01/10/2017 – Intrusive Interstitial Penalty

  • This is a penalty to punish interstitials and pop-ups that produces a negative experience for mobile users such as not letting them easily escape from an email sign-up pop-up box.

10/11/2016 – Un-Named Major Update

  • There was a lot of movement in the SERPs during this time with MozCast showing a temperature spike of 106 degrees.

10/06/2016 – Penguin 4.0 Phase 2

  • This was the second phase of Penguin 4.0 and apparently the reversal of all previous Penguin penalties.

09/27/2016 – Penguin 4.0 Phase 1

  • A “kinder” or “gentler” update to Penguin that is supposed to devalue bad links instead of penalizing sites.

09/23/2016 – Penguin 4.0 Announcement

  • This was just an announcement that said the new Penguin 4.0 would be real-time.

09/16/2016 – Image/Universal Drop

  • A huge shake-up in the SERPs resulting opened up an organic position on page 1.

09/01/2016 – “Possum”

  • Unconfirmed by Google, but there was a drop in local pack occurrences and lots of movement in the local results.

05/12/2016 – Mobile Friendly 2

  • An update to the original mobile friendly update and possible ranking signal boost.

05/10/2016 – Un-Named Major Update

  • Google would not confirm, but there was a lot of movement in search results.

02/23/2016 – AdWords Shake-Up

  • Removal of Ads on the right rail and placing 4 ads at the top of the results.

01/08/2016 – Un-Named Update

  • Google claims this was a “core algo update” and there was a lot of movement in SERPs.

10/26/2015 – RankBrain

  • This was just when RankBrain was announced. The actual launch was earlier. Google said that machine learning is now part of the algorithms.

07/17/2015 – Panda 4.2 #28

  • There was not a lot of movement in SERPs, but Google announced that there was a Panda data refresh.

05/03/2015 – The Quality Update

  • Google said that there was an update that impacts the quality of the content and there were lots of reports of SERP movement.

04/22/2015 – Mobilegeddon

  • Many were worried about this update, which would deal with mobile rankings. The update did not have as high of an impact as was expected.

02/04/2015 – Un-Named Update

  • Lots of movement in SERPs was reported, but no official Google announcement.

12/22/2014 – Pigeon Expands (UK, CA, AU)

  • Google expanded the “Pigeon” updates to the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

12/10/2014 – Penguin Everflux

  • Penguin now has continuous updates according to a Google Rep.

10/21/2014 – Pirate 2.0

  • An update to help deal with software and digital media piracy.

10/17/2014 – Penguin 3.0

  • A Penguin refresh that affected less than 1 percent of US/English queries. This was released over a few weeks.

10/10/2014 – In The News Box

  • The number of results that were news spiked and also Google opened the doors for more sites to be eligible to display in the News-box results.

09/23/2014 – Panda 4.1 #27

  • This was a large update with nearly 3-5% of queries affected.

08/28/2014 – Authorship Removed

  • Google announced that in addition to removing the photos, they were removing authorship entirely.

08/06/2014 – HTTPS/SSL Update

  • Preference would be giving to secure sites with a slight ranking boost.

07/24/2014 – Pigeon

  • This update really shook up the Local SERPs with big changes to local results.

06/28/2014 – Authorship Photo Drop

  • Authorship photos were removed from Google search results.

06/12/2014 – Payday Loan 3.0

  • Another anit-spam update that mostly targeted “spammy” queries.

05/19/2014 – Panda 4.0 #26

  • A major update that affected around 7.5% of English language queries.

05/16/2014 – Payday Loan 2.0

  • An update that went after spammy queries and targeted specific sites.

03/24/2014 – Un-Named Update

  • There was a lot of movement in the SERPs that was never confirmed by Google. Many believe it was a Panda update.

02/06/2014 – Page Layout #3

  • This was a “refresh” to the page layout algorithm and penalized sites with ad heavy content at the top of the pages.

12/19/2013 – Authorship Shake-up

  • Many of the authorship photos that were showing in Google SERP results disappeared.

12/17/2013 – Unnamed Update

  • A lot of movement, but no confirmation from Google.

11/14/2013 – Unnamed Update

  • Google did not confirm, but there was a lot of changes to the SERPs.

10/04/2013 – Penguin 2.1 #5

  • Another Penguin update with minor to severe impact.

08/20/2013 – Hummingbird

  • Although it was announced officially on September 26th, many sources reported major changes to SERPs around August 20th. It’s supposed to be “precise and fast” in returning accurate SERP results. This replaced the old search algorithm.

08/06/2013 – In-depth Articles

  • New search results to help users find in-depth articles.

07/26/2013 – Unnamed Update

  • A lot of movement, but no confirmation from Google.

07/19/2013 – Knowledge Graph Expansion

  • The number of results with Knowledge Graphs (KGs) increased significantly.

07/18/2013 – Panda Recovery

  • An update that was supposed to “ease-up” on some of the penalties.

06/27/2013 – Multi-Week Update

  • This was an algorithm update that lasted a few weeks with major changes to SERPs. Some sources say that these were only tests.

06/11/2013 – “Payday Loan” Update

  • An algorithm update that specifically targeted payday loan and porn results.

05/22/2013 – Penguin 2.0 #4

  • This was the 4th Penguin update announced by Google.

05/21/2013 – Domain Crowding

  • An algorithm update targeted towards dealing with crowding of domains in SERP results.

05/09/2013 – Phantom

  • Many sources claimed there was an algorithm update that resulted in traffic loss.

03/14/2013 – Panda #25

  • Another update to the algorithm, number 25.

01/22/2013 – Panda #24

  • Another update to the algorithm, number 24.

12/21/2012 – Panda #23

  • The 23rd Panda update or “refresh”.

12/04/2012 – Knowledge Graph Expansion

  • Knowledge Graphs (KGs) were added to non-English search queries.

11/21/2012 – Panda #22

  • The 22nd Panda update and impacted around 0.8% of queries.

11/05/2012 – Panda #21

  • Panda update number 21 which impacted around 1.1% of queries.

10/09/2012 – Page Layout #2

  • An update to the page layout algorithm which went after sites with too many ads above the fold.

10/05/2012 – Penguin #3

  • A minor update that only affected around 0.3% of queries.

09/27/2012 – Panda #20

  • A major Panda update and the industry stopped using 3.”something” and switched to just numbering them. This was the 20th update.

09/27/2012 – Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update

  • Google claimed that an update to the algorithm would reduce the number of EMDs in search results.

09/18/2012 – Panda 3.9.2 #19

  • The 19th update to Panda.

08/20/2012 – Panda 3.9.1 #18

  • A small update to Panda. The 3.0 series ran out of numbers, so they started 3.9.1.

08/14/2012 – 7-Result SERPs

  • Google search results shrank to only seven results.

08/10/2012 – DMCA Penalty “Pirate”

  • Sites with copyright violations would begin getting penalized by Google.

07/24/2012 – Panda 3.9 #17

  • Another panda “refresh” that impacted around 1% of queries.

07/19/2012 – Link Warnings

  • Google sent out a large number of unnatural link warnings.

06/25/2012 – Panda 3.8 #16

  • This was the 16th Panda update announced by Google.

06/08/2012 – Panda 3.7 #15

  • The 15th panda update with less than 1% of queries impacted.

05/25/2012 – Penguin 1.1 #2

  • This was a targeted data update.

05/16/2012 – Knowledge Graph (KG)

  • A panel on the right rail of search engine results that provides data, not just links.

04/27/2012 – Panda 3.6 #14

  • Another panda update that had minimal impact.

04/24/2012 – Penguin

  • This was a “Webspam Update” that focused on penalizing “over-optimized” sites such as keyword stuffing.

04/19/2012 – Panda 3.5 #13

  • A panda update with minimal impact.

04/16/2012 – Parked Domain Buy

  • This was not an algorithm change, but rather an error that caused many sites to lose rank because they were treated as “parked domains”.

03/23/2012 – Panda 3.4 #12

  • Panda update number 12 that impacted around 1.6% of search results.

02/27/2012 – Venice

  • Code-named “Venice”, this update resulted in better localized organic results.

02/27/2012 – Panda 3.3 #11

  • Panda update number 11 and had minimal impact.

01/22/2012 – Panda #24

  • Another update to the algorithm, number 24.

01/19/2012 – Ads Above the Fold

  • A page layout algorithm that would devalue websites that had had too many ads at the top of the page.

01/18/2012 – Panda 3.2 #10

  • Panda update number 10 which was an “update”, yet some say was not changed.

01/10/2012 – Search + Your World

  • Google’s attempt to push Google+ social data and user profiles into search results.

11/18/2011 – Panda 3.1 #9

  • Panda update number 9 that was minor.

11/03/2011 – Freshness Update

  • Google announced that it would reward content that was fresh and more recent.

10/18/2011 – Query Encryption 

  • Google started encrypting search queries. This is why organic keyword data in Google Analytics displays as “(not provided)”.

10/05/2011 – Panda “Flux” #8

  • Panda update number 8 that was called “Panda-related flux” by Matt Cutts.

09/28/2011 – Panda 2.5 #7

  • Panda update number 7 that seemed to have a large impact on SERPs.

09/15/2011 – Pagination Elements

  • Google introduced rel=”next” and rel=”prev” link attributes to help combat duplicate content issues.

08/16/2011 – Expandable Sitelinks

  • Google officially rolled out expandable sitelinks in the search results.

08/12/2011 – Panda 2.4 #6

  • Panda update number 6. This update impacted around 6-9% of queries.

07/23/2011 – Panda 2.3 #5

  • Panda update number 5. It was unclear as to what exactly this update did.

06/28/2011 – Google+

  • Google finally released their version of Facebook called Google+.

06/21/2011 – Panda 2.2 #4

  • Panda update number 4.

06/02/2011 – Schema.org

  • In an attempt to get more structured data on websites, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft teamed up on this venture. The result was to bring better search engine results.

05/09/2011 – Panda 2.1 #3

  • Panda update number 3. A minor update.

04/11/2011 – Panda 2.0 #2

  • Panda update number 2. The update was rolled out to all English queries.

03/30/2011 – The +1 Button

  • A button added to search results that had direct impact on search results. Clicking +1 would alter your search preferences.

02/23/2011 – Panda/Farmer

  • A major update that affected around 12% of search results. This updates goal was to crack down on content quality issues such as “thin content” and content farms.

01/28/2011 – Attribution Update

  • An update to deal with spam issues and help stop scrapers.

December 2010 – Negative Reviews

  • Sites were ranking high based on negative reviews. So, Google adjusted the algorithm to target these tactics.

December 2010 – Social Signals

  • Google and Bing both confirmed that they were using social signals as a ranking factor.

November 2010 – Instant Previews

  • A magnifying glass in search results that allowed a user to see a preview of the page before they clicked on it.

September 2010 – Google Instant

  • An expansion to Google Suggest that displayed search results as a query was being typed.

August 2010 – Brand Update

  • Google allowed brands to appear multiple times in search results.

June 2010 – Caffeine

  • An update by Google that increased the speed, crawling, and indexing abilities.

May 2010 – May Day

  • An algorithm update which had an impact on long-tail traffic.

April 2010 – Google Places

  • Google Local Business Center changed to “Google Places”

December 2009 – Real-time Search

  • Indexed content, Twitter feeds, Google News, and other sources showed in a real-time feed in some search results.

August 2009 – Preview of Caffeine

  • A test of Caffeine was released. The actual rollout would be a few months away.

February 2009 – Vince

  • A change that seemed to give favor to well-known brands.

February 2009 – Rel-canonical Tag

  • Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo will allow websites to utilize the canonical tag to help with duplicate content issues.

October 2008 – Google Suggest

  • Google began utilizing a dropdown below the search box which would display suggestions based on what the user was typing.

April 2008 – Dewey

  • A “shuffle” that seemed to give preference to Google internal properties.

June 2007 – Buffy

  • It’s unclear exactly what the update was for, but it was named in respect to Vanessa Fox leaving Google.

May 2007 – Universal Search

  • Google incorporated News, Video, Images, Local, etc., within the search results.

December 2006 – False Alarm

  • While there was a lot of people claiming there was an update, Google claimed nothing happened.

November 2006 – Supplemental Update 

  • An update to the supplemental index and how filtered pages worked.

December 2005 – Big Daddy

  • An infrastructure update that changed the way Google handled canonicalization, redirects, and other technical issues.

October 2005 – Google Local Maps

  • Google merged Maps data into the Local Business Center.

October 2005 – Jagger

  • A series of updates that targeted low quality links, reciprocal links, links farms, and paid links.

September 2005 – Gilligan

  • There were claims of an update, but nothing was acknowledged by Google.

June 2005 – XML Sitemaps

  • Google began allowing XML sitemaps to be submitted to Webmaster Tools.

June 2005 – Personalized Search

  • Google started using personal search history to impact search results.

May 2005 – Bourbon

  • Google announced an update. Many speculated that it targeted duplicate content and non www URLs.

February 2005 – Allegra

  • It was unclear what exactly this update targeted. Some believe it was either the “sandbox” or suspicious links.

January 2005 – Nofollow

  • The “nofollow” attribute was introduced by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft as a way to clean up spammy links.

February 2004 – Brandy 

  • Multiple changes including Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), anchor text relevance, and link “neighborhoods”.

January 2004 – Austin

  • Google went after deceptive tactics such as invisible text and meta tag stuffing.

November 2003 – Florida

  • Many claim this was the “real” start to the SEO industry and was an update that went after keyword stuffing and other deceptive tactics.

September 2003 – Supplemental Index

  • In an attempt to index more documents and not sacrifice speed, many results were placed into a “supplemental” index.

July 2003 – Fritz

  • Instead of the index updating monthly, it would now update daily.

June 2003 – Esmeralda

  • This marked the last monthly Google update. From now on, updates would happen faster.

May 2003 – Dominic

  • There were many changes, but it’s not clear as to what exactly this update targeted.

April 2003 – Cassandra

  • An update that targeted bad link practices such as linking from co-owned domains. It also went after hidden text and hidden links.

February 2003 – Boston 

  • Named because it was announced at SES Boston, the first named update in which Google would have monthly updates and index refreshes.

September 2002 – First “Documented” Update

  • This was the first major change that seemed bigger than the monthly “Dance” or PageRank update.