List of Major Google Algorithm Updates

Would you be surprised to know that there are around 40,000 searches on Google per second? Well, that’s quite high statistics, but it’s true! The procedure to match relevant content with the terms you type in Google requires the use of complex algorithms and a set of automated data processing formulas.

Google is a vast repository of information in the form of pages and websites. But how does it make sure to give relevant information to the user out of this ocean of knowledge? To solve this problem, Google has a series of algorithms. Based on the keyword entered, locations, settings, expertise, and many more factors, Google comes up with the required list of web-pages relevant to your query.

Finding useful and relevant information on the World Wide Web is something that many of us take for granted.

Google has created certain algorithms for helping us find the right and useful information. These Google algorithms work by hunting for the web pages that contain the specific keywords you’re searching about and ranking each of the web pages based on several factors determined by Google. Higher ranked links then appear on the top of the Google search result page (SERP); those top ranking links are the best relating links as per your search query.

Each time Google updates a new algorithm, it’s moving a step further in making the user experience easy and more relevant. Being the world’s leading search engine, Google continues to update its algorithm and other key factors to be able to make the searcher’s hunger for more. They know that when people have the usual things from time to time, they will end up looking for something new. This is the reason why you too, need to get the latest Google update to be aware of the freshest things in store for you.

How Google Algorithm Works

With the amount of information available on the web, finding what you need would be nearly impossible without some help of sorting through it. Google raking system is designed just that sort thought hundreds and of billions of web-pages in our search index to find the most relevant useful results in a fraction of second. These ranking systems are made up of not one but whole series of algorithms. To give the most useful information, search algorithms look at many factors, including the word of the query, relevance, usability of pages, expertise of sources and your location setting. The weight applied to each factor varies depending on the nature of the query, for instance, the freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about the dictionary.

Well, there is no denial of the fact that Google algorithms are a complex system used to retrieve data from its search index which in turn helps in delivering a quick result for a query.

From time to time, Google keeps changing and updating its algorithms. 

The motive of these updates is to improve your experience with the search engine for promoting the most relevant content on the web. So, if you are willing to learn more about Google algorithms and it’s updated, then just keep on reading!


Google announced the BERT update on 25th October 2019 and it was called as the biggest change to Google search in the last 5 years. Google uses the BERT model for better understanding of search queries. According to Google, these changes impacted both search ranking and featured snippet and BERT will be used in 10 % of US English searches.

March 2019 Core Update (a.k.a. Florida 2)

Google’s latest Core update was introduced and confirmed by Liasion Danny Sullivan via X(Twitter). SEJ confirmed that this update is very important and is one of the biggest Google update of the year. In this update Google isn’t targeting any particular niche or any specific signals.

June 2019 Core Update

On June 2, Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan tweeted that Google will be releasing a new board core algorithm update on June 3. The next day Google confirmed the update was live and would be rolling out to its various data center over the coming days. As in this case with any broad core algorithm update, Google tells us there is nothing specific to fix because a core update encompasses a broad range of factors.

Broad Core Update

Google officially announced the Broad core update on 1 August 2018. This broad core update is an improvement to the overall Google algorithm that is used to understand user’s search queries and websites in a better way. These improvements aim to improve Google’s accuracy in matching search queries for better user experience and satisfaction.


Fred was launched on 8th March 2017 to filter out quality search results whose sole purpose is generating ad and affiliate revenue. This is the latest and updated Google’s algorithm that tracks down the ones that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines. How to stay safe when using Fred: Review Google’s guidelines and look for thin content.


Possum was launched on 1st Sept 2016 with the goal to deliver better, more diverse results based on the searcher’s location and the business address. This updated version helped in boosting businesses with a physical address, businesses outside physical city area and businesses. But the businesses that share an address with other similar businesses may be de-ranked in the search results. How to stay safe when using Possum: Do Geo-specific rank tracking and expand your list of local keywords.

Rank Brain

Rank Brain was launched on 26th October 2015 with the goal to deliver better search results based on relevance & machine learning. This machine learning system is well known for helping Google solve the meaning behind queries and to serve better search results. How to stay safe when using Rank Brain: Maximize user experience and do competition research.

Mobile-Friendly Update

The mobile-friendly update was launched on 21st April 2015 with the goal to offer mobile-friendly pages a ranking boost in mobile SERPs and de-rank pages that aren’t optimized for mobile. It was designed to make sure that pages optimized for mobile devices rank at the top of the mobile search and in the down list are pages that are not mobile-friendly. How to stay safe when using Mobile-friendly update: Go mobile cap and take the mobile-friendly test.


The Pigeon update was launched on 24th July 2014 with the goal to provide high quality, relevant local search results. Searcher’s location plays an important part in Google Pigeon’s task implementation. In this case, SEO ranking factors are used to rank local and non-local search results. How to stay safe when using Pigeon: Optimize your pages properly, by setting up a Google My Business page, make sure your NAP is consistent across your local listings and get featured in regular local directories.


Hummingbird was launched on 22nd August 2013 with the goal to produce more relevant search results by better understanding the meaning behind queries. This major algorithm can interpret search queries, particularly long conversational ones for providing results that match. How to stay safe when using Hummingbird: Expand your keyword research, discover the language your audience uses, ditch exact match and think for latest concepts.


Pirate was launched in August 2012 and its goal was to de-rank sites with copyright infringement reports. The pirate update was designed to prevent sites that have received numerous copyright infringement reports. Many well-known websites made pirated content and Google Pirate helped to reach them. You legally can’t distribute anyone’s content without the copyright owner’s permission.

Pay Day Algorithm

In May 2013, the major algorithm update that had everyone talking was the Pay Day loan update. This update was significant and impacted 0.3 % queries in the US. This was one of Google’s more significant updates, which targeted spam-my queries mostly associated with shady industries like super high interest loans and payday loans, porn, and other heavily spammed queries.


Penguin was launched on 24th April 2012 and its goal was to de-rank sites with spam-my, manipulative link profiles. Google Penguin works by identifying and down-ranking sites with unnatural link profiles deemed to be spamming the search results with the help of manipulative link tactics. How to stay safe when using Penguin: Monitor link profile growth, check for plenty of risks and get rid of harmful links.


Panda was launched on 24th Feb 2011 and its goal was to de-rank sites with low-quality content. Initially, Panda was more of a filter rather than a proper Google’s algorithm. It is used to assign a content quality score to web-pages. How to stay safe when using Panda: Check for duplicate content across your site, check for plagiarism, identify thin content, audit your site for keyword stuffing and fix the problems you find.

Google Algorithm Updates 2021

  • Page Experience Update (June 2021)

Google rolled out the page experience update this year in June. The update is also known as core web vitals. All the metrics are old but have been prioritized to measure out the visitor’s experience on the web page. The update focuses on the user experience and website stability. Below are the essential metrics.

Largest contentful paint (LCP): This metric measures the web page performance while loading. 

First Input Delay (FID): It measures how fast does the webpage interact with users.

Cumulative layout shift (CLS): It evaluates the visual stability of the website elements.

These metrics are not new, but according to the updates, these will highly impact the ranking and SEO of the websites. So, you need to take a few steps to improve your core web vitals.

  • Page Title Update (August 2021)

This year Google came up with another update known as Page title update (August 2021). According to this update, Google will no longer consider the search query to form the web page titles, rather than that, it will produce or generate the page titles that fits best. Irrespective of which search query the user enters, it will generate the page titles on its own. Well, this update of Google might help people in increasing the readability of their content.

When you search a query, Google will replace the page (HTML title tag) title of the resulting web page, if that doesn’t adequately address your query. The page title update retaliates to the changes done.

  • Link Spam update (June 2021)

The Link Spam update took more time than its actual rollout date. According to this update, Google will strictly focus on nullifying the out-of-context links. This is the best way to avoid getting detrimental. To avoid hurting your website rankings, use white hat SEO techniques. The update focuses on the websites that use white hat techniques. The best practice is to qualify the links with rel= “sponsored” for affiliate and sponsored links.

  • MUM update ( May 2021) (Multitask Unified Model)

In 2019, Google rolled out the BERT update, and now in 2021,  a significantly more powerful update, MUM, has been launched.  Well, whenever you have a complex query, Google will answer it easily. The MUM collects the information from different sources to answer you more simply.  This model has been devised to help you out with relevant and easy answers. MUM has the potential to understand different languages (75).  It is a saviour when you want to have detailed, long-form and friendly answers.

  • Product reviews update ( April 2021)

The new update launched by Google will focus on those product reviews. Reviews that deliver relevant and in-depth researched information about the product with genuine reviews will be rewarded. The review content based on original and in-depth analysis will receive genuine rewards from the search engine.

Google will promote the originally written content rather than written like a template. You may find a lot of product reviews that are in the form of an article or contain a bunch of products with general information.

Moreover, the regular core update and this standalone update is quite different from each other. Google shares some instructions while writing product descriptions, and these are:

Write expertly about the product.

Write more and well-researched information about the product.

Write about the product’s performance.

The content should help the consumers in making qualifying purchases.


  • Mobile-first indexing update ( March 2021)

As the number of mobile users is increasing, the approach to rank and index the websites as per mobile version became important. Thus Google launched out its update this year to concentrate on the responsiveness of websites. Mobile friendliness was an important part of websites ranking but, now it is a mandatory factor to rank the  content.

So, according to Mobile-first indexing update, Google bots crawl the websites and promotes the ones that fit perfectly according to the mobile version. Below are the instructions to follow to make your website mobile-friendly.

Focus on responsive layouts.

Use compressed images.

There are many more factors, but these are the basic ones that can make your website mobile-friendly.

  • About this result update (February 2021)

The giant search engine Google focuses more on the individual results. It is because Google wants to make it easier and helpful for the users to choose the best. This update informs the users about the following things:

When did the Google bot’s first index the page?

Page language

Whether the website connection is secure?

The benefits of the update are that users can save a lot of time, and secondly, it will help visitors to investigate the search results. In short, you get to know some facts about the websites.

  • Passage ranking update (February 2021)

Initially, the update was to launch in US English search result pages only but eventually rolled out globally. According to the update, Google not only ranks the web pages but also indexes the inside content. It is interesting because, in this way, the most effective and relevant paragraph will get featured in the search result.

The update aims to provide the users with quick and relevant answers as per their query to save time. You can optimise your page for this update by below instructions:

Write long-form of appropriate content and use the long-tail keywords.

Write eye-catchy and engaging content.

Ensure the web page structure is more comfortable for bots to crawl. 


Well, the bottom line is that Google is a search engine that will always find ways to optimize and innovate their search rankings and services for improving the overall user experience. As long as you focus on the proper practices and white hat techniques, Google updates won’t affect your rankings. The crucial part is remaining updated with the new updates and refining your digital marketing strategy timely. 

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