Panda #25 March 14, 2013
Panda #24 January 22, 2013
Panda #23 December 21, 2012
Right before the Christmas holiday, Google rolled out another Panda update. They officially called it a "refresh", impacting 1.3% of English queries. This was a slightly higher impact than Pandas #21 and #22.
Confirmed: A Panda Refresh, Version #23 (SER)
Knowledge Graph Expansion December 4, 2012
Google added Knowledge Graph functionality to non-English queries, including Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, and Italian. This update was "more than just translation" and added enhanced KG capabilities.
Get smarter answers from the Knowledge Graph from Portugus to Japanese to Russian (Google)
Googles Knowledge Graph Expands To More Languages, Including Italian, French, Japanese And Russian (TechCrunch)
Panda #22 November 21, 2012
Panda #21 November 5, 2012
Page Layout #2 October 9, 2012
Penguin #3 October 5, 2012
August/September 65-Pack October 4, 2012
Google published their monthly (bi-monthly?) list of search highlights. The 65 updates for August and September included 7-result SERPs, Knowledge Graph expansion, updates to how "page quality" is calculated, and changes to how local results are determined.
Search quality highlights: 65 changes for August and September (Google)
Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update September 27, 2012
Panda #20 September 27, 2012
Panda 3.9.2 (#19) September 18, 2012
Panda 3.9.1 (#18) August 20, 2012
7-Result SERPs August 14, 2012
DMCA Penalty August 10, 2012
June/July 86-Pack August 10, 2012
Panda 3.9 (#17) July 24, 2012
A month after Panda 3.8, Google 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.
Official: Google Panda 3.9 Refresh (SER)
Link Warnings July 19, 2012
Panda 3.8 (#16) June 25, 2012
Panda 3.7 (#15) June 8, 2012
Penguin 1.1 (#2) May 25, 2012
Google rolled out its first targeted data update after the "Penguin" algorithm update. This confirmed that Penguin data was being processed outside of the main search index, much like Panda data.
Google Releases Penguin Update 1.1 (SEL)
Knowledge Graph May 16, 2012
April 52-Pack May 4, 2012
Panda 3.6 (#14) April 27, 2012
Panda 3.5 (#13) April 19, 2012
In the middle of a busy week for the algorthim, Google quietly rolled out a Panda data update. A mix of changes made the impact difficult to measure, but this appears to have been a fairly routine update with minimal impact.
Google Mocks Me For Missing Panda 3.5 (SER)
Parked Domain Bug April 16, 2012
March 50-Pack April 3, 2012
Panda 3.4 (#12) March 23, 2012
Google announced another Panda update, this time via Twitter as the update was rolling out. Their public statements estimated that Panda 3.4 impacted about 1.6% of search results.
Google Says Panda 3.4 Is Rolling Out Now (SEL)
Search Quality Video March 12, 2012
This wasn't an algorithm update, but Google published a rare peek into a search quality meeting. For anyone interested in the algorithm, the video provides a lot of context to both Google's process and their priorities. It's also a chance to see Amit Singhal in action.
Video! The search quality meeting, uncut (Google)
Panda 3.3 (#11) February 27, 2012
February 40-Pack (2) February 27, 2012
Google published a second set of "search quality highlights" at the end of the month, claiming more than 40 changes in February. Notable changes included multiple image-search updates, multiple freshness updates (including phasing out 2 old bits of the algorithm), and a Panda update.
Search quality highlights: 40 changes for February (Google)
February 17-Pack February 3, 2012
Ads Above The Fold January 19, 2012
Panda 3.2 (#10) January 18, 2012
Search + Your World January 10, 2012
January 30-Pack January 5, 2012
December 10-Pack December 1, 2011
Panda 3.1 (#9) November 18, 2011
After Panda 2.5, Google entered a period of "Panda Flux" where updates started to happen more frequently and were relatively minor. Some industry analysts called the 11/18 update 3.1, even though there was no official 3.0. For the purposes of this history, we will discontinue numbering Panda updates except for very high-impact changes.
Google Panda 3.1 Update: 11/18 (SER)
10-Pack of Updates November 14, 2011
Freshness Update November 3, 2011
Query Encryption October 18, 2011
Panda "Flux" (#8) October 5, 2011
Panda 2.5 (#7) September 28, 2011
516 Algo Updates September 21, 2011
This wasn't an update, but it was an amazing revelation. Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Congress that Google made 516 updates in 2010. The real shocker? They tested over 13,000 updates.
Eric Schmidt's Congressional Testimony (SEL)
Pagination Elements September 15, 2011
Expanded Sitelinks August 16, 2011
Panda 2.4 (#6) August 12, 2011
Panda 2.3 (#5) July 23, 2011
Panda 2.2 (#4) June 21, 2011
Panda 2.1 (#3) May 9, 2011
Panda 2.0 (#2) April 11, 2011
The +1 Button March 30, 2011
Panda/Farmer February 23, 2011
Attribution Update January 28, 2011
In response to high-profile spam cases, Google rolled out an update to help better sort out content attribution and stop scrapers. According to Matt Cutts, this affected about 2% of queries. It was a clear precursor to the Panda updates.
Algorithm Change Launched (Matt Cutts)
Latest Google Algorithm change (Search News Central)
Social Signals December 2010
Negative Reviews December 2010
Instant Previews November 2010
A magnifying glass icon appeared on Google search results, allowing search visitors to quickly view a preview of landing pages directly from SERPs. This signaled a renewed focus for Google on landing page quality, design, and usability.
Beyond Instant Results: Instant Previews (Google)
Google Instant September 2010
Brand Update August 2010
Although not a traditional algorithm update, Google started allowing the same domain to appear multiple times on a SERP. Previously, domains were limited to 1-2 listings, or 1 listing with indented results.
Google Search Results Dominated By One Domain (SEL)
Caffeine (Rollout) June 2010
Google Places April 2010
Although "Places" pages were rolled out in September of 2009, they were originally only a part of Google Maps. The official launch of Google Places re-branded the Local Business Center, integrated Places pages more closely with local search results, and added a number of features, including new local advertising options.
Google Local Business Center Becomes "Google Places" (SEL)
Introducing Google Places (Google)
Real-time Search December 2009
This time, real-time search was for real- Twitter feeds, Google News, newly indexed content, and a number of other sources were integrated into a real-time feed on some SERPs. Sources continued to expand over time, including social media.
Google Launches Real Time Search Results (SEL)
Caffeine (Preview) August 2009
Rel-canonical Tag February 2009
Google Suggest August 2008
In a major change to their logo-and-a-box home-page Google introduced Suggest, displaying suggested searches in a dropdown below the search box as visitors typed their queries. Suggest would later go on to power Google Instant.
Google.com Finally Gets Google Suggest Feature (SEL)
Dewey April 2008
A large-scale shuffle seemed to occur at the end of March and into early April, but the specifics were unclear. Some suspected Google was pushing its own internal properties, including Google Books, but the evidence of that was limited.
Google's Cutts Asking for Feedback on March/April '08 Update (SERoundtable)
Universal Search May 2007
While not your typical algorithm update, Google integrated traditional search results with News, Video, Images, Local, and other verticals, dramatically changing their format. The old 10-listing SERP was officially dead. Long live the old 10-listing SERP.
Google 2.0: Google Universal Search (SEL)
False Alarm December 2006
There were stirrings about an update in December, along with some reports of major ranking changes in November, but Google reported no major changes.
Google Update Debunked By Matt Cutts (SERoundtable)
Supplemental Update November 2006
Throughout 2006, Google seemed to make changes to the supplemental index and how filtered pages were treated. They claimed in late 2006 that supplemental was not a penalty (even if it sometimes felt that way).
Confusion Over Google's Supplemental Index (SERoundtable)
Google Local/Maps October 2005
After launching the Local Business Center in March 2005 and encouraging businesses to update their information, Google merged its Maps data into the LBC, in a move that would eventually drive a number of changes in local SEO.
Google Merges Local and Maps Products (Google)
Personalized Search June 2005
XML Sitemaps June 2005
Google allowed webmasters to submit XML sitemaps via Webmaster Tools, bypassing traditional HTML sitemaps, and giving SEOs direct (albeit minor) influence over crawling and indexation.
New "Google Sitemaps" Web Page Feed Program (SEW)
Bourbon May 2005
"GoogleGuy" (likely Matt Cutts) announced that Google was rolling out "something like 3.5 changes in search quality." No one was sure what 0.5 of a change was, but Webmaster World members speculated that Bourbon changed how duplicate content and non-canonical (www vs. non-www) URLs were treated.
Google Update "Bourbon" (Batelle Media)
Bourbon Update Survival Kit (SERoundtable)
Allegra February 2005
Webmasters witnessed ranking changes, but the specifics of the update were unclear. Some thought Allegra affected the "sandbox" while others believed that LSI had been tweaked. Additionally, some speculated that Google was beginning to penalize suspicious links.
Google's Feb. 2005 Update (SEW)
Nofollow January 2005
To combat spam and control outbound link quality, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft collectively introduce the "nofollow" attribute. Nofollow helps clean up unvouched for links, including spammy blog comments. While not a traditional algorithm update, this change gradually has a significant impact on the link graph.
Google, Yahoo, MSN Unite On Support For Nofollow Attribute For Links (SEW)
Google IPO August 2004
Although obviously not an algorithm update, a major event in Google's history - Google sold 19M shares, raised $1.67B in capital, and set their market value at over $20B. By January 2005, Google share prices more than doubled.
Google IPO priced at $85 a share (CNN)
Brandy February 2004
Google rolled out a variety of changes, including a massive index expansion, Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), increased attention to anchor text relevance, and the concept of link "neighborhoods." LSI expanded Google's ability to understand synonyms and took keyword analysis to the next level.
Google's Brandy Update Exposed (WebProNews)
How To Beat Google's "Brandy" Update (SitePoint)
Florida November 2003
This was the update that put updates (and probably the SEO industry) on the map. Many sites lost ranking, and business owners were furious. Florida sounded the death knell for low-value late 90s SEO tactics, like keyword stuffing, and made the game a whole lot more interesting.
What Happened To My Site On Google? (SEW)
Supplemental Index September 2003
In order to index more documents without sacrificing performance, Google split off some results into the "supplemental" index. The perils of having results go supplemental became a hotly debated SEO topic, until the index was later reintegrated.
Search Engine Size Wars & Google's Supplemental Results (SEW)
Esmerelda June 2003
This marked the last of the regular monthly Google updates, as a more continuous update process began to emerge. The "Google Dance" was replaced with "Everflux". Esmerelda probably heralded some major infrastructure changes at Google.
Google Update Esmeralda (Kuro5hin)
Dominic May 2003
While many changes were observed in May, the exact nature of Dominic was unclear. Google bots "Freshbot" and "Deepcrawler" scoured the web, and many sites reported bounces. The way Google counted or reported backlinks seemed to change dramatically.
Understanding Dominic - Part 2 (WMW)
Cassandra April 2003
Google cracked down on some basic link-quality issues, such as massive linking from co-owned domains. Cassandra also came down hard on hidden text and hidden links.
Google - Update "Cassandra" is here (Econsultancy)
Boston February 2003
Announced at SES Boston, this was the first named Google update. Originally, Google aimed at a major monthly update, so the first few updates were a combination of algorithm changes and major index refreshes (the so-called "Google Dance"). As updates became more frequent, the monthly idea quickly died.
1st Documented Update September 2002
Google Toolbar December 2000
Guaranteeing SEO arguments for years to come, Google launched their browser toolbar, and with it, Toolbar PageRank (TBPR). As soon as webmasters started watching TBPR, the Google Dance began.
Google Launches The Google Toolbar (Google)