Top 7 Major Google Algorithm Updates

Google algorithm is a complex system that drives the search engine results. Google algorithm has undergone countless changes to date. From small tweaks to significant changes with the purpose to deliver the best possible results matching to user intent.

What was Google’s principle behind these changes?

Google’s main focus while changing algorithms was to improve the quality of content. That’s what Google did. With these algorithmic changes, Google has pushed low-quality sites to the top of results which was never predicted by anyone.

Google Algorithm changes → Search Result changes → Webpage Ranking changes

It’s clear that any change in the Google algorithm affects the ranking of web pages in search engine result pages. Therefore we can confidently say that these algorithms are “Google algorithms for SEO”

However, it depends on what extent updates are done in the Google algorithm.

As a search marketer, you should be aware of all the major algorithmic updates that significantly purpose the SERP’s.

In this post, we have listed the seven most important Google algorithm updates of all time. Read on to know each of the updates, hazards and its purpose on search.

1. Panda(February 24, 2011)

Purpose: Downgrade sites with low-quality content
Hazards: Low-quality, spammy, duplicate or thin content
Impact: 11.8% on search queries

Algorithm update:

Google’s Panda update was launched to reduce the ranking of sites with low-quality content which are not valuable and useful for users. At the same time, it has rewarded those sites with high-quality content and upgraded rankings of sites.

Initially, Panda was a filter but later in January 2016 it was part of Google’s ranking algorithm and operates in real-time. So penalties and recovery both happen faster.


Improve your content’s quality

2.Penguin (April 24, 2012)

Purpose: Downgrade sites with manipulative and spammy link profiles
Hazards: Spammy or irrelevant links, links with overly optimized anchor text
Impact: 3% on search queries

Algorithm update:

Google’s Penguin update was launched to down-rank sites that had used the manipulative link building tactics. Penguin has become part of Google’s core ranking algorithm in late 2016 and operates in real-time. So penalties and recovery both happen faster.


  • Remove links from low quality and spammy sites like directories.
  • Do not buy links from sites created for selling purposes.
  • Build links from high-quality and authoritative sites
  • If you fail to remove the dirty links than disavow links by using the Disavow tool.


3.Hummingbird (August 22, 2013)


Purpose: Produce more relevant search results by interpreting the user intent behind a query
Hazards: Keyword stuffing, Exact-match keyword targeting, low-quality content
Impact: 90% on search queries

Algorithm update:

Google’s Hummingbird update was launched to better interpret search queries and provide search results that match the searcher intent rather than individual keywords.


Create comprehensive content (explain the topic in depth) that satisfies searcher intent

4.Pigeon (July 24, 2014)

Purpose: Provide high-quality local search results
Hazards: Poorly on and off-page SEO
Impact: 50% on search queries

Algorithm update:

Google’s Pigeon update was launched to focus on distance and location ranking parameters to deliver improved local search results. Thus pigeon update created closer ties between the local algorithm and the traditional core algorithm. As a result, traditional SEO factors are used to rank local as well as non-local Google search results.


Optimized your site for local search

5.Mobile Geddon (April 21, 2015)


Purpose: Boost ranking of mobile-friendly pages in mobile search results and downgrade pages that are not optimized for mobile
Hazards: Non-mobile-friendly web pages
Impact: Affects search rankings of individual web pages on mobile devices

Algorithm update:

Google’s Mobile update was launched to increase the ranking of mobile-optimized and fast loading pages in mobile search. Subsequently, it down-ranked the pages not optimized for mobile.


Make your site mobile-friendly and focus on the speed of the site

6.Rank brain (October 26, 2015)

Purpose: Better interpret the meaning behind queries and deliver the best results
Hazards: Absence of relevance features per query, Poor user experience
Impact: 3-5% on search queries

Algorithm update:

Google’s Rank brain update was launched to identify relevance features on web pages ranking for a given query


Optimize your pages for relevancy and comprehensiveness.

7.Fred (March 8, 2017)

Purpose: Filter out the low-quality search results aiming to generate ad and affiliate revenue
Hazards: Thin, excessive affiliate or ad-centered content
Impact: 3-5% on search queries

Algorithm update:

Google’s Fred update was launched to target low-value content sites that put revenue above helping their users.


  • Remove the number of ads
  • Do not add tons of affiliate links on pages
  • Improve the quality of the content


All major algorithmic updates which affect the site rankings and recovery are discussed. Take care of those aspects that Google algorithms target and improve your website ranking in SERP’s.

If anytime Google update has hit your site, then how you managed to tackle it, please share your experience in the comment section below.

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