According to various Google employees, around 600 smaller Google updates are made in the algorithm of the search engine giant every year. According to usvsukenglish, the search engine changes evaluation criteria for the ranking. Since the individual ranking factors are also not publicly known, SEO managers infer the individual changes based on press releases or publications from Google. After every update you can sometimes see a change in the ranking in the search results, depending on your own page structure. If these changes are negative, the content and structure of the website must be checked and adjusted in order to adapt to the update.
What types of updates are there on Google?
- Regular and recurring updates, which serve to improve the results (daily updates)
- Technical updates address certain technical requirements. That was, for example, the security (SSL), mobile capability and loading speed
- Updates which take up changed legal conditions in countries and check compliance (e.g. GDPR)
- Updates which deal with differences in the inputs. (Users are e.g. searching for a specific LOCATION or, in contrast, a WEBSITE with information)
- Updates to improve search queries and to combat manipulation, for example through an unnatural backlink profile or black hat SEO
In addition, there are updates which represent a comprehensive adjustment of the ranking factors. This is then called the Google Core Update.
What Google updates were there?
However, among these there are some that have a stronger influence on the ranking of websites. Here is a list of the most important Google updates:
Google Updates 2020
|Core update (May)
||According to BERT, the core update in May 2020 was also tough. In particular, domains with a weak backlink profile were re-rated. The search intentions of certain keywords were also re-examined.
|Core update (January)
||The first core update in January was also rolled out globally and affected all languages and topics. In addition to the effects on YLYM pages, there were also ranking movements, especially in the TOP 10 of the topics news, finance, online shopping, nutrition and law.
Google Updates 2019
||The update BERT (short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations Transformers) is one of the biggest recordings from Google. Every 10th search query should be affected by BERT. Thanks to this update, the search engine should be able to recognize the connections and search intentions even with long-tail search queries or more complex topics. In this way, more relevant, better results are to be presented.
|Core update (September)
||The third core update also dealt with video content, which was displayed even more strongly in the SERPS. In addition, this update acted globally and now also affected news and YMYL websites and portals of other topics.
|Core Update (June)
||Another core update in 2018, this was even announced by Google.
The consequences of the update were more video carousels in the SERPs and losses in the rankings on weaker news websites. Pages with strong authority won.
|Core Update (March)
||A core update as a result of the EAT update from 2018. Inquiries from the medical sector in particular won out if expertise and good user signals were available.
Google Updates 2018
|EAT update (August)
||This update is also known as “medic”, as websites in this area were particularly affected by it. The abbreviation stands for “Expertise – Authority – Trust” and is intended as a basis for assessing the quality of the content.
|Google Speed Update (July)
||This update was mainly about the loading times of mobile websites.
|Video Carousels Update (June)
||In the summer of 2018, video carousels were added to search results with this update. In the SERPS, these hits were then dropped.
|Mobile First Index Rollout (March)
||With this update, Google is responding to the trend that more and more users are visiting websites on mobile devices. The mobile version of a website has been rated higher than the desktop version since this update.
|Core Update (March)
||An update aimed at user intent and quality of websites. Pages that won the last core update also benefit now.
Google Updates 2017
|Snippet length update (November)
||Meta descriptions have been allowed to have 300 characters since November 2017. However, only until May 2008, when the extended length was reset.
|Chrome Security Update (October)
||Since this update, warnings have been given to all sites which are not SSL-encrypted.
||Pages with an above-average number of advertising banners were penalized. So if the website focused less on the user and more on generating sales, the penalty was applied. The name comes from a joke by a Google employee.
|Phantom V (February)
||Was not officially confirmed, but was shown by significant ranking losses of various comparison portals.
|Interstitial Penalty (January)
||Websites that disturbed the user experience with too many pop-ups received a penalty.
Google Updates 2016
|Penguin 4.0 (September)
||With this update, the search engine was able to check websites for SPAM in real time. This made the algorithm much more flexible. Penguin was included in the core algorithm.
|Phantom IV Update (May)
||The existence of this update has been confirmed, but nothing more. However, one could observe significant ranking losses, for example on portals such as billiger.de.
|Core update (January)
||This update aimed to improve the ranking based on quality characteristics. The important thing was not the scope of the content, but the quality of the content.
Google Updates 2015
||With this update, the search engine introduced self-learning systems for the first time. (KI) Adjustments are no longer made manually by this system. Thanks to RankBrain, 15% more search queries could be answered, which have now been recognized. The update uses user signals to assess the relevance of a page (length of stay, clicks, etc.)
|Panda 4.2. (July)
||An update that has been confirmed, but should only affect about 3% of all search queries. Further details were not given here either.
|The Quality Update (May)
||This update focused primarily on the quality of page content; Google itself did not comment on the details, but confirmed the update.
||An update that was primarily geared towards mobile friendliness. “Mobile friendliness” is introduced as a ranking factor. The update was even announced by Google to allow site operators to make adjustments.
Google Updates 2014
|Pirate Update (November)
||Enhanced anti-piracy update on the Internet (DMCA).
|Penguin 3.0 (October)
||More than a year after the last Penguin update, Google updated the algorithm. The “roll-out” of the update took several weeks. Google announced that from now on the Penguin Update will be updated regularly without this being announced separately.
|Panda 4.1 (September)
||A major Panda update. The update took a long time, which is why the exact point in time is not very clearly defined.
|HTTPS / SSL Update (August)
||Google announces that it will give pages with encryption a ranking bonus in the future.
||The local search results got a new ranking algorithm.
|No authorship pics (June)
||If results from Google Plus were still displayed with a picture of the author in the SERPs, the author picture has only been available in the personalized SERPs since then.
|Panda 4.0 (May)
||Although there have been about 25 changes to this update since the launch of Panda 1.0, Panda 4.0 seems to be something bigger. However, Google now not only punishes pages with dubious and bad content, but also rewards pages with good, editorial content in the rankings.
|Payday Loan 2.0 (May)
||No details, presumably the original update has been improved.
|Page Layout Update (February)
||Data refresh for “ad aboce the fold”, devaluations for too much advertising in the visible area will be tightened
Google Updates 2013
||Another step on the way to semantic search. This update probably affected the core of Google’s search algorithm. Long-tail search queries and keywords are given more consideration.
|In-Depth Articles (August)
||New type of search results. Articles that are timeless and of high quality are given greater consideration.
|Payday Loan (June)
||Pages that contain dubious topics (porn, poker, pills) will be penalized.
Google Updates 2012
|Exact Match Domain (September)
||Dubious pages whose keyword appears in the domain name will be punished (e.g. www.1000euroaneinemtag.de)
|Pirate Update / DMCA (August)
||Google provides a service to make it easier for you to prosecute copyright infringements on the Internet. This refers to the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act” which only applies in the USA. A similar law has existed in the European Union since 2001.
|Knowledge Graph (May)
||Google implements the “Knowledge Graph”, which provides simple information on search queries.
||Another “big” update like Panda. Keyword stuffing, link spam and other “ black hat ” techniques are affected.
||Search results are more closely adapted to the location of the searcher (if known).
|Page layout algorithm update
||Pages where advertising (ads above the fold) is disproportionately at the expense of the main content will be penalized.
|Search Your + World (January)
||Google supports its social network Google+ massively. The personal Google+ profiles and data are displayed in the SERPs.
Google Updates 2011
|Freshness Update (November)
||Google rewards websites whose owners take care to keep the content on their site up to date. See also ” Freshness Update “.
||Google, Yahoo and Microsoft jointly recommend the use of schema.org for better readability of websites by crawlers.
||The update with the greatest impact. Panda targets pages with thin / sparse content, link farming and massive use of advertising on web pages. Further Panda updates will follow until 2013/2014. According to Google, the Panda update is now being improved every month.
Google Updates 2010
|Social Signals (December)
||Google and Bing confirm that they include social signals in the ranking. From now on, SEOs are becoming more and more active in social networks.
||Google is generally getting faster, the index has been expanded, and crawled content is updated faster in the index.
|May Day (May)
||The update enabled Google to better handle long-tail keywords and penalized pages with massively little or sparse content. Forerunner of the panda update.
|Google’s Places (April)
||Originally just a feature in Google Maps, Google Places is now becoming an independent platform.
Google Updates 2009
|Real Time Search (December)
||Twitter feeds, Google news and newly indexed pages are implemented in the SERPs. Further social media sources will gradually be integrated into the SERPs.
||Big brands are given priority in Google search.
Google Updates 2008
|Google Suggest (August)
||The dropdown suggestions (“Suggest”) are implemented in the Google search input.
||Specifications of the update are unclear, presumably Google products (Google Books, Google Scholar, etc.) will receive preferential treatment in the search results.
Google Updates 2007
||No special update, just several smaller updates bundled into one.
|Universal Search (May)
||The Google search has been expanded: news, images, videos, platforms, etc…
Google Updates 2006
|Supplemental Update (November)
||General improvements to the index and the filter.
Google Updates 2005
|Big Daddy (December)
||Internal update, better handling of 301/302 redirects and canonical URLs.
||Targets link farms, reciprocal links, and paid links.
|Google Local (October)
||Google Maps implements Google Local.
|Personalized Search (June)
||Search results are now linked to your own search behavior.
|XML Sitemaps (June)
||For the first time, it was possible to submit XML sitemaps via Google Webmaster Tools, which gave SEOs little control over indexing and crawling.
||Better handling of duplicate content and non-canonical URLs (http://www.example.de vs. http://example.de).
||Effects unclear, presumably the “Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)” will be updated and punished for dubious / bad backlinks.
|Nofollow attribute (January)
||is being introduced simultaneously by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft (Bing).
Google Updates 2004
||The Google index is being expanded, paying more attention to the relevance of the anchor text and LSI, a synonym recognition.
||Addition to “Florida”; primarily aimed against hidden text and hidden links. Presumably the “Hilltop” algorithm was used.
Google Updates 2003
||One of the most far-reaching updates that threw the first public spotlight on the SEO scene. Many website operators lost rankings, especially technical SEO spam tactics were punished (keyword stuffing, hidden texts / links).
|Esmeralda & Fritz (June / July)
||Internal changes in the Google index. Among other things, the index is now updated daily.
||It is unclear what exactly the update did, there was probably a recalculation of backlink structures.
||Targets hidden links and links from co-domains.
||Targets low quality backlinks.