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A brief look at the Google updates!

Every year, Google makes millions of algorithm updates. At least once a year, Google extensively modifies how websites appear in search engine results pages (SERPs). Likewise, Google algorithm updates have significantly impacted search historically or currently. Google is an erratic one. 


In addition, its updates can make or ruin a business because many rely on their search engine for traffic, leads, and consumers.  Generally, these search engine algorithms determine your results for each search phrase or query.  Behind the scenes, they filter through web content, examine indexed pages for quality and relevance and then return results that are most pertinent to the query.


Now, read our blog for everything you need to know about Google’s older or recent tweaks. But, we learn about Google update terms first, then move forward. 

Google Update definition

Moreover, Google updates keep different definitions; the two most essential depictions consider below.  Generally, these are significant events for web admins and SEOs worldwide. These algorithm shifts, filters, data refreshes, or other adjustments are typically to blame when a website’s ranking or SEO Visibility falls.


Eventually, Web admins and SEOs worldwide pay close attention to Google Updates. Secondly, the term “Google Update” denotes a modification altering how Google’s search engine calculates ranks, such as the Mobile Update or Phantom Update. 


Additionally, a few updates involve significant algorithm improvements, while others include applying filters or updating the database that an algorithm uses.

Primary Google updates

2011 - Panda

It established whether a website provided details about the search phrase users entered. However, site owners needed help to get away with creating a site consisting of low-quality content. 

Likewise, the Panda update had a long-lasting impact on our SEO performance. The Panda update negatively impacts two types of websites:

  • Affiliate sites (sites that mainly exist to link to other pages).
  • Websites with very little content.

Venice in 2012

This was a notable upgrade because Google understood that users sometimes want results close to their location. Following Venice, Google began returning pages based on your IP address or the location you specified.

Penguin in 2012

It evaluated whether links pointing to a website were real or had been purchased to deceive search engines.  With its Penguin update, Google intended to prohibit users from purchasing, trading, or otherwise artificially generating links. 


When Google discovers fake links, it assigns a negative value instead of a previously assigned positive one.

Pirate in 2012

Additionally, the Pirate upgrade stopped the unauthorized dissemination of copyrighted material. 


For the first time, it considered a website’s large number of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown requests as a liability to ranking.

Hummingbird, 2013

Moreover, the Hummingbird search engine considers all the words in a query rather than just the keywords.  It helps to comprehend a user’s query better and provide them with a solution rather than just a list of results.


As a result, SEO materials should be understandable, use everyday language, and avoid being too optimized for a few phrases using synonyms.

Pigeon in 2014

Likewise, Google Pigeon, which concentrated on local SEO, was the next bird-themed Google update to appear in 2014.  However, the Pigeon update impacted Google Maps and the results pages. It improved localization accuracy by prioritizing outcomes close to the user’s location. 


Additionally, it strived to improve the quality and relevance of local results by considering organic ranking variables.

HTTPS/SSL in 2014

Additionally, to emphasize security, Google awarded a slight ranking boost to websites that correctly encrypt their connection to users with HTTPS.

Mobile Update for 2015

In Google’s mobile search results, the Mobile Update improved the ranking of mobile-friendly websites.  Despite its dramatic moniker, the mobile update only immediately affected the rankings of most users. But it was a significant change that signaled the rise in prominence of mobile.

RankBrain, 2015

Modern Google algorithms like RankBrain use machine learning to process requests.  Also, to locate terms with similar meanings and provide relevant results, it can make educated guesses about words it doesn’t know.  Google acknowledged that RankBrain was among the three most significant ranking signals in March 2016. 


Contrary to other ranking factors, there isn’t a conventional method to optimize for RankBrain other than simply creating high-quality content.

Possum in 2016

The Possum update made several adjustments to Google’s local ranking filter to enhance local search. This suggested that this modification increased the independence of local investigation from organic results.

2018 Speed Update (Mobile)

With the implementation of this Google change, page speed became a ranking criterion for mobile searches, just as it did for desktop searches.  Likewise, the update mainly impacted sites with an incredibly sluggish mobile version.

2018 - Medic

There were specific ranking changes due to this significant core algorithm upgrade, which generated a lot of controversies. 


However, it was an effort to match results to searchers’ intentions better or to safeguard consumers against (what Google determined to be) unreliable information.

2019 – BERT

It is a machine learning algorithm that uses a natural language processing method based on neural networks (NLP). 


Similarly, BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It can also determine its whole context by analyzing the words before and after a word.  This translates to a significant improvement in understanding the purpose of a search query.

Page Experience Update in 2021

This upgrade will combine current page experience signals with Core Web Vitals, a practical assessment of essential user experience elements.  The Page Experience change generally means that Google will consider a more particular viewpoint on on-page user experience.

2021 – MUM (Multitask United Model)

The term “Multitask United Model,” abbreviated as “MUM,” gives away the strength of this new algorithm by implying that it can manage several tasks simultaneously.  It can use various media, including video and audio, to read, interpret, and learn more than 75 languages!

2022 - Useful Content

The helpful content upgrade focuses on the value of the content appearing in search results.  It all comes down to rewarding “people-first” content or material that genuinely responds to users’ inquiries and offers a gratifying user experience.

Last but not least

Since the beginning of 2010, Google has advanced significantly. Most of its early upgrades during the decade were devoted to combating spammy results and websites that attempted to game the search engine. 


However, as time passed, updates played a more prominent role in creating search outcomes that gave desktop, mobile, and local searchers precisely what they were looking for.  Given the continuous focus on the goal, Google Search will likely continue to improve its algorithm for learning search queries and correctly designing the results pages.


Overall, their goal is to “organize the world’s information and make it broadly accessible and valuable,” which appears to be their current area of focus. 


However, no matter which route it goes in, striving for the best outcome and creating a top-notch website will always be priorities.