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A Visual History of Google Algorithm Changes

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To give you a snapshot of all of the issues that Google's algorithm changes have addressed over the years, we teamed up with Moz to create this infographic. Learn more about what these algorithm changes mean for modern SEO here:

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A Visual History of Google Algorithm Changes

  1. 1. A VISUAL HISTORY OF GOOGLE ALGORITHM CHANGES Over the years, Google has made thousands of changes to the way it finds and prioritizes information on the web. While most of these changes have been small, there have also been several major changes, which have significantly impacted how marketers think about SEO. Below is a snapshot of when (and why) Google rolled out its most notable algorithm changes. Note: We’ve also included some important, non-algorithm changes that have had a big impact on search. YEAR DEC EMB ER JAN ‘03 UAR Y ‘04 ‘05 FEB ER ‘06 EMB RY NOV RUA ‘07 ‘08 ‘09 ‘10 ‘11 OCTOBER MARCH ‘12 SEP APRIL ER TEMB ‘13 Y AUG JUNE US T J U LY FEBRUARY BOSTON APRIL CASSANDRA Crackdown on linking from co-owned domains, hidden text & links. 2004 MAY DOMINIC More emphasis on quality backlinks. MA 2003 Improvements to the counting & reporting of backlinks. JUNE/JULY ESMERELDA & FRITZ Improvements to the index infrastructure. NOVEMBER FLORIDA JANUARY AUSTIN FEBRUARY BRANDY Crackdown on keyword-stuffing & other black hat SEO tactics. Crackdown on “invisible” text, meta tag-stuffing. Index expansion, rollout of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). 2005 FEBRUARY ALLEGRA Crackdown on suspicious-looking links. MAY BOURBON JUNE PERSONALIZED Improvements to how SEARCH duplicate content & non-canonical URLs are treated. 2007 MAY UNIVERSAL SEARCH Integration of traditional results with News, Video, Images, Local, etc. OCTOBER JAGGER OCTOBER GOOGLE LOCAL DECEMBER BIG DADDY Crackdown on reciprocal links, link farms, paid links. Map data is integrated with Local Business Center (LBC) data. Updates to URL canonicalization, redirects, & other technical issues. 2008 Google+ data & user profiles included in search results. Changes to the supplemental index & filtered pages. 2009 APRIL DEWEY FEBRUARY VINCE DECEMBER REAL-TIME SEARCH THE BIG ONES PANDA & PENGUIN Update to singleword search results & other small changes. Unspecified update to the search index. Big brands get a boost in search results. Twitter feeds, Google News, & new content are integrated into real-time feed. Rolled out in 2011, the Panda update affected 11.8% of queries and was specifically targeted at article directories (a.k.a. "content farms"). As a result, sites including,, and saw huge drops in their search results rankings. 2010 Crackdown on low-quality pages ranking for long-tail keyword searches. 2011 JUNE CAFFEINE FEBRUARY PANDA Launch of new web indexing system, resulting in 50% fresher index. Crackdown on thin content, content farms, sites with high ad-to-content ratio. NOVEMBER FRESHNESS UPDATE Greater emphasis put on recent content in search results. The Penguin update (2012) affected an estimated 3.1% of English searches. Gaming sites and porn sites were among the biggest search ranking losers. 2012 JANUARY SEARCH + YOUR WORLD NOVEMBER SUPPLEMENTAL UPDATE JUNE BUFFY MAY APRIL GOOGLE PLACES MAY DAY LBC rebranded “Places,” is integrated more closely with local search results. Results take user’s search history into account. 2006 FEBRUARY VENICE APRIL PENGUIN More localized results appear for broad queries. Crackdown on link schemes, keywordstuffing, other black hat tactics. SOURCE: LEARN MORE: 2013 MAY KNOWLEDGE GRAPH SEPTEMBER AUGUST EXACT MATCH IN-DEPTH DOMAIN ARTICLES Relevant facts & images included alongside traditional results. Crackdown on low-quality sites that have search terms in their domain names. New type of result, dedicated to more evergreen, long-form content. AUGUST HUMMINGBIRD Google recognizes full-question searches, emphasizes high-quality content.
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To give you a snapshot of all of the issues that Google's algorithm changes have addressed over the years, we teamed up with Moz to create this infographic. Learn more about what these algorithm changes mean for modern SEO here:


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