In this blog post you will find a detailed overview of the latest Google algorithm updates, and changes. Research has it that more than 92% of the world's internet searches happen through the Google search engine. So, if you rank badly in the Google Search results it kinda feels like your business website does not exist at all.
You have the responsibility to ensure that your business is found on Google for the right keywords. If you haven't crafted a list of keywords to focus on for your website, consider reading this article about how you can find the best Keywords for your SEO strategy.
You should try to stay up to date with the latest Google algorithm updates as they might have a significant impact on the organic traffic towards your website. You can dive into the recent history of impactful updates a bit further in our article.
While the updates listed in this article focus on the largest updates, it’s important to keep in mind that several other broad changes can be implemented on any given time. These are known as ‘core updates.’ They are changes that are notable enough to have an effect on the way that search results are ranked, but not strong enough to be considered a crucial turning point in the algorithm's functionality. Read more about Google algorithm core updates on the company’s Webmaster Central Blog, and keep up with the latest news by following Google SearchLiaison on Twitter.
What are Google algorithms updates?
Google algorithms are a set of sophisticated computer programs that are used to rank websites on the search engine results pages (SERPs). The Google algorithm determines in which order sites will rank based on their relevance. To rank various websites accordingly, Google uses automated web crawlers and bots to scan a lot of relevant sites when you type in a search query and they determine where each website will rank based on over 200 different parameters. Note that apart from the 'core changes', Google algorithm experiences over 600 minor changes annually to optimize the search engine.
Overview of the Google algorithm updates
Google launched BERT on October 25, 2019, targeting the thin content. BERT is a highly sophisticated Google algorithm that uses natural language processing to understand the meaning of words, phrases, and sentences to determine the content of texts effectively. Google claims that BERT is the most outstanding Google algorithm tool in the past five years and also in the history of Google search.
The Fred Google algorithm was launched on July 7, 2017, to improve the accessibility of Ad-centered content. Fred was a crucial Google algorithm that was aimed to punish low-quality websites and content. Websites with excessive advertising were ranking lower in the search results after the update.
The Possum update was launched on September 1, 2016, targeting location-specific ranking. It was a locality filter assessing both the location of the business and the user. It needed to boost the appearance of a business with mostly local clients. Learn more about local SEO in this blog post.
The RankBrain Google algorithm was launched on October 26, 2015, targeting unnaturally written content. The sophisticated machine uses artificial intelligence to learn and interpret website texts in way it can determine which results meet the users' expectations. RankBrain was able to assess almost all of the Google searches to determine their relevance as per the users queries. In 2015, of the more than 200 updates, RankBrain was the most advanced Google algorithm software up until then.
The Mobile Google algorithm was launched on April 21, 2015, targeting website pages that were mobile responsive and user friendly on all mobile devices. Many Google users nicknamed this version as the Mobilegeddon. This is the most well known of all the updates as it maximized mobile-first indexing, that is, ranking Google results based on mobile version compatibility. As a result, most e-commerce websites rushed to make their businesses mobile-friendly.
The Pigeon Google algorithm update was launched on July 24, 2014, targeting local pages. The aim was to improve the discoverability of local Google search engine results. The Google Map pins were enhanced to rank the results in a more localized way.
The Hummingbird Google algorithm update was launched on August 20, 2013, targeting keyword-stuffed content. This update was the first all-time major update that changed the functionality of the Google algorithm. The Hummingbird update started to analyze the meaning behind the searched words, the relationship, and relevance. Also, the pages matching the searched query, even if they do not contain the exact words, were ranked. As a result, the update redefined the use of keywords leading to more quality keywords instead of stuffed keywords.
The Penguin Google algorithm update was launched on April 24, 2012, targeting the Webspam pages. Therefore, the algorithm is also known as the Webspam algorithm update, and it was meant to discover and punish pages involved in manipulative link exercises. Before the introduction of the Penguin update, keyword stuffing and the quantity of links determined Google search ranking rather than quality. The need for volume prompted sites to buy links or to get involved in too much link networking. As such, the Penguin Google algorithm that is still in use up to today gave the search engine the ability to control spamming actions and low-quality content.
The Panda Google algorithm was launched on February 23, 2011, targeting low-quality websites. This algorithm is one of the major milestones in the effort to combat websites and pages with low-quality content. The Panda algorithm update is a crucial change in Google SEO that is still influential in today’s search engine results.
What kind of Google Algorithm updates can we expect in the future?
We expect a huge Voice Search revolution in the near future. More and more people have voice command devices in their home. And we are certain that they soon will have an impact your SEO strategy.
We hope that this list of Google Algorithm updates gives you an insight how on how much the internet is constantly evolving. So try to keep up and let us know if you have any questions.