Google Algorithms: A Complete History

August 20, 2020

Do you know what Google Algorithms are? And how does it work?

Google updates its search algorithm from time to time and every now and then rolls out new updates.

You may or may not have gone through the recent updates. But it’s always good to have an understanding of it as a digital marketer, as google is the most popular search engine. 

The favorite search engine Google always introduces a new set of rules and evolves in order to understand its users and their needs and to make itself more user-friendly.

So Have you Ever Wondered About the Working of Google Algorithm?

We know that Google is a vast place of information ( hundreds of billions of web pages). It’s beyond our imagination. So lots of sorting must be needed so that the users can find it useful by getting their expected relevant result in a fraction of seconds.

So What do you People Think? Is that Sorting Very Easy? 

Nope, not at all. In order to give you the most relevant information, the search algorithms have to look at some set of factors. 

  • The WORDS in your query.
  • The USABILITY of pages.
  • RELEVANCE of pages.
  • EXPERTISE of sources.

Also, according to the nature of your queries, the weight applied to each factor varies. In order to meet high standards of relevance and quality, Google has a rigorous process which often does Live Tests and thousands of trained external Search Quality Raters.

Let’s Have a Look at How Many Algorithms Google Has? 

As we notice, every month Google makes some changes in the algorithm. So that people should experience more user-friendly, comfortable and also get the best possible results. These major updates happened over the years and had a major impact on best practices for SEO.

Check out the list of major Google algorithm updates and its implications for SEO and search.

1. Panda 

As we are going according to the SEO perspective, we are starting from the PANDA update which was launched on February 24, 2011. It was the first major update in the modern SEO era.


  • This update mainly focused to deal with the websites that were created for the ranking 
  • On-Page Factors. The algorithm checked whether the website offered useful information about the search term.

Who got affected?

  • Sites who had very poor content
  • Affiliate sites

2. Venice

The VENICE got launched in 2012.  After the Panda update, Google got to know that the people always wanted to get or filter out their search results which are local. So after Venice, the SERPs included the search results which are based on the location that we set and our IP Address.

3. Penguin

Launched on April 24, 2012, the Google Penguin works in real-time. Penguin actually cross-checks the genuinity of the backlinks that got from other sites. It strictly discourages buying, exchanging and artificially creating links. If found guilty, Google will give a negative value.

Who got affected?

  • Irrelevant links( Spammy)
  • Links with over optimized anchor text

4. Pirate

This update was launched in August 2012 which mainly tried to oppose the spreading of copyrighted contents.

5. Hummingbird

The Hummingbird update was introduced on August 22, 2013. This name is given because of the speed and accuracy just like the bird “Hummingbird”.

This emphasis more on 

  • natural language queries
  • considering context and 
  • meaning over individual keywords

It also looks deeper for content on the website and leads the user to relevant pages rather than to a link to the website homepage.

Who got affected?

  • The website with low-quality content.
  • The website with more keyword stuffing.

6. Pigeon

The other update which is named after a bird was launched on July 24, 2014 in the US and on December 22, 2014 in the UK, Canada and Australia. This update mainly focussed on local SEO and affected both the Google maps and the result pages. When a query is happening, because of the update the results will be near to the user’s location.

This emphasis more on 

  • To make local results more relevant  and higher quality
  • Organic ranking factors.


In order to increase website security, Google implemented a new update HTTPS, which makes a secure connection between the user and the website. Also, the site will get a minor ranking boost.

8. Mobile Update

From 2015, most of the queries ( around 50%) were coming from mobile devices which probably led to the implementation of the update “Mobilegeddon”. This update gave a ranking advantage for those sites which are mobile-friendly.

Who got Affected?

  • The site with no mobile version of the page.
  • Poor mobile usability.

Launch date: April 21, 2015

9. Rank Brain

A machine learning algorithm was implemented on October 26,2015 in order to give the best results to the user’s query after the filtering. Earlier Rankbrain was used for limited queries( around 15%), but now it is involved in every query which is entered in Google.

Rankbrain is the third most important ranking signal.

10. Possum

The other local update was implemented on September 1, 2016 which introduced many changes to Google’s local ranking filter to improve the local search. Because of this, the local results became more varied depending upon the physical location of the user and the query.

11. Speed Update( Mobile)

Just like desktop searches, Google implemented this update for the need for the fast delivery of information for mobile searches.

The update mostly affected sites with a particularly slow mobile version.

12. Medic

On August 1, 2018 google released a new update in algorithm after which many websites especially in the health industry saw a significant drop in their website traffic. This update brought down ratings of websites that were providing misleading information on topics like health, finance or others which could affect user well being.

13. BERT

It is declared as the biggest change in the last five years. The BERT( Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) was implemented in 2019 for natural language processing. It is a machine learning program that can figure out the full context of a word by looking at the words that come before and after it.

Have you ever wondered how Google is so fast in searching?

When you search for your query in Google, you get your useful results in a very little fraction of seconds. Ever wondered about that? Actually, when the query is searched, google is not searching on the internet. Instead, Google checks out its index of the internet. It’s not like any index of a 100 or 200 pages book. Google has an index of over 100 million gigabytes. So when it does search the index not the web, it archives the speed.


So how was your experience reading this article? Enjoyed? Please let us know your views about this blog. Also, have a note on one more important ranking update which is yet to be launched in 2021. Yes, you heard it is true. The new update called Page Experience, which tells whether people who have gone through your website will leave as pleasant or not.