Google Algorithm Updates Dec 2000 – August 2021

Over the past 21 years, learn about Google’s Core Updates. This article will provide you an overview of how Google has changed throughout time as a search engine.
Because of one thing: Google’s constant endeavors to improve the search experience for curious people like you, it has become the best search engine.

Most SEOs aren’t interested in Big G’s history. The Google Core Updates are crucial to comprehend since they provide insight into how Google ranks websites based on several ranking metrics.

Before we get into Core Updates, it’s important to understand why Google developers continuously modifying their algorithm.

Increasing the precision of outcomes

This is self-evident, yet Google, like any other company, wants the best for its customers. The better the results, the more likely the audience will stick around. Giving searchers answers as rapidly as feasible is one aspect of improving the search experience. As a result, Google SERP now includes Featured Snippets and the Knowledge Panel.

Defending Against Black Hat SEO

The first webmasters found out how Google indexed links when it originally came out. To figure out the value of keywords and backlinks, they reverse-engineered the system.
It got a lot easier to rank webpages after SEOs reverse-engineered the algorithm. Backlinks were the reason for the creation of several company directories, and practically every page on the internet was crammed with keywords. CSS was utilised to literally obscure people’s keywords.
This was a major issue for Google. Their SERP was infected with pages that gave users the worst user experience conceivable.
Google needed to address this issue, so they started rolling out Core Updates to their algorithm.
Here’s a link to a Black Hat SEO resource. Please refrain from wearing black hat. In the long term, it will be detrimental to you.

To Stay Ahead of Their Rivals

Another consideration is the company’s long-term viability. Google would have gone out of business a long time ago if it didn’t update its search engine.
Now that you have a better understanding of the “why” behind Core Updates, let’s look at how Google’s algorithm has changed over the last two decades.

December 2000 Google Toolbar Update

Google released a toolbar in December 2000 that allowed users to search for what they were looking for without having to travel to Google’s own page. This wasn’t exactly an upgrade, but it did generate a lot of traffic turbulence for a number of websites.

Boston, Massachusetts – February 2003

Because it was revealed at a conference in Boston, this update was dubbed the Boston Update. The fact that this conference took place suggests that the algorithm will be updated more frequently. The Boston Update also gave birth to Google Dance (when different websites’ ranks and traffic switched after the update). It was dubbed the Google Dance by some.

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July 2003 – Fritz

The Fritz upgrade put an end to monthly SERP modifications and replaced them with daily adjustments in the index.

November 2003 in Florida

The first modification to combat black hat SEO was pushed out in Florida. Because of this upgrade, a large number of websites have lost their rankings. Florida (the Update) fought back against folks who stuffed keywords onto their webpages.

February 2004 – Brandy

Brandy aided Google’s algorithm in deciphering the significance of anchor texts. A large number of new websites were added to the SERP as a result of this change. Stopping spam backlinks started with Brandy.

January 2005 Nofollow Update

The nofollow tag was added to the web with this version. It asked webmasters to use nofollow tags in their comments and other places to assist combat the problem of spam backlinks.

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May 2005 – Bourbon

Keyword stuffing and bogus backlinks were already being dealt with by Google. One major issue was left unaddressed. If you’ve read a few other SEO blogs, you’ve probably come across the term “thin content.” The Bourbon update was aimed at internet content that was lacking in quality. It also established a few guidelines for how canonicals should be handled.

June 2005 Personalized Search

Personalized search was, in my opinion, one of the most significant enhancements ever released. Users were able to have a better search experience as a result of this update. This upgrade ensured that users only saw the content that they desired to see.

June 2005 XML Sitemaps

The personalised search upgrade coincided with the release of this update. The 1st of June, 2005, was most likely the first time Technical SEO became a notion. Search engine crawlers can use XML Sitemaps to figure out where a page on a website is located.

October 2005 – Mick Jagger

Google has long been on the lookout for websites that use black hat techniques. Jagger emphasised the importance of combating spam backlinks.

December 2005 – Big Daddy

The first major infrastructural upgrade was Big Daddy. It established a few guidelines for Google’s handling of redirection and other technical concerns.

May 2007 – Universal Search

You’ve probably seen Google’s early SERP if you’ve been on the internet for a long. On the results pages, there were only a few listings (10 to be exact). There was no sound. Plain old webpages are ranked for a variety of keywords. This was updated by the Universal Search Update. The SERP was updated to include everything that Google had indexed. Everything started to show up in the results, from videos to local shops.

August 2008 Google Suggest

The Google Suggest feature was first introduced in August of 2008. When you start typing in the search box, a selection window called Google Suggest displays.

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February 2009 Rel-Canonical Tag

The rel-canonical tag was used to tackle the problem of duplicating content. This tag allows webmasters to define the location of the original material.

December 2009 – Real-time Search

Have you ever noticed how Google displays scores for various sports contests in their SERP? This is most likely due to the emergence of Real-time Search. This version was released in 2009, and it allowed Google News and other services to display newly indexed and time-sensitive content.

Caffeine is being rolled out in June 2010.

Caffeine was a significant upgrade. Google’s update emphasized improved crawling speeds. This meant that when someone looked for anything, they would get better and faster results.

November 2010 Instant Previews

You should be able to connect a few dots by now if you’ve read everything. If you haven’t already, this update will be eye-opening. Instant Previews was the upgrade that allowed users to see what a landing page looked like before they clicked on it. While it is no longer available, it offered a hint at what Google might do next. This upgrade suggests that landing page UI/UX may become more essential in the future.

December 2010 – Negative Reviews

Many businesses were using phoney positive reviews to boost their rankings for local search phrases. When Google learned of this, it adjusted its algorithm to reflect this. You can’t rank for anything local these days if you have terrible reviews. Treat your clients with decency!


February 2011 Panda/Farmer Update (Very Important Update)

Panda was another another significant update. It went after content farms on the internet. This upgrade affected any website that was created solely to generate revenue from advertisements. The Panda update was released in stages, each with its own set of features. Panda was the first big update to target websites that attempted to “game the system.”

June 2011 –

Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all confirmed their support for Schema Markup, which allows for the usage of structured data in SERPs. This was the third step in the Technical SEO strategy. Structured Data is used by practically every website that ranks higher in today’s market.

November 2011 Freshness Update

The freshness update made sure that all of the content on the internet was current. Sites that updated their material on a regular basis were given a higher ranking in the SERP. This is why you’ll hear a lot of SEOs talking about changing their old material as a result of this update.

February 2012 in Venice

Google intended to provide everyone with the experience they want. Google launched Venice as part of their commitment to improve things for their users. Venice was the name of the update that targeted websites that created localized content. The organic traffic of sites with a TLD related to their country increased.

April 2012 – Penguin (Very Important Update)

Penguin was the second anti-spam update to hit the market. Penguin targeted 3.4 percent of all English search queries. Following the Penguin change, SEOs began to alter their techniques, focusing solely on practises that were not frowned upon by search engines. Penguin, like Panda, was released in stages. A warning was given to webmasters for any unnatural link-building strategies they could be doing.

May 2012 Knowledge Graph

Big G, like every other company, was attempting to make people’s lives easier. That is why the Knowledge Graph was created. The goal of Knowledge Graph was for users to be able to receive all they wanted in one go. Here’s a link to Google’s Knowledge Panel PR page if you want to learn more.

June 2013 Payday Loan

Anyone attempting to defraud people was met with a barrage of Google’s wrath. Adult websites and websites that attempted to spam users were targeted as part of an effort to make the internet safer.

August 2013 hummingbird (Very Important Update)

Hummingbird was a general update that didn’t target any specific websites. Hummingbird improved the semantic web. It moved slowly as well.

August 2013 – In-Depth Articles

This upgrade aimed to help webmasters who were producing high-quality material for their visitors. In other words, Google began to favour long-form, well-researched content.

July 2014, Pigeon

Local search was the focus of the pigeon upgrade. Google wanted to improve the user experience, so they made local sites work harder to rank higher.

August 2014 SSL Update

This is exactly what it says on the tin. Websites using a secure HTTPS version were given an advantage. SSL is now a ranking indication according to Google.

October 2014 – Pirate 2.0

Piracy has been a major issue since the internet’s inception. Consider the creators who sell their courses on Udemy. Many of the most popular Udemy courses may be found on websites that enable torrent downloads. The goal of the Pirate Update 2.0 was to prevent internet pirates from gaining an organic presence on Google.

April 2015 – Mobilegeddon

Google revealed that their SERP for mobile devices would be changing. This change was an indication of Google’s preference for mobile-friendly websites. Mobile devices are used far more frequently than desktop computers.

October 2015 RankBrain (Very Very Important Update)

Google said that they would begin to use Machine Learning to improve everyone’s search experience. RankBrain revolutionised SEO. RankBrain gave the search world a fresh perspective, and SEOs began to consider how they could use machine learning to their advantage. After you’ve finished the “SEO – The Foundation” module, move on to “SEO – The Professional” to learn more about ML’s SEO solutions.

May 2016 – Mobile Friendly 2

This change was implemented to give credit to websites that are mobile-friendly. This was yet another important Google shift that hinted at the inclusion of mobile usability as a ranking factor.

January 2017 Update on Pop-up Penalties

A large number of websites displayed a large number of pop-ups. Enough to wreak havoc on someone’s mind. The pop-up penalty update was implemented to address this issue.

November 2017 Snippet Length Update

Google had already tested its SERP a few times before deciding in November 2017 to give websites extra space in their SERP. As a result, SEO Specialists were able to write larger meta descriptions. This was also the start of my SEO career, so I’ll never forget this update.

March 2018 Mobile-First Index

This update began rolling out when I started my second job as an SEO. My boss became concerned and requested that I make his website compliant. Google made it plain with this upgrade that mobile friendliness is now an important ranking factor.

May 2018 Snippet Length Drop

Google has opted to shorten the meta description once more. I’m guessing the other tests they ran weren’t very accurate. Or they simply needed more room since they expected more businesses to buy advertising in their SERP.

August 2018 Medic Update

Webmasters began posting better content in the health and wellness category as a result of this improvement. Google pounced on the “reduce weight in 7 days” firms.

October 2019 BERT Update (Huge update)

The Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) was created by Google in 2019. To interpret human text, Google began employing Natural Language Processing. BERT has advanced SEO to the point where it is now necessary to comprehend how computers read human language.

Pandemic COVID-19 – March 2020

This is a sort of educational update for folks who are interested in learning more about search engine marketing. When the epidemic struck, Google changed the way it displayed its SERP. Almost all health-related queries resulted in the WHO’s website being shown. This demonstrates the importance of agility in the SEO area.

April 2021 Product Review Update

The game has changed for Affiliate SEOs as a result of this update. Affiliate SEOs make hundreds of thousands of dollars selling things that aren’t even theirs, in case you didn’t know. The product reviews update smacked them in the face. From now on, anyone who provides in-depth reviews of various products will be rewarded by Google. As a result, anyone who publishes rudimentary reviews will suffer. This is a significant thing for affiliate marketers and companies who use affiliate marketing.

June 2021 – Page Experience Update

When people talk about Core Web Vitals, it’s usually due of this update. When you go to the second module, we’ll discuss about LCP, FID, and CLS.

Rewrites of page titles – August 2021

In August 2021, Google began altering titles. People were unhappy with the alteration, so Google restored to what the webmasters had written.


If you’ve read this post closely, you’ve probably noticed that Google begins testing significant improvements years before they begin rolling them out. For example, before enforcing a strong anti-Black Hat SEO policy, Google began rolling out minor improvements, and before making mobile usability a ranking criterion, Google began rewarding cross-platform websites. The same may be said about BERT. Understanding NLP will become an important aspect of creating SEO campaigns in the near future, especially for certain industries like healthcare. If you want to become a valuable SEO in the near future, you’ll need to understand how Google operates. Consider what Google wants: a better experience for those who use their platform to search for information. You’ll grasp how SEO works if you understand how Google has operated for the previous two decades.