Google Algorithm Updates History & Timeline (2010-2022)

Google Algorithm Updates & Changes

Meaning of Google Algorithms

A comprehensive method that is often used to quickly return the most relevant results for any request or query or search by extracting information from its search index. This method is known as Google’s Algorithm method. The search engine ranks websites according to relevance using a variety of algorithms and ranking parameters. 

The best web pages to respond to any given search request or query are determined by each Google Algorithm. To do this,we can use the set of rules and data from the database. The search engine then uses its previously programmed ranking signals to organize the relevancy of the search engine results of such pages or websites.

Google only performed a small number of algorithm adjustments in its early years. Google now makes tens of thousands of updates each year. The majority of these updates are so minute as to be utterly ignored.

Rhythm of Google Algorithm Updates

When Google originally began, they weren’t updating their algorithm as frequently as they are now. Today, Google releases thousands of changes each year, both significant and little. The majority of them are some minor updates, and users and webmasters are generally unaffected. Although occasionally, Google releases a significant algorithm update.

Webmasters and SEO experts often need to prepare for these more significant algorithm upgrades. Google refers to algorithm modifications to its algorithms as “core updates” when they involve major changes to a key component of the algorithm and have a substantial influence on individual interaction or SEO.

In the past few years, Google has come up with a number of updates that made a major impact on the SEO experts. This article is going to be covering the major updates of Google Algorithms in the last few previous years, and we will be giving you a brief detail about all the major updates that took place. Shall we take a look at the list of updates?

  1. Caffeine (in 2010)
  2. Panda (in 2011)
  3. Penguin (in 2012)
  4. Hummingbird (in 2013)
  5. HTTPS/SSL (in 2014)
  6. Mobilegeddon (in 2015)
  7. Possum (in 2016)
  8. Intrusive Interstitials Update (in 2017)
  9. Mobile Page Speed Update (in 2018)
  10. BERT (in 2019)

Caffeine Update (in 2010)

Google debuted their new Caffeine indexing technology in June 2010. The new indexing approach was designed to assist publishers get their material seen more quickly while also accelerating user search results. It made Google’s data storage and crawling far more effective. And therefore, definitely was a big advantage for the SEO experts and all the other individuals. 

The overall goal of this algorithm adjustment was to increase internet speed and accommodate the demands of a rapidly expanding online market. Google thus declared site speed would be a search algorithm factor at roughly the same time in order to support this overarching goal.

However, this update was not a very improvised version including a lot of new ranking factors, yet it was a huge part of Google’s speeding up the internet start. And that definitely elevated the significance of website performance and added desktop site speed as a new ranking signal. Caffeine did improve the user experience, just like caffeine does for us in real life. 

Panda Update (in 2011)

As part of Google’s objective to provide consumers with quality material, the Panda update provided a new ranking signal that penalized content farms and keyword stuffing. It improved search results by recognizing thin, spam-my, and low-quality information and deleting it from the top search rankings.

Numerous SEO professionals were forced to adjust their strategies. Black hat SEO techniques like keyword stuffing were no longer successful, thus SEOs had to adapt by making sure that content was actually valuable to users and efficiently addressed search queries.

Penguin Update (in 2012)

Targeting web spam-containing and link-manipulating websites was the goal of the Penguin algorithm upgrade. The “web spam algorithm update” was what Google dubbed it. As a result of this improvement, the system can now determine if links pointing back to a specific page are genuine or just spam.

Hummingbird Update (in 2013)

The search engine Hummingbird experience was significantly influenced by a Google algorithm upgrade. Google was now able to comprehend “search intent” better thanks to this change. It enabled the search engine to better correctly contextualize user searches and website data and link the two.

But however, if we talk about the update’s impact on the SEO experts, the Hummingbird upgrade made it simpler for consumers to locate the most pertinent pages to respond to their inquiries. This motivates the search engine to better research and attempt to optimize for the search intent underlying particular phrases.

HTTPS/SSL Update (in 2014)

The update of  HTTPS/SSL was a component of Google’s “HTTPS Everywhere” initiative, which aims to increase internet security. It also guarantees that consumers only access reputable and secure websites when using their search results. In other words, they urged webmasters to switch their websites from HTTP to HTTPS protocols by acquiring SSL certificates on their website servers.

With this upgrade, Google changed the users ’ requirements for the level of confidence and safety in their search engine results and made HTTPS a minor ranking signal.

Mobilegeddon Update (in 2015)

Mobilegeddon, also referred to as Google’s “mobile-friendly” upgrade, was released in, or say, came into existence in April 2015. This would be the “mobile-first” initiative of Google’s first significant update. A page must adhere to certain visual standards in order to be deemed mobile-friendly. Particularly, the proportions must be suitable for a mobile device’s screen.

Possum Update (in 2016)

Possum update enhanced the local search results. Before this modification, it was extremely difficult for companies to rank for relevant keywords that were just beyond the actual municipal limits of a location. Such problems were resolved with this upgrade. Additionally, it increased the significance of the searcher’s geographic location and the sensitivity of local word variants.

This local SEO upgrade was significant. Google made changes to the algorithms dependent on address and area, took steps to diversity the results, and further prevented spam from ranking highly.

Intrusive Interstitial Update (in 2017)

Google modified its algorithm in 2017 to reduce so-called unwanted interstitials. Large pop-ups are what intrusive interstitials essentially are. They are large-scale advertisements that obstruct users’ ability to view a page’s content and locate the data they seek.

Google stated that the update’s goals were to reduce spam and improve SEO. However, despite the invasive interstitials, content can still rank highly if it successfully responds to user requests.

Mobile Page Speed Update (in 2018)

Google announced a “speed update” to the algorithm in January 2018 that would add new ranking signals that would favor pages with quick mobile page loads in mobile search results. This update was an element of Google’s “mobile-first” strategy as well as its larger “speed up the internet” push.

BERT Update (in 2019)

A machine learning system for natural language processing uses the BERT algorithm (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers). Understanding what the words in a phrase imply to a human aids search engines. With the BERT update, Google is better able to comprehend user search queries and identify the information that is more valuable and pertinent to those queries. Following BERT, Google is now able to infer the nuances and fine differences in meaning for words depending on context. Google would be able to distinguish between the two because of its proficiency in natural language processing.

Recent Updates in Google Algorithms

January 2020: Featured Snippets

The made straight URLs from search engine results pages with featured snippets were removed in the Featured Snippets update. For instance, if one of the ordinary blue links was ranked in the second position and your website had the featured snippet for a certain query, your URL would have been deleted out of that ranking since Google opted to consider featured snippets as one of the 10 links displayed.

The SEO experts were impacted in an efficient manner by this update. For instance, the featured snippet receives fewer clicks than the first organic regular listing. There is a legitimate worry that sites that rank in both locations or in a comparable range would see sharp drops in traffic as a result of these queries.

February 2021: Passage Ranking

Google was able to rank particular sections from a web page in search results thanks to the Passage Ranking upgrade. It was formerly challenging to meet intent from highly narrow searches because the solutions were frequently buried deep inside the text of online pages. In this case, picture a needle in a haystack. It was Google’s duty to take into account the content and significance of particular portions on a web page when determining which search results to rank as the most pertinent.

Certain on-page SEO techniques become more important now that Google may extract portions of your article and rank them differently from the rest of the page. For instance, header tags grow increasingly significant as you scroll down the page. Long-tail keywords operate similarly. Additionally, since Google can now better analyze long-form content, there is more motivation to write it.

April 2021: Product Reviews

With in-depth study and analysis from knowledgeable and passionate publishers, the Product Reviews update improves reviews. It used to be simple for reviews to list and rank commendable in Google search with sparse, templated, and summary-based text.

The Product Reviews update improves reviews with in-depth study and analysis from knowledgeable and passionate publishers. It used to be simple for reviews to list and rank commendable in Google search with sparse, templated, and summary-based text.

Google will not penalize sites with poor reviews. Rather, they will try putting these results above more in-depth online review. A series of requests to utilize when creating reviews is supplied in Google’s official guidance on this upgrade.

June 2021: Page Experience

The Page Experience update replaces the old Page Experience ranking criteria, which covered mobile friendliness, security, safe browsing, and invasive interstitials, with three new Core Web Vitals: Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift. In order to adequately gauge user experience, these three additional page experience signals assess a website’s responsiveness, visual stability, and loading speed.

This update penalizes websites that load time-consuming above-the-fold material, take a long time to respond to user actions on buttons and links, and have unstable visuals, such as when an ad shifts the information you are reading as it loads.

Most Recent Update: May 2022

In May, this year, Google came out with its new core update of May by announcing it on Twitter. However, the update was started in May on 22nd, it got completed in the month of June (which in itself is pretty recent). The Google Search Center gives the whole idea of what the May Core Update 2022 is about.


We hope this article must have given you a gist of how the whole journey about Google Algorithms. Google’s updates and growth through several years. Other than that, we hope it was informative enough for the new SEO learners in the field. 

We hope for you to stay in touch for more such articles related to latest updated on our website.