This content was last updated on March 30, 2020 with new Google Update information. Below you will find a list of Google updates (including the major Google updates such as Penguin, Panda, Possum, Pigeon, Hummingbird, and Fred) to help you identify if your traffic fluctuation coincided with a recent Google Algorithm change to their data set, or if your website was manually or algorithmically penalized. The list includes both confirmed and unconfirmed Google algorithm updates for seo rankings to help you answer the question, “when did google change its search algorithm?”.
Google Algorithm Update History
You may be wondering if there was a recent Google update, or if a past Google update such as Penguin, Panda, Possum, or Fred impacted your website’s rankings and traffic.
Date Update Description 3/24/2020 Possible Google Update Around March 24th the signs of regular Google Update appeared. Webmasters started talking about the sudden shifts in rankings and traffic. 3/21/2020 News Website Updates There are big shifts happening in the news category. This is likely due to the need for trusted content about the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) being pushed to the top of the results. 3/1/2020 Nofollow Being Used As A Hint Google has officially announced it will no longer treat the nofollow attribute as a directive to ignore links as they have done over the past decade. They sometimes will use those links for crawling and indexing purposes. 2/14/2020 Google Says No Update Over the last 4 days there has been big swings in rankings. However, Google claims there was no update that happened. This is baffling. 2/11/2020 Massive Update Happing? Over the last 4 days there has been big swings in rankings. It is still unclear whether there is a pattern, but the chatter is big enough to hope for some comment from Google. 2/04/2020 Update Rolling Out? Webmasters and tracking tools have reported an increased amount of shuffling in Google search results, which looks like a usual unannounced algorithm update. 1/23/2020 Google Featured Snippet Update In an effort to clean up the duplication in search result listings, Google has announced that if a URL gets into a Featured Snippet, it will no longer be repeated on the first page of regular search results. 1/14/2020 Google Core Update Google has recently started to pre-announce bigger core updates. This one falls in line with the previous core updates, which are not aimed at particular issues and can impact anyone. 1/07/2020 New Year New Ranking Fluctuations Early into 2020 we already see signs of a first unconfirmed Google Update, with all the regular symptoms. 12/11/2019 Significant Shifts in Rankings Webmaster reports seem to confirm that a significant update is happening, but no clear pattern has been discovered so far. 12/04/2019 Google Update Signals in December Sensor has reported a significant uptick in SERP volatility that can be attributed to a yet unannounced algorithm update. 11/22/2019 Higher Than Average SERP volatility Reports of increased volatility in Google search for the whole week, with no definitive date or clear pattern. This could mean a series of unrelated small updates or just a prolonged rollout of a big one. 11/6/2019 Local Search Proximity Update A significant update had hit the local rankings of many businesses. The most likely explanations is the increase of the importance of the proximity signal 10/19/2019 Bert Update Google announced it is releasing an update called BERT - dedicated to improving the understanding of queries formulated in a natural language. 9/25/2019 Google Update Google released an early warning that a core algorithm update is coming on September 25. 9/13/2019 Google Updates Number of Reviews They Show in SERPs Google has announced that it is now applying stricter rules for showing reviews in search results. The most significant change is that reviews that are only present on the website of the business itself will be ignored. 9/13/2019 Friday the 13th Possible Update Friday the 13th was scary for many webmasters, as search results began to change and rankings shifted. This could be a sign of a Google core algorithm update. 9/10/2019 Google Update For Nofollow Tags Google representatives have announced that they are changing the way they interpret the nofollow link attribute. Previously, links with nofollow were always ignored for ranking purposes. Now, Google will decide for itself whether to count this link or not. Google has also introduced two additional attributes for user-generated content and sponsored content. 8/30/2019 Possible Update Another wave of changes hit the search rankings, and as usual, there were no comments from Google. 8/8/2019 Google Issue with Indexing New Content For a second time this year, Google is experiencing problems with indexing fresh content on the web. If your traffic depends a lot on new content (e.g. a news site), you may see a decline in it these days. 7/18/2019 Google Update The SERPs are being rocked by an unconfirmed update - some naming it the Maverick Update. This one is the most significant so far on the Sensor scale. 7/13/2019 Regular Google Unannounced Update Webmaster forums and the sensors indicate that a usual unannounced update happened around July 12-13. 6/7/2019 Domain Diversity Update Google has rolled out an update to improve the situation when a single domain dominates search results for a specific query. 6/4/2019 Pre-Announced Google Core Update Google has announced that it will be releasing a core ranking algorithm update around June 3–4. According to Google, there is nothing special about this update, and there are no particular things to watch out for or try to fix 5/22/2019 Search Results Shake Up. Another Google Indexing Bug Suspected Google has confirmed another problem with indexing — this time related to new content causing shifts in rankings. It has yet to be determined if this is cause and effect. 4/27/2019 Update To Fix The De-indexing After Google fixed its earlier problem with de-indexing some pages, its regular pattern of at least one unannounced update per month seems to have resumed. On April 27, the sensor detected significant shifts in rankings, and many webmasters confirmed that they saw changes in their traffic. 4/7/2019 Google Indexation Glitch Google De-indexing Problem Causes Shifts in Rankings 3/12/19 Florida 2 Core Algo Update Google has confirmed that a glitch in their algorithm caused some pages to become de-indexed and drop from the search results. 3/1/19 Google Update The Sensor has been detecting an increase in SERP fluctuations. A lot of webmasters have also noticed shifts in rankings and have reported a significant Google Update. 2/22/19 Volatility Spikes Continue Through February February turned out to be a very interesting month in terms of SERP changes. Statistics point to a series of small Google algorithm updates, with peaks on February 7, 12 and 22. Although none of these updates were commented upon by Google officials, webmasters agree that updates did occur. 2/7/19 Another Google Update It seems that another unconfirmed Google update happened on February 7. 1/9/19 Google Update Big swings in rankings across almost all categories. 1/7/19 First Google Update of the Year The New Year begins with what seems to be a monthly Google Update. Webmasters and the SEMrush Sensor have reported that a substantial update started around January 7. 1/6/19 Google Update Google results are shaking up heavily for news related content. This may be a sign of a possible algorithm change. 12/21/18 Google Update Google results are shaking up heavily for the news, sports, and entertainment categories. This may be a sign of a possible algorithm change. 12/16/18 Google Update Google results are shaking up heavily for the news, and sports categories. This may be a sign of a possible algorithm change. 11/30/2018 Google Update There’re constant and massive tremors on Google search results, suggesting a significant algorithm update. 11/18/2018 Google Update A higher than normal search volatility points to another unannounced Google algorithm update. This one seems to have been focused on the healthcare and finance industries. 11/1/2018 Halloween Update Halloween Ranking Update - Many webmasters have reported scary shifts in search results. 10/9/2018 Google Update These last few months have seen some turbulence in the SERPs, with reports of shifts coming almost every week. 9/27/18 Birthday Update Google confirmed they released a minor algorithm update on the company’s anniversary, September 27. 9/11/18 Google Update High volatility combined with webmaster reports indicate another "silent" Google update. 8/1/18 Search Quality Update Google confirmed that it has released a major search quality update to provide more relevant results. 7/22/18 Google Update Search results noticeably shifted, indicating that a regular Google Update is underway. 7/9/18 Mobile Search Speed Update Page load speed is now confirmed ranking factor for mobile search. 6/16/18 Signs of a Mid-June Update The sensors showed a spike in volatility, and webmasters across the world reported shifts in traffic and positions. 5/24/18 Google Update The sensors detected a sudden volatility spike suggesting that Google rolled out another update. 4/17/18 Core Algo Update Google confirmed that it released a core algorithm update. 3/26/18 Mobile-First Indexing Rollout Google officially announced that mobile-first indexing is starting to roll out. 3/23/18 Continuing Update Signals Either a core update confirmed earlier this month continues to reverberate, or there was another update. 3/9/18 Core Algo Update Google has confirmed that they released a core ranking algorithm update. 3/2/18 Signs of an Update There is not a complete consensus, though, and the update might be niche-specific. 2/21/18 Significant Update With the sensors having detected an unprecedented quake, it is clear that something happened. 1/23/18 Series of Minor Updates All signs look more like a series of smaller changes. 1/6/18 Google Algo Tweaks The earlier changes that dealt with keyword permutations, PBNs and celebrity sites, were fine-tuned by Google. 12/25/17 Spammy Links This update seems to target spammy link techniques, such as PBNs (Private Blog Networks). 12/13/17 Pre-holidays Update Analysis suggests that the update hit at least two website categories:
- Sites with too many landing pages targeting KW permutations
- Sites with too many ads or thin content 11/15/17 Google Update Preliminary analysis of ranking fluctuations show that sites with lots of ads and thin content were affected. 10/8/17 Columbus Day Weekend Update Sensors reported high volatility and webmasters were talking about position shifts. 9/26/17 SERPs Shuffle Continues After two significant volatility spikes, monitoring tools again reported that there were signs of a possible Google Update. 9/16/17 Google Update Many users reported sudden shifts in their domain’s positions. 9/8/17 Rankings Update In a somewhat unusual pattern, webmasters began reporting shifts in positions and traffic almost two days earlier. 9/1/17 AMP Pages / Featured Snippet Google pushed out an update that increases the page’s chances of getting into a Featured Snippet in mobile search if it is AMP-powered. 8/22/17 Hawk Local Algorithm Update Google released a refined Possum algorithm update, dubbed "Hawk," which returned the majority of those businesses to the local pack. Nevertheless, businesses that share the same building can still be filtered out. 8/19/17 Quality Update Another quality update has been rolled out, penalizing sites with bad user experience, such as:- Thin content with lots of ads
- Broken links and/or Flash
- Low relevance to the query+C24 7/8/17 Signs of a Google Update Sensors and other tracking tools have shown increased volatility in Google search results over the weekend. 6/24/17 Significant Google Update Many webmasters have confirmed that they’ve seen traffic changes. Despite all efforts, this analysis has revealed no patterns for the update. 6/14/17 Small Google Update There are some reports from webmasters who experienced traffic drops and rises. 5/17/17 Weeklong Update Although this update may be caused by the recent drop of the Featured Snippet link from search results, it is not enough to completely explain the shifts. 4/4/17 Small Google Update Sensors report an increase in the amount of ads being shown, but there is no evidence that it is related to the update. 3/30/17 Google tappable shortcuts on mobile web Google announced that a new version of its search app will now provide instant access to information related to sports, cafes and weather. 3/8/17 ’Fred’ Update Google confirmed that they released an update that target websites with "quality issues." 3/6/17 More Top Stories in Related Picks Google added a new feature that allows users to see more AMPs in search results. 2/7/17 Google Algorithm Update Many webmasters and tracking tools, including sensors, reported significant rankings changes in Google search results. 2/3/17 Google Japan Quality Penalty Google Japan has announced that they rolled out an update aimed at lowering rankings of websites that don’t bring high quality content to their users. 2/1/17 Update Targeting PBNs There seems to be a Google update penalizing PBNs (Private Blog Networks). 1/24/17 Symptoms of a Google Update Although many tracking tools and webmasters reported multiple ranking and traffic changes, Google has not confirmed it released an update. 1/16/17 MLK Day Update Google algorithm tracking tools and a webmasters noticed signs of a Google Update. 1/10/17 Intrusive Interstitials Mobile Penalty Google announced it will be penalizing mobile pages with interstitials. Including:
- Pop-ups that cover the main content
- Standalone interstitial that needs to be dismissed to access the main content
- Hiding the main content below the fold 12/15/16 Google Update Signals This may be a major Google update or continuing testing of mobile-first index, which was rolled out a month ago. 12/7/16 Desktop Search UI Update Google updated the UI of its desktop search, bringing it closer to mobile UI. 11/30/16 Google punish sites for bad UX There was significant changes in traffic, particularly those with intrusive ads, mobile pop-ups and other bad user experience practices. 11/23/16 AMP Carousels for Hotel Listings Google now shows a new AMP Carousel for hotel listings in mobile search results. 11/18/16 Reversal of a previous Update Part of the changes done by previous the update are reported to be reversed. 11/10/16 Mobile Update Symptoms indicate testing of mobile-first index. 11/4/16 Mobile-First Index Experiment Google announced that they’ve launched an experiment to use mobile version of the website as primary source of content. 10/24/16 Signs of a Google update Several reported rankings changes in Google search results. 10/13/16 Penguin 4.0 rollout complete Google confirmed that the rollout of Penguin 4.0 - which started on September 23rd - is completed. 10/5/16 Google Update May be a change in recent Penguin 4.0 or an unrelated algorithm update 9/28/16 Penguin 4.0 Recoveries start to roll out Penguin 4.0 penalty recoveries started to roll out. 9/23/16 Penguin 4.0 launch Google officially launched Penguin 4.0. 9/20/16 AMPs indexed in organic search Google has officially rolled out Accelerated Mobile Pages in organic search results around the world. 9/13/16 Tweaks to previous weekend Google Update Ranking fluctuations could be a sign that Google is tweaking the algorithm, but no official confirmation has been received. 9/2/16 Google Core Algo WeekendUpdate Changes in core and local web search results have been widely reported by webmasters and ranking tools. 9/1/16 Possum local algorithm launch 1. Businesses that fall outside of the physical city limits saw a huge spike in ranking.
2. Google is now filtering based on address and affiliation.
3. The physical location of the searcher is more important than it was before.
4. Search results vary more based on slight variations of the keyword searched.
5. The local filter seems to be running more independently from the organic filter. 8/12/16 Boost of HTTPS as Ranking Signal Sources report increase of HTTPS sites in top results. 8/2/16 Reversal of a previous Update There is a possibility that Google reversed the changed happened a week ago. 7/26/16 Possible Google Update Webmasters and tracking tools reported increased volatility in Google rankings. 6/26/16 Evidence of an Update Evidence collected by a researcher suggests that there was a Google Update in June. 5/12/16 Mobile Friendly Boost Google representatives announce completion of an update which improves positions of mobile-friendly websites. 1/16/16 Burj Khalifa Update Another core algorithm update confirmed by Google after significant fluctuations on the weekend. 1/8/16 Google Core Update Google confirmed that they rolled out a core ranking algorithm update that took more than a week to complete. 10/26/15 RankBrain Introduction Google announced the usage of machine-learning algorithm called RankBrain to sort search results. 6/22/15 Panda 4.2 Google announced that it launched a Panda refresh, but it may take months to fully roll out. 5/3/15 The Quality Update Google confirmed it made changes to its core ranking algorithm in terms of how quality signals are processed. 4/22/15 Mobile Friendly Update Google began the global rollout of the mobile-friendly update that impacts search rankings on mobile devices only. 2/5/15 Unnamed Update Multiple SERP-trackers and many webmasters reported major flux in Google Google search results. 12/22/14 Pigeon Expands The major local algorithm update, Pigeon, expanded to the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. 11/13/14 Google Drops Carousel for Local Listings Google replaced its horizontal Carousel display of local search results by a 3-pack of organic listings. 10/24/14 Google Pirate Update Google announced an update to its filtering system. 10/23/14 Panda 4.1 Google announced that the latest version of its Panda Update has been released 10/17/14 Penguin 3.0 Google updated their Penguin algorithm with version 3.0. 10/2/14 In the News’ Box Google made a change in the display of the News-box results, and expanded the news websites links set 8/24/14 Authorship Removed John Mueller announced that Google will completely stop showing authorship information in search results. 8/6/14 HTTPS as rank signal Google announced their decision to start using HTTPS as a ranking signal. 7/24/14 Pigeon Google released a new local algorithm to provide more accurate local search results that are tied more closely to traditional ranking signals. 6/12/14 Payday Loan 3.0 The third version of PayDay Loan algorithm is officially announced, specifically targeting "very spammy queries" 5/19/14 Panda 4.0 Matt Cutts announced the release of a major Panda update, affecting different languages to different degrees. 5/16/14 Payday Loan 2.0 Google confirmed they have released a new algorithm update to their Payday Loan Algorithm update over this weekend. 3/24/14 Unnamed Update Major algorithm flux trackers and sites reported ranking changes. 2/6/14 Top Heavy 3 Google has released a refresh of its Page Layout Algorithm. 10/4/13 Penguin 2.1 The fifth confirmed release of Google’s "Penguin" spam fighting algorithm went live. 8/20/13 Hummingbird Google announced they rolled out the update Humminbird one month ago, and it is an update of its core ranking algorithm 7/27/13 Multi-Week Update A series of updates confirmed by Google. 5/22/13 Penguin 2.0 Google announced the new Penguin 2.0 update. 3/14/13 Panda #25 Final update before incorporation of Panda into the main algorithm. 1/22/13 Panda #24 Panda update announce by Google 12/21/12 Panda #23 Panda update announce by Google 12/4/12 Knowledge Graph Expansion Google added Knowledge Graph functionality to non-English queries, including Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Russian, and Italian. 11/21/12 Panda #22 Google confirmed the 22nd Panda update, which appears to have been data-only. 11/5/12 Panda #21 Google rolled out their 21st Panda update, roughly 5-1/2 weeks after Panda #20. 10/9/12 Page Layout #2 Google announced an update to its original page layout algorithm change back in January, which targeted pages with too many ads above the fold. 10/5/12 Penguin #3 After suggesting the next Penguin update would be major, Google released a minor Penguin data update, impacting "0.3% of queries". 9/27/12 Panda #20 Overlapping the EMD update, a fairly major Panda update (algo + data) rolled out, officially affecting 2.4% of queries. 9/27/12 Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update Google announced a change in the way it was handling exact-match domains (EMDs) resulting in a devaluation of those type of domains. 9/18/12 Panda 3.9.2 Google rolled out another Panda refresh, which appears to have been data-only. 8/20/12 Panda 3.9.1 Google rolled out yet another Panda data update, but the impact seemed to be fairly small. 8/14/12 7-Result SERPs Google made a significant change to the Top 10, limiting it to 7 results for many queries. 8/10/12 DMCA Penalty ("Pirate") Google announced that they would start penalizing sites with repeat copyright violations, probably via DMCA takedown requests. Timing was stated as "starting next week" (8/13?). 7/24/12 Panda 3.9 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. 7/19/12 Link Warnings In a repeat of March/April, Google sent out a large number of unnatural link warnings via Google Webmaster Tools. 6/25/12 Panda 3.8 Google rolled out another Panda data refresh, but this appeared to be data only. 6/8/12 Panda 3.7 Google rolled out yet another Panda data update, claiming that less than 1% of queries were affect. 5/25/12 Penguin 1.1 Google rolled out its first targeted data update after the "Penguin" algorithm update. 5/16/12 Knowledge Graph Google started rolling out "Knowledge Graph", a SERP-integrated display providing supplemental object about certain people, places, and things. 4/27/12 Panda 3.6 Google rolled out yet another Panda data update, and it seemed that the impact was relatively small. 4/24/12 Penguin Google rolled out the "Webspam Update", which was soon after dubbed "Penguin." Penguin adjusted a number of spam factors, including keyword stuffing. 4/19/12 Panda 3.5 Google quietly rolled out a Panda data update that appeared to be a fairly routine update with minimal impact. 4/16/12 Parked Domain Bug Google confirmed that a data error had caused some domains to be mistakenly treated as parked domains (and thereby devalued).
This content was last updated on March 30, 2020 with new Google Update information.
Below you will find a list of Google updates (including the major Google updates such as Penguin, Panda, Possum, Pigeon, Hummingbird, and Fred) to help you identify if your traffic fluctuation coincided with a recent Google Algorithm change to their data set, or if your website was manually or algorithmically penalized. The list includes both confirmed and unconfirmed Google algorithm updates for seo rankings to help you answer the question, “when did google change its search algorithm?”.