Here is a summary of the major Google updates starting from 2011 until the current time, this page will be updated with all future major updates to the Google search algorithm.
Google Updates 2018
August 1 2018 – Google Broad Core update – also known as the ‘medical update’ this was a biggie. It affected a lot of sites and the update was generally disliked. Based on the updated Google rater guidelines that came out ‘just’ before the update we can determine that this update was putting more emphasis in their algorithm on trust related factors. Google is looking for sites to show Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (EAT) in order to rank as well as they can. This is what they said about it;
In this algorithm update its likely Google changed the weight and importance of many ranking factors. For greater insight read the 200 page Rater Guidelines document here; https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//insidesearch/howsearchworks/assets/searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf
Google Updates 2016
September 23 2016 – Google Penguin 4.0 Update – It’s here. After a substantial wait of over 2 years for a manual refresh of the Penguin filter (which demotes ranking based on spammy backlink profiles) we have an official announcement of an update rolling out in all languages to all countries. The Google announcement is here. This is great news. Penguin has arguably been the most painful of all Google updates purely down to the fact that if you were hit then you had a long and indefinite wait for a recovery, no matter how much work you did to remove spammy links or how much disavow file work you engaged in. There are 2 important features of this Penguin update. Firstly, Penguin has now become a core part of Google’s ranking algorithm and so joins over 200 other ranking signals that are in play in REAL TIME. No more waiting for a manual penguin update. Secondly, this Penguin update will behave with a greater level of granularity. Until now, when Penguin hit, it would demote the rankings more or less sitewide. From now on the impact will be more targetted to e.g. individual pages or sections of a site that have a spammy backlink profile.
September 2016 – Unnamed Major Google Update – Considerable discussion amongst webmasters and web business owners suggests a major Google update occurred in early September 2016. Our own findings confirm this as we have seen a general improvement in rankings in the sites we manage and monitor. Google has denied this is a penguin update.
May 2016 – Mobile friendly update (part 2) – Around a year after the first mobile-friendly announcement from Google we have this second part of Google’s attempt to give better mobile rankings to devices that are mobile friendly. We are now used to seeing the familiar ‘mobile friendly’ stamp on such sites and now there is more ranking uplift given to these sites. However, with so many sites already now mobile friendly the impact is somewhat diminished.
Google Updates 2015
July 22 2015 – Google Panda 4.2 – Google announced this panda update (which is a refresh of data only) with a comment that it would take ‘months’ to roll out. Google has confirmed that this refresh affects only 2-3% of search queries, which is less than we saw at the last refresh which affected 3-5% of queries in September 2014 and the last major update in May 2014 which affected 7.5% of search queries.
April 21 2015 – Google mobile friendly update – Unlike many previous updates from Google this one was announced well in advance so giving webmasters and website owners opportunity to update their website for mobile friendliness in time for the update. You can read the Google announcement here. The idea is simple, with every passing month more people access the web with a mobile device, therefore it is important for websites to be easy to use and read on said devices. The slickest way to execute this is through ‘responsive design’ of the website, in which case, by use of dedicated css the website can display itself sensibly on any device according to its screen size / resolution, I wrote about this here: http://www.misterweb.co.uk/google-mobile-friendly-guide/ . Google’s update will give a ranking boost to sites (in fact ‘pages’) that pass their mobile friendly test. It is important to note this affects only mobile search results, desktop Google results are unaffected. It also excludes tablets, its specifically for smartphones. It is also worth noting this is just one signal so non mobile friendly sites can still outperform mobile friendly pages if they are hitting the mark in other signals and relevancy. Here is the update from Google on the day of this algorithm launch.
Google Updates 2014
October 19 2014 – Google Penguin 3.0 – Google confirmed what many webmasters had detected as a long awaited update to Google Penguin. Penguin 3.0 started rolling out in the UK and elsewhere from Friday 17th October 2014. Like the Panda softening earlier in the year this update aims to be softer and includes new signals. 301 redirects may be taken into account, affiliate sites have been more clearly targeted but in the broad scheme many sites are reporting recovery (assuming they did the link removal and disavow file groundwork).
September 23 2014 – Google Panda 4.1 Update – This Panda update went beyond a data refresh and included an algorithmic change to Panda which affected nearly 5% of searches.
August 28 2014 – Authorship Removed – Earlier this year Google stopped showing Authorship mug shots on most of their results. They have no expanded this Authorship u-turn by abandoning it more or less completely. The authorship by-lines and photos have no gone from SERPs and are part of search engine history.
August 6 2014 – HTTPS (SSL) Update – Google announced that sites that used https throughout their website might get a slight ranking benefit, I would take this lightly and consider it a very minor factor that would likely have no immediate or detectable impact.
May 22 2014 – Google Panda 4.0 Update – Google announced via a Matt Cutt’s tweet that they had tweaked the Panda element to their algorithm and indicated it included a softer approach. More details on my post here: Google Panda 4 Update
February 6 2014 – Page Layout 3 Update – Google updated their algorithm which can demote sites that have excessive above the fold or ‘top heavy’ ads on their website.
Google Updates 2013
October 5 2013 – Google Penguin 2.1 – after four and half months of waiting we are given a fairly significant update to google Penguin – more details in a dedicated post http://www.misterweb.co.uk/google-penguin-2-1-update-rolls-out/
July 13 2013 – Google Panda 26 – Including a ‘softening’ of panda signals to help sites caught in a grey zone who perhaps have unfairly suffered Panda based demotions. We saw 2 UK long term clients make major recoveries in this update.
May 23 2013 – Google Penguin 2.0 – A major Google update, the first algo change to Penguin sinces it’s inception. Over 3% of sites affected. Now takes in excessive and unnatural linking tactics to internal pages.
May 21 2013 – Domain crowding update – to reduce the domain crowding problem that occurred on certain search terms after page 1 results.
May 9 2013 – A ‘phantom’ update that caused a number of site owners to lose ranking – Google denied any significant update (content quality related).
March 16 2013 – Google Panda 25 – Possibly the final manual update to Panda as it becomes integrated into the search algorithm (Panda everflux if you like)
January 22 2013 – Google Panda 24
Google Updates 2012
December 21 2012 – Google Panda 23
November 21 2012 – Google Panda 22
November 5 2012 – Google Panda 21
October 9 2012 – Page Layout 2
October 5 2012 – Google Penguin 3
September 27 2012 – EMD (Exact Match Domain) Update
September 27 2012 – Google Panda 20
September 18 2012 – Google Panda 19 (or 3.9.2 under the old nomenclature!)
Augusut 20 2012 – Google Panda 18 (or 3.9.1)
August 14 2012 – 7 Results Update – For certain terms Google began display of only 7 organic results on page 1
August 10 2012 – DMCA penatly – Google announced it would demote sites that had repeated successful DMCA actions against them
July 24 2012 – Google Panda 17 (or 3.9)
June 25 2012 – Google Panda 16 (or 3.8)
June 8 2012 – Google Panda 15 (or 3.7)
May 25 2012 – Google Penguin 2 (or 1.1)
April 27 2012 – Google Panda 14 (or 3.6)
April 24 2012 – Google Penguin 1
April 19 2012 – Google Panda 13 (or 3.5)
March 23 2012 – Google Panda 12 (or 3.4)
February 27 2012 – Google Panda 11 (or 3.3)
February 26 2012 – Venice Update – increased emphasis on local organic results
January 19 2012 – Above the fold – Update that could demote sites with excessive ads or lack of copy above the fold
January 18 2012 – Google Panda 10 (or 3.2)
January 10 2012 – Search + Your World – More personalised search results including Google + data – Further reading on this here
Google Updates 2011
November 18 2011 – Google Panda 9 (or 3.1)