Google search algorithm - all updates from 1998 to 2022

The largest search engine Google is able to efficiently process information in basic formats (Word, PDF, Excel, etc.). To ensure that search results are of the highest quality, every year Google makes more than half a thousand updates to its search algorithms. The lion's share of these changes is rather insignificant. But somewhere around 5-6 times a year, innovations are launched that significantly change the issue. In this article, we will look at significant changes in Google's search algorithms since the founding of the search engine in 1998.

Google search engine algorithms

1998 - launch of Google

  • The ranking algorithm (reference) is launched for the first time. It was during this period that Page Rank was invented. His algorithm was based on the transfer of reference weight. That is, the more resources link to the page, the better the PR and the higher the place in the search results. And also, the higher the PR of the pages that link to the site, the more weight the links transfer. On September 4, 2001, the algorithm was patented by Google Inc.

2000 - Google tulbar

  • Google launched TBPR (Toolbar PageRank). It was then that for the first time there was talk of optimization for search engines, now called SEO.

2001 - Hilltop (Hilltop)

  • Google presents to the general public a new development - an algorithm called Hilltop, which allows you to most accurately calculate the level of PR. This algorithm reads the geography and the degree of novelty of a document. After that, Google begins to notify webmasters that they should not leave links on suspicious websites and link dumps.
  • When calculating Page Rank, the dynamic rank of the document is taken into account. At the same time, Google separated search results for commercial and non-commercial queries.

2002 - First recorded ap

  • First Google update. The changes are minor, but different from the usual Page Rank up.


  • Small changes in the algorithm, start ups monthly.
  • Cassandra (Cassandra) - Basic influence of links, hidden links and texts harm resources.
  • Dominic - Google is starting to count and evaluate backlinks differently. Bots called Freshbot and Deepcrawler were first seen.
  • Esmerelda - The last time there is a monthly issuance up. From this point on, an indicator of changes that were already expected is started.
  • Fritz - From now on, the issuance begins to be updated daily, not monthly.
  • Snot (known as Supplemental Index) - From this period, Google starts to index more documents.
  • Florida (Florida) - Old methods of SEO gradually die off. A lot of sites are losing their advantageous positions. Promotion becomes much more difficult. This algorithm modifies the SERP by removing keyword-heavy pages, as well as pages with non-unique content and sites with purchased inbound links.


  • Austin (Austin) - There is an addition to the famous Florida. Google continues to crack down on invisible text and keyword spamming.
  • Brandy - Lots of changes. Google is starting to differentiate between synonyms. Keyword analysis is done differently.

2005 year

  • Nofollow - Google has launched the nofollow option (and it's shared with Microsoft and Yahoo). The main goal is to fight spam, but it also had a big impact on links.
  • Allegra (Allegra) - Not entirely clear changes in the usual ranking. Google was supposed to penalize questionable (perhaps purchased) links.
  • Bourbon - Bourbon was said to have affected duplicate content (i.e. there was a confrontation between www and non-www). But no one really felt the innovations.
  • Sitemaps in XML format - HTML sitemaps have been replaced with XML format. This allowed webmasters to speed up indexing by feeding cards through the webmaster panel.
  • Personalized search - Google began to use the history of search queries, taking into account personal preferences. There was a small effect, but Google decided to continue using history for applications.
  • Gilligan (Gilligan) - Serious changes were not - so stated in Google. The issue is still updated daily, but the toolbar PR is updated quarterly.
  • Places and Maps (Google Local/Maps) - The innovation affected regional SEO. All information from the cards are connected in LBC.
  • Jagger - The purpose of the update is link farms, reciprocal, purchased and questionable links.
  • Big Daddy (or Big Daddy) - The technical basics have been updated: canonicalization, 301/302 redirect, and more.


  • Snot (again) - Changes to the page filter have now been removed. It looks like a fine, but Google did not confirm this.
  • False alarm - Positions have shifted a lot. Although Google employees assure that there are no changes.


  • Austin - This algorithm begins to take into account the trust of the resource and significantly reduces the issuance of less trusted resources. After that, young sites that did not have time to gain trust cannot get into the TOP-5.


  • Update (up) of the world search - A very unusual update. Google started integrating news, videos, photos and more by changing the format.
  • Buffy (Buffy) - Minor changes when up.


  • Dewey - Strong fluctuations in March and early April. There were persistent rumors on the Internet that Google was trying to increase its influence.
  • The appearance of a drop-down menu in the search - For the first time, a drop-down menu appeared, the task of which is to prompt the user with a search query.

year 2009

  • Vince - Large brands have gained a big advantage (according to the observations of optimizers). And Cutts assured that the changes were very minor.
  • Rel - canonical: tag got a new treatment - Canonical tags are now supported. This was reported by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. Allowed webmasters to send canonical signals to robots.
  • Caffeine Preview - Google announced a planned infrastructure change. New features include real-time SERP generation, advanced index, crawl speed and indexing. From this point on, the content and frequency of updating a web resource become the most significant. Internal optimization (i.e. internal linking and usability) increases Google's trust in the site. Sanctions are introduced for spam and technical problems. So, a site that takes a long time to load and contains broken links can be downgraded in the search results.
  • Real-time search - From now on, real-time search is no longer a fantasy: there is a very fast indexing, Twitter appears, news - and all this is combined into a common feed. It is updated right here and now.


  • Google Places (update) - Back in 2009, Places was part of Google Maps. However, for the regions now - after the launch in April 2010 - there are additional opportunities.
  • Update May Day - Changed the algorithm that affected queries with a large number of words (long tail).
  • Caffeine - This update has significantly increased the speed of Google search - indexing and crawling are on a new level.
  • Brand update - One of the very unusual Google ups. Now the search results can contain the same domain several times (previously, pages of a single domain could not be placed on one page).
  • Instant Google - This add-on made it possible to show search results while the user was typing a query.
  • Instant View - The magnifying glass icon has been added to the search results. It allowed the user, without clicking on the link, to look at the pages of different sites on Google.
  • Social Signals - Social signals from Twitter and Facebook are now taken into account by Bing and Google when ranking.
  • Negative Reviews - Google started ranking user and business reviews after the New York Times trashed DecorMyEyes on its pages.


  • - The big and famous site has been punished for black hat SEO. A month later, the same thing happened to JCPenny.
  • Up the authorities - Scandalous cases of overspam received a response from Google - this update became it. He touched a quarter of all search queries.
  • Farmer Panda (Panda) - Refers to the largest ups, which affected 12% of the sites that were in the issuance of Google. The changes affected weak content, as well as content farms. In April came to Europe.
  • +1 button - Google introduced its +1 button, which was a kind of response to the competition between Facebook and Twitter. From now on, with its help, users are able to influence search results.
  • Panda version 2.0 - All requests in English are affected by this new app. New factors are now taken into account - such as blocking sites through Chrome or through search. In fact, Panda is a "scavenger" of Google's own issuance. The algorithm is obliged to clear the search results from doorways, satellites, sites only for placing ads and links, as well as from sites with non-unique content. Errors in the text are taken into account (stylistics, grammar, spelling), matching of tags and meta tags (title, h1, etc.) of the page to its content, oversaturation of content with keywords.
  • Panda 2.1 - Not very significant updates in Panda.
  • - Yahoo, Google and Microsoft have introduced a set of new HTML tags to webmasters. It was they who led to the fact that the search was enriched with new results.
  • Panda 2.2 - This new update is out of real time and separate from the main index.
  • Google + - Google search engine has launched its own social network. In just 14 days, more than 10,000,000 users registered in it.
  • Panda 2.3 - Up Pandas, as some webmasters thought.
  • Panda 2.4 - Panda has become international. Now it does not affect only the languages of Japan, Korea and China. 6-9% of queries in the world have undergone changes.
  • Advanced Links - Google has made an update for queries related to brands.
  • Pagination - To improve the fight against duplicate content, Google introduced two new options: rel=prev and rel=next. Improved Show All pages and automatic canonicalization.
  • 516 - Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, reported that there were only 516 updates in 2010. What is interesting, since more than 13,000 updates have been tested.
  • Panda 2.5 - Another fuzzy Panda app. But some sites have complained about large losses.
  • Flux (Panda is getting weaker) - On Twitter, Matt Cutts said that Panda will weaken by 2% from now on.
  • Encryption of requests - Google said that from now on, search queries will be encoded (encrypted). Webmasters encountered problems when working with popular keywords.
  • Freshness (Freshness) - Google announced innovations that will affect a quarter of all issuance. But they will only affect fresh content.
  • 10 Ups - Matt Cutts showed a list of the last ten innovations, in order, according to him, to maintain an open policy. The timing and hidden meanings are unclear.
  • Panda 3.1 - Panda continues to weaken, although there have been updates. The official Panda 3.0 hasn't been launched, so this one is called 3.1 by many.
  • December 10 - The second part of 10 updates. Affected parked domains, searches for blogs, photos, images, etc. The timing is unclear.

year 2012

  • Search and your world - Big changes in the formation of human-specific search results. Information from social networks added to the search results. Finally there are buttons to cancel the issuance based on personal preferences.
  • Panda 3.2 - Google confirmed an update to the Panda anti-web spam algorithm, but there were no significant changes in its performance.
  • Page Layout Algorithm - Also known as "Baby Panda" or "Top Heavy". The algorithm analyzes the usefulness of the site content on the first screen (without scrolling). Sites containing heavy ads on the first screen began to rank lower.
  • Penalty for placing ads - From now on, Google penalizes for the abundance of ads at the very top of the sites. It was said that Panda works almost the same way.
  • January 30 - Introduced a list of 30 items of new changes, eg rich snippets, relevant pages.
  • Panda 3.3 - Another Panda app. Google has updated the database, as a result of which the algorithm has become faster and more accurate.
  • Venice (Venice) - Google began to take into account the regionality of users to form a natural issue. Users located in different regions began to receive different results in the search results feed.
  • February 40 - A new list of 40 changes from Google, such as updating the Google bar, improving snippets for video channels, etc.
  • Panda 3.4 - This update, the main purpose of which is to lower the position of a site with a low level of content, was reflected in 1.6% of search queries, although the principle of indexing remained the same.
  • March 50 - Another batch of updates from 50 changes, which also included improving the relevance of image search, improving the approach to character indexing, launching extended site links in mobile search, etc.
  • Penguin - Launched a new algorithm that affected 3.1% of search queries, aimed at combating search spam, able to take into account both external and internal factors. Most of the sites that use spam methods have been demoted or removed from Google search. Also, Penguin is endowed with the ability to analyze the quantity / quality / rate of change of the link mass.
  • April 52 - The search engine begins to take into account the data of previous user requests to form the issue. The search engine index increased by 15%, search by region improved, snippet formation changed. And these are just a few of the 52 April changes.
  • Knowledge Graph - From now on, an algorithm that involves the use of a knowledge base to improve the results of issuance using semantic information search from different sources comes into force.
  • Penguin 1.1 - An update to Penguin that caused a lot of optimizers to worry when it was announced, but was minor. The data update affected only 0.1% of search queries.
  • May 39 - Google summed up its activities in May and provided 39 changes. For example, finding and ranking new content, successfully working on improving the truncated heading system, etc.
  • Panda 3.7 - This Panda update affected website owners that were affected by Panda from earlier versions. Changes in SERPs have also been noticed by visitors to various search forums. On average, about 1% of requests were affected.
  • Panda 3.9 - The next update of this algorithm, aimed at removing from the issuance of sites containing low quality content, like the previous two versions, it affected about 1% of queries.
  • June/July 86 - Google's two-month silence resulted in 86 changes. These include HTML5 caching for mobile devices, improving the relevance of SERPs in the TOP, improving the processing of the "long tail" of requests, a large-scale update of the Freshness algorithm, etc.
  • DMCA Penalty (Pirate) - From now on, Google penalizes websites for using infringing content.
  • Panda 3.9.1/3.9.2 - Announced and relatively small ups of the Panda algorithm with a database update that affected 0.7% to 1% of search queries.
  • Panda 4.0 - After this update, the search algorithm has become more perfect, the approach to detecting "low-quality" sites has changed, the algorithm for ranking English-language results has changed. After the update, it became known that the issue that was affected by Panda for different countries had different indicators. For example, the English language has changed by 7.5%.
  • August/September 65 - Google's belated monthly search algorithm updates this time resulted in 65 points, including the possibility of more accurate auto-completion in search suggestions, improved snippets, creating more relevant page titles, updating the "Knowledge Graph", etc. .d.
  • Panda 21/22 - Google has updated its search algorithm database. The changes made affected from 1 to 1.1% of search queries.
  • Panda 23 - There were no major changes with the 23rd update of the algorithm - as stated by Google. However, the up affected 1.3% of English-language queries.

year 2013

  • Panda 24/25 - The 24th and 25th algorithm update affected 1 to 1.2% of Google searches.
  • Penguin 2.0 - Up affected requests in different languages, including 2.3% of English-speaking ones. Thanks to the new technology, Penguin began to find web spam better, and the more spam there is on the site, the lower the web resource is ranked.
  • Hummingbird - There was a "humanization" of the search. From now on, Google produces more relevant results, forming the issue, not based on keywords, but trying to find synonyms for the search query.
  • Penguin 2.1 - As before, Google reacts to suspicious sites and anchor lists. This update affected sites that previously fell under the algorithm and affected only 1% of requests.

year 2014

  • Panda 4.0 - The most significant update to the search algorithm, affecting 7.5% of search queries.
  • Dove - From now on, when receiving geo-specific queries, Google gives the most informative, local search results for the user.
  • Panda 4.1 - The update was formed based on a summary of all complaints and comments from users of the Panda 4 update.
  • Penguin 3.0 - This ap from Google once again made it clear that the search engine does not welcome web spam. Many sites sank in the issuance. In turn, English-language queries according to MOZ were affected by less than 1%.


  • From 04/21/15, Google begins to motivate mobile content and launches the new Mobilegeddon algorithm. Now, in mobile search results, sites with an adapted version of the site have priority. A tool for checking the mobile version of the site has appeared.


  • Google Possum - The tasks of "Opossum" are to diversify local issuance, worsen the ranking of spam content - to exclude the display of several similar pages of one company in search results. If there are several organizations with the same type of activity located in the neighboring or even the same building at once, Google will not filter out one of them.
  • Google itself warned in 2016, and in 2017 announced that it was necessary to switch to the HTTPS protocol and that it would mark sites that collect data and continue to work on the insecure HTTP protocol, which it did. And for all sites, and not just collecting data and payment.


  • Google Speed Update (mobile) - As a ranking factor for Internet resources, the download speed of their mobile version is used. Sites with popular and high-quality content, even if their download speed is low on mobile devices, do not go down in search results.
  • Google Medic Update - This update mainly affected sites dedicated to health and medical issues, to a lesser extent - financial and legal resources. Through the introduction of "Neural Matches" created using artificial intelligence, Google is trying to "understand" the relationship between the words in the user's query and determine the concepts hidden behind the phrase. Articles with rewriting and low-quality content went down in search results, and texts written by specialists (doctors) were not actually affected.


  • Google Bert - Based on neural networks, the BERT algorithm interprets not only the content of the entered phrases, but also the user's goal - trying to understand the person's speech. BERT learns the meaning of each word based on the surrounding words. It is mainly used for long low frequency queries.


  • Core Update - A large-scale update that covered all areas, but the changes affected the medical and financial sites the most. The update is intended to improve the relevance of search results for users, especially in YMYL topics.
  • Core Update - Another update of the core algorithm, there are no official answers about what is included and what will be affected by the update. But upon closer examination of the update, you can see the impact on the ranking of the speed of hosting, plugins and site theme, as well as the adaptability of the design. Additionally, there is an emphasis on the fight against misinforming posts, for example, in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.


  • Google Passage Ranking - With the update of passage ranking, Google can now use artificial intelligence to index not only pages, but also individual passages (paragraphs, sentences) from these pages. This means that certain passages can be displayed as a favorite. The goal is to quickly respond to very specific queries, rather than forcing the user to explore the landing page.
  • "About this Result" - In the February 2021 "About this Result" update, Google provides additional context for individual search results so that users can determine which results will be most useful to them.
  • 100% mobile-first in indexing - With the rise of mobile traffic in the 2010s, Google began to focus more on mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in 2015. A year later, mobile-first indexing was introduced, which refers to when Google crawls – and therefore ranks – your site's pages according to the mobile version of that content.
  • Product Reviews - The goal of Google's April 2021 Product Review update is to encourage completion of product cards that don't just summarize a product listing, but rather provide detailed data, insightful analysis, and original content.
  • MUM - The Multitasking Unified Model (MUM) is a natural language model that is significantly more powerful than the October 2019 BERT (Bidirectional Transformer Encoder Representations). MUM is designed to “help you when there is no easy answer”. The purpose of MUM is to use contextual information from various sources to provide comprehensive answers to complex questions.
  • Link Spam Update - You should be especially careful with intruders if your site provides user interaction through comments, forums, etc.
  • Page Experience - In addition to indexing mobile sites, Google has also introduced a set of metrics through a user experience update called Core Web Vitals. These are not new metrics, but rather new priority factors for quantifying page user experience.
  • Update Page Titles - For more than a decade, Google has been tweaking page titles in SERPs to match the query. But starting August 16, people began to notice that Google was changing page titles drastically, often to the detriment. A week later, Google confirmed that it had introduced a new system that would no longer adjust titles to fit queries, but would better present the page as a whole.


  • The importance of user interaction has more than doubled this year (11% → 5%)
  • The first factor is the constant release of interesting content, which remained at 26% in 2022, which is important given the large share of user experience. Google continues to reward trustworthy people who provide high quality content by allowing them to work within days of publishing the content based on the targeted keywords they use.
  • It can take over 6 months for a news website to know its status code, but posting the consistent content it uses to reach that position is the most important factor in Google's algorithm.
  • The keywords in title meta tags on our list were reduced more than any other factor (22% 17 17%) because Google increased the automatic generation of meta tags under certain conditions. This is a unique factor, and choosing the right keywords for every page of your website is essential to ranking. While this is less important than last year, it is still necessary.
  • The Niche Expertise value has increased slightly (13% → 12%) and this shows the importance of Hub and Spoke SEO, in which high-level keyword-targeted pages are classified into other pages that target related keywords and are linked and linked.
  • Backlinks have decreased very slightly (15% → 16%), indicating a gradual decline in a factor that was once higher. While it is still the fourth most important factor in the algorithm, it is reminiscent of a time when Google's artificial intelligence had not yet evolved to judge the quality and authenticity of web content and needed other websites to do so.

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