SEO Updates

SEO Updates: The most relevant Google updates so far

SEO updatesGoogle has always been adamant when it comes to improving and evolving its products. Given that its basic product, Google search engine, was always in the center of the attention, it is no wonder that it received most love.

Now, if you are a business owner, I bet you are wondering how to do SEO for a website with all these updates that affected Google algorithm over last few years. In the end, we all want to have good position in Google, right? No worries.

Our team at has compiled a list that will help with your SEO efforts. All you have to do is read about these major algorithm changes and you will be well away to your first position in Google. Have in mind that list includes only SEO updates that had a big impact on general search. Some of them, such as EMD, Top Heavy and Knowledge Graph, were purposely omitted.


February 23 – Panda 1.0

One of the biggest SEO updates in Google history, it affected 12 % of all search results. From this point onward, blog owners were penalized for thin content, content farm and high ad-to-content ratio. It was a revolutionary algorithm that led to other improvements of Google search engine.

April 11 – Panda 2.0

Previously, Panda was limited to US and English-speaking countries. With this SEO update, it affected the entire world. Furthermore, it also included user feedback that greatly improved search results.

August 12 – Panda 2.4

Panda has finally started to affect non-English queries (aside from Chinese, Japanese and Korean) having impact on 6 to 9 % of all search results in Google.  Additionally, there were minor updates to English queries. However, they didn’t have big impact.

September 28 – Panda 2.5

Even though Google refused to give any data regarding its latest SEO update, changes had quite an impact on various websites. While some of them lost their ranking, the other gained a few positions.

November 3 – Freshness Update

About 35 % of queries were impacted by this algorithm change. It affected freshness as Google started to put emphasis on recent results. In that regard, Google gave advantage to three categories: recent events and hot topics, regularly recurring events and frequent updates.


March 23 – Panda 3.4

This Panda algorithm update impacted around 1.6 % of Google queries. Google gave limited information about the changes.

April 24 – Penguin 1.0

Penguin algorithm update was primarily focused on eliminating webspam. It finally dealt with issues such as cloaking and keyword stuffing and it affected approximately 3.1 % of all English searches. Through this update, Google wanted to penalize websites that are performing SEO aggressively while rewarding those of high quality.

September 27 – Panda 20

One of the biggest SEO updates of 2012, it affected about 2.4 % of English Google search results and 0.5 % of results in other languages. From this point onward, Google started referring to Panda updates according to number of update.

December 21 – Panda 23

Latest SEO update for this year brought about modest changes. It affected about 1.3 % of English Google results, slightly improving previous algorithm.


January 22 – Panda 24

Google started this year with fairly important update that affected approximately 1.2 % of search results. Once again, Google provided limited information about the changes.

May 22 – Penguin 2.0

According to Google, this version of Penguin was based on revolutionary technology that should further reduce spam. As a result, 2.3 % of queries were affected. It specifically targeted black hat search engine optimization practices that violated company’s quality guidelines.

August 20 – Hummingbird

Hummingbird update was a big step forward for Google and its users. It introduced a new, Hummingbird search algorithm that will improve all future searches and allow better results. According to experts, this engine consists of both new and existing parts, adapting to Google user`s needs.

October 4 – Penguin 2.1

This was one of the latest SEO updates in 2013, affecting 1 % of searches. Similarly to most other Google search engine optimization updates, some websites experienced a significant drop in rankings, while other managed to regain positions that were lost due to previous Penguin updates.


May 19 – Panda 26

After this SEO update, it became almost impossible to rank well for one the top search results if you had poor quality content. Improved algorithm affected 7.5 % of all search queries. Like any previous Panda update, this one further improved quality of the content on the Internet.

July 24 – Pigeon

Another important update, Pigeon improved local search results and their relevancy allowing local businesses to increase or decrease their position according to it. It affected searches in English and it encompassed both Google Maps and Google web search results.

September 23 – Panda 27

Similarly to Panda 26, this particular SEO update heavily punished thin content affecting 3 to 5 % of all queries. According to Google officials, it heavily favored small and medium websites that have high quality content, allowing them to rank better.

December 22 – Pigeon Expands

Previously mentioned update was now implemented on UK (United Kingdom), CA (Canada) and AU (Australia) domains. Experts claim that Pigeon will allow for more visibility to small, local stores based in these countries.


April 22 – Mobile update or “Mobilegeddon”

One of the most talked about SEO updates in recent history wanted to improve mobile device accessibility which led to more mobile-friendly websites in search results and more relevant app content in search results.  However, it had much less impact than originally expected by Google experts.

October 26 – RankBrain

Through public announcement, Google confirmed that RankBrain was now part of their algorithm. This confirms that Google is slowly starting to implement artificial intelligence capable of learning. According to experts, this RankBrain will become an important aspect of post panda SEO. So far, information is still limited regarding this system. Nevertheless, this represents a great step forward when it comes to SEO and effectiveness of Google.

To be continued…

(last updated February 1, 2016)