Algorithm Changes

Total SERP URLs: 584,868

The Google Algorithm Changes tool shows fluctuations in the Google search results. It matches these with recent algorithm updates, showing their impact on both the rankings and the visibility of the websites included in the data set.



Recent Google Updates


Unofficial Update - June 25, 2017

Starting around June 22, pretty high ranking shifts in SERP were reported, indicating that a new update to Google's search algorithm was rolling out. Despite this seemed like one of most volatile updates recorded in the last 6 months, the SEO community was relatively quiet at the beginning. As the days passed, more and more SEOs out there took notice that their websites were hit by this update, but nothing stood out as a potential cause of the massive fluctuations. It remained uncertain towards which aspects of the search algorithm the update was directed to.

Unofficial Update - May 17, 2017

Significant signs that a large Google algorithm update was rolling out have been recorded starting May 17 - May 18. Even though the automated tracking tools light up massive changes in the positioning of rankings, there were not much industry complaints neither from the white hat or black hat webmasters and SEOs, which made the rankings fluctuations even more difficult to understand. It remained unclear whether this was an actual algorithm update or whether the drop of Featured Snippets from SERP is the culprit.

'Fred' Update - March 8, 2017

Strong signs of search volatility and increased industry chatter indicate a pretty big algorithm update in early March. Even though initially Google did not announce a change to its algorithm, on March 23, more than two weeks after its launch, Gary Illyes confirmed the Fred algorithm update. The update seems to target low-value content websites focusing more on link quality aspects.

Unofficial Major Update - Early February, 2017

Significantly high ranking fluctuations, beginning with February 1st, indicate that a new algorithm update potentially targeting spammy practices took place. The SEO industry heavily debated about this, but as Google neither confirmed or denied there was indeed a change, it remained unclear whether the shifts were caused by an other normal unconfirmed update or a tweak on how Google Penguin detects and discounts spammy links.

Unofficial Minor Update - January 24, 2017

On January 24, elevated fluctuations in Google search which pointed towards a new algorithm update produced increased chatter within the SEO industry. Even though this one-day event was believed to be a minor update, Google has once again nothing to comment.

Intrusive Mobile Interstitial Penalty - January 10, 2017

Following the August 2016 warning announcement, a penalty update, confirmed by both Google's Gary Illyes and John Mueller, was rollout on January 10, to punish intrusive interstitial and pop-ups that may cause a disrupted experience for mobile devices users.

Unofficial Major Update - December 15, 2016

It appears that a significant update rolled out on December 15, massive shifts being continuously recorded until the end of the month. Again, Google did not confirm the update, even though there was quite of chatter in the industry and multiple tracking tools showed movements starting the middle of December.

Unofficial Update - November 10, 2017

The industry chatter started around November 10, when many people reported the first shifts in Google search. Our tool recorded the movements starting with November 16, the most significant ones being recorded on November 19 and November 23. Even though the SEO industry chatter was high during this interval, Google did not confirm anything, keeping it unclear if the affected websites were impacted by a new quality update, a mobile-first index experiment or just a bug in Google's search results.

Penguin 4.0 (Real-time) - September 23, 2016

Google announced that the Penguin update is now part of their core algorithm. The changes made to the websites will be taken into consideration very fast by Penguin, as the refresh is real-time. Also, this update is granular, meaning that it's more likely for spammy pages to be penalised, rather than the entire website. SEL coverage here.

Unofficial 'Possum' Update - September 1, 2016

Although not confirmed by Google, the update affects the local listings by filtering these results based on a spam score. SEL coverage here

Mobile-friendly 2 - May 12, 2016

Google Webmaster Tools expert John Mueller announced that Google finished rolling out the second update on mobile searches. The rankings impact is expected to be minor, especially for the mobile-friendly websites. SEL coverage of the update here.

Core Algo Update - January 8, 2016

Google representatives confirmed 'common core ranking algorithm updates' that ran for more than one week. It was also officially confirmed that the update 'It's not Penguin', 'nor Panda', although it could technically be connected to Panda given it's recent integration into the core algo. SEL coverages here and here.

Panda as part of Core Algo - January 8, 2016

Panda was announced to no longer be a spam filter but one of the ranking signals, part of the core algo. It seems though that Panda scores do not run in real time, but on their own and at different intervals. The precise date when Panda was incorporated is yet to be known. SEL coverage here.

Unconfirmed update - November 18, 2015

Although numerous ranking fluctuations were reported across the industry, no official confirmation of a Google update was received, other than the usual 'We make 100s of changes every year'. SEL coverage here.

Mobile Friendly Update - April 21, 2015

As scheduled, Google announced they're starting the global rollout of their mobile-friendly update, affecting only search rankings on mobile devices. The update introduces mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor and applies to individual pages, not entire websites.

Pirate - October 24, 2014

After being criticized for a long time for not doing enough to fight piracy, Google finally announced an update its long neglected filtering system. Near the end of the month torrent tracker websites took a dive in the search results marking the rollout of the Pirate Update. SEL coverage of the update here.

Penguin 3 - October 18, 2014

Google announced a new Penguin refresh, that would be slowly rolling-out over the course of a few weeks and would be impacting less than 1% of English queries. SEL coverage of the update here.

'In The News' box - October 02, 2014

Google made a change in the display of the News-box results, and later announced they had expanded the news websites links set, including Reddit feeds. SEL coverage of the update here.

Panda 4.1 - September 23, 2014

Google announced a new Panda update, that would 'slowly rollout' in a two weeks interval. The new update aims to identify low-quality content more precisely and would affect 3 to 5% of queries, depending on location. SEL coverage of the update here.

Authorship Removed - August 24, 2014

John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools announced that Google will completely stop showing authorship information in search results - both author photos and bylines. SEL coverage of the update here.

HTTPS/SSL as Ranking Signal - August 6, 2014

Following several months of testing, Google officially announced their decision to start using HTTPS as a ranking signal. Currently the update would affect less than 1% of queries, but we should expect for HTTPS to gain weight over time and lose its 'very lightweight signal' status. SEL coverage of the update here.

Pigeon - July 24, 2014

A major local algorithm update was released, aiming to improve local search results. Although the core changes brought by the new algo are 'behind the scenes', Google announced that it 'ties deeper' into their core search algorithm. SEL coverage of the update here.

Authorship Photo Drop - June 28, 2014

Google announces the drop of profile photo and circle count from authorship in search results, as consequence of their decision to clean up the visual design of search results. SEL coverage of the update here.

Payday Loan 3.0 - June 12, 2014

Soon after Payday Loan 2.0, Matt Cutts announced the third version of the algorithm, designed to go after different signals. While 2.0 is targeting specific websites, spammy queries are the objective of this new update.

Panda 4.0 - May 19, 2014

Matt Cutts announced the release of a major Panda update, affecting different languages to different degrees. For English-language the amount of affected queries revolving around 7,5%. SEL coverage of the update here.

Payday Loan 2.0 - May 16, 2014

After days of speculation, Google has confirmed a new update to their Payday Loan Algorithm, unrelated to Panda or Penguin, targeting 'very spammy queries'.