Major Google Updates Documented

SEOmoz announced they have published the Google Algorithm Change document detailing all “major updates” that happened since the Boston update in 2003.

SEOmoz did it with style in this graphical document:

While I agree with a lot of the updates listed here, I had worked up a list of my own a few months ago. I was extremely selective and this it he list I came up with the list below.

My Google Update List:

  • Fritz (Summer 2003)
  • Florida (November 2003)
  • Austin Update (Jan 2004)
  • The Sandbox (April 2004)
  • Bourbon (May 2005)
  • Big Daddy (October 2005)
  • Supplemental (Jan 2007)
  • Paid Links (October 2007)
  • Dewey Update (Mar 2008)
  • Vince / Brand (March 2009)
  • May Day (May 2010)
  • Caffeine (June 2010)
  • Scraper Filter (Jan. 2011)
  • Panda (February 2011)

SEOmoz Google Update List:

  • Google Toolbar – December 2000
  • Boston – February 2003
  • Cassandra – April 2003
  • Dominic – May 2003
  • Esmerelda – June 2003
  • Fritz – July 2003
  • Florida – November 2003
  • Austin – January 2004
  • Brandy – February 2004
  • Google IPO – August 2004
  • Nofollow – January 2005
  • Allegra – February 2005
  • Bourbon – May 2005
  • XML Sitemaps – June 2005
  • Personalized Search – June 2005
  • Gilligan – September 2005
  • Google Local/Maps – October 2005
  • Jagger – October 2005
  • Big Daddy – December 2005
  • Supplemental Index – November 2006
  • Universal Search – May 2007
  • Buffy – June 2007
  • Dewey – April 2008
  • Google Suggest – August 2008
  • Vince – February 2009
  • Rel-canonical Tag – February 2009
  • Caffeine – August 2009
  • Real-time Search – December 2009
  • Google Places – April 2010
  • May Day – May 2010
  • Brand Update – August 2010
  • Google Instant – September 2010
  • Instant Previews – November 2010
  • Social Signals – December 2010
  • Penalty – January 2011
  • Panda/Farmer – February 23, 2011
  • The +1 Button – March 30, 2011
  • Panda 2.0 – April 11, 2011
  • Panda 2.1 – May 9, 2011
  • – June 2, 2011
  • Panda 2.2 – June 21, 2011
  • Google+ – June 28, 2011
  • Panda 2.3 – July 23, 2011

Both SEOmoz and I pulled a lot of this data from this WebmasterWorld thread, which has always done a great job of documenting Google updates. I supplemented my list above with the Google Updates category on the Search Engine Roundtable.

The main difference is that SEOmoz is also including major user interface changes and none specific algorithm changes, including specific penalties.

Overall, it is really good for SEOs and webmasters to get an idea of how Google has updated their index, algorithms and penalties over time so that you can better anticipate the future changes coming from Google.

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Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Michael Dorausch

    Browsing through that list brings back memories and it reminds me we’ve been at this a long time now.

  • Michael Martinez

    Barry wrote: “Overall, it is really good for SEOs and webmasters to get an idea of how Google has updated their index, algorithms and penalties over time so that you can better anticipate the future changes coming from Google”

    That remains to be seen.

  • Dr. Peter J. Meyers

    Thanks, Barry. Not surprisingly, many of our resource links in the list go back to SEL. Deciding what should be included was tougher than I initially thought. Even figuring out technically what’s an algorithm update can be tricky. Caffeine was certainly important, but it technically wasn’t an algorithm update. Leaving out Panda would’ve drawn 100 complaints, but it’s not clear Panda is integrated into the main algo (I think Vanessa’s “platform” description makes sense – almost like a lab sitting to the side that feeds into a ranking factor).

    I can only say that it was a lot of fun to dive back into the history, and I’m looking forward to adding to the list and trying to keep it current.

  • F.M.

    They left out the Local Map User Interface update that removed Reviews from non Google sources from the local results and Places pages.

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