8 Major Google Algorithm Updates Complete Explained

8 Major Google Algorithm Updates Complete Explained

Google rolls out updates to its search algorithm several thousand times per year. Normally, Google search algorithms are too small to notice. If you look in-depth, you will see that  Google Update its algorithm almost every day. The ultimate goal of Google is to provide great and good quality results for the search queries. In this blog, we will be counting down the top eight major Google algorithm updates. By reading this blog, you will understand about each algorithm in detail.


Panda was one of the important algorithms launched by Google on February 23, 2011. The main objective of this algorithm is to penalize the websites with plagiarized content, thin content, duplicate content, content with keyword-stuffing, and low-quality content. It is popularly called as ‘Farmer’ update because this algorithm focuses mainly on the content area of the website. Panda update assigns a quality score to web pages that acts as a ranking factor to rank the webpages in the SERPs listings. To recover from the panda algorithm update, you need to regularly check your content for keyword stuffing, thin content, content duplication, and plagiarism.


Panda algorithm update was released by Google on April 24, 2012. The main goal of this update is to find spammy or irrelevant links, links with over-optimized anchor text as a new effort to reward high-quality websites. It focuses mainly on Link schemes and keyword stuffing to give the searcher good quality results. This algorithm down-rank sites whose backlinks look different or unnatural. This update puts an end card to buying links from link farms and PBNs. To save your website from this update, you need to monitor your link profile’s growth and run a regular check with a backlink checker.


Hummingbird algorithm was announced by Google on September 26, 2013, but it had already been placed online about a month prior. This update does not appear to hurt the general web. The main purpose of this update was to translate semantic search from a concept to reality. This algorithm helps Google better interpret search queries and offer results that match search intent. It has made it possible for a page to rank for a query even if it doesn’t contain the similar words the searcher entered. To gain benefit from this update, think behind your keywords and analyze related searches, synonyms, and co-occurring terms.


RankBrain is a Google algorithm that uses machine learning to find the most relevant results to search engine queries. It was launched on October 26, 2015.  It helps Google to understand the meaning behind the queries and display the best search results in response to queries. It will down-rate the website that has poor UX, shallow content, and solve the lack of query-specific relevance. This update will make google think beyond an individual's search query by taking into account factors such as synonyms, implied words, and personal search history. To stay alive with this update, you need to optimize your pages for relevance and comprehensiveness.


This update was launched by Google on April 21, 2015.  It will down-rate the website which has poor mobile usability and a lack of a mobile version of the page. This update extends the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

This update will impact

  • Search rankings on mobile devices
  • Search results in all languages
  • Go with individual pages, not the entire website

This continuous mobile search update  (2018, 2020) has turned the focus from a desktop to a mobile version of your website. To save your website or webpage from this website, you need to optimize your pages for mobile search and focus on usability and speed.


It was initially rolled out on May 4, 2018. This update will penalize or down-rate the website that has weak E-A-T signals and a lack of authority on YMYL websites. This update will negatively impact medical websites as well as other websites that have to do with potentially life-altering decisions including education, finance, and law.  To be frank, there is no proven recovery strategy for the medic update.


This algorithm update uses natural language technology to understand search queries, interpret text, finding out entities, and relationships between them. It was launched on October 22, 2019. This will penalize the website which has a lack of context, lack of focus, and poorly written content.  This update lets google to understand better about queries and search results. Google will reward the website which has good content. It is also used for featured snippets. It is similar to that of RankBrain update. BERT algorithm does not replace RankBrain, it is just an extra way of understanding content and queries.

Core Updates

Since 2017, Google has started to refer to bigger updates as Google core updates. From then, there is less transparency about what those updates are and which parts of the search need improvement. You can use SEO to track post-update ranking shifts and try to find out what exactly has changed. It is more like just improvements on previous Google updates or bundles of smaller updates put together. You can notice the effects of Google’s core updates by tracking SERP history for the keywords you are targeting.


The above mentioned are the main Google search engine algorithm. Follow and understand them carefully to get great results in return. One needs to tailor changes in their website to adjust as per major Google algorithm updates. This will help the website to stay higher in terms of ranking on the Google search engine result page. It also improves your conversion rate as more people can notice your profile in the search engine.