The SEO Guy

History of Google Algorithm Updates

Google’s algorithms are complicated computer programs that find relevant search results quickly and accurately from their search database. The search engine categorizes website results by relevance using algorithms and other ranking factors (SERPs).

Google’s early years saw relatively few algorithmic adjustments. As a result, Google now undergoes tens of thousands of updates annually.

The vast majority of these changes are so subtle that they are overlooked. However, Google occasionally releases substantial algorithm upgrades that have a noticeable effect on search engine results pages (SERPs), such as:

  • Jagger
  • Florida
  • Big Daddy
  • Vince
  • Panda
  • Caffeine
  • Freshness Algorithm
  • Venice Update
  • Page Layout Algorithm
  • Penguin
  • Payday
  • EMD (Exact Match Domain)
  • Pigeon
  • Hummingbird
  • Mobilegeddon
  • RankBrain
  • Quality Updates
  • Fred

Listed below are all of the launches, updates, and refreshes to Google’s algorithm that has occurred over the years, along with links to resources for SEO experts who wish to learn more about these updates.

All Updates

Helpful Content Update

With the release of its new update, Google’s algorithm prioritizes material that is useful to humans over content optimized for search engines.

On August 25, Google announced the rollout of the helpful content upgrade on its search rankings update page.

Here are seven tips from Google to help you put readers first when crafting your content.

  • Stay on track and avoid straying too much from your primary point of discussion.
  • Exhibit First-Hand Knowledge
  • Avoid cramming too much information into one page, but answer users’ queries thoroughly.
  • Don’t Forget About The Reader As A Whole
  • Please do not provide an answer to a question for which there is currently no definitive solution.
  • Regarding Other Significant Changes, Observe Google’s Recommendations

Moreover, this change only applies to English-language queries but will eventually roll out to other languages.

Google promises that this isn’t the last time we’ll see a useful content update from them. In its original announcement, Google promised to keep improving its ability to identify harmful content.

It is the fourth upgrade from Google aimed at weeding out low-quality reviews, and Google has confirmed that it has begun rolling out with the July 2022 product review update.

This March 2021 change to Google’s product review algorithm is a revision of the company’s previous March 2020 “useful content” update.

Reviews that provide in-depth research will be favored by the algorithm above those that merely paraphrase the information available on the manufacturer’s website.

What effect will it have on you?

You don’t need to take any action in response to this change if you don’t include product reviews on your site. Not all search results will be affected because this is not a major change.

Even if you allow consumers to leave reviews on your product pages, this revision does not apply to you because these comments are not the same as a review article.

Long-form product review sites, like Wirecutter and CNET, will benefit from this revision.

May 2022 Core Update

AI Generated Content according to May 2022 Core Update; Only content that is artificially generated to manipulate search results is considered to be against Google’s standards.

Suppose artificial intelligence-generated material begins to see a significant drop in rankings after the May 2022 core upgrade. In that case, the reason presumably lies in the fact that it wasn’t being employed in a manner consistent with Google’s criteria.

Google may be improving at telling the difference between AI material intended to influence results and AI content that adds value.

Recently, we published the findings of an experiment showing that AI-generated material often performs best when used to supplement information created by humans.

March 2022 Product Algorithm Update

The updated Google product review algorithm will be released in March 2022, expanding on the previous year’s changes. Building on the foundation of last year’s product review changes, Google releases a third algorithm upgrade to the search results page for product reviews.

In April 2021, an upgrade to the product review algorithm was released to favor information based on original research. In December, we saw a second revision to our product reviews. The most recent change is part of Google’s ongoing attempt to prioritize authoritative reviews of products in search results.

Moreover, Google has stated that the modification will take several weeks to spread and affect the rankings of English-language product evaluations across “many” sites.

 Google confirms desktop page experience change is complete. Now evaluate the results. The desktop upgrade started on February 22 and ended on March 3. With Google’s desktop release finalized, you can examine its influence on your search rankings.

Desktop Page Experience Update Criteria

Google’s desktop page experience improvement uses many of the same ranking elements as mobile search.

Desktop page rankings include:

  • Core Web Vitals (LCP + CLS + FID)
  • HTTPS Security
  • Absence of interstitials

If your website doesn’t fulfill the criteria mentioned above, you won’t get the desktop page ranking boost. Your site’s ranking reduction doesn’t mean it doesn’t match Google’s page experience requirements, and it means Google-compliant sites may rank above you, lowering your pages’ rankings. Improving page experience might help you restore rankings and stay competitive. However, it is simple to determine which element of the updated page experience you should concentrate on.

  • If your site is HTTPS, it can be ruled out.
  • It can be ruled out if your website does not contain obtrusive advertisements.
  • Does your website meet Core Web Vitals criteria? If you’re unsure, you’ll have to try it.

December 2021 Product Review Update

Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update started rolling out for English pages and will take three weeks. April saw another algorithm modification, and Websites that have improved since the last update may show those changes in the current one.

Best New Product Reviews

  • The first criterion for a product review page is proof that the reviewer used the product.
  • The second requirement is that product reviews offer multiple buying options.

Google suggests:

  • Share performance metrics for a product
  • Explain how well a product has improved from past versions or releases to help users make a purchase choice.
  • Describe how design choices affect people beyond what the vendor states.
  • Include connections to other materials (yours or others) to help readers decide.

November 2021 Local Search Update

Note that the relative importance of each ranking element given in Google’s help guide has been recalculated. The following are the ranking elements for Google’s local search results:

  • Exactly how closely a given local Business Profile corresponds to a given search.
  • The distance between a given search result and the specified location is known as the “distance.”
  • A measure; of how well recognized a company

Google never reveals each ranking factor’s weight. Rebalancing your efforts may be the best response to this upgrade. If you focused on relevancy by filling out your Google Business Profile, maybe it’s time to focus on popularity.

November was a big month for SEO, with Google algorithm updates. It should be easy to see if the November 2021 local search change affected you. 

Broad Core Update

The November 2021 Core Update from Google has completed its rollout. Here is how search marketers think it affected websites:

If your site’s ranking has recently moved up or down, you shouldn’t expect any big adjustments until the next time the algorithm is updated. The algorithm upgrade might not have caused the observed traffic shifts around its release date. Though coincidences are possible, your chances are low.

Recent alterations are probably going to stick around until the next update. Before then, we should only see the normal, daily fluctuations in the position that result from a dynamic search index. Today’s search rankings are more fluid and sensitive to changes in links and content than those of the past when the search index stayed static for months at a time. The fundamental processes themselves remain the same.

Google Spam Update

Google’s spam upgrade is complete, the company confirms. Google routinely adjusts its search results to reduce spam. This year, Google released three spam updates, and this is Google’s fourth anti-spam update this year.

Google’s modifications keep 99% of search results visits spam-free. Google’s automatic systems blocked 25 billion bogus pages daily last year. Websites following Google’s webmaster standards shouldn’t worry about these spam changes.

Google considers low-quality sites that deceive users into revealing personal information or installing malware spam. Phishing scams and fake websites are also spam; Google does not consider low-quality content spam. “Spam” has an evil purpose under Google’s standards.

Even sites that follow Google’s criteria may be guilty of spam. Unsecured websites can be hacked and provide spam and malware to users. Google updates spam, whether it’s hacked or purposeful. The site owner is responsible for keeping hacked websites secure. Google’s annual spam report indicates a rise in hacked spam. If your site’s rankings decline after this month’s spam update, search for indicators of an attack.

Google Link Spam Algorithm Update

On August 24, Google finalized its update to its system that deals with spammy links. Google Search Central first promised a two-week deployment window, but the process took the full four weeks.

Assessing the Effects of the Update

Search engine optimizers use Google Analytics and other keyword tracking tools whenever a new update is released to see how it can affect their clients’ sites. There is difficulty in gauging the effect of the Link Spam Update.

It’s happening at the same time as something called “Titlepocalypse.” And that doesn’t even account for the other, smaller changes that Google is always releasing without necessarily confirming. Therefore, success or failure may be attributable to this update, another update, or an entirely different one.

July 2021 Core Update Completed

The upgrade to Google’s core algorithms announced in July 2021 has now been implemented. Changes you observe in rankings in the future will likely result from natural fluctuation in the results.

As a result, the new search index should be fully implemented across all data centers, and the search results should stabilize. If you drop the rankings, you can stop hoping for a miracle and start investigating what went wrong.

July 2021 Core Update

Google launched an upgrade to its core algorithm last year on July 1, 2021. The fundamental update from the previous month has been carried over into this one. Google said they had more planned for the June core update but just ran out of time. Recent releases likely represent the final adjustments Google planned to make to the June update.

A complete upgrade rollout usually takes between one and two weeks. Its essential functionality has not changed, so Google’s recovery advice for this update is the same as for previous major releases.

Spam Update Part 2

Spam you should stay away from. The following is a partial list of Google-related spam types:

  • Auto-generated content
  • Link schemes
  • Cloaking
  • Doorway pages
  • Abusing structured data
  • Hidden text or links
  • Scraped content
  • June 2021 Spam Update
  • Page Experience Update
  • June 2021 Spam Update
  • Page Experience Update
  • Known Victims Protection
  • Broad Core Algorithm Update
  • Product Reviews Update
  • Passage Ranking
  • December 2020 Core Update 
  • May 2020 Core Update
  • Featured Snippet Deduplication
  • January 2020 Core Update
  • BERT (Worldwide)
  • BERT Update
  • Broad Core Algorithm Update
  • Featured Snippets Update
  • June 2019 Core Update
  • March 2019 Core Update (a.k.a. Florida 2)
  • Valentine’s Day Update
  • Unconfirmed Halloween Update
  • A “Small” Update
  • Broad Core Algorithm Update
  • Broad Core Algorithm Update
  • Broad Core Algorithm Update
  • Maccabees Update


Google Algorithm is a set of rules that Google uses to rank websites in its search engine results. The algorithm is a secret and constantly changing, which makes it hard for web admins to keep up. We know that the algorithm looks at many factors to determine a website’s ranking.

These include the quality of the content, the site’s history, the number of other sites linking to it, and much more. That’s why creating high-quality content and building links from other reputable websites are important. If you do this, you stand a good chance of ranking well in Google search results.