Timeline of Major Google Search Algorithm Updates

By Gordon Smith

Timeline of major Google updates. We don’t go into detail about the rollout of the Panda update which has been ongoing for several years.

Update nameDateCategoryEffectFurther reading
Medic21/08/2018Core updatesLocation and organic results affected.
Lifestyle, money and health websites largely affected.
https://www.mariehaynes.com/the-august-1-2018-google-update-strongly-affected-ymyl-sites/
Mobile-First Indexing26/03/2018Most websites moved to mobile-first indexing. Google now crawling most websites as if using a mobile instead of desktop.https://searchengineland.com/google-begins-rolling-out-mobile-first-indexing-to-more-sites-295095
Penguin 4.023/09/2016Core updates.
Penguin.
Penguin now part of the core algorithm instead of being run at various times.
https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/09/penguin-is-now-part-of-our-core.html
Mobile-Friendly 212/05/2016Mobile.
Google boost mobile-friendly sites further.https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/03/continuing-to-make-web-more-mobile.html
RankBrain26/10/2015Core updates.Machine learning now baked into the core algorithm.https://searchengineland.com/faq-all-about-the-new-google-rankbrain-algorithm-234440
Mobilegeddon22/04/2015Mobile.
Google announce that mobile and web results will now differ.https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html
Pigeon22/12/2014Local search.Improvements in local search results.https://searchengineland.com/google-pigeon-update-rolls-uk-canada-australia-211576
Pirate 2.021/10/2014CoreDownranking of pirate media websites.
HTTPS/SSL06/08/2014CorePreference now given to secure sites
Hummingbird20/08/2013CoreGoogle replaces its core engine with prior updates now baked in.https://searchengineland.com/google-hummingbird-172816
Penguin 2.022/05/2013Core. Penguin.
Exact Match Domain (EMD) 27/09/2012Core. Exact and keyword-match domains no longer given preference. https://moz.com/blog/googles-emd-algo-update-early-data
Penguin 1.024/04/2012Core.Spammy websites penalised. https://search.googleblog.com/2012/04/another-step-to-reward-high-quality.html
Freshness3/11/2011Core.Sites with up-to-date content rewarded.https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/giving-you-fresher-more-recent-search.html
Schema.org02/06/2011Google, Yahoo and Microsoft sign up to a uniform approach to machine-readable data.https://searchengineland.com/schema-org-google-bing-yahoo-unite-79554
Panda23/02/2011CoreSpammy website, thin content, content farms and built-for-ads sites downrankedhttps://www.wired.com/2011/03/the-panda-that-hates-farms/
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