History of Google Algorithm Updates

Below we have compiled a full list of Google algorithm launches, updates, and refreshes that have rolled out over the years, as well as links to resources for SEO professionals who want to understand each of these changes.

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History of Google Algorithm Updates
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What are Google Algorithms?

Google’s algorithms are a complex system used to retrieve data from its search index and instantly deliver the best possible results for a query. The search engine uses a combination of algorithms and numerous ranking factors to deliver webpages ranked by relevance on its search engine results pages (SERPs).

In its early years, Google only made a handful of updates to its algorithms. Now, Google makes thousands of changes every year.

Most of these updates are so slight that they go completely unnoticed. However, on occasion, the search engine rolls out major algorithmic updates that significantly impact the SERPs such as:

Below, we have compiled a comprehensive list of Google algorithm updates sorted by their release dates.

All Updates
November 8, 2023

November 2023 Reviews Update

Google announced an algorithm update targeting review content on a page-level basis. It began on November 8 and is still rolling out.

Read:

Google Rolls Out November 2023 Reviews Update

Google Reviews Update Finished – What To Know

November 2, 2023

November 2023 Core Update

Google announced a core algorithm update, which began on November 2 and is still rolling out. To learn more about core updates, see the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google Rolls Out November 2023 Core Update

October 5, 2023

October 2023 Core Update

Google announced a core algorithm update, which began on October 5 and was completed on October 19. To learn more about core updates, see the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google Launches October 2023 Core Algorithm Update

Google’s October 2023 Core Update Now Complete

Google Fixes Discover Traffic Bug Caused By October Core Update

October 4, 2023

October 2023 Spam Update

Google announced the launch of the October 2023 Spam Update, which began on October 4 and was completed on October 19. This update applies globally and improves coverage in many languages,

Read:

Google Rolls Out October 2023 Spam Update

Google’s Webspam Report Explains Role Of SpamBrain

Google Completes Rollout of October 2023 Spam Update

September 14, 2023

September 2023 Helpful Content Update

Google announced the launch of the September 2023 Helpful Content Update, which began on September 14 and was completed on September 28. Site owners who want to learn more about helpful content updates can find more information on the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google September 2023 Helpful Content Update – Changes To The Algorithm

Google Concludes Rollout Of September 2023 Helpful Content Update

August 22, 2023

August 2023 Core Update

Google announced a core algorithm update, which began on August 22 and concluded on September 7. To learn more about core updates, see the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google Launches August 2023 Core Update

April 12, 2023

April 2023 Reviews Update

Google announced an algorithm update targeting review content on a page-level basis. It began on April 12 and finished rolling out on April 25. To learn more about core updates, see the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google April 2023 Reviews Update Focuses Heavily On Experience

March 15, 2023

March 2023 Core Update

Google announced a core algorithm update, which began on March 15 and finished rolling out on March 28. To learn more about core updates, see the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google Rolls Out March 2023 Core Algorithm Update

February 21, 2023

February 2023 Product Reviews Update

Google announced the launch of the February 2023 Product Reviews Update, which began on February 21 and was completed on March 18. The update applies to these languages globally: English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Russian, Dutch, Portuguese, and Polish. See the Google Search Central Blog to learn more about the product review system.

Read:

Google February 2023 Product Reviews Update

Google Clarifies Product Review Best Practices

Analyzing The Google February 2023 Product Review Update

December 14, 2022

December 2022 Link Spam Update

Google announced the launch of the December 2022 Link Spam Update, which began on December 14 and was completed on January 12. With this update, Google is leveraging the power of “SpamBrain” to neutralize the impact of unnatural links on search results. To learn more about SpamBrain, see the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google December 2022 Link Spam Update Rolling Out Now

Four Takeaways from Google’s Updated Link Guidance

December 5, 2022

December 2022 Helpful Content Update

Google announced the launch of the December 2022 Helpful Content Update, which began on December 5 and was completed on January 12. Site owners who want to learn more about helpful content updates can find more information on the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google Announces December 2022 Helpful Content Update

Google Updates Guidance On Helpful Content System

October 19, 2022

October 2022 Spam Update

Google announced a spam update, which began rolling out on October 19 and was completed on October 21. Site owners who want to learn more about spam updates can find more information on the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google Announces October 2022 Spam Update

September 20, 2022

Product Review Algorithm Update

Google confirmed the rollout of a new product review algorithm update on September 20 and was completed on September 26. Although they did not offer advice for site owners for this particular update, they shared a post on product review updates in 2021 for more information.

Read:

Google September 2022 Product Review Algorithm Update Rolling Out Now

Google Core & Product Review Updates Finish Rolling Out

September 12, 2022

Core Algorithm Update

Google announced a core algorithm update, which began rolling out on September 12 and was completed on September 26. Site owners who want to learn more about core updates can find more information on the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google Announces September 2022 Core Algorithm Update

Google Core & Product Review Updates Finish Rolling Out

August 25, 2022

Helpful Content Update

Google announced the launch of the Helpful Content Update, which began on August 25th. Content creators can learn more about how to create content for people first on the Search Central blog.

Read:

Google ‘Helpful Content’ Algorithm Update Launching Soon

Google’s Helpful Content Update Rolls Out: 7 Things To Know

Google research paper describes an algorithm that detects low quality pages

July 27, 2022

July 2022 Product Reviews Update

Google announced the release of the July 2022 Product Reviews Update on July 27th, which was completed on August 2nd. Ecommerce marketers can refer to Google Search Central’s documentation on how to write high-quality product reviews for more information.

Read:

Google July 2022 Product Review Algorithm Update Rolling Out Now

May 22, 2022

May 2022 Core Update

Google announced via Twitter the release of a broad core update, named the May 2022 Core Update. This is part of a series of updates Google makes to the overall ranking process throughout the year. This update began on May 22, 2022, and was completed on June 9, 2022.

Read:

Google Launching May 2022 Broad Core Algorithm Update

Google May 2022 Core Update Complete

March 23, 2022

March 2022 Product Algorithm Update

Google announced via the Search Central Blog an update to product review rankings that would enable them to identify high-quality reviews.  The update should take a few weeks to complete.

You can learn more about the quest to provide better product reviews to search users on The Keyword and get Google’s advice on how to write high-quality product reviews.

Read:

New Google Algorithm Update Aimed At Product Reviews

February 22, 2022

Page Experience Update

Google announced via Twitter that the page experience update is slowly rolling out for desktop search, expected to be completed in March 2022. Google offers developers more information about the page experience update on Google Search Central.

Read:

Google Page Experience Update Starts Rolling Out On Desktop

Google Page Experience Update – Desktop Rollout Complete

December 1, 2021

December 2021 Product Review Update

Google announced via the Google Search Central Twitter account that the December 2021 Product Review Update began rolling out for English language pages today, and is estimated to take three weeks to complete. They shared a link to a blog post on product review updates and your website for more information.

Read:

Google December 2021 Product Review Update

November 30, 2021

November 2021 Local Search Update

Google announced via Twitter a November 2021 Local Search Update that began on November 30th and was completed on December 8th. Google also suggested that businesses review their guidance on how to improve local rankings.

Read:

Google Confirms Update To Local Search Results

November 17, 2021

Broad Core Update

Google Search Central announced via Twitter that a broad core update would be released later that day. They referred webmasters to their documentation on what site owners need to know about core updates, last updated in August 2019.

Read:

Google Launching November 2021 Broad Core Algorithm Update

Google November Core Update Is Over – What Happened?

November 3, 2021

Google Spam Update

According to a tweet from Google Search Liasion, a spam update was rolled out from November 3 – 11, 2021 as a part of their regular work to improve search results. They suggested in their announcement that webmasters should continue following Webmaster Guidelines.

Read:

Google Spam Update Done Rolling Out

July 26, 2021

Google Link Spam Algorithm Update

Google announced an algorithm update aimed at identifying and nullifying link spam was beginning to roll out. Google warned that any sites taking part in link spam tactics could see ranking changes – with sponsored, guest, and affiliate content most likely to be impacted. Google said the update should be fully rolled out in “at least” two weeks and will impact multiple languages.

Read:

Google Link Spam Algorithm Update Rolling Out on July 26

Google’s Link Spam Update Is Complete

July 12, 2021

July 2021 Core Update Completed

Google Search Liaison confirmed via Twitter that the July 2021 Core Update rollout was effectively completed on July 12th. No additional details were provided.

Read:

Google July 2021 Update is Over – What Happened?

July 1, 2021

July 2021 Core Update

Google Search Liaison announced via Twitter the July 2021 Core Update is rolling out and will take one to two weeks to complete. Google’s guidance for core updates can be found on the Google Search Central Blog.

Read:

Google July 2021 Core Update Begins Rolling Out

June 28, 2021

Spam Update Part 2

Google Search Liaison announced via Twitter that the second part of their spam update has begun on June 28th and will likely be completed on the same day. The original announcement referred to a post on the Google Search Central Blog, updated in April 2021, on how Google fought Search spam in 2020.

Read:

Google Announces Spam Update Part 2

June 23, 2021

June 2021 Spam Update

Google’s Danny Sullivan announced via Twitter an algorithm update targeted at fighting spam was rolling out to search results. The rollout of the update was to be completed the same day. He added that a second spam update would follow within a week. Google revealed no specific details on what this update was targeting.

Read:

Google Rolls Out New Spam Algorithm Update

June 15, 2021

Page Experience Update

Google confirms its long-awaited Page Experience update has started rolling out. Sites should not expect to see drastic changes as a result of this update, Google says, and any sudden drops or spikes should be mitigated by the gradual rollout process. The rollout will be completed by the end of August 2021.

Read:

Google Page Experience Update Begins Rolling Out

Google Page Experience Update Fully Rolled Out – This is Why it Matters

June 10, 2021

Known Victims Protection

On June 10, Pandu Nayak,
Google Fellow and Vice President of Search, published a post on The Keyword blog. In it, he discussed Google’s work towards improving the algorithm to demote sites that “employ exploitative removals practices” and “predatory practices.” He also shared a link people can use to report online harassment.

Read:

Google Algorithm Update Targets Slander

June 2, 2021

Broad Core Algorithm Update

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan announced via Twitter that a broad core algorithm update was about to be released. Sullivan also noted that some planned improvements weren’t quite ready for this update, so the parts that weren’t ready will be rolled out as part of second, related broad core algorithm update, scheduled for July.

Read:

Google Broad Core Algorithm Update Rolling Out June 2, 2021

April 8, 2021

Product Reviews Update

This new search ranking algorithm update was designed to reward “product reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products.” In their announcement, Google also shared nine useful questions to consider when creating and publishing product reviews.

Read:

Google Product Reviews Update Goes Live in Search Results

Google’s Product Reviews Algorithm Update: Winners & Losers

February 10, 2021

Passage Ranking

Google’s Public Liaison for Search, Danny Sullivan, announced via Twitter that Passage Ranking officially launched for English-language queries in the United States. According to Google: “This change doesn’t mean we’re indexing individual passages independently of pages. We’re still indexing pages and considering info about entire pages for ranking. But now we can also consider passages from pages as an additional ranking factor….”

Read:

What Is Google Passage Ranking: 16 Key Points You Should Know

December 3, 2020

December 2020 Core Update

Google confirms a core algorithm update, the December 2020 Core Update, is rolled out on December 3, 2020. This is the third core algorithm update of the calendar year. A fair amount of time has passed since the last core update, compared to the average time between these types of updates.

Read more about this update below.

Read:

What Is a Google Broad Core Algorithm Update?

Google on Broad Core Algorithm Update Recovery – 4 Takeaways

Recovering from a Google Core Algorithm Update with Lily Ray [PODCAST]

Google Confirms Rollout of Core Algorithm Update

Google December 2020 Core Update Insights

May 4, 2020

May 2020 Core Update

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan announced via Twitter that Google would be releasing a broad core algorithm update. About 90 minutes later, he announced the update was underway and would take 1-2 weeks to completely roll out.

Read:

Google Confirms May 2020 Core Algorithm Update Rolling Out Today

January 22, 2020

Featured Snippet Deduplication

Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed via Twitter that webpages in a featured snippet position will no longer be repeated in regular Page 1 organic listings. This change affected 100% of all search listings, worldwide.

Read:

Google: Webpages with Featured Snippets Won’t Appear Twice on Page 1

Google Offers Guidance on Featured Snippets Update

Google’s Featured Snippet Changes & Impact on Organic Traffic [STUDY]

Unpacking the CausalImpact of Google’s Double-Dipping Featured Snippet Update

January 13, 2020

January 2020 Core Update

Google’s Danny Sullivan announced via a tweet that a broad core algorithm update was about to be released. Google again provided the same guidance as for all other recent broad core algorithm updates.

Read:

Google January 2020 Core Update is Rolling Out Imminently

December 9, 2019

BERT (Worldwide)

Google’s Danny Sullivan tweeted that BERT was beginning its worldwide rollout, and included the following languages: Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Azeri, Basque, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Simplified & Taiwan), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Kannada, Kazakh, Khmer, Korean, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Lao, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian Malay (Brunei Darussalam & Malaysia), Malayalam, Maltese, Marathi, Mongolian, Nepali, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tajik, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, and Vietnamese.

Read:

Google’s BERT Rolls Out Worldwide

October 25, 2019

BERT Update

Google announced the BERT Update, calling it the biggest change to Google search in the past 5 years. Google uses BERT models to better understand search queries. Google said this change impacted both search rankings and featured snippets and BERT (which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) will be used on 10 percent of U.S. English searches.

Read:

Google Applies New BERT Model to Search Rankings, Affecting 1-in-10 Queries

Google BERT Update – What it Means

Google BERT Misinformation Challenged

September 24, 2019

Broad Core Algorithm Update

Google’s Danny Sullivan announced via a tweet that a broad core algorithm update would be released within a few hours and it would take a few days to complete rolling out. Google’s guidance was the same as it had been for all other recent core algorithm updates.

Read:

Google is Releasing a Broad Core Algorithm Update Today, September 24th

September 2019 Google Update – Winners and Losers