Google Algorithm Updates – 2005 to 2015

Personalized Search - June, 2005

The roll-out of personalized search tapped directly into users search histories to automatically adjust results.

Big Daddy – December, 2005

Technically, Big daddy was an infrastructure update. Big Daddy changed the way Google handled URL canonicalization, redirects and other technical issues.

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.

Google Suggest – August, 2008

In a major change to their logo-and-a-box home-page Google introduced suggest, displaying suggested searches in a drop-down below the search box as visitors typed their queries.

Caffeine – August, 2010

Google released a preview of a massive infrastructure change, designed to speed crawling, expand the index, and integrate indexation and ranking in nearly real-time.

May Day – May, 2010

In late April and early May, webmasters noticed significant drops in their long-tail traffic. Matt Cutts later confirmed that May Day was an algorithm change impacting the long-tail.

Social Signals – December, 2010

Google and Bling confirmed that they use social signals in determining ranking, including data from twitter and facebook.

Panda/Farmer – February, 2013

A major algorithm update hit sites hard, affecting upto 12% of search results. Panda seemed to crack down on thin content, content farms, sites with high as-to-content ratios, and a number of other quality issues.

Query Encryption – October, 2011

Google announced they would be encrypting search queries, for privacy reasons. Unfortunately, this disrupted organic keyword referral data for some organic traffic.

Penguin – April, 2012

Penguin adjusted a number of spam factors, including keyword stuffing, and impacted an estimated 3.1% of English queries.

Exact Match Domain (EMD) Update – September, 2012

Overlapping the EMD update, a fairly major panda update rolled out, officially affecting 2.4% of queries.

Payday Loan – June, 2013

Google announced a targeted algorithm update to take on niches with notoriously spammy results, specifically mentioning payday loans and porn.

Hummingbird – August, 2013

Announced on September Google suggested that the “Hummingbird” update rolled out about a month earlier. Our best guess ties it to a MozCast spike on August and many reports of flux from August.

Pigeon –July, 2014

Google shook the local SEO world with an update that dramatically altered some local results and modified how they handle and interpret location cues.

Mobile update AKA “Mobile-geddon” – April, 2015

In a rare move, Google pre-announced an algorithm update, telling us that mobile ranking would differ for mobile-friendly sites starting on April 21st.

Panda 4.2 – July, 2015

Google announced what was most likely a Panda data refresh, saying that it could take months to fully roll out.


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