Understanding Google Updates

The idea is basically to try and level the playing ground a little bit so all of those people who have sort of been doing over optimization or overly doing their SEO compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site. We want to sort of make that playing field a little more level. And so that’s the sort of thing where we try to make the Googlebot smarter―Matt Cutts, a top ranking Google official making comments on the update called ‘Penguin’ before it was released.

Google updates basically refer to the overhaul both major and minor, performed by the search engine corporation, Google. It affects search results rankings, improves user efficiency and regulates digital market competition. Although the minor updates are hardly noticed, because they mostly do not affect search results. The first documented Google update was in 2002. Later on in 2003 they released the first named update tagged “Boston”. After that updates became a monthly thing for Google. It reaches an all time high in 2012. But lately, Google hardly announce their updates, maybe the reason being no updates at the moment.

Nowadays Google invest in machine learning (an artificial intelligence that provides computers the ability to develop programs without being programmed). When faced with new data the computers change and teach themselves. The following are the timelines of Google updates over the years.

2000 UPDATE.

  1. The Google tool bar; launched in California in 2000, this update consist of a free browser plug-in which allow users to search for information with a fast, relevant search technology, from different web pages on the internet. It is a search and retrieval companion. “The Google toolbar provides fast access to goggles best search tools from any web page on the internet” said Larry Page, Google CEO and co-founder.

2002 UPDATE.

  1. First documented update. Google release the first documented update, dropping many sites that were ranked in the top 10 and this affects webmasters engaging In SEO’s. Some say they are trying to increase their algorithms immunity to reverse engineering and cracking.


In 2003 Google release a number of updates as follows Boston the first named Google update appeared in February. Followed by

  1. Boston update (the first named Google update)
  2. Cassandra update.
  3. Dominic update.
  4. Esmeralda update.
  5. Fritz update.
  6. Supplemental index update.
  7. Florida update.

The above updates focus largely on algorithm changes, index refreshes, hidden links, SEO tactics and search rankings.


Google announced only 2 updates this year. Austin and Brandy updates. Later that year in an event Google sold shares worth $19m, raising their market value. The updates this year cleanse some of the dirt left by the 2003 updates. Like the Meta –tags, invisible texts, attention to anchor text relevance and the concept of link neighborhoods.


In January 2005 Google together with Microsoft and yahoo introduce the “no follow” attribute. It was aimed at combating spam and outbound link quality. They continue single-handedly launching the following.

  1. Allegra in February.
  2. Bourbon in May.
  3. Personalized search in June.
  4. XML sitemaps also in June.
  5. Gilligan in September.
  6. Jagger in October.
  7. Google local/maps also in October.
  8. Big daddy update in December.


In November 2006 Google release the supplemental update, making changes to supplemental index. There was also a report of an update in November but Google did not announce any update.


In May 2007 Google launch the universal search. Integrating search results with video, images, news and other contents. Later on that year in June they launch the “Buffy”, in honor of one their employees leaving.


Not much happened in 2008 with the internet world seeing only Dewey in April and “Google Suggest” in august. The former bringing suggested searches in a dropdown as you type in Google search engine.


In 2009 Google together with Microsoft and yahoo announce Canonical tag in February. Goggle continued updating its algorithm with Vince in February; caffeine (preview) in august and real time search in December for Google news, twitter feed and a number of contents.


Google launch the following updates this year

  1. Places in April 2010.
  2. May Day in May.
  3. Caffeine (rollout) in June, indexing and boosting goggles speed.
  4. Brand update in august.
  5. Google instant in September.
  6. Instant Previews in November.
  7. Social signals in December.
  8. Negative reviews update in December

Caffeine: The new search index. (Google)

About Google instant. (Google)

Instant Previews (Google)


Google update recorded a number of major updates as follows.

  1. Attribution update in January.
  2. +1 button in march;
  3. Panda farmer, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1 updates this year.
  4. Schemas and Google+ updates in June.
  5. Expanded site links in august
  6. rel=”next” and rel=”prev” link in September
  7. Flux update and Query encryption in October.
  8. Freshness update in November.

The +1 button (Google)


Additional languages for high quality sites algorithm (Google)

The evolution of site links. (Google)

rel=next and rel=prev Pagination (Google)

Getting fresh and recent search results (Google)


Google) 2012 recorded the highest number of announced updates.

  1. The first being search+ your world, panda 3.2 and page layout improvement. All in January.
  2. Panda integration into search index, panda 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.9.1, 3.9.2, algo + data update and lastly panda refresh.
  3. 40 search quality highlights and Venice February.
  4. Penguin and Penguin 1.1 updates.
  5. Knowledge graph and graph extension update.
  6. 7 results SERPs update.

Search your world.(Google)

Page layout algorithm improvement (Google)

17 search quality highlights (Google)

The Video on the search quality (Google)

The knowledge graph (Google)

Update to search algorithms (Google)


Google recorded major updates this year. Notable among them are the panda update, phantom update, penguin, payday loan update, humming bird update and the panda dance.


Google started 2014 with page layout update then later on payday loan, panda updates, authorship removal and photo drop, pigeon update, HTTP/SSL update, penguin updates, and pirate update.

An official Announcement (Google)


Google announced mobile update tagged the Mobilegeddon in the in April this year which was an algorithm update then later on

The following link will provide you with news and announcements from Google.



nikkrohn on twitternikkrohn on linkedinnikkrohn on googlenikkrohn on facebooknikkrohn on email2
Founder at Giant Ideas
I am a social media enthusiast! I love digital marketing strategy and execution!

I have been in the internet marketing industry for 7+ years now. I have created huge brands on social media, built nearly 500 websites, developed a handful of mobile apps and LOVE helping our clients optimize their website for higher conversion rates!

One Comment

Leave a Reply