling Google to better understand the context and nuances of search queries and provide more relevant results.
An update that focused on improving the relevance and quality of search results, particularly for YMYL (your money or your life) queries.
An update that continued to focus on improving the relevance and quality of search results, with a particular emphasis on content quality.
An update that again focused on improving the relevance and quality of search results, with a particular emphasis on user experience and page speed.
All Updates 1998-2010
The original algorithm developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, which analyzed the links pointing to a webpage to determine its relevance and authority.
An update that focused on combating keyword stuffing and other forms of spammy optimization.
An update that improved Google's ability to detect and penalize manipulative linking practices, such as buying or selling links.
An update that aimed to improve the accuracy and freshness of Google's search results, particularly for frequently updated websites.
An update that focused on improving the relevance of search results by better understanding user intent and the meaning behind queries.
An update that improved Google's ability to identify and penalize websites engaging in deceptive or manipulative practices.
An algorithm update that aimed to reduce spammy and low-quality content in search results, causing a significant shake-up in rankings and leading to the rise of "white hat" SEO practices.
An algorithm update that sought to improve the accuracy of search results and reduce spam, particularly for highly competitive keywords.
An update that introduced latent semantic indexing (LSI) and focused on better understanding the context and meaning of search queries.
An algorithm update that focused on identifying and penalizing websites with duplicate content, thin content, and other low-quality content.
An update that improved Google's ability to detect and penalize websites engaging in spammy or manipulative linking practices.
A series of updates that focused on improving the quality and relevance of search results, particularly for local and international queries.
A series of updates that aimed to improve the infrastructure of Google's web crawling and indexing systems, leading to faster and more efficient processing of websites.
An update that introduced universal search, integrating various types of media (such as images, videos, and news articles) into search results.
An update that improved Google's ability to understand and rank long-tail keywords and more complex search queries.
An update that gave more weight to established and trusted brands in search results, leading to a perceived bias in favor of big businesses.
A complete overhaul of Google's indexing system, designed to provide fresher and more up-to-date search results
An update that focused on improving the relevance of search results for long-tail and niche queries.
About Algo Updates
Google’s algorithm updates are designed to improve search results and provide users with the most relevant and useful information possible. From the early days of PageRank to the most recent updates targeting user experience and content quality, Google has been on a mission to refine its search algorithms and better understand user intent.
Why Google Updates Its Search Algorithm
Google Search is a complex system that processes billions of queries from users worldwide in multiple languages daily. As a result, Google constantly updates its search algorithm to enhance the quality of results and improve user experience. These updates can occur many times a year and range from small incremental changes to significant updates that affect the search ranking algorithm.
Improving the Quality of Results
Google’s automated systems utilize various techniques to identify and deliver users the most relevant and reliable information. Thanks to continuous updates, Google’s search algorithm has been able to decrease the number of irrelevant results by over 40% in the past five years. Google’s search algorithm sends billions of visits to websites every day, which helps these sites grow their traffic by providing highly relevant results.
Helping Websites Get Discovered
Google helps users discover a wide range of publishers, creators, and businesses. To ensure that Google continues to support these sites and provide searchers with the best possible information, the company makes numerous incremental algo updates weekly. These updates are thoroughly tested and evaluated through Google’s rating process to ensure they improve the quality of search results.
Incremental Updates vs. Core Updates
While most of these updates go unnoticed by searchers, they accumulate to significantly impact the overall quality of Google Search. Google does not share details about all of these updates but shares information when there is actionable information that site owners, content producers, or others might find helpful. Examples of such updates include the automated system that determines whether a product review demonstrates in-depth research or expertise and an update that determines whether the content is mobile-friendly.
Periodically, Google makes more substantial improvements to its overall ranking processes, known as core updates. These updates are likely noticed by people running websites or performing search engine optimization (SEO) but less so by ordinary users. When these updates are coming (or have rolled out), Google gives notice to site owners, explaining that these changes are not due to anything specific they have done but rather to the company’s efforts to improve its content assessment overall.
Core Updates Aim to Increase Relevancy
Google reminds site owners that core updates, like any updates, do not target specific pages or sites. Instead, these updates aim to improve how Google’s systems assess content overall, which could result in some pages that were previously under-rewarded doing better. Google compares the effect of core updates to refreshing a list of the top 100 movies; some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion, and some reassessed films may deserve a higher place on the list.
The primary aim of core updates is to increase the overall relevancy of Google’s search results, and while some content may do less well, other content will gain more traffic. In the long term, Google’s continual improvement of its search algorithm is how it has continued to improve search and send more traffic to sites across the web every year.
Google’s Guidance and Tools
Google provides guidance and actionable advice to help businesses, site owners, and content creators be successful with search overall. Although following this guidance does not guarantee a site will rank well for every query, it provides insight into how Google’s search algorithm works and what the company considers high-quality content.
Following Google’s core update guidance, businesses, and content creators can help Google understand when they have the most relevant and useful content to display. Google also recommends that sites follow its quality guidelines, implement optimization tips, and use the free Search Console tool available to everyone.
Understanding Google’s search algorithm updates is critical for businesses and content creators looking to improve their online presence. Google’s constant updates to its search algorithm are designed to enhance the quality of search results and user experience. Following Google’s guidance and using its optimization tools can help businesses achieve better search rankings.
There are two types of updates that Google Search goes through to improve the quality of its results constantly: incremental updates and core updates. Incremental updates are minor improvements made to the search algorithm regularly, while core updates are more substantial improvements made to Google’s overall ranking processes.
Google helps connect searchers to content creators, businesses, and other sources by continually improving its search algorithm. As a search marketing company, understanding the importance of these updates and following Google’s guidance can significantly benefit our clients. By keeping up with the latest updates and implementing the best practices recommended by Google, we can help our clients improve their search rankings and connect with more potential customers.