A Brief History of Google Algorithm Updates



1. Panda

panda-311294__340Google Panda was released in February 2011 which is a major change to Google’s search results ranking. The change aimed to lower the rank of low-quality sites or thin sites in particular content and return higher-quality  sites in the top of the search results.

  • Duplicate content
  • Thin content
  • Keyword stuffing

2. Penguin


Google Penguin is a update that was first announced on April 24, 2012. The update is aimed at decreasing search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using black-hat SEO techniques. It means artificially increasing the ranking of a webpage by manipulating the number of links pointing to the page.

  • Links  from “spammy” sites



Pirate was designed to prevent sites with many copyright infringement reports. Pirate targets  websites that Google recognises to be in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

4. Hummingbird


Hummingbird was launched in September 2013. Its name was derived from the speed and accuracy of the hummingbird. It emphasis on natural language queries, considering context and meaning over individual keywords. It also looks deeper at content on individual pages of a   website, to lead users directly to the most appropriate page rather than just a website’s homepage.

5. Pigeon


Google Pigeon altered the results for queries in which the searcher’s location plays an important part. This update uses location and distance as a key factor in ranking the results.

6. Mobile Friendly Update


Google’s Mobile Friendly Update ensures that pages optimized for mobile devices rank at the top of mobile search and non mobile friendly websites may go down. It is an important ranking factor.

6. RankBrain


RankBrain is an algorithm learning artificial intelligence system, which was confirmed by Google on 26 October 2015. It helps Google to process search results and provide more relevant search results for users. Google commented that RankBrain was the third most important factor in the ranking algorithm along with links and content.

RankBrain has allowed Google to speed up the algorithmic testing it does for keyword categories to attempt to choose the best content for any particular keyword search. This means that old methods of gaming the rankings with false signals are becoming less and less effective and the highest quality content from a human perspective is being ranked higher in Google.

7. Possum


Possum update ensures that local results may vary depending on the searcher’s location,  the closer business’s address are more likely to see it among local results. , Google returns more varied results depending on the physical location of the searcher.

8. Fred


Fred targets websites that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines. Filter out low quality search results whose sole purpose is generating ad and affiliate revenue.




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