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Major Google Algorithms

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In the below article, we have compiled a full list of Google Algorithms, Launch Dates, and Functions that Google has rolled out over the years. If you are looking for a detailed article on Google Algorithms, then keep reading it.

Google Algorithms are used to give the best possible outcome or result whenever someone searches for something on Google. Not only one but it uses several algorithms to perform this task and it also checks for the rank of the web pages which is delivered after the task. Google is making a vast change in its algorithm at a very frequent period. 

What are Google Algorithms?

The Google algorithms are a set of complex mathematical functions that let Google Search find and rank the relevant results on SERP for a given query. Google search engine use a lot of algorithms and ranking factors to display webpages on SERP.

In the early years, Google didn’t give more algorithm updates, but now Google constantly keeps on improving these algorithms to help users get the best results.

Some of the google algorithm updates are so minor that they mostly go unnoticed, but some algorithms drastically change the SERP, like:

  1. RankBrain
  2. Hummingbird
  3. Panda
  4. Penguin
  5. BERT
  6. Payday Loan Algorithm
  7. Mobile Update
  8. Update Fred Pigeon
  9. Page Layout Algorithm
  10. Exact Match Domain

List of Major Google Algorithms, Launch Date and Functions:

AlgorithmLaunch DateFunction
FloridaSeptember 18, 2003Targeted pages with thin content quantity and low quality.
Big DaddySeptember 27, 2005It focused on links targeting to a website and quality of that links
JaggerDecember 18, 2006Targeted keyword stuffing and link spamming techniques.
VinceFebruary 28, 2009Targeted websites with doorway pages and low content quality.
CaffeineJune 18, 2010Improved crawling and page indexing.
PandaFebruary 24, 2011Addressed low-quality content and thin content.
Freshness AlgorithmNovember 3, 2011Worked on freshness of content in SERP.
Page Layout AlgorithmJanuary 19, 2012Targeted websites showing excessive ads.
Venice UpdateMay 10, 2012Addressed keyword targeting in anchor text.
PenguinApril 24, 2012Targeted websites that had irrelevant or spammy links.
EMD (Exact Match Domain)September 26, 2012Addressed websites with exact match domain names and low-quality content.
PaydayAugust 8, 2013Targeted websites related to payday loans and other questionable industries.
HummingbirdAugust 22, 2013Worked on understanding natural language processing to meet user search intent.
PigeonJuly 22, 2014Improved local search results for businesses located within a specific geographic area.
MobilegeddonApril 21, 2015Prioritized websites with mobile friendly interface.
RankBrain2015It is a machine learning algorithm that understands the reason behind search to provide best results.
FredMarch 18, 2017

It targeted websites with spammy back link building practice.

Mobile-First IndexMarch 26, 2018Prioritized mobile-friendly websites in search results for mobile devices.
BERT2018It is a machine learning algorithm that helps google understand natural language queries.
MUM2022A machine learning algorithm that helps Google understand the meaning of complex search queries.
Bard2023A machine learning model that assists Google in producing text, translating languages, producing various forms of creative content, and providing you with informative answers to your queries.

Major Google Algorithms Updates:

The focus of these major google updates was to improve the quality of sites and content that is going to show up on Google. 

1. Panda Update

It is one of Google’s official algorithm update. This update was done to reduce the low-quality data because in 2009 after the caffeine update the low-quality data also became part of the search results. To reduce that google make a new update and named its Panda. In panda, the pages were given a quality parameter based on the rating given by humans to the pages. So panda eliminates the low-quality content and promotes high quality and user-friendly pages. 

2. Payday Loan Algorithm

This algorithm was released in 2013, cause at that time the spam in Google was increasing. So to reduce Spam websites from Google search results this algorithm was introduced. This was one of the important updates by Google, which targeted Spam queries which were related to super high-interest loans and other heavily spammed queries. 

3. Penguin Update

It was launched in 2012, the same as panda this algorithm also used to promote high-quality data in search results and also to not show the spammy content or low-quality data. This algorithm is an extension of the panda which works on reducing the effectiveness of black hat techniques, that were used to promote the low-quality pages in the search results of Google. The main task of the penguin algorithm was to show the relevant, real, and genuine result websites, and the spam my websites were downgraded. 

4. Hummingbird Update

This update was launched on 22 August 2013, its main work is to show the query that query on the internet which may not have the same word. It mainly focuses on the intention of the searcher. So hummingbird algorithm is important because sometimes grammatical mistakes occur during typing and results did not show up so this was corrected by using this algorithm. 

5. Mobile Update

As the name suggests this algorithm is for mobile search, its task is to show the Mobile-friendly pages on the top when searched from a mobile. This was launched on 21 st April 2015. The top results will be mobile optimized, and those who are not optimized will be downgraded. 

6. Rank Brain

It is a machine learning algorithm. It is kind of similar to a hummingbird, its a machine learning from which Google understand and shows the best result. It is one of the important algorithms of Google and was launched on 26 October 2015. 

7. Possum Update

This algorithm is mainly based on the location, it will show the local result according to the location. The nearer you are to the business address, the more chances that you will see it in your search result, and the result may vary on different locations for local addresses. This was launched on 1 September 2016. 

8. Fred

One of the latest updates in Google and was launched on 8 March 2017. Its main focus is to target websites that have less content and more ads or you can say the websites having focus is on generating revenue with low-class content. Small websites and blogs are focused on this update. 

9. Pigeon

This update was launched by Google on 24th July 2014 in the US and 22 DEC 2014 in UK, Canada, Australia. This update mainly links with those searches on Google in which the location of the user is mainly focused. SEO is used to show local results in an area. So to rank after the pigeon update focus time and efforts on the on-page and off-page SEO. 

10. Page Layout Algorithm 

This update was introduced by Google on 19 January 2012. After the release, this algorithm was updated on 9 October 2012 and the last update till now was on 1 November 2016. This algorithm is linked with the user experience. This algorithm affects those sites which have so many extra ads. So here in this algorithm, those sites in which ads force the user to see content, and approximately 1% of sites were affected.

11. Exact Match Domain 

This algorithm was introduced in 2012. As the name suggests it works on the exact name and targets exactly what the name suggests. This update was to focus on the exact match of domain despite thin content and the quality of the site. The major weakness of EDM was that the websites SEOs would buy domains with exact match keyword phrases, build a site out, but have extremely thin content with little to no value on them. And it was so easy to do. The result of this update occurred in a way that, non-dot-com domains experienced a more severe punishment than .com counterparts. 

Major Google Algorithm Updates 2023

MonthUpdateDate CompletedKey Changes
NovemberCore Algorithm UpdateStill rolling outPrimary goal to better user experience and focusing on E-E-A-T signals.
OctoberCore Algorithm UpdateOctober 19, 2023Focus on improving content quality and relevance.
SeptemberHelpful Content UpdateSeptember 27, 2023Focus on identifying and rewarding websites that were creating helpful and high-quality content.
AugustCore Algorithm UpdateSeptember 7, 2023Focused on improving the relevance and quality of the web pages shown for search queries.
AprilReviews UpdateApril 26, 2023Focus on improving the quality and relevance of reviews in search results.
MarchCore Algorithm UpdateMarch 28, 2023Focused on improving the relevance and quality of the web pages shown for search queries.
FebruaryProduct Reviews UpdateMarch 7, 2023Focus on improving the quality and relevance of product reviews in search results.
JanuaryCore Algorithm UpdateFebruary 1, 2023Focused on improving the relevance and quality of the web pages shown for search queries.

Major Google Algorithm Updates 2022

MonthUpdateDate CompletedKey Changes
DecemberLink Spam UpdateJanuary 2, 2023This update targeted websites that were using spammy or deceptive link-building techniques to improve their rankings.
DecemberHelpful Content UpdateJanuary 4, 2023This update rewarded websites that were creating helpful and high-quality content.
OctoberSpam UpdateOctober 25, 2022This update targeted websites that were using spammy or deceptive tactics to improve their rankings.
SeptemberProduct Reviews UpdateOctober 4, 2022This update focused on improving the quality and relevance of product reviews in search results.
SeptemberCore Algorithm UpdateSeptember 26, 2022This update was a major update that affected a wide range of websites. Google did not release much information about the specific changes that were made, but it is expected to have had a significant impact on search results.
AugustHelpful Content UpdateSeptember 8, 2022This update was a continuation of the Helpful Content Update that was rolled out in December 2022. This update further rewarded websites that were creating helpful and high-quality content.
JulyProduct Reviews UpdateAugust 10, 2022This update focused on improving the quality and relevance of product reviews in search results.
MayCore Algorithm UpdateJune 9, 2022This update was a major update that affected a wide range of websites. Google did not release much information about the specific changes that were made, but it is expected to have had a significant impact on search results.
MarchProduct Reviews UpdateApril 6, 2022This update focused on improving the quality and relevance of product reviews in search results.

Major Google Algorithm Updates 2021

MonthUpdateDate CompletedKey Changes
DecemberProduct Reviews UpdateDecember 20, 2021Focused on improving the quality and relevance of product reviews in search results.
NovemberCore Algorithm UpdateNovember 29, 2021Focused on improving the relevance and quality of the web pages shown for search queries.
NovemberSpam UpdateNovember 15, 2021Targeted websites that were using spammy or deceptive tactics to improve their rankings.
JulyLink Spam UpdateAugust 9, 2021Targeted websites that were using spammy or deceptive link-building techniques to improve their rankings.
JulyCore Algorithm UpdateJuly 13, 2021Focused on improving the relevance and quality of the web pages shown for search queries.
JuneSpam UpdateJuly 12, 2021Targeted websites that were using spammy or deceptive tactics to improve their rankings.
JuneSpam UpdateJuly 7, 2021Targeted websites that were using spammy or deceptive tactics to improve their rankings.
JunePage Experience UpdateAugust 23, 2021Focused on improving the overall user experience of websites in search results, including factors such as mobile-friendliness, loading speed, and intrusiveness of ads.
JuneCore Algorithm UpdateJune 16, 2021Focused on improving the relevance and quality of the web pages shown for search queries.
FebruaryPassage RankingStill rolling outFocused on evaluating the relevance of individual passages of text within a web page, rather than just the entire page.
MarchRecoveryMarch 29, 2021Focused on helping websites that had been negatively impacted by previous algorithm updates to recover their rankings.
AprilProduct Reviews UpdateApril 26, 2021Focused on improving the quality and relevance of product reviews in search results.

Major Google Algorithm Updates 2020

MonthUpdateDate CompletedKey Changes
DecemberBroad Core UpdateDecember 16, 2020This core update was focused on improving the relevance and quality of the web pages shown in search results. Google did not release much information about the specific changes that were made, but it is expected to have had a significant impact on search results.
DecemberPassage RankingJanuary 19, 2021This update focused on evaluating the relevance of individual passages of text within a web page, rather than just the entire page.
MayBroad Core UpdateMay 18, 2020This core update was focused on improving the relevance and quality of the web pages shown in search results. Google did not release much information about the specific changes that were made, but it is expected to have had a significant impact on search results.
JanuaryFeatured Snippet UpdateJune 22, 2020This update focused on websites with a featured snippet position. The update will no longer repeat the webpage in Page 1 organic listings if in this position.
JanuaryBroad Core UpdateJanuary 16, 2020This core update was focused on improving the relevance and quality of the web pages shown in search results. Google did not release much information about the specific changes that were made, but it is expected to have had a significant impact on search results.

Major Google Algorithm Updates 2019

MonthNameDate CompletedKey Changes
SeptemberSeptember 2019 Core UpdateOctober 10, 2019Focused on improving the relevance and quality of search results.
JuneJune 2019 Core UpdateJune 16, 2019Focused on improving the relevance and quality of search results.
JuneDiversity UpdateJune 5, 2019Aimed to reduce the visibility of duplicate or low-quality content in search results.
MarchMarch 2019 Core UpdateMarch 29, 2019Focused on improving the relevance and quality of search results.
OctoberBERT UpdateOctober 25, 2019Introduced a new algorithm called BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. BERT is designed to better understand the meaning of natural language queries, which can improve the relevance of search results.

Major Google Algorithm Updates 2018

MonthNameDate CompletedKey Changes
OctoberMedic Update #2October 20, 2018Focused on websites in YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) categories, such as health and finance.
SeptemberSmall Google Core UpdateOctober 12, 2018A minor core update that focused on improving the relevance and quality of search results.
AugustMedic UpdateAugust 24, 2018Focused on websites in YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) categories, such as health and finance.
MarchGoogle Core Update March 2018March 28, 2018A broad core update that focused on improving the relevance and quality of search results.
JanuaryGoogle DMCA PenaltyFebruary 8, 2018Targeted websites that were found to be violating Google’s DMCA policy.
DecemberGoogle Hummingbird UpdateDecember 26, 2018An update to the Hummingbird algorithm that focused on improving the ranking of websites that were mobile-friendly.
NovemberGoogle Mobile-First IndexNovember 20, 2018An update to the way that Google indexes websites, which now gives priority to mobile-friendly websites.
OctoberGoogle May Day UpdateOctober 18, 2018Targeted websites that were using spammy or deceptive link-building techniques.
SeptemberGoogle Caffeine UpdateOctober 10, 2018An update to the Caffeine algorithm that focused on improving the speed and accuracy of Google’s search results.
AugustGoogle Exact-Match Domain (EMD) UpdateSeptember 6, 2018Targeted websites that were using exact-match domain names in an attempt to rank higher in search results.
JulyGoogle Payday Loan UpdateJuly 24, 2018Targeted websites that were related to payday loans and other questionable industries.

First Google Algorithm Updates

MonthNameCompletedKey Changes
MarchFloridaMarch 11, 2003Improved accuracy of search results, reducing impact of spammy websites.
SeptemberBig DaddySeptember 27, 2003Increased algorithm sensitivity to content quality and backlink relevance.
DecemberJaggerDecember 18, 2003Enhanced algorithm’s ability to detect and penalize spammy websites.
FebruaryVinceFebruary 12, 2004Increased algorithm sensitivity to link quality and content relevance.
FebruaryFreshnessFebruary 21, 2004Improved algorithm’s ability to identify and rank recently updated content.
MarchPage Layout AlgorithmMarch 1, 2004Enhanced algorithm’s ability to understand web page layout and identify key content.
MaySupplemental ResultsMay 18, 2004Allowed additional results from non-top-rated websites for specific search queries.
MayBostonMay 26, 2004Increased algorithm sensitivity to link quality and content relevance.
JulyThematic RankingJuly 12, 2004Enhanced algorithm’s ability to understand thematic relevance of web pages.
OctoberDomain DiversityOctober 11, 2004Reduced impact of multiple websites from the same domain ranking for the same search query.
NovemberSupplemental Results IINovember 18, 2004Allowed additional results from non-top-rated websites for specific search queries, deemed useful despite not being the most relevant.
NovemberGoogle SandboxNovember 22, 2004Filter preventing new websites from ranking too high until established.
DecemberHidefinitenessDecember 30, 2004Enhanced algorithm’s ability to understand the meaning of natural language queries.

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Conclusion

Google is always adding new algorithm updates to keep SERPs clear and easy to use in an effort to give users the best search results possible.

The ranks of webpages in search engine results pages are largely determined by the Google Search Algorithm or Google Algorithms. For SEO experts, it is extremely important because some of the new algorithms may significantly alter the ranking factors.

Taking a close look at these Google algorithm changes and making the necessary adjustments to your webpage could help you increase your visibility on Google’s search engine results page.

Major Google Algorithms- FAQ’s

Q1- What is the major Google algorithm update 2023?

Google released the Helpful content Update on September 14,2023. This algorithm focuses on improving classifier to find helpful content.

Q2- How many algorithms does Google have?

Google does not publically disclose all of it’s algorithm updates, but they are estimated to be in tens of thousands. Some of the major google algorithms are :

  1. PageRank
  2. Hummingbird
  3. RankBrain
  4. BERT
  5. MUM
  6. TPU
  7. SPARK
  8. BigQuery
  9. TensorFlow
  10. Chrome Rendering Engine

Q3- How complicated is Google’s algorithm?

Google algorithms are complex mathematical functions that are ever evolving, and with introduction to AI and ML it can be said that they are evolving at much higher speed than a human can comprehend.

Q4- Is Google’s algorithm AI?

Google have showed their interest in AI and ML. They are incorporating AI and ML into their search algorithms, major google algorithms like PageRank, RankBrain, TF-IDF and many more uses AI and ML.



Last Updated : 30 Nov, 2023
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