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[Infographic] 9 Major Google Algorithm Updates Every SEO Webmaster Must Know

Every day, thousands and millions of websites are created globally. And almost every other day, Google changes its search algorithms. Some of these algo updates are minor tweaks while some are really major updates that shake up the SERPs.

This infographic below will help you understand the 9 major Google algorithm updates rolled out in the last few years with a brief on what each update focuses on. Read on and spread the word.

Infographic Source: Zuan Education – Google Algorithm Updates Infographic

Here’s some brief information about the 9 major Google algorithm updates:

#1. Google Panda Update

First introduced in February 2011, the Google Panda algorithm update was designed to reduce rankings of poor and low-quality websites that don’t provide any value to the users and indulge in copying content from multiple sites. At the same time, the Panda update also rewarded sites that are high-quality, publish unique and relevant pieces of content that are in-depth and well-researched with better rankings.

#2. Google Penguin Update

Sometime in 2012, Google launched the “webspam algorithm update” that targetted link spam and black hat link building tactics. Later on, this “webspam algorithm update” was officially known as Penguin algorithm update. This update was aimed to have a greater control over, and reduce the effectiveness of black hat SEO tactics that were widely used by webmasters in those days.

#3. Google Pirate Update

Google Pirate algorithm update was introduced as a filter in August 2012. It was designed to prevent websites with many copyright infringement reports, as filed through Google’s DMCA system, from ranking well in Google’s listings. The filter was updated periodically and websites that were impacted previously might escape the wrath if they made the necessary improvements. However, the filter also caught hold of sites that escaped in the previous attempt.

#4. Google Hummingbird Update

Google announced the Hummingbird update on 26th September 2013 but it was in place for almost a month prior to its launch. Compared to Panda and Penguin updates that had a drastic effect on website traffic and lost rankings, Hummingbird didn’t have any major effects globally. It was designed to better focus on the meaning behind the words.

#5. Google Pigeon Update

Launched in July 2014 and focusing on U.S. English results, the Pigeon algorithm update focuses on providing more useful relevant and accurate local search results tied more closely to traditional web search ranking signals. As per Google, this new update improved their distance and location ranking parameters.

#6. Google Mobile-Friendly Update

Released in April 2015, Google’s Mobile-Friendly update was designed to give a major boost to pages that were mobile-friendly in Google’s mobile search results. Referred to by a variety of names such as mobilegeddon, mopocalypse, mobocalypse or mobilepocalyse, one of the best ways to test if your page is mobile-friendly is by using the Mobile-Friendly test tool.

#7. Google RankBrain Algorithm

Launched in early 2015 and used globally by Google, RankBrain is a machine-learning AI system helping Google process its search results, in particular, rare or one-of-a-kind queries. It is primarily focused to help refine queries processed by Google as well as helping Google rank web pages.

In fact, Google considers RankBrain as it’s the third most important ranking factor.

#8. Google Possum Update

A recent unconfirmed update from Google was Possum. The process of possum algorithm is to find the local pack and local finder. It focuses on local business listings in the SERP results.

#9. Google Fred Update

Sometime around mid-March 2017, the SEO community went abuzz with a new Google update aimed at targeting black hat SEO tactics. This update caused a huge shift in rankings and traffic for websites that deployed black-hat and heavy ad monetization tactics.


The main aim of Google is to provide quality results to its users and to achieve this goal, it releases various major and minor updates every year. The above discussed 9 Google algorithm updates have received the most coverage and have kept the SEO community buzzing. We hope this information will be useful for you. Feedback and suggestions are welcome.

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Ajay Kumar

Ajaykumar is a professional Digital marketer, blogger, and trainer who offer Digital Marketing training in Chennai. He loves to share the knowledge about latest Digital marketing trends around the world. He is working as a senior Digital Marketer at Zuan Education.

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