Google’s SEO Alogrithm History
Google’s SEO algorithm history incomplete order from 2015 to the present time in July 2017. As you know Google uses multiple algorithms in each search query. I’ve gone out of the way to publish a list so my clients will have an understanding. A complete list of 2018 and 2021.
December 3/4 – This Google-announced core update is showing massive impacts. Early data suggests it is likely much bigger than the May 4 core update. The biggest changes were seen across the industry on December 4, 2020, but Google did not announce this update had finished rolling out until December 16, 2020
May 4, 2020: Announced Core Update. Google has told us that this update is connected to E-A-T, linking to their post on core updates. This update has affected a large number of websites strongly.
Google pre-announced a “site diversity” update, claiming it would improve situations where sites had more than two organic listings. Moz data showed that, while the update did marginally improve SERPs with 3-5 duplicate sites on page one, the impact was relatively small.
Google pre-announced a “core” update, but with limited details. Sites impacted in previous core updates seem to have been affected, in some cases, and some major UK publishers reported heavy losses. On average, the impact was smaller than the August “Medic” update, as measured by MozCast.
Two days in a row, Google confirmed indexing bugs. The first bug reportedly was preventing new content from being properly indexed. MozCast confirmed unusually high SERP flux from May 23-25 (peaking on the 23rd), but it’s unclear if this was directly related to the bugs.
Google confirmed a bug that dropped pages from the search index around the weekend of April 5th. Moz data suggested drops on April 5th and 7th, with about 4% of stable URLs falling off of page one. Most sites recovered soon after.
Google confirmed a “core” update, stating it was the third major core update since they began using that label. MozCast hit a peak of 101.2°F, a bit below March 1st temperatures. No specific details were given about the nature of the update.
For one day, Google showed anomalous page-1 counts, with up to 19 organic results. These appeared to be related to In-depth Articles, which disappeared entirely on March 6. MozCast reached 108.2°F, but it’s unclear how much of this was due to the temporary boost in organic counts.
After a relatively quiet December and January, tracking tools detected heavy ranking flux, with MozCast reaching 103.4°F.
- November 2, 2015 – Google’s App Interstitial ad penalty goes live.
- April 22, 2015 – Google’s Mobile Update, favoring mobile-friendly sites when searching on mobile devices
- May 6, 2015 – new Search Analytics in GWT allows you to see search query terms per landing page (vs. [not provided] in Google Analytics)
- June 3, 2015 – at SMX Advanced, Maile Ohye of Google mentions that interstitials that cover the page’s content cause the covered content to be seen as less important/relevant
- June 18, 2015 – Google core search algo update
- June 26, 2015 – spammy structured markup penalties
- July 3, 2015 – possible Penguin data update
- July 8, 2015 – Google+ reviews now available on mobile
- July 18, 2015 – Google Panda 4.2 starts to roll out
- August 14, 2015 – Google Panda 4.2 appears to have been rolled back
- October 2, 2015 – Gary Illyes confirms Google Panda 4.2 is still rolling out (or, is it rolling BACK out with some fixes?)
- October 27, 2015 – Google announces RankBrain, part of the Hummingbird portion of the ranking algorithm.