Google algorithm updates

Google Algorithm is a system complex that retrieves data from its search index and instantly delivers the best possible results for different queries. A search engine uses a combination of algorithms and numerous ranking signals to provide the best web pages. Delivered web pages ranked by relevance on its Search Engine Pages (SERPs).

Recently, Google makes numerous changes every year. Most of the updates go unnoticed. Some of the most significant updates that will affect SERPs are:

  1. Panda
  2. Penguin
  3. Hummingbird
  4. Mobilegeddon
  5. RankBrain
  6. Pirate update
  7. EMD (Exact Match Domain)
  8. Featured Snippet Deduplication

Here we compiled a full list of Google algorithm updates, launches, and refreshes rolled out over the years. We also provided several links to understand each of these changes. 

  1. Panda

Date of release: February 24, 2011

Google Panda algorithm update is used to build high-quality websites and diminish low-quality websites in Google’s SEO results. It was initially known as “Farmer.” It was affected over 12% of English language search results in several months. It later addressed numerous problematic phenomena in Google SERPs, including:

Thin Content: Weak pages with little or substantive text and resources like pages described with few relevant sentences present on each page. 

Duplicate Content: Content that appears in more than one place on the internet. It could happen on any website if it has been filled with the same text.

Low-quality content: Pages with little relevant information

Lack of authority /trustworthiness: Content that is non-verified and not considered produced by sources. 

Content farming: Set of low-quality pages, often aggregated from other web pages. 

Low-quality user-generated content (UGC): Content with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, concise sentences, lacked authoritative information.

High ad-to-content ratio: Pages with paid advertising rather than original content. 

How does It Work?

The Panda algorithms assign a “quality score” for all the web pages for the page’s ranking. Initially, the Panda effect is shallow but later incorporated in Google’s algorithm permanently. Since then they became faster and frequent.  

How you can Adjust?

 This update recognizes keyword stuffing, content duplication, and thin content. However, it requires an SEO Powersuit auditor during site crawling.

You can create content without keyword stuffing with this Website auditor. “Panda” can also use it to analyze the competitor’s websites and SEO recommendations that are already lucrative in Google search.

Use Copyscape to detect any plagiarized content on your website. 

How To Stay Safe With A Panda?

  1. Audit Your Web Pages

The presence of your web page’s internal duplicate content is the most common trigger for Google Panda Update. So, it is necessary to run regular site audits to ensure content quality. The SEO PowerSuite and Website Auditor license can find duplicate contents in small and large sites, respectively. 

  1. Check For Plagiarism

External duplicate content of your web pages is another trigger of Panda. It is better to check them with Copyscape to know the same content on your web pages. 

  1. Identify Thin Content

Thin content is made up of duplicate content, scraped, or generated automatically. It appears on pages with a low word count filled with ads, affiliate links, etc. It provides only little original value to the content. To avoid such issues, measure your page’s word count and many outgoing links. 

  1. Audit For Keyword Stuffing

It is a term used for making your web pages more popular. When all optimization efforts fail to reach your site’s top 10, it indicates keyword stuffing issues. In such a case, check your top-ranking competitors’ pages that use in its Keyword Stuffing formula. 

  1. Fix the problems you find

Fix the problem as soon as the next Panda algorithm iteration is hitting your page. 

  1. Penguin

Date of release: April 24, 2012

Like Panda Update, Penguin is aimed to reward high-quality websites, diminish the presence of manipulative link schemes and keyword stuffing. Initially, it was impacted by 3.1% of English language search engine queries. But later in 2017, this was parted with Google’s core algorithm permanently. 


Link schemes: A popular artificial picture created with the developed, acquisition, or purchase backlinks from low-quality or unrelated websites manipulated Google into best-suited high ranks. 

Keyword stuffing: Populating a web page with several repeated keywords for ranking high in Google. 

How does It work?

The objective of “Penguin” is to downing the web site’s rankings, with unnatural backlinks. This helps to filter the sites which have low-quality links and links received from link farms. According to Google, these sites have less value. 

How you can Adjust?

To avoid these effects, use SEO SpyGlass for your profile growth. With this, you can find unusual spikes in your link. 

How To Stay Safe With a Penguin?

  1. Monitor Link Profile Growth

Google Penguin updates could be a problem when the profile is uploaded with more than two spammy links. To avoid such risk factors, remove the unusual spikes and add new connections in your profile that you acquire. 

  1. Check For Penalty Risks

Penguin updates are included in SEO SpyGlass, so it is possible to weigh them as a whole instead of looking at each factor separately.

  1. Get Rid Of Harmful Links

You can remove the spammy links in your Google profile by using webmasters of the linking sites. When your web page doesn’t have so many harmful links to remove or don’t hear back from the webmasters, you can disavow the low-quality links using Google’s Disavow tool.

  1. Hummingbird

Date of release: August 20, 2013

Unlike Panda and Penguin updates, the Hummingbird was initially released as add-ons to Google’s existing algorithm. Later, it has been cited to overhaul the core algorithms thoroughly. It was not just a small update, essentially an entirely revamped version of Google’s search algorithm. 


Keyword stuffing: An article with a lot of repeated keywords. 

Cheap-quality content: Content full of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, un relevant sentences, etc. 

How does It work?

It helps Google to provide exact results for searcher intent. Hummingbird also makes the pages rank higher even they don’t have the keywords that are used mostly. 

 How you can Adjust?

Focus on the concepts behind the keywords and expand your keyword research. Analyzes synonyms, search terms, and co-occurring terms. All of these are incorporated into the keyword research mode.

It is for a better understanding of the audience’s languages and diversifying your content. With this comprehensive content, it is easy to satisfy searcher intent. It is quite suitable for engaging searchers and SEO as well.

How you can stay secure with Hummingbird?

  1. Enlarge keyword research:

To diversify your content, you are advised to focus on synonyms, related searches, and co-occurring. You don’t need to depend on short-tail terms you’d get from Google Ads. Hummingbird catchphrase thoughts depend on Google Autocomplete, Google’s Related queries, and Google Trends.

  1. Rank Tracker

With Rank Tracker, expand your targeting keywords lists. Open or create a project and provide seed terms that you are searching for. Next, select the Keyword Research component to check the ranking keywords. And finally, explore your potential keywords for ranking by using keyword research methods. 

  1. Discover the language your audience uses.

With Hummingbird update, you can identify whether your website and audience are using the same language. Explore your website and audience’s keywords by using social media listening tools like Awario. 

  1. Leave the “exact match” concept, work on the content:

The page title and meta description are still trending among internet users. . But it can be a problem with search engines’ growing ability to process natural language. With Hummingbird, it is easy to change your wording on your website. 

  1. Mobilegeddon

Date of release: April 21, 2015

Mobilegeddon update was implemented to show the difference between what mobile-friendly was and what wasn’t. This message was posted on the official Webmaster Central Blog by Google. 


Doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version of the page

Low quality mobile usability: Google will notify you when the site isn’t mobile-friendly by email messages to the Webmasters. The mobile usability impacts the searcher’s mobile user experience. So, it is crucial to fix the issues to create a mobile-friendly user experience. 

How does It work?

This update was specially implemented to focus on the mobile version of your website. Google rankings in your site depend on speed and user-friendly mobile versions.

How you can Adjust?

Optimize your site by focusing on usability and speed for mobile search. Google will assist you in improving the missing part of your website. 

How to stay safe with Mobile-Friendly Update?

  1. Go Mobile

There is a lot of mobile website configuration available, but Google recommends responsive design.

  1. Take The Mobile-Friendly Test

To achieve top rankings in mobile SERPs, you have to pass Google’s mobile-friendliness criteria. You can analyze your site’s mobile friendliness with SEO Powersuit Website audito

Launch website auditor and open your project, and access content analysis to analyze the pages. Use your target keywords and give the tool moment to run a quick page audit. After the audit is completed, switch to technical factors on the Page usability (Mobile) section on the list of SEO factors.

  1. RankBrain

Date of release: October 26, 2015


Dosent have any query related relevance.

Shallow content 

Poor quality UX

How does It work?

RankBrain is a machine learning system, which is a member of Google’s Hummingbird. It helps to analyze the importance behind the search results and provides the best search results for those queries. RankBrain tops third in the list of “important ranking factor”.

We may not be sure of this significant update, RankBrain is responsible for customizing a user’s Google search results. 

How to stay safe with RankBrain?

Maximize User Experience

RankBrain isn’t providing a better experience to the visitors, but it’s optimizing SERPs’ user experience. Check your pages’ user experience factors in Google Analytics, especially Bounce Rate and Session Duration. 

Do competition research

RankBrain provides query-specific relevance features for Web pages. Such features are signals for ranking pages in SERPs and positively affect user experience. Generally, web pages with more content and interactive elements will be more successful. 

  1. Pirate Update

Date of release: Aug 2012

Goal: De-rank sites with copyright infringement reports

Google’s Pirate Update protects sites from receiving numerous copyright infringement reports from ranking well in Google search. The websites that fall under this trap are pirate websites for movies, series, and e-books.


Pirated content

A high volume of copyright infringement reports

How to stay safe with Pirate

You should not distribute others’ content without the copyright owner’s permission.

  1. EMD (Exact Match Domain)

Date of release: September 2012

An EMD is a domain name that drives traffic to your website by matching search queries. 

 What’s the problem with EMDs?

 EMD will be a spam website if its URL matches the search term. 

Expand keyword research and focus on the concept of keywords. Carefully analyze related searches, synonyms, and co-occurring terms. You will find all of them incorporated into the rank tracker’s keyword research component. 

Use these insights to understand your audience’s language better and diversify your content. And by creating comprehensive content that satisfies searcher intent, you’ll win both in terms of engagement and SEO.

  1. Featured Snippet Deduplication

Date of release: January 22, 2020

Goal: Prevent URLs in featured snippets to appear twice on the first page of organic search results


Changes in traffic as it is moving search ranking positions.

How to stay safe with Featured Snippet updates?

This update has created little fuss with SEO. The first position in search engine is “zero position”. Most importantly it’s up to you to get in the first position or somewhere among 2 to 10 products. It may appear one time but will affect your search results.

It is easy to monitor ranking order with a rich snippet and for what keywords. Rank Tracker tool can record SERP’s history and notify you when it gets into a featured snippet for a specific keyword.



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