10 Most Influential Google Algorithm Updates

Posted on by admin | in longhorn

As the premier web search engine, Google regularly updates its algorithm to ensure the reliability and accuracy of its search results. Of course all search engines do their own versions of the Google Dance, just not quite as noticeably, nor with quite as extensive an effect.

There have been a lot of Google updates over the years, some major, and most barely perceptible to the untrained surfer. Today we look at those changes that had the greatest impact, the 10 most influential Google algorithm updates.

  1.  Fritz (Jul. 2003) РThe end of the Google Dance; Fritz marked a change in indexing strategy for Google, from essentially a monthly overhaul to daily, incremental updates.
  2. May Day (May 2010) – Primarily affecting long tail web traffic, the May Day update was a change in the algorithm intended to reward those links which had a higher probability of relevance for long-tail queries. Consequently, sites whose link pages had less searchable content lost page ranking.
  3. Caffeine (June 2010) – Actually a change in Google’s indexing infrastructure, not the algorithm; Caffeine is nonetheless significant in that it delivers 50% fresher search results.
  4. Jagger (Oct. 2005) – Google set their sights on linking abuse with Jagger, ie. link farms, paid or reciprocal links with low relevancy, and CSS spamming. Implemented in three phases, Jagger was, like Florida previously, yet another impetus for the re-editing of SEO how-to manuals everywhere.
  5. Brandy (Feb. 2004) – A significant update in that it brings two important elements to the algorithm: 1) LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing), which allowed queries to search for synonyms related to the search terms; 2) Anchor Text, which helped direct queries to specific pages within a website.
  6. Florida (Nov. 2003) / Austin (Jan. 2004) This sequence of updates was a major game-changer for the SEO crowd. Invisible text, meta tags, hidden tags, and other tricks simply no longer worked.
  7. September 2002 – One of the first major indexing changes to befuddle optimizers, which, as with several other updates,seemed to be its sole purpose. Google was shuffling the deck ostensibly to stay one step ahead of the card counters.
  8. Social Signals  (Dec. 2010) РThe inevitable has come to pass: Google incorporates social ranking, using data from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr in establishing page ranking.
  9. Panda (Feb. 2011) – As a statement to SEO gamers, spammers and purveyors of crap content in particular, this update was written in bold print with indelible ink. Affecting 12% of search results, Google threw down the quality gauntlet in earnest.
  10. PageRank – The brainchild of Larry Page (for whom it was named) at Stanford University, PageRank is a mathematical formula that was incorporated during Google’s infancy. Its numerical value expresses the relevancy of links and was essentially the foundation of the original algorithm.


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