Search Engine Optimization

Major SEO Updates & Algorithm Modifications By Google

The competition is cutting- edge and everyone in this digital world wants to be on top. With the millions of websites on internet, the task of achieving the highest rank among all is a complicated one. With the sole objective for businesses to gain a higher search engine ranking and to keep the rank intact, users need to be very observant on all that is continuously changing in the field of digital marketing.

Google holds the reign of ranking for a website through SEO and has time and again brought about updates in it. All these changes that are introduced are connected to the alterations made in Google’s algorithm that are meant for the search engines.Google’s latest SEO updates are all focused on improving the web search for the users and for this Google has implemented immense number of updates for the marketers to follow and enhance their ranking consistently. Check out some of the latest updates that Google introduced for the users in recent months.

1. Google Panda

  • Panda/Farmer- February 23, 2011
  • The change was brought about for the content farms who were gaining higher rank in search results and targets the “Scraper” sites who were pulling content from other sites.

  • Panda 2.0 (#2) — April 11, 2011
  • This change helped in detecting the content quality by going digging deeper into low-quality websites.

  • Panda 2.1 (#3) — May 9, 2011
  • Dubbed as Panda 3.0 it has not brought any major changes on the ranking of website.

  • Panda 2.2 (#4) — June 21, 2011
  • It was released to improve scraper detection

  • Panda 2.3 (#5) — July 23, 2011
  • This update would help in indicating the difference between high and low quality sites.

  • Panda 2.4 (#6) — August 12, 2011
  • This algorithm returns the user with high-quality content for different languages other than English

  • Panda 2.5 (#7) — September 28, 2011
  • No specific details were shared but it cost losses to many sites.

  • Panda "Flux" (#8) — October 5, 2011
  • Some issues that resulted in decline of organic search in sites

  • Panda 3.1 (#9) — November 18, 2011
  • A little update that effected <1% of searches.

  • Panda 3.2 (#10) — January 18, 2012
  • This update resulted in ranking and indexing changes on the suffering web sites.

  • Panda 3.2 (#10) — January 18, 2012
  • This change resulted in refreshing data of the entire Panda system bringing more accuracy in it.

  • Panda 3.4 (#12) — March 23, 2012
  • Impacted around 1.6% of low quality websites

  • Panda 3.5 (#13) — April 19, 2012
  • A routine update with almost negligible impact

  • Panda 3.6 (#14) — April 27, 2012
  • Without much of an impact, the update was not clearly mentioned.

  • Panda 3.7 (#15) — June 8, 2012
  • The update was meant to refresh the Panda affecting less than 1% of search queries.

  • Panda 3.8 (#16) — June 25, 2012
  • The change was seen on the refreshing the data rather than any algorithm

  • Panda 3.9 (#17) — July 24, 2012
  • This Panda refresh brought about some changes in the 1% of search results.

  • Panda 3.9.1 (#18) — August 20, 2012
  • It resulted in affecting 1% of search queries.

  • Panda 3.9.2 (#19) — September 18, 2012
  • The update brought about changes in less than 0.7% queries with a refresh.

  • Panda 3.9.2 (#19) — September 18, 2012
  • The Panda refresh was limited to data only with minor changes in ranking flux.

  • Panda #20 — September 27, 2012
  • An update to the algorithm and not just data, this has overlapped EMD update affecting new and older sites in English and other languages as well.

  • Panda #21 — November 5, 2012
  • The update impacted 0.4% of search queries with 1.1% in United States in English.

  • Panda #22 — November 21, 2012
  • Its release effected 0.8% of queries in English.

  • Panda #23 — December 21, 2012
  • This update impacted about 1.3% of English queries

  • Panda #24 — January 22, 2013
  • As oppose to the previous change it effected only 1.2% of queries

  • Panda #25 — March 14, 2013
  • This update was expected to be the last Panda refresh into normal Google processes.

  • Panda 4.0 (#26) — May 19, 2014
  • This was the release of 4.0 version of Panda. It was a major update of algorithm rather than just a data refresh that affected 7.5% of English queries

  • Panda 4.1 (#27) — September 23, 2014
  • The latest update uses a filter to penalize the thin or poor content and is going to affect 3-5% of queries.

  • Panda 4.2 (#28) — July 17, 2015
  • This was technically a refresh and affected 2-3% of search results.

2. Google Penguin

  • Penguin — April 24, 2012
  • This was a new algorithm to catch sites which were spamming its searches and penalize them for using too many links and ads. This was names “website algorithm update”

  • Penguin 1.1 (#2) — May 25, 2012
  • The webspam was aimed where <0.1% of English searches were affected who were not following Google’s quality guidelines.

  • Penguin #3 — October 5, 2012
  • The latest data refresh of the algorithm affected queries across different languages.

  • Penguin 2.0 (#4) — May 22, 2013
  • This update affected around 2.3% of English queries

  • Penguin 2.1 (#5) — October 4, 2013
  • This was an improved version of Penguin 2 affecting 1% of English queries

  • Penguin 3.0 — October 17, 2014
  • This was a data refresh affecting <1% of queries and helped sites in recovering from previous updates and removed sites with low quality links.

  • Penguin 4.0 Announcement — September 23, 2016
  • After this update, it was declared that Penguin works in real time with website refresh and has become more granular by adjusting the ranking of sites based on some spam signals.

  • Penguin 4.0, Phase 1 — September 27, 2016
  • This update just devalued bad links rather than penalizing the sites.

  • Penguin 4.0, Phase 2 — October 6, 2016

This update was the reverse of all previous penalties

3. Google Fred

The update that came around unconfirmed on March 8, 2017 that is more ¬¬-of a spam algorithm update around links. But, after this update release, many automated tracking tools showed some fluctuations in their working. There have also been a complaint about decrease in ranking by the webmasters.

4. An Unconfirmed Algorithm Update- February 2017

It was not clearly detected whether this update pertains to Google Penguin or is its some new algorithm altogether but it brought about some changes after its release. It was seen that:

  • Private blog networks were not working properly
  • Google became slow while picking links
  • Some sites were penalized
  • The search result tracking tools showed some disturbance.

5. Intrusive Interstitial Penalty (The Popup Penalty) – Jan 10, 2017

Google announced its new update with regards to unwanted mobile pop-ups. Google will be seen on focusing over three types:

  • Pop-ups that appear instantly after any clicking site or while scrolling through them.
  • Interstitials that appear in between before the user reaches the main content of the site.
  • Layouts that mimic a welcome design that makes the user scroll past or above the fold graphic whereas the original content lies beneath this.

6. Mobile Friendly Update

Released on April 21, 2015 was aimed to ensure that the pages that are mobile friendly should rank at the top of mobile searches where the optimized pages are the major factor in ranking.

This update meant to look out for:

  • Pages which were not meant for mobile
  • Unsuitable viewport configuration
  • Improper and low quality content
  • Use of inappropriate plugins on sites

7. Rank Brain

Launched around October 26, 2015, it is a machine learning system that will Google in decoding the meaning of search queries and provide the best possible results. Along with this, Rank Brain can learn more about the page and the importance of search results and identify the relevant features on pages in the index.

8. Google Possum

Brought about in September 1, 2016, this update is used as a filter for Google’s local ranking. Depending on the searches, Google returns the results as per the physical location if the searcher and also looks after the phrasing of the query. But, somehow it affected-

  • Businesses sharing the physical address of another business
  • The rivals whose address is closer to the searcher’s physical location.

9. Google Pirate

Released on August 2012, its main objective was to prevent sites that have received numerous copyright infringements reports from getting a higher rank in Google search. Thus, it attacked the pirated content that were openly available to visitors.

10. Google Hummingbird

Introduced in August 22, 2013 was a substantial algorithmic change that interpreted search queries and provide better search results. Google has shown more theme-related SERP’s that might not have the given keywords but still would fulfil the searcher’s intent.

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1 Comment

  1. Sunny

    Very Good Article,Thank For Sharing Keep Up The Good Work.

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Major SEO Updates & Algorithm Modifications By Google