What is an algorithm update for Google?


A Google algorithm update is a modification that is made to Google’s search engine to enhance the accuracy, usefulness, and overall user experience of its search results. Google frequently modifies its search algorithm. While some improvements are too modest and sometimes go unreported, “core algorithm updates” can cause havoc with website metrics.

Core updates are “major, comprehensive changes to our search algorithms and systems” that are “intended to guarantee that generally, we’re delivering on our aim to display relevant and authoritative material to searchers,” according to Google.

We’ll examine the most important algorithm improvements that permanently altered search in this article.


2012 Update to the Webspam Algorithm (Penguin Update)

One of Google’s most notable algorithm upgrades was the Penguin Update. There are still several rules that apply today. The update was released on April 24, 2012. The main goal of this modification was to combat webspam. Many websites were found to be utilising unethical SEO tactics to manipulate their ranks; as a result, these websites suffered penalties.

The Panda algorithm upgrade, which was once again sent out to punish websites using black hat SEO tactics, was expanded upon by the Penguin algorithm. The Penguin update made sure that spammy links were devalued while authoritative and pertinent links rewarded the page they refer to.


Hummingbird Update for 2013

One of the most significant algorithm improvements is the Hummingbird update, which is thought to have changed the way search functions. The Hummingbird update was made available on August 20th, 2013. The change had indicated Google’s dedication to a more in-depth comprehension of searchers’ intentions in order to match them to results that were more pertinent to their needs.


Although the Hummingbird primarily focused on the knowledge graph and the semantic search parts, it had no appreciable negative effects on the search results. Hummingbird made considerable use of the context and the query’s intent to give results that fit the users’ needs, making local searches more accurate as a result.


Pigeon Update for 2014

On July 24, 2014, the Pigeon upgrade was launched for the first time. To fully utilise the ranking signals that go into the web algorithm, one of Google’s stated goals for the Pigeon update was to more closely integrate their local algorithm to their traditional web algorithm. The requirement for local businesses to have a significant online presence in order to compete for local rankings was further strengthened by these additional connections to the web algorithm.


Mobilegeddon Update for 2015

The Mobilegeddon upgrade went live on April 21st, 2015. The update concentrated on making the site pages more mobile-friendly. Google made a statement about the value of mobile-friendly pages and how they may improve user experience in February 2015. The desktop and tablet versions were unaffected by Mobilegeddon.


4.0 Penguin Update for 2016.

On September 23, 2016, Google’s Penguin 4.0 algorithm upgrade went live. As was previously mentioned, the Penguin update was implemented to penalise websites that make use of unethical SEO practises. One of the main goals of the Penguin update was to penalise websites that engage in spam link building.


FRED Update 2017

The Google Fred update went live on March 7, 2017. Many affiliate sites were impacted by this upgrade since it was implemented in an effort to eliminate low-quality results, i.e., websites that mainly relied on thin content and ad placements. The affected websites’ objective was to provide high-quality material that would draw high-quality links.


Broad Core Algorithm Update for March 2018

On March 7, 2018, Google’s broad core upgrade began to go out. Again, the E-A-T criteria that we previously addressed served as the foundation for this Broad Core Update. During this time, a lot of websites that were working on enhancing the authority and quality of their content saw an increase in traffic.


Core Algorithm Update for March 2019

The Core upgrade started on March 12th, 2019. The main focus of the update was to continue optimising Google’s search results, which mostly focused on health-related issues. The websites in the YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) sector that were perceived as having a higher level of “trust” were given a lot more exposure.

Core Update for 2020

The main update was released on January 13, 2020. Other than these top niches, practically every category witnessed volatility throughout the update, including Sports & News, Arts & Entertainment, Games, and Finance.


Update to the 2021 Broad Core Algorithm

On June 2, 2021, and continuing until June 12, 2021, Google handed out their core upgrade. The update was released in two parts, the second of which was released between July 1 and July 12, 2021. It was a global update that didn’t target any one location, language, or section of the website. While some websites saw an increase in their rankings, others saw a decline in the SERPs. The new change is anticipated to provide more weight to traditional On-Page and Off-Page indicators including domain age, domain authority, backlinks, and others.