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Google Algorithm Update History

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You may be wondering if there was a recent Google update, or if a past Google update such as Penguin, Panda, Possum, or Fred impacted your website’s rankings and traffic. Google SEO changes happen daily, but not many website owners notice the slight changes. When the sensors notice an increase in ranking fluctuation across their data set, it usually means there is a new google SEO update that will impact a certain industry or a large number of websites.

Below you will find a list of Google updates to help you identify if your traffic fluctuation coincided with a recent Google Algorithm change to their data set, or if your website was manually or algorithmically penalized. The list includes both confirmed and unconfirmed Google algorithm updates for enterprise SEO and Local SEO to help you answer the question, “when did google change its search algorithm?”.

*on small screens, scroll right to see more info.

DateUpdateDescription of Update
3/12/19Florida 2 Core Algo UpdateDanny Sullivan of Google has confirmed that a broad core algorithm update had been released earlier this week. The update has been dubbed Florida 2 at Webmaster World forums. As it is a broad update, there are no specific changes to look out for. Updates like this focus on overall quality of the search and how well the results match the user’s intent.
3/1/19Google UpdateThe Sensor has been detecting an increase in SERP fluctuations. A lot of webmasters have also noticed shifts in rankings and have reported a significant Google Update.
2/22/19Volatility Spikes Continue Through FebruaryFebruary turned out to be a very interesting month in terms of SERP changes. Statistics point to a series of small Google algorithm updates, with peaks on February 7, 12 and 22. Although none of these updates were commented upon by Google officials, webmasters agree that updates did occur.
2/7/19Another Google UpdateIt seems that another unconfirmed Google update happened on February 7.
1/9/19Google UpdateBig swings in rankings across almost all categories.
1/7/19First Google Update of the YearThe New Year begins with what seems to be a monthly Google Update. Webmasters and the SEMrush Sensor have reported that a substantial update started around January 7.
1/6/19Google UpdateGoogle results are shaking up heavily for news related content. This may be a sign of a possible algorithm change.
12/21/18Google UpdateGoogle results are shaking up heavily for the news, sports, and entertainment categories. This may be a sign of a possible algorithm change.
12/16/18Google UpdateGoogle results are shaking up heavily for the news, and sports categories. This may be a sign of a possible algorithm change.
11/30/2018Google UpdateThere’re constant and massive tremors on Google search results, suggesting a significant algorithm update.
11/18/2018Google UpdateA higher than normal search volatility points to another unannounced Google algorithm update. This one seems to have been focused on the healthcare and finance industries.
11/1/2018Halloween UpdateHalloween Ranking Update - Many webmasters have reported scary shifts in search results.
10/9/2018Google UpdateThese last few months have seen some turbulence in the SERPs, with reports of shifts coming almost every week.
9/27/18Birthday UpdateGoogle confirmed they released a minor algorithm update on the company’s anniversary, September 27.
9/11/18Google UpdateHigh volatility combined with webmaster reports indicate another "silent" Google update.
8/1/18Search Quality UpdateGoogle confirmed that it has released a major search quality update to provide more relevant results.
7/22/18Google UpdateSearch results noticeably shifted, indicating that a regular Google Update is underway.
7/9/18Mobile Search Speed UpdatePage load speed is now confirmed ranking factor for mobile search.
6/16/18Signs of a Mid-June UpdateThe sensors showed a spike in volatility, and webmasters across the world reported shifts in traffic and positions.
5/24/18Google UpdateThe sensors detected a sudden volatility spike suggesting that Google rolled out another update.
4/17/18Core Algo UpdateGoogle confirmed that it released a core algorithm update.
3/26/18Mobile-First Indexing RolloutGoogle officially announced that mobile-first indexing is starting to roll out.
3/23/18Continuing Update SignalsEither a core update confirmed earlier this month continues to reverberate, or there was another update.
3/9/18Core Algo UpdateGoogle has confirmed that they released a core ranking algorithm update.
3/2/18Signs of an UpdateThere is not a complete consensus, though, and the update might be niche-specific.
2/21/18Significant UpdateWith the sensors having detected an unprecedented quake, it is clear that something happened.
1/23/18Series of Minor UpdatesAll signs look more like a series of smaller changes.
1/6/18Google Algo TweaksThe earlier changes that dealt with keyword permutations, PBNs and celebrity sites, were fine-tuned by Google.
12/25/17Spammy LinksThis update seems to target spammy link techniques, such as PBNs (Private Blog Networks).
12/13/17Pre-holidays UpdateAnalysis suggests that the update hit at least two website categories: - Sites with too many landing pages targeting KW permutations - Sites with too many ads or thin content
11/15/17Google UpdatePreliminary analysis of ranking fluctuations show that sites with lots of ads and thin content were affected.
10/8/17Columbus Day Weekend UpdateSensors reported high volatility and webmasters were talking about position shifts.
9/26/17SERPs Shuffle ContinuesAfter two significant volatility spikes, monitoring tools again reported that there were signs of a possible Google Update.
9/16/17Google UpdateMany users reported sudden shifts in their domain’s positions.
9/8/17Rankings UpdateIn a somewhat unusual pattern, webmasters began reporting shifts in positions and traffic almost two days earlier.
9/1/17AMP Pages / Featured SnippetGoogle pushed out an update that increases the page’s chances of getting into a Featured Snippet in mobile search if it is AMP-powered.
8/22/17Hawk Local Algorithm UpdateGoogle released a refined Possum algorithm update, dubbed "Hawk," which returned the majority of those businesses to the local pack. Nevertheless, businesses that share the same building can still be filtered out.
8/19/17Quality UpdateAnother quality update has been rolled out, penalizing sites with bad user experience, such as: - Thin content with lots of ads - Broken links and/or Flash - Low relevance to the query+C24
7/8/17Signs of a Google UpdateSensors and other tracking tools have shown increased volatility in Google search results over the weekend.
6/24/17Significant Google UpdateMany webmasters have confirmed that they’ve seen traffic changes. Despite all efforts, this analysis has revealed no patterns for the update.
6/14/17Small Google UpdateThere are some reports from webmasters who experienced traffic drops and rises.
5/17/17Weeklong UpdateAlthough this update may be caused by the recent drop of the Featured Snippet link from search results, it is not enough to completely explain the shifts.
4/4/17Small Google UpdateSensors report an increase in the amount of ads being shown, but there is no evidence that it is related to the update.
3/30/17Google tappable shortcuts on mobile webGoogle announced that a new version of its search app will now provide instant access to information related to sports, cafes and weather.
3/8/17’Fred’ UpdateGoogle confirmed that they released an update that target websites with "quality issues."
3/6/17More Top Stories in Related PicksGoogle added a new feature that allows users to see more AMPs in search results.
2/7/17Google Algorithm UpdateMany webmasters and tracking tools, including sensors, reported significant rankings changes in Google search results.
2/3/17Google Japan Quality PenaltyGoogle Japan has announced that they rolled out an update aimed at lowering rankings of websites that don’t bring high quality content to their users.
2/1/17Update Targeting PBNsThere seems to be a Google update penalizing PBNs (Private Blog Networks).
1/24/17Symptoms of a Google UpdateAlthough many tracking tools and webmasters reported multiple ranking and traffic changes, Google has not confirmed it released an update.
1/16/17MLK Day UpdateGoogle algorithm tracking tools and a webmasters noticed signs of a Google Update.
1/10/17Intrusive Interstitials Mobile PenaltyGoogle announced it will be penalizing mobile pages with interstitials. Including: - Pop-ups that cover the main content - Standalone interstitial that needs to be dismissed to access the main content - Hiding the main content below the fold
12/15/16Google Update SignalsThis may be a major Google update or continuing testing of mobile-first index, which was rolled out a month ago.
12/7/16Desktop Search UI UpdateGoogle updated the UI of its desktop search, bringing it closer to mobile UI.
11/30/16Google punish sites for bad UXThere was significant changes in traffic, particularly those with intrusive ads, mobile pop-ups and other bad user experience practices.
11/23/16AMP Carousels for Hotel ListingsGoogle now shows a new AMP Carousel for hotel listings in mobile search results.
11/18/16Reversal of a previous UpdatePart of the changes done by previous the update are reported to be reversed.
11/10/16Mobile UpdateSymptoms indicate testing of mobile-first index.
11/4/16Mobile-First Index ExperimentGoogle announced that they’ve launched an experiment to use mobile version of the website as primary source of content.
10/24/16Signs of a Google updateSeveral reported rankings changes in Google search results.
10/13/16Penguin 4.0 rollout completeGoogle confirmed that the rollout of Penguin 4.0 - which started on September 23rd - is completed.
10/5/16Google UpdateMay be a change in recent Penguin 4.0 or an unrelated algorithm update
9/28/16Penguin 4.0 Recoveries start to roll outPenguin 4.0 penalty recoveries started to roll out.
9/23/16Penguin 4.0 launchGoogle officially launched Penguin 4.0.
9/20/16AMPs indexed in organic searchGoogle has officially rolled out Accelerated Mobile Pages in organic search results around the world.
9/13/16Tweaks to previous weekend Google UpdateRanking fluctuations could be a sign that Google is tweaking the algorithm, but no official confirmation has been received.
9/2/16Google Core Algo WeekendUpdateChanges in core and local web search results have been widely reported by webmasters and ranking tools.
9/1/16Possum local algorithm launch1. Businesses that fall outside of the physical city limits saw a huge spike in ranking. 2. Google is now filtering based on address and affiliation. 3. The physical location of the searcher is more important than it was before. 4. Search results vary more based on slight variations of the keyword searched. 5. The local filter seems to be running more independently from the organic filter.
8/12/16Boost of HTTPS as Ranking SignalSources report increase of HTTPS sites in top results.
8/2/16Reversal of a previous UpdateThere is a possibility that Google reversed the changed happened a week ago.
7/26/16Possible Google UpdateWebmasters and tracking tools reported increased volatility in Google rankings.
6/26/16Evidence of an UpdateEvidence collected by a researcher suggests that there was a Google Update in June.
5/12/16Mobile Friendly BoostGoogle representatives announce completion of an update which improves positions of mobile-friendly websites.
1/16/16Burj Khalifa UpdateAnother core algorithm update confirmed by Google after significant fluctuations on the weekend.
1/8/16Google Core UpdateGoogle confirmed that they rolled out a core ranking algorithm update that took more than a week to complete.
10/26/15RankBrain IntroductionGoogle announced the usage of machine-learning algorithm called RankBrain to sort search results.
6/22/15Panda 4.2Google announced that it launched a Panda refresh, but it may take months to fully roll out.
5/3/15The Quality UpdateGoogle confirmed it made changes to its core ranking algorithm in terms of how quality signals are processed.
4/22/15Mobile Friendly UpdateGoogle began the global rollout of the mobile-friendly update that impacts search rankings on mobile devices only.
2/5/15Unnamed UpdateMultiple SERP-trackers and many webmasters reported major flux in Google Google search results.
12/22/14Pigeon ExpandsThe major local algorithm update, Pigeon, expanded to the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
11/13/14Google Drops Carousel for Local ListingsGoogle replaced its horizontal Carousel display of local search results by a 3-pack of organic listings.
10/24/14Google Pirate UpdateGoogle announced an update to its filtering system.
10/23/14Panda 4.1Google announced that the latest version of its Panda Update has been released
10/17/14Penguin 3.0Google updated their Penguin algorithm with version 3.0.
10/2/14In the News’ BoxGoogle made a change in the display of the News-box results, and expanded the news websites links set
8/24/14Authorship RemovedJohn Mueller announced that Google will completely stop showing authorship information in search results.
8/6/14HTTPS as rank signalGoogle announced their decision to start using HTTPS as a ranking signal.
7/24/14PigeonGoogle released a new local algorithm to provide more accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional ranking signals.
6/12/14Payday Loan 3.0The third version of PayDay Loan algorithm is officially announced, specifically targeting "very spammy queries"
5/19/14Panda 4.0Matt Cutts announced the release of a major Panda update, affecting different languages to different degrees.
5/16/14Payday Loan 2.0Google confirmed they have released a new algorithm update to their Payday Loan Algorithm update over this weekend.
3/24/14Unnamed UpdateMajor algorithm flux trackers and sites reported ranking changes.
2/6/14Top Heavy 3Google has released a refresh of its Page Layout Algorithm.
10/4/13Penguin 2.1The fifth confirmed release of Google’s "Penguin" spam fighting algorithm went live.
8/20/13HummingbirdGoogle announced they rolled out the update Humminbird one month ago, and it is an update of its core ranking algorithm
7/27/13Multi-Week UpdateA series of updates confirmed by Google.
5/22/13Penguin 2.0Google announced the new Penguin 2.0 update.
3/14/13Panda #25Final update before incorporation of Panda into the main algorithm.
1/22/13Panda #24Panda update announce by Google
12/21/12Panda #23Panda update announce by Google
12/4/12Knowledge Graph ExpansionGoogle added Knowledge Graph functionality to non-English queries, including Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, and Italian.
11/21/12Panda #22Google confirmed the 22nd Panda update, which appears to have been data-only.
11/5/12Panda #21 Google rolled out their 21st Panda update, roughly 5-1/2 weeks after Panda #20.
10/9/12Page Layout #2 Google announced an update to its original page layout algorithm change back in January, which targeted pages with too many ads above the fold.
10/5/12Penguin #3 After suggesting the next Penguin update would be major, Google released a minor Penguin data update, impacting "0.3% of queries".
9/27/12Panda #20 Overlapping the EMD update, a fairly major Panda update (algo + data) rolled out, officially affecting 2.4% of queries.
9/27/12Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update Google announced a change in the way it was handling exact-match domains (EMDs) resulting in a devaluation of those type of domains.
9/18/12Panda 3.9.2Google rolled out another Panda refresh, which appears to have been data-only.
8/20/12Panda 3.9.1Google rolled out yet another Panda data update, but the impact seemed to be fairly small.
8/14/127-Result SERPsGoogle made a significant change to the Top 10, limiting it to 7 results for many queries.
8/10/12DMCA Penalty ("Pirate")Google announced that they would start penalizing sites with repeat copyright violations, probably via DMCA takedown requests. Timing was stated as "starting next week" (8/13?).
7/24/12Panda 3.9Google rolled out a new Panda update. Rankings fluctuated for 5-6 days, although no single day was high enough to stand out. Google claimed ~1% of queries were impacted.
7/19/12Link WarningsIn a repeat of March/April, Google sent out a large number of unnatural link warnings via Google Webmaster Tools.
6/25/12Panda 3.8Google rolled out another Panda data refresh, but this appeared to be data only.
6/8/12Panda 3.7Google rolled out yet another Panda data update, claiming that less than 1% of queries were affect.
5/25/12Penguin 1.1Google rolled out its first targeted data update after the "Penguin" algorithm update.
5/16/12Knowledge GraphGoogle started rolling out "Knowledge Graph", a SERP-integrated display providing supplemental object about certain people, places, and things.
4/27/12Panda 3.6Google rolled out yet another Panda data update, and it seemed that the impact was relatively small.
4/24/12PenguinGoogle rolled out the "Webspam Update", which was soon after dubbed "Penguin." Penguin adjusted a number of spam factors, including keyword stuffing.
4/19/12Panda 3.5Google quietly rolled out a Panda data update that appeared to be a fairly routine update with minimal impact.
4/16/12Parked Domain BugGoogle confirmed that a data error had caused some domains to be mistakenly treated as parked domains (and thereby devalued).