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Google’s Transformation: History of Google Algorithm Change and How Algorithm Updates Impact Your Business

Google updates used to be a big thing in the past. However, today, frequent changes and updates occur every year. It is important to understand how Google Search and updates got to where they are right now, to get a grasp on what this means for your business.

Brief History of Google Search Transformation

Google’s updates began gradually and then picked up the pace all at once. Read on to learn about the first three momentous updates that transformed both the user experience and the business. This will help you to get a clearer picture of the overall trajectory of the algorithm updates.

Florida Update

Back in 2003, Google labeled its first significant update, “Florida.” It was the first instance when Google realized that although they primarily dealt with software systems, it was actually human beings who were present on the other side of the screen. When this update arrived, it rubbed out the rankings for those sites that achieved their top score by means of invisible text, keyword stuffing, and hidden links.

Retailers loathed the “Florida” update because it had dislodged them from the top search spots right at the time when the holiday season was around the corner.

Jagger Updates

The Jagger update came out across 3 phases in 2005. These updates introduced a fresh emphasis on backlinks that attacked any individual who tried to use spam and black hat methods to get ahead of the competition. The update called “Big Daddy,” which arrived at the end of 2005, further penalized unnatural linking and left some of the sites out of the new data centers.

At this point, the tech giant’s updates were recognizing merit instead of Search Engine Optimized efforts to facilitate searchers in finding what they were precisely looking for.

Vince Updates

When the Vince Update rolled out in 2009, the same thing happened. This update targeted particular keywords, and suddenly, the previously top-ranked websites that had attained their ranking via SEO efforts slid down the rankings, and large brand domains took their spots. This was the year when Google assumed that if a searcher was looking for a particular item, he/she would want to purchase it from a big brand. Updated started arriving more quickly after 2009. Some of these updates include but are not limited to Caffeine (2009), MayDay (2010), Panda ( 2011), and Panda Updates 3.1 and 3.2 in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

The arrival of quick updates carried on until the rolling out of the Penguin update. Panda, particularly, continued to get updates for several years.

The Impact of Penguin and Hummingbird

The earliest Google updates show that the tech giant prioritized true search intent over SEO tactics. The Penguin update is a prime example of this. The algorithm of the Penguin update allowed the lowering of rankings of those websites that used spammy strategies and ignored Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This was like a penalty, but the tech giant did not intend it to be indefinite. You had a chance to recover your dropped rankings during the first update if you erased all the spam.

Penguin 2.0 rolled out in 2013.  The first Panda update analyzed spam at the surface level, but this latest version dug deeper to hunt out those who used concealed and hidden tactics.

Things turned around when the Hummingbird rolled out in August 2013. Hummingbird was Google algorithm’s most sophisticated version that had come out so far. It emphasized working through intricate queries and showing the most relevant results.

Transition to Mobile

Mobile phones were very much prevalent in 2014. With more than 250 million 4G LTE mobile phones, mobile search was very significant.

Then the Penguin update rolled out. Pigeon integrated Google’s core algorithm with the local algorithm. This helped to provide results that were local to the place where the search was carried out. There was a strong emphasis on off-page and on-page Search Engine Optimization. You had to get yourself listed to find yourself in the search results.

The arrival of the mobile algorithm happened one year later. It gave precedence to mobile-friendly websites and web pages via mobile searches. Sites not optimized for the mobile format experienced a steep decline in the search results rankings.

Possum came out in 2016. Just like the Penguin update, it put a lot of focus on search location efforts. This was also the first occasion when search results were precisely targeted to a physical place.

BERT…Future of Google’s Updates

A Google update that has not rolled out yet in 2019 is BERT. According to Google, it impacts one out of every ten queries and is a major revolution.

Bert makes use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to comprehend the terminologies that the searcher uses and his/her intent in a better manner. It aims to give a better result by understanding all the shades of natural language.

BERT is well aligned with Google’s previous efforts to enhance both voice search and mobile search. Around a quarter of all the internet users already use voice search. This update is crucial to the efficiency of Google’s algorithm because people are more likely to make use of natural language when speaking their queries.


What Can You Learn From Every Google Update?

The revolution of Google search algorithms encompasses a broad range of updates that deal with various issues in both desktop-based and mobile-based searches. However, what links these updates together is creating a website for human beings and firm adherence to Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Google only thrives when the search results bear relevance for the users. However, to provide these relevant search results, it needs to make use of websites that are human-friendly.

If your website primarily focuses on the needs of your customers, you are well on your way to achieving your SEO goals for both Google’s future updates and current algorithms.

Importance of Quality for Google

Google prioritizes person-centered experiences and quality above everything else. This is precisely why the tech giant penalizes websites that try to fiddle with Google’s algorithms by spamming their way right to the top of the search rankings. Not only do these websites obstruct Google’s core algorithm, but they also offer zilch value to the searchers.