All Over Google Algorithm Change History
Panda #21 — November 5, 2012Google rolled out their 21st Panda update, roughly 5-1/2 weeks after Panda #20. This update was reported to be smaller, officially impacting 1.1% of English queries.
Google Releases Panda Update 21, Impacts 1.1% Of US Queries In English (SEL)
Official: Google Panda Refresh On November 5th (Version 21) (SER)
Page Layout #2 — October 9, 2012Google announced an update to its original page layout algorithm change back in January, which targeted pages with too many ads above the fold. It's unclear whether this was an algorithm change or a Panda-style data refresh.
It’s “Top Heavy 2″ As Google Rolls Out Update To Its Page Layout Algorithm (SEL)
Google Page Layout Algorithm Officially Updated (SER)
Penguin #3 — October 5, 2012After suggesting the next Penguin update would be major, Google released a minor Penguin data update, impacting "0.3% of queries". Penguin update numbering was rebooted, similar to Panda - this was the 3rd Penguin release.
Google Penguin Update 3 Released, Impacts 0.3% Of English-Language Queries (SEL)
Google Released 3rd Penguin Update: Not Jarring Or Jolting (SER)
August/September 65-Pack — October 4, 2012Google published their monthly (bi-monthly?) list of search highlights. The 65 updates for August and September included 7-result SERPs, Knowledge Graph expansion, updates to how "page quality" is calculated, and changes to how local results are determined.
Search quality highlights: 65 changes for August and September (Google)
Exact-Match Domain (EMD) Update — September 27, 2012Google announced a change in the way it was handling exact-match domains (EMDs). This led to large-scale devaluation, reducing the presence of EMDs in the MozCast data set by over 10%. Official word is that this change impacted 0.6% of queries (by volume).
Google's EMD Algo Update - Early Data (SEOmoz)
The EMD Update: Google Issues “Weather Report” Of Crack Down On Low Quality Exact Match Domains (SEL)
Panda #20 — September 27, 2012Overlapping the EMD update, a fairly major Panda update (algo + data) rolled out, officially affecting 2.4% of queries. As the 3.X series was getting odd, industry sources opted to start naming Panda updates in order (this was the 20th).
20th Google Panda Algorithm Update: Fairly Major (SER)
How Do You Know If Google Panda Or EMD Hurt Your Site? (SER)
Panda 3.9.2 — September 18, 2012Google rolled out another Panda refresh, which appears to have been data-only. Ranking flux was moderate but not on par with a large-scale algorithm update.
Google Rolls Out Panda 3.9.2 Refresh (SER)
Panda Update 3.92 Rolling Out (Or Is It Panda 20 Time?) (SEL)
Panda 3.9.1 — August 20, 2012Google rolled out yet another Panda data update, but the impact seemed to be fairly small. Since the Panda 3.0 series ran out of numbers at 3.9, the new update was dubbed 3.9.1.
Confirmed: Google Panda 3.9.1 Update (SER)
Google Panda Refresh On August 19th: Version 3.9.1 (SEL)
7-Result SERPs — August 14, 2012Google made a significant change to the Top 10, limiting it to 7 results for many queries. Our research showed that this change rolled out over a couple of days, finally impacting about 18% of the keywords we tracked.
SERP Crowding & Shrinkage: It's Not Your Imagination (SEOmoz)
7 Is The New 10? Google Showing Fewer Results & More From Same Domain (SEL)
DMCA Penalty — August 10, 2012Google announced that they would start penalizing sites with repeat copyright violations, probably via DMCA takedown requests. Timing was stated as "starting next week" (8/13?).
An update to our search algorithms (Google)
The Emanuel Update: Google Will Penalize Sites Repeatedly Accused Of Copyright Infringement (SEL)
June/July 86-Pack — August 10, 2012After a summer hiatus, the June and July Search Quality Highlights were rolled out in one mega-post. Major updates included Panda data and algorithm refreshes, an improved rank-ordering function (?), a ranking boost for "trusted sources", and changes to site clustering.
Search quality highlights: 86 changes for June and July (Google)
Google’s June-July Updates: Site Clustering, Sitelinks Changes & Focus On Page Quality (SEL)
Panda 3.9 — July 24, 2012A month after Panda 3.8, Google rolled out a new Panda update. Rankings fluctuated for 5-6 days, although no single day was high enough to stand out. Google claimed ~1% of queries were impacted.
Official: Google Panda 3.9 Refresh (SER)
Link Warnings — July 19, 2012In a repeat of March/April, Google sent out a large number of unnatural link warnings via Google Webmaster Tools. In a complete turn-around, they then announced that these new warnings may not actually represent a serious problem.
Insanity: Google Sends New Link Warnings, Then Says You Can Ignore Them (SEL)
Google Sends Out New Batch Of Unnatural Link Notifications (SER)
Panda 3.8 — June 25, 2012Google rolled out another Panda data refresh, but this appeared to be data only (no algorithm changes) and had a much smaller impact than Panda 3.7.
Official Google Panda Update Version 3.8 On June 25th (SEL)
Google Panda 3.8 Live: June 25th & Refresh Only (SER)
Panda 3.7 — June 8, 2012Google rolled out yet another Panda data update, claiming that less than 1% of queries were affect. Ranking fluctuation data suggested that the impact was substantially higher than previous Panda updates (3.5, 3.6).
Confirmed: Google Panda 3.7 Update (SER)
The Bigfoot Update (AKA Dr. Pete Goes Crazy) (SEOmoz)
May 39-Pack — June 7, 2012Google released their monthly Search Highlights, with 39 updates in May. Major changes included Penguin improvements, better link-scheme detection, changes to title/snippet rewriting, and updates to Google News.
Search quality highlights: 39 changes for May (Google)
Google’s May Updates: Inorganic Backlinks, Page Titles, Fresh Results & More (SEL)
Penguin 1.1 — May 25, 2012Google rolled out its first targeted data update after the "Penguin" algorithm update. This confirmed that Penguin data was being processed outside of the main search index, much like Panda data.
Google Releases Penguin Update 1.1 (SEL)
Knowledge Graph — May 16, 2012In a major step toward semantic search, Google started rolling out "Knowledge Graph", a SERP-integrated display providing supplemental object about certain people, places, and things. Expect to see "knowledge panels" appear on more and more SERPs over time. Also, Danny Sullivan's favorite Trek is ST:Voyager?!
Introducing the Knowledge Graph: things, not strings (Google)
Google Launches Knowledge Graph To Provide Answers, Not Just Links (SEL)
April 52-Pack — May 4, 2012Google published details of 52 updates in April, including changes that were tied to the "Penguin" update. Other highlights included a 15% larger "base" index, improved pagination handling, and a number of updates to sitelinks.
Search quality highlights: 52 changes for April (Google)
Google’s April Updates: Bigger & Tiered Index, Document Ranking, Sitelink Changes & More (SEL)
Panda 3.6 — April 27, 2012Barely a week after Panda 3.5, Google rolled out yet another Panda data update. The implications of this update were unclear, and it seemed that the impact was relatively small.
Confirmed: Panda Update 3.6 Happened On April 27th (SEL)
Penguin — April 24, 2012After weeks of speculation about an "Over-optimization penalty", Google finally rolled out the "Webspam Update", which was soon after dubbed "Penguin." Penguin adjusted a number of spam factors, including keyword stuffing, and impacted an estimated 3.1% of English queries.
Another step to reward high-quality sites (Google)
The Penguin Update: Google’s Webspam Algorithm Gets Official Name (SEL)
Google Penguin Update Recovery Tips & Advice (SEL)
Two Weeks In, Google Talks Penguin Update, Ways To Recover & Negative SEO (SEL)
Panda 3.5 — April 19, 2012In the middle of a busy week for the algorthim, Google quietly rolled out a Panda data update. A mix of changes made the impact difficult to measure, but this appears to have been a fairly routine update with minimal impact.
Google Mocks Me For Missing Panda 3.5 (SER)
Parked Domain Bug — April 16, 2012After a number of webmasters reported ranking shuffles, Google confirmed that a data error had caused some domains to be mistakenly treated as parked domains (and thereby devalued). This was not an intentional algorithm change.
Dropped In Rankings? Google’s Mistake Over Parked Domains Might Be To Blame (SEL)
Updated: Google Update April 2012? Over SEO Penalty? (SER)
March 50-Pack — April 3, 2012Google posted another batch of update highlights, covering 50 changes in March. These included confirmation of Panda 3.4, changes to anchor-text "scoring", updates to image search, and changes to how queries with local intent are interpreted.
Search quality highlights: 50 changes for March (Google)
Google’s March Updates: Anchor Text, Image Search, Navigational Search & More (SEL)
Panda 3.4 — March 23, 2012Google announced another Panda update, this time via Twitter as the update was rolling out. Their public statements estimated that Panda 3.4 impacted about 1.6% of search results.
Google Says Panda 3.4 Is ‘Rolling Out Now’ (SEL)
Search Quality Video — March 12, 2012This wasn't an algorithm update, but Google published a rare peek into a search quality meeting. For anyone interested in the algorithm, the video provides a lot of context to both Google's process and their priorities. It's also a chance to see Amit Singhal in action.
Video! The search quality meeting, uncut (Google)
Panda 3.3 — February 27, 2012Google rolled out another post-"flux" Panda update, which appeared to be relatively minor. This came just 3 days after the 1-year anniversary of Panda, an unprecedented lifespan for a named update.
Google Confirms Panda 3.3 Update (SEL)
Confirmed: Google Panda 3.3 (SER)
February 40-Pack (2) — February 27, 2012Google published a second set of "search quality highlights" at the end of the month, claiming more than 40 changes in February. Notable changes included multiple image-search updates, multiple freshness updates (including phasing out 2 old bits of the algorithm), and a Panda update.
Search quality highlights: 40 changes for February (Google)
Venice — February 27, 2012As part of their monthly update, Google mentioned code-name "Venice". This local update appeared to more aggressively localize organic results and more tightly integrate local search data. The exact roll-out date was unclear.
Understand and Rock the Google Venice Update (SEOmoz)
Google Venice Update – New Ranking Opportunities for Local SEO (Catalyst eMarketing)
February 17-Pack — February 3, 2012Google released another round of "search quality highlights" (17 in all). Many related to speed, freshness, and spell-checking, but one major announcement was tighter integration of Panda into the main search index.
17 search quality highlights: January (Google)
Google’s January Search Update: Panda In The Pipelines, Fresher Results, Date Detection & More (SEL)
Ads Above The Fold — January 19, 2012Google updated their page layout algorithms to devalue sites with too much ad-space above the "fold". It was previously suspected that a similar factor was in play in Panda. The update had no official name, although it was referenced as "Top Heavy" by some SEOs.
Page layout algorithm improvement (Google)
Pages With Too Many Ads “Above The Fold” Now Penalized By Google’s “Page Layout” Algorithm (SEL)
Panda 3.2 — January 18, 2012Google confirmed a Panda data update, although suggested that the algorithm hadn't changed. It was unclear how this fit into the "Panda Flux" scheme of more frequent data updates.
Confirmed: Google Panda 3.2 Update (SEW)
Google Panda 3.2 Update Confirmed (SEL)
Search + Your World — January 10, 2012Google announced a radical shift in personalization - aggressively pushing Google+ social data and user profiles into SERPs. Google also added a new, prominent toggle button to shut off personalization.
Search, plus Your World (Google)
Real-Life Examples Of How Google’s “Search Plus” Pushes Google+ Over Relevancy (SEL)
January 30-Pack — January 5, 2012Google announced 30 changes over the previous month, including image search landing-page quality detection, more relevant site-links, more rich snippets, and related-query improvements. The line between an "algo update" and a "feature" got a bit more blurred.
30 search quality highlights - with codenames! (Google)
Google Announces “Megasitelinks,” Image Search Improvements & Better Byline Dates (SEL)