Google SEO Algorithms Journey from 2000 to Today

When we talk about search engines, Google has always remained in the priority. Whatever you want to find, just Google it! And the results will be assembled in a bunch for you.

Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin from Stanford University founded Google as Research project. The name Google commenced from a misspelling of the word “googol” which associates the number articulated by a one followed by one hundred zeros.

The founders of Google write in their original paper “Page rank” (It is a first Google search engine algorithm, was named after Larry Page, it’s a way of measuring the websites pages’ importance). The reason of giving this search engine name as Google because it is standard spelling of Googol and it fits well with the aim of building a search engine on a massive scale.

SEO (Search engine optimisation) Algorithms

Search engine optimisation is a method of the visibility of the website or web page in a web search engine effectively. Algorithm, as we already know is a procedure for solving a problem. So basically SEO Algorithms consist of a set of rules and different formulas that a search engine uses to determine the acceptation of a web page. Each search engine contains its set of rules. These rules decide the authentication of any web page if a page is real or spam. It also provides other features for listing each search query.

Google SEO Algorithm updates from 2000 to 2016

Nothing remains last without any amendment that is why Google updated their Algorithms from time to time. Over the years, Google has made thousands of alterations whenever Google found proneness in delivering relevant, high-quality search results. For example, recently Google search algorithm fixes a “mobile-friendly update”, which emphasises more on a websites’ mobile friendliness as a ranking point for searches from mobile. These changes in algorithm affect search results in significant ways.

1. Google toolbar – December 2000

Google launched their first browser toolbar along with toolbar Page Rank (TBPR). It was a system that determines how to rank pages. In a nutshell, it was considered that some votes are necessary than others. It was a system of counting link votes and deciding most relevant pages on them. It is used to determine to rank in search results.

2. Google dance began – September 2002

It was a first publicly announced major update to its search algorithm. Google appears to involve a great change in significant ranking and increased the importance of anchor text (a clickable text in a hyperlink) quality.

3. Boston updates – March 2003

It was the first named update “Boston”. Google improved the algorithms to analyse further backlink (also called inbound link, it’s a hyperlink that links the web page to one’s website)

4. Cassandra update – April 2003

It was the first time when Google has allowed restricted sites a reconsider request submission. A crackdown on some link-quality issues, like linking massively from co-owned domains, hidden links and texts.

5. Dominic update – May 2003

Google continue in trimming their skills and fighting devious link practices. This update was an improvement to the counting and reporting of backlinks.

6. Esmeralda – June 2003

Esmeralda is an alternative update of Cassandra and Dominic. When both these updates get off, Esmeralda fights against the manipulative use of hidden texts and poor quality backlinks.

7. Fritz update – July 2003

It’s an improvement to the indexing infrastructure. It updates the index on a daily basis. Google switched from monthly updates to the index to daily index updates for more accurate result.

8. Supplemental Index – September 2003

To index more documents without compromising the performance, Google parted some results in the supplemental index.

9. Florida update – November 2003

It was a contentious update. It controlled the keywords stuffing (SEO technique in which a web page is laden with keywords. Keywords stuffing sometimes lead to penalization of a website temporarily and in some cases permanently on the main search engines).

10. Austin updates – January 2004

In the consequences of the Florida updates, Austin took over to attack further eccentric practices. This update intended to restrain invisible text (it’s an unreadable text used by websites to hide data from users who are unfamiliar with a particular internet site).

11. Brandy update – February 2004

It includes change regarding inflation of Google’s index along with Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) –it’s a recovery method that uses Singular value decomposition technique (SVD) to recognize.

12. Alegra update – February 2005

Google began to crack down some suspicious looking links.

13. Bourbon – May 2005

Google improved to treat duplicate and non-canonical URLs (incorrect URLs).

14. Personalised search – June 2005

It was only offered to sign in users, only when they had enabled web history on their Google account.

15. Jagger – October 2005

It targeted the low-quality links which include alternative links, paid links and link farms.

16. Google Local – October 2005

It includes integration of Map data with LBC (Local Business Centre). Google first launched the LBC in March 2005, where Google encouraged other businesses to update their information.

17. Big Daddy – December 2005

It was an infrastructure update which includes URL canonicalization, redirects and other technical issues.

18. Supplemental update – November 2006

It refers to the change in the supplemental index and treatment of filtered pages.

19. Universal search – May 2007

In this update, Google mixed up the usual research results with News, videos, images, etc.

20. Buffy updates – June 2007

It was a collection of little changes like single word search results and other smaller changes.

21. Dewey updates – April 2008

These updates were unspecified to the search index. It was suspected that Google was pushing its internal properties including Google books with limited evidence.

22. Google Suggest – August 2008

It includes a significant change .Google displayed suggested searches in a search box below.

23. Vince – February 2009

It was a major update that strongly favoured the big brands.

24. Caffeine Preview – August 2009

It was designed to expand the indexation, speed crawling and the ranking. It was a massive infrastructure change.

25. Real-time search – December 2009

This update accommodated Google news; Twitter feeds and newly index contents along with numerous other sources into real-time news feed.

26. Google places – April 2010

“Places” pages were originally a part of Google Maps and were ascended in September 2009. Its official launch rebranded the LBC. This update incorporated the pages more closely with local search results. Numbers of different features were added too.

27. May Day – May 2010

This update clampdown low-quality pages, rating for long tail keyword searches.

28. Caffeine rollout – June 2010

It was a launch of new web indexing system which results in 50 percent new indexes. In this update, Google advanced its raw speed and also combined raw speed and crawling much more securely.

29. Brand update – August 2010

Google started to allow the appearance of same domain numerous times on a SERP (Search engine results page), the areas were previously limited to 1 – 2 listings with excavated results.

30. Google instant – September 2010

This update was expansion in Google suggest. The search results were displayed as the query was being typed.

31. Instant previews – November 2010

In this update, an icon of magnifying glass appeared on Google search results. It allowed visitors to preview landing pages straight from SERPs.

32. Social signals – December 2010

It was a new development. Google and Bing approved that they used social signals for the regulation of ranking purpose. It includes data from Twitter and Facebook.

33. Negative review – December 2010

In this update, Google made unusual move to adjust the algorithms by using similar tactics to target sites. The update was a reaction because New York Times exposed that DecorMyEyes.com, an e- commerce website, was ranking on negative review based.

34. Overstock.com Penalty – January 2011

It was a first Google penalty. It refers to as a negative impact on any website’s search ratings based on Google’s search algorithm or manual review. This penalty also hit the JCPenny.com on the similar practice as overstock.com.

35. Attribution update – January 2011

This update was rolled out to help to sort out content attribution in a better way. It was a response to high-profile scam cases.

36. Panda update – February 2011

It aimed in penalising low-quality websites and improved the quality of their search results. It has been updated several times.

37. The +1 button – March 2011

Google launched the +1 button in competition with major social sites including Facebook and Twitter. Clicking on [+1], next to results link, allowed a user to impact search results within their social circle across both paid and primary results.

38. Panda 2.0 – April 2011

It was a change in Panda updates to Standard English queries worldwide. New signals merged, including the block of data about site users by Chrome browsers or SERPs directly.

39. Panda 2.1 – May 2011

It labelled as “Panda 3.0” at the initial level. These were minor changes as they weren’t discussed in detail by Google.

40. Schema.org -June 2011

Microsoft, Google and Yahoo mutually announced support for a combined approach in data structuring. For richer search results they created numerous new Schemas.

41. Google+ – June 2011

Google seriously launched Google+ to attack Facebook. Within just two weeks Google+ reached to 10M users. It was also integrated with Gmail.

42. Expanded Sitelinks – August 2011

Google rolled out expanded site-links for brand queries.

43. Query encryption – October 2011

Google announced for encrypting search queries for privacy reason.

44. Freshness Updates – November 2011

This update emphasises greater on recent content in search results. This update affected time-sensitive results but focus strongly on current content.

45. Search + Your world – January 2012

This update included user profiles and Google+ data in search results.

46. Venice – February 2012

For large queries, more localised search results appeared.

47. Penguin update – April 2012

It was a “Webspam update”. Included crackdown of numerous spam factors link schemes and other keyword stuffing.

48. Knowledge graph – May 2012

In this update, Google added relevant images and facts alongside traditional results.

49. Exact Match Domain (EMD) – September 2012

This update led to a massive reduction of low-quality sites which includes search terms in their domain name.

50. In-depth articles – August 2013

It’s an addition of new types of news results, dedicated to more everlasting long-form contents.

51. Hummingbird – August 2013

It was a core algorithm updates that power changes to acceptable search and knowledge graphs for months to come. It emphasises full question searches and high-quality content.

52. Pigeon – July 2014

This update amended some local results and modified hoe Google regulates local searches. It established close connections between core algorithm and local algorithms.

53. HTTPS/SSL Updates – August 2014

Google start giving the inclination to secure websites. The addition of encryption to a website would provide a ranking boost.

54. Authorship removed – August 2014

The Authorship markup removed entirely from Google’s results pages.

55. Pirate 2.0 – October 2014

Google launched this update to fight against digital media and software piracy.

56. Mobilegeddon – April 2015

It’s a Google Mobile friendly update. It was designed to upgrade mobile friendly pages in Google’s mobile search result.

57. Rankbrain – October 2015

This update is supposed to answer unclear questions. Google uses hundreds of designed signals for users in getting the most useful search results. Rankbrain is considered as the third largest search signals contributing to results.

58. Adwords shake-up – February 2016

It was a paid search update. Google made significant changes to Adwords. Google entirely removed right column ads. On many commercial searches it rolled out 4-ad top blocks.

59. Mobile friendly 2 – May 2016

Google rolled out the second version of Mobilegeddon. This is technically supposed to improve the effects of the mobile friendly ranking signals.

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